If you (or your child) are facing GCSE or A Level exams in languages this academic year, then you (or they) may well be looking for tips on how to improve your speaking skills.
Here are five tips to help:
1. Speak as often as possible! It sounds really obvious, but if you are not living in the relevant country then it can be harder than it looks. Take any opportunity you have to speak to others in your target language – that could be a fellow student, an informal language exchange with someone who wants to improve their English, or just talking to yourself!
2. Practise using your good grammar skills. When you are looking at a particular grammar topic, try repeating several sentences out loud, using that grammar point. Try to include it in the next few language classes you have, or your next few speaking opportunities (see above).
3. Take a topic and try to talk about it for 30 seconds in your target language. Start off with any topic you like (clothes, weather, food) and then build it up to include the curriculum topics (environment issues, immigration, literature). Increase to one minute, and then to two if you can.
4. If you are having to talk to yourself (because you couldn’t find a talk buddy) then try recording yourself. Many smartphones have voice recording technology. We all hate listening to our own voices, but you can concentrate on whether you hear correct word order, good grammar, and flowing speech and then try to improve.
5. Listen to as much of your target language as you can. This will help you to get used to the natural flow of the language and then you can try to imitate that, rather than using English speech patterns.
If you would like more help, then I would be delighted to assist you! I am a private language trainer with 14 years tutoring experience, helping to prepare students for GCSE and A Level exams.