Your Speaking and Listening Exam - The Main Body
March 14, 2018
Your Speaking & Listening Exam – The Main Body
In this blog, we focus on what you should say and the materials you need to achieve 5+ in the Main Body of your presentation.
Offer your stance on the subject; e.g., if arguing for or against Brexit, make your case, giving at least three developed reasons for your stance – 2-2.5 minutes.
NB Remember, you cannot walk in and read a pre-prepared script word for word; even if you could, your tone and delivery would lack spontaneity – i.e. you’d lose marks!
Sample Topic: Outline your stance on Brexit.
Main Body (2-2.5 minutes)
I’m opposed to Brexit firstly because I don’t think the referendum result remains reflective of the nation’s wishes. I think if the British public were to vote again today, they would vote ‘Remain’, and by a significant majority.
Yes, voter turnout in June 2016 was high – 72.2% – but that still means 27.8% of Britain’s electorate didn’t vote on the future of our EU relationship, approximately 13 million people!
Those 13 million votes would have made a huge difference to the overall outcome; and I strongly believe that many of the 17.5 million ‘Leave’ voters would vote differently if they had the chance to, given the pandemonium that has ensued since we learned the result.
Furthermore, of the four major countries that comprise Great Britain and Northern Ireland, just two voted ‘Leave’ – England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted ‘Remain’, and both by significant majorities.
How can these countries being forced to leave the EU against their will be considered democratic?
Second, I remain opposed to Brexit because I think the consequences of leaving the EU will be severe, and I don’t think the British electorate, particularly those who voted ‘Leave’, were sufficiently aware of these consequences before they went to the polls.
Our economy, our ability to live and work in EU countries – even the peace process in Northern Ireland – are braced for a negative impact.
It seems as if the true impact of a ‘Leave’ vote is only being made clear to the public now. Where were the impact reports that appeared in recent weeks and months back in June 2016?
This main body is direct, structured, developed, and contains a number of the elements you can use in your talk to make your speaking and listening performance effective:
1. Use of counter-arguments: The speaker acknowledges some of the arguments against their Brexit stance, namely their opinion on voter turnout, and uses these to dismiss potential arguments against their speech and develop their own arguments.
2. Use of evidence: Given that this presentation is intended as a debate speech, the speaker needs to use relevant, accurate facts and figures to support their arguments. The speaker refers accurately to the date of the referendum, voter turnout statistics, etc. and uses this evidence to support their stance.
3. Use of language devices: The speaker makes excellent use of rhetorical questions to challenge the logic of their opposition, as well as embedded clauses and asides to inject emotion into their speech.
4. Room for development: The speaker needs to continue to explore the likely impact of Brexit, and they should strive to develop a further reason for their anti-Brexit position – perhaps what they envisage as the long-term consequences of Brexit for Britain and the EU.
Again, cue cards. And practice. Cue cards are a simple yet effective tool to aid you in your presentation. You can’t write your presentation word-for-word on your cards, nor should you. Use them as a series of small prompts to keep you on track. For example:
Turnout – 72.2%; 27.8%=13 million didn’t vote; Scotland and NI voted Remain – democratic?
Consequences: economy, migration, NI peace process; were voters fully aware?
Impact reports – where were they?