ACTIVITIES

How to Carry Out an Amazing Monologue

If you are thinking of doing an English exam with Trinity College London or the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas, this post will be really useful for you. In both of these exams there is a speaking task in which you need to produce a monologue for the examiner and the later defend it by answering questions about it. A monologue is a demanding task for language learners and it is something that candidates need to practice to improve their confidence and speaking skills.

 

Preparation

The great thing about monologues is that you can prepare them before the day of the exam. If you are doing the exam with Trinity, you must prepare a topic (*about 4 minutes) beforehand and then present it on the day of the exam (see TRINITY). With the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas you do not see the topic or question beforehand, but the great thing is that there are only a limited number of topics, you have some time in the exam (about 5 minutes) to prepare what you are going to say and the question types are predictable. What you must do is practice all the different types of question and make sure you know how to form a well balanced argument that meets the requirements of the assessment scale.

 

Time

The times that you have to present your topic (monologue) do vary. The candidate normally has between 2-5 minutes to present it so all candidates must make this part of their preparation. The important this is that you fulfill the task in the time given to the best of your ability. All candidates should practice in various ways.

  1. Think about the topic alone to help organise your ideas
  2. Record yourself speaking and later check form mistakes and pronunciation errors
  3. Present your topic to a classmate and ask for feedback (help and advice)

 

Grammar structures

Depending on the level of exam that you do, the demand for complex grammar structures varies. I know for a fact than the Trinity exams are far more demanding with the vocabulary and lexical resources (click HERE for help with phrasal verbs) that you use, whereas the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas focusses a lot of grammar structures and the accuracy with which you use them. What students must do is ensure that they include complex grammar in their topics and that their use of simple grammar forms is very good. Click HERE for extra exercises and advice.

 

Organisation

The best way to make sure that you complete the task well in the time you have is to organise your speech and prepare your answer well. Before entering into the exam you should have a few things clear, such as the connectors you with to use, the grammar structures and the way you capture the interest of the listener. The last thing you want to do is enter into the exam without a clear idea of how you are going to answer. There are various simple ways to organise your answers (SEE BELOW) and you must make sure that you use various CONNECTORS)

 

ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES MONOLOGUES

  1. Introduction: Present your argument by capturing the interest of the audiance. I would suggest asking a question or presenting a general opinion (It is believed by the majority of the population that…). Your introduction should be concise and also interesting enough to make sure that the listener will want to carry on listening.
  2. Advantages: The candidate should start by presenting the advantages of the topic, but also make it clear to the listener that they are taking into account all the points of view that are necessary. The candidate must make their points but also contrast them with their counter arguments.
  3. Disadvantages: Again, the candidate needs to present the disadvantages in an organised way and also, link them to the advantages that they have mentioned in the 1st part of the topic.
  4. Concusion: The candidate must be to the point and produce an overall summary of the topic. They should include their own personal opinion and justify it.

 

GENERAL MONOLOGUE

  1. Introduction: Present your argument by capturing the interest of the audiance. I would suggest asking a question or presenting a general opinion (It is believed by the majority of the population that…). Your introduction should be concise and also interesting enough to make sure that the listener will want to carry on listening.
  2. Past: A great way to ensure that the candidate covers all of the verb tenses is to begin with the themes from the past that are relevant to the topic. They can use tenses such as the past simple, past continuous, past perfect, 3rd conditional, wish+past perfect and used to.
  3. Present: Later, the candidate can move onto present themes and link them to the past. They can use tenses such as the present simple, present continuous, present perfect, 1st and 2nd conitional, wish + past simple and be used to + ing.
  4. Future: Finally, the candidate can link the past and present themes to the future and either talk about predictions or plans in the future. They can even speculate using modal verbs such as may, might, could, must, can´t.
  5. Conclusion: The candidate must be to the point and produce an overall summary of the topic. They should include their own personal opinion and justify it.

 

Fluency

Fluency in language is an ambiguous term that many language professionals dislike to use. However, the way to speak in a fluent manner is simple, PRACTICE. Candidates must speak regularly and demonstrate that the are both in control of grammar structures and flexible with their use of language. They need to show that they are thinking in English and that they have prepared for the exam well. YOU MUST PRACTICE PEAKING ALONE AND ALSO IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE TO GAIN MORE CONFIDENCE.

 

Extra tips and help

  1. Make it interesting: CAPTURE THE AUDIENCES INTEREST. You should do this by starting with a rhetorical question, an interesting statement, a statistic, a fact or an extreme (or controversial) opinion.
  2. Think in English. To do an English exam well, to speak with confidence and to have good listening skills you MUST THINK IN ENGLISH. It is essential, candidates need to train their minds to think in a ¡nother language and this takes time. There is a need to do ot regularly and in a varied way (thinking about lots of different topics.
  3. Have a list of your favourite vocabulary and expressions. As humans, we all repeat ourselves a lot. It is normal, even for a native speaker to use the same expressions on a regular basis. What we need to do is make sure we can use these expressions in a flexible way and incorporate them into many different topics. You need to improve your vocabulary
  4. Pronuciation. The improvement of pronunciation comes through practice and having someone to guide you and CORRECT YOU. You need to learn through making mistakes, but it is essential for someone to correct those mistakes so that you can progress.

 

To finish off I would just like to point out one thing. Learning a language is by no means an easy feat. It is difficult and takes a lot of time and effort. What is important is to not waste time. You need to study consistantly and in a way that you enjoy. THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO FIND THE LEARNING STRATEGIES THAT WORK FOR YOU, AND THEN DO THOSE THINGS FOR LONG ENOUGH SO THAT YOU CAN NOTICE THE PROGRESSION.

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