Have you ever felt panic-stricken at the time of starting a conversation in English? Do you usually hide away in situations where you could be practising your English only because you might be making lots of mistakes? Well, if this is your case, read the following tips carefully because we have the medicine for your conversation fears: CONNECTORS.
One crucial feature for the speaking test is the use of words or short phrases called connectors or linkers. Not only will they help you get better marks, but also they will build your confidence as you will have different ways to start your sentences with or even to give some kind of organization to your answers. Is this possible? Of course!
One of the most recommended recourses when the examiner asks you a general question (part 1 of the speaking test) is the use of connectors such as “On the one hand/On the other hand” or “In the first place/In the second place” to open up your answers.
Keep in mind that the examiners are not keen on knowing about your personal opinion, but they are rather interested in testing your ability to elaborate your replies by offering several possible answers to one simple question as well as reasoning these answers with examples.
Let´s focus on a real example! At the end of part 1 in the Speaking test, you will be asked some questions in the like of: “What do you normally do in your free time”. In most cases, the typical reply would be a list of activities, as if it were a shopping list. Well, that would be absolutely wrong! This is the moment when you want to make use of your connectors and put them into practice.
How about an answer like this?
“On the one hand, on weekdays, I don´t have much free time so I usually watch a film on TV since it´s very relaxing. On the other hand, during the weekend, I have a lot more free time so I usually meet with friends because we love hanging out together”.
Did you notice how easy it is to use this type of connectors for any question? And what´s more important, did you realize that for every sub-answer we always give a simple reason of why we do it by using words like “because”, “as”, or “since”?
So now you know what you should do! Start practising possible answers to general questions using these useful pieces of grammar and, once you get familiar with them, you´ll feel more and more comfortable and panic-free at the time of practising the Speaking test. You will also see your self-confidence growing very rapidly and, what´s more, the examiner will be facing a more relaxed person on the day of the exam.
So don’t forget this very important tip:
KEEP CALM AND USE CONNECTORS!!