12 Top Speaking Tips for the Oxford Test of English

Do you ever feel nervous when you’re speaking English? To some extent, all students worry about making mistakes or struggling with pronunciation during an English language conversation. And it’s understandable! The English language is complicated with lots of different (and sometimes confusing) rules.

We want to help you to leave your nerves behind and feel as prepared as possible when you take the Speaking module of the Oxford Test of English. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips and even created a study guide to help you get ready for the exam.

Follow this advice and you’ll be well on your way to getting a great score in your Speaking test.

Make a plan and make sure you know what to expect

1. Find a ‘study buddy’ – that’s another English learner who you can practise with. Not only will you be accountable to someone, but a friend will help you stay focused on your common goal. Studying is also a lot more fun when you do it with someone else!

2. You are far more likely to study if you make time for it. Make a weekly schedule of when you will practise. Set times to study with your partner and study alone during the week – and make sure you stay consistent!

3. It’s important to know what the exam is like before you take it. One way to feel less nervous is to take the demo Speaking module. This will help you familiarise yourself with it and see how it feels to do a speaking test on a computer.

Click here to try the demo. 

Use English whenever you can

4. Always try to speak in English to your English teacher and to the other students in your English class. If you forget something, write down what you wanted to say and try to say it in English next time.

5. Try to find other people outside school who you can practise speaking English with. These could be family members, friends, or even tourists! Arrange to speak in person, by telephone or over the Internet.

6. Try watching films in English or with English subtitles. Make sure that you note down new words or phrases you’d like to try yourself.

7. Listening to podcasts and audiobooks in English can help your speaking. Try pausing the recordings and repeating sentences or parts of sentences at the same time as the presenter.

Practise, practise, practise!

8. Record yourself speaking in English on your phone or computer. Listen to the recording and think about how you could improve what you say. For example, you might need to use a wider range of vocabulary and grammar, you might need to correct some mistakes, or speak more clearly. You can even take some of your recordings to a teacher and ask for their feedback.

9. Work with your study buddy to come up with a list of questions someone could ask you about yourself and write them down. Now ask each other the questions and practise answering them.

10. Learn and practise words and phrases you can use when you leave a voicemail message.

For example:

  • This is a message for …
  • This is [NAME], speaking.
  • I’m calling regarding…
  • Please get back to me on 00 44 XX XXX  XXX

11. Learn and practise words and phrases you can use when you discuss something.

For example:

  • I don’t really agree with this. It seems to me that …
  • That’s an interesting point of view…
  • What do you think about…?
  • Think of it this way…

12. Use a clock to time yourself answering the questions in the Speaking Tips guide. Keep doing this until you are comfortable talking for the same amount of time that you will be given in the real test

Download our Oxford Test of English Speaking Tips!

Our Speaking Tips guide is designed to help you get the best possible score in the Speaking module of the Oxford Test of English.

It has four sections – one for each part of the test: Interview, Voicemails, Talk, and Follow-up questions.

In each section, you’ll find expert advice on how to answer the questions in the test, along with exercises to help you put the tips into practice. You also get to practise with some realistic sample questions and audio.

Use these audio clips as you work your way through the guide, to help put what you’ve learnt into practice.


Is exam anxiety a worry for you? Don’t worry, we all get nervous! To help, we’ve put together our favourite tips to tackle those pre-exam nerves.

Author: Oxford University Press ELT

The official global blog for Oxford University Press English Language Teaching. Bringing teachers and learners top quality resources, tools, hints and tips, news, ideas, insights and discussions to help people around the world to learn English.

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