Overcoming Anxiety for Oral Exams
Oral exams can be a major fear for some students, as public speaking is a daunting experience for not only students, but also for many adults. Stage fright and freezing up in front of others are some of the things that plague every oral exam student, causing them to experience anxiety leading up to the exam. Before the oral exam, students will have butterflies in their stomach and the sinking feeling that everyone hearing them speak will be laughing at them and passing judgement.
If you are someone who doesn’t have natural charisma and eloquence, it can be nerve-wracking to give a presentation or a speech in front of a large audience. However, it is important to develop your skills for oral exams as this is a compulsory activity not only in a student’s schooling years, but also when they go out to the workplace and in other parts of life, such as hosting or attending events.
Oral presentation skills can be found in many aspects of the Singaporean education system, from Weighted Assessments (WA) to Project Work if the student undertakes A Levels in Junior College. When students eventually become working adults, they will need to present reports, contribute ideas in team meetings, host events for the company, and give presentations to clients.
It is therefore extremely important for students to develop the necessary skills to help them present their ideas in a coherent and concise manner, and here are some tips to help students do just that!
The audience’s first impression of a speaker is highly important, as people tend to remember speakers who leave a lasting impression instead of speakers who are boring. In the context of an oral examination, teachers will remember students who make a good impression, as they have many exams to listen to and grade. As such, students should avoid blindly “following the format” and being too rigid as this will not impress examiners.
Although there are points which the student needs to discuss to score marks, the delivery of these points is crucial as students should have anecdotes or passion as they go through these points. Depending on the context, a unique style of delivery may suit the particular topic, and students should dare to be different from the norm to engage their audience.
Often, many students lose marks during oral exams because they tend to ramble and go on irrelevant tangents. Students need to have a clear plan of what to say to score well for their exams, checking all the boxes and listing all the points which are important. Thus, before speaking, students should come up with a rough plan of what they plan to say to ensure that all the content is covered in time.
Some students feel more comfortable reading off a script, while others only need bullet points to tell them what they need to say. The danger of reading off a script is that the student may not make eye contact with their audience, who will feel like the presenter is not engaging with them enough. However, if the student is not used to using bullet points, they may forget how to phrase things, resulting in a rather garbled speech. As such, it is important for the student to know themselves and the style of writing their points down that they are most comfortable with.
Students should know exactly who they are speaking to, which will help them set the correct tone and use the right vocabulary. An older audience may require a more formal style of speaking, while a more upbeat and fresh style may suit younger audiences. As audiences want nothing more than to relate to the person speaking, make sure you know who you are speaking to and what they want to hear from you. This will help you craft your speech in a relevant way, as knowing your audience will help you use the rights words to say.
Students should be engaging to their audience, and that includes being humble about their achievements. Nobody likes listening to a braggart, and it is important for all students to know that as they are human (just like everyone else), it is impossible to be perfect and say the correct things all the time. If the student makes a mistake, they should do their best to carry on from where they left off and complete their points, as this will show the examiner and the audience that they are resilient and well-prepared for any situation, even if things go wrong. Students may slip or stutter during their speech, and they should remember that this is highly normal for everyone – many people also experience the same slip ups when they speak in front of a crowd.
It is important for students to practice speaking so that the result is a good, coherent speech. Like any other activity, the more the student practices speaking, the better they will become at it. Practice speaking in front of a mirror, where you can see your body language and posture. Having good posture can help people know that you have confidence, and this will make them more likely to listen to you than if you slouched or moved around restlessly during your speech.
Every student speaking in front of an audience must remember that the audience is not there to pass judgement on the words that they say, but to learn from their ideas and hear what they present. Knowing this, students should project their voice with confidence and engage the audience, so that they will not be counting down the minutes to when your speech is over. The audience should be left feeling like they want to hear more from you and that you are an interesting person. By following all the tips outlined in this article, students will eventually feel like oral presentations and speaking in front of a crowd are merely a walk in the park.
At WR!TERS@WORK, we are committed to providing the smoothest learning experience for your child sitting for their English exams at both primary and secondary school levels. With our carefully curated methods of teaching English for PSLE, O Levels, and A Levels, your child will be able to identify the answers to the questions and present them in a concise manner in no time.
English is a compulsory subject that has direct impact on your chances of advancing to upper secondary. Overall, English tuition and writing courses can help primary school students enjoy a smoother transition between education levels by reinforcing their language skills and providing a strong foundation for academic success.
Engaging in English tuition and writing courses can greatly assist students in smoothly transitioning between education levels. These programs reinforce their language skills and establish a solid foundation for academic achievement. For more exam tips, parents and students can explore our website and watch our YouTube videos.
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Firstly, confidence is key as students should speak loudly and clearly with a good posture. Secondly, students should revise their content knowledge so that they will have a good amount of discussion points in the body of their speech. Lastly, students should be prepared to adjust their delivery according to the context of the speech.
Students should practice speaking in front of a mirror to build up confidence. Next, students should try practicing the tone and inflexion of their voice to work on the delivery of their content. Lastly, students should write down in bullet points the content points they need to know so that they are prepared for any topic in the exam.
You can practice oral skills by standing in front of a mirror and reciting the points as you would in an exam. You can also practice your body language and posture as you speak to ensure that you are not slouching or fidgeting restlessly.
Weak learners for the English oral component will stutter and have long pauses in between the content points. Furthermore, they are likely to be restless and fidgety, which shows that their body language is not ideal and will come across as lackadaisical to the examiner.
Oral English is important as presentation skills are needed in the workplace as well as in secondary school, Junior College, and university. Students need to use their speaking skills to communicate information in every part of their lives.
First, the most common problem in communicating is not knowing what to say. Secondly, students often face the challenge of adopting the correct tone and inflexions in their voice. Lastly, being nervous and fidgeting restlessly is another problem students face.
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