You have 20 seconds...1 minute...to prepare. Please begin. Question 1. Turn over the card.
Yesterday I worked at the Study Abroad Fair at Hokkaido University. I was on the Nihon Eigo Kentai Kyokai stand at the fair - giving visitors free Eiken and IELTS speaking test experiences.
Over 100 people attended the fair, from junior high students to middle aged adults - all with plans to take these English tests as a step to a future, whether school or college entrance or study abroad.
I "tested" 16 different people. It was tiring for me, non-stop interviews for 5 hours. I didn't stand up, I hardly had any time to drink water, just back-to-back interviews in a noisy, crowded room. It was hard for the students and I to hear eachother :-(
We offered practice tests in IELTS General exam, and Eiken Pre 1 - 3 Grades. Most of the tests are a reading passage and a picture story, with questions - lasting 5 to 10 minutes. It is hard to TEST speaking ability and no language test does it well, but these tests are good enough..I guess!
I loved meeting all the different students and hearing their dreams and experiences: the tiny junior high school boy who smiled as he answered everything; the guitar playing law Postgrad; the giggly highschool girls; the middle aged woman who chose her recently died 104 year old grandmother as "my most valuable thing" speaking topic and the young woman who plans to go and study museum management in the UK along WITH her husband and two small kids.
In any speaking test it is important to a) speak to all parts of the set task, b) give detail and c) find other words to explain what you want to say. The students I met yesterday were all great.
I hope I gave them enthusiasm for the tests and that they all pass and move a step nearer their dreams. :-)