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22 Struggles You’ll Only Understand If You’ve Done a Speaking Exam

They’re probably one of the shortest exams you will ever take in your life, but they are also one of the scariest.

1. Spending the majority of the year under a false sense of security.

It’s just a conversation you’ll be having in a few months, right?


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2. Scoffing at the serious tone used to to discuss them during lectures.

It’s talking for 15 minutes. It’s nothing.


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3. Not believing your luck that you get to know the possible topics beforehand.

All that revision you could do! Could do. Could.

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4. Preparing for a mock by exchanging a few words in your target language with your fellow linguists beforehand.


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5. And doodling a couple of unrelated notes on your note card.

Because when you see the words ‘nuclear energy’, the most concise of arguments will suddenly just appear in your head. Sì?


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6. Then staring blankly at the note card during the exam, really wishing you’d written more on it.


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7. Because you’re suddenly struggling to string even the most basic of sentences together.


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8. Deciding to knuckle down and try harder for the real deal exam.

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9. But proceeding to fall into the same trap as before.


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10. So when it comes to last-minute revising, you feel out of your depth.

You don’t have an opinion about these topics in English, nevermind in another language.


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11. Becoming increasingly angry with people who tell you it’s ‘just a speaking exam’.


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12. Sharing awkward, forced smiles with the people waiting for their exam at the same time as you.


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13. Lying in response to being asked if you’re feeling ready for this.


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14. While trying to stave off the nausea. 

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15. Wondering why everyone else seems to be writing so many more notes than you.


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16. Feeling that you genuinely might have completely forgotten how to speak.

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17. Forgetting the thread of your sentence halfway through.


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18. But trying not to leave any gaps in your babbling to avoid being asked a question for as long as possible.


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19. Because you know it’s unlikely you’ll have an answer.


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20. Cringing every time the examiner writes a note about you.


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21. Trying to decipher their thoughts at the end of the exam through silent communication. 

Blink if it went well…


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22. And offering moral support to those after you by smugly leaving the room as if they have no chance in hell of beating your legendary performance.


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