Speaking can be quite nerve-wracking, because everything you say is being recorded and marked, and for some reason human beings find speech more vulnerable and personal than text. I mean, ‘texting’ people is so much more easier than talking to them over the phone, right?

For paper 5 of the IGCSE English as a second language, you will be given a topic card based on which you and the examiner will have a conversation.

  • The examiner will start with a informal chat just to get you settled down and comfortable.This warm-up session will not be marked, so you should make use of it to calm yourself down and get ready. Be free and open with the examiner. Know that you’re just having a conversation.
  • You will then be given a topic card by the examiner. (During my speaking test, the examiner understood from the warm-up that I loved reading, so she gave me a topic that related to fact & fiction. You could do this in the warm-up- give a hint of your interests or a topic you’re very comfortable talking about).
    You will get a few minutes to read the topic and prompts and to come up with your points. You can add your own points that are not prompted in the card, to get higher marks!
  • These topics tend to be ones you can easily develop a conversation around, so don’t worry about them! The speaking test is not about how well you know the topic, but how well you can have a conversation about it – your vocabulary, fluency, structure. As such, don’t blabber. 
    Capture 2
    This was the topic card I was given in my w15 IGCSE exam!


  • Have a stress-free genuine conversation. Don’t make it a speech, just simply have a chat with your examiner. Answer her questions. All those talk shows you watch and wanted to be a part of? Well, this is the time! Don’t get worried about how good you sound in the recording. There are going to be thousands of such recordings coming in for examination and every one of them is going to sound different from the rest. Different accents, pronunciations, styles, speeds. There’s nothing you have to worry about. Just chat.
  • Do avoid ‘umm’ ‘ehh’ ‘err-‘ and all that. Instead, pause.
  • If you feel like you’ve had a good conversation keeping to the topic given, then it is likely that you’ve done a good job!


The speaking tests are one of the first exams in the IGCSE exam sessions. It is perfectly normal that you will be a bit nervous about it since it’s your first ever board-examination. But once you’re done, I assure, you will feel silly that you worried about nothing. What’s more, it helps set the mood for the rest of the exam session. So, calm down- that’s the key to nailing this test.




Notes submitted by Lintha

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11 thoughts on “Speaking

  1. Hi, my name is Elias and I am an IGCSE O Level student. I wonder what is the best way to practice beside than looking at my self in the mirror.
    I hope one of you responds ASAPS, because I have an exam this year may june paper 2020.
    Great website and FANTASTIC team.
    Soooo much love and admire to all of you xxx.


    1. Hello Elias,
      you could ask a friend or family member to sit down and ask you questions on a random simple topic. It’s best when you practice with a person. Good luck!


    2. Heyyy my name is Monaliza and I’m also an IGCSE student thank you Elias. Really nice of you I’m writing mine on may/June 2021


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