Top revision tips for those tough foreign language oral exams

Oral exams for language courses are perhaps the most difficult, most nerve wrecking and by far the most challenging to revise for.

Whether it's French, German, Spanish or even Latin, the basics are the same. Here's our run down of some tip tips to help your revise better for your oral exams.


Start at the very beginning with a good preparation. Know what the exam will involve, how it will work, what you will be asked and - most importantly - what will be expected of you. Unsure? Ask your teacher, that's what they're there for!

Be confident

Throughout your oral exam try and act as confident as you can, trying to hide any nerves as best you can. Maintain eye contact with the examiner who will do their best to help and guide you throughout the exam. Don't look around the room as if the answer is about to appear on the walls in front of you!

Stay calm and don't panic

It's easy to say but a lot harder to do, however try your best to stay calm and don't panic. Don't rush your answers, there's no time limit here! Take a breath, think and then respond. If you don't understand or don't quite hear a question, don't be afraid of asking for it to be repeated - in the language, of course.

Don't be a bore!

Simply regurgitating sentences is boring, think about how a conversation in English and learn some handy phrases that you can add in to your speech to spice it up, at least a bit.

Learning the French or German for "In my opinion...", "I believe that..." and so on will help you expand your answers, as well connectives such as However and Therefore.

Another tip is to avoid umming and ahhing, a rather British mannerism, instead opting for the foreign language equivalent, such as Alor in French.

Talk, talk and talk some more!

The best way to ace your language oral exam is to get as much practice as you can. Speak the language to yourself at every opportunity you can when revising and get your friends involved too.

One good method is to split up into pairs and give each other a mock exam, with one asking questions and the other answering, before swapping. This gets you both speaking French and both having to think on your feet in the language.

Some people may even find it helpful to simply practice in front of a mirror!

Good luck!

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

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