Thursday, February 15, 2007

Using video to improve student's interview performance

Here is Dimitris's and Bill's FCE interview. As you can see, neither of them particularly enjoyed the experience but it is a great learning activity. I'll let them know how they did in more detail next lesson. However, I wanted the rest of the class to comment on their performance on their blog using the ideas and suggestions from the handout below.


1 Be friendly, be polite. This is a chance to show the examiners how well you can speak English, not a fight to the death.

2 Learn some words that may come up, e.g. the name of the subject you are studying or the job you want to do in the future.

3 DO NOT learn a little speech by heart. It sounds unnatural and you'll get even more nervous than you need to be trying to remember it.

4 Keep eye contact with the examiner. That means looking him or her in the eye rather than staring at your shoes or some point on the wall behind them.

5 Remember there are no wrong answers here, only well- expressed and badly expressed ones.

6 DO NOT give short, monosyllabic answers, nor tell them the story of your life.


1 Remember that the question you'll be asked about the photos will have three parts, answer all of them.

2 If you don't understand the question ask the examiner to repeat it. You'll not lose marks for this. However, you will lose marks for answering the wrong question.

3 DO NOT stop speaking till the examiner tells you your time is up.

4 Pay attention to what the other person says as you will be asked a similar question to theirs when they finish.


1 Make sure you understand the question before you start speaking. If necessary, ask the examiner to repeat it.

2 Move your chair so that you are facing the other person. Remember what we said about eye-contact.

3 Start with a question, not a monologue.

4 Listen to what the other person says, comment on it, ask them questions.

5 Disagree with the other person whatever they say. It's always easier to have something to say if we disagree.

6 Give the other person chance to speak. You'll lose marks if you monopolise the conversation.

7 DO NOT stop speaking until the examiner tells you that your time is up.


1 Remember the questions asked in this part are always connected with the topic in part three.

2 Give full answers, not just short, monosyllabic ones

3 Comment on what the other person says, use their name.

4 There are no wrong answers, only badly-expressed ones.

Here are the questions from the interview. I asked the students to pay particular attention to those in Part 2 and 3.

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