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b. Natural Connectors in Speech

b. Natural Connectors in Speech

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Offhand, I’d say…

Let’s see…

Good question!

Well, I suppose…

Another type of connector used by both the examiner and the candidate - a marker for

examples, part of a sequence, or one of many. The examiner says “First, let’s consider…” and the

candidate responds, “The first thing that comes to mind…” Later he adds to this by

saying “Another thing…” Here’s a small list of phrases that carry out this same task and also serve to

introduce topics:

First, Second, etc…

First of all…

For one…

How about…? (to offer an example or introduce a topic)

For a start…

So, what about…?

Finally, notice how the candidate asks, “You can understand what I mean?” This was

probably not meant to be a real question. It’s something we naturally do to keep conversation moving

and to reconnect with our conversational partners. Common conversational “checks” are sometimes

incomplete sentences and include examples such as:

…You know what I mean?

…, you know?

Does that make sense?

…, right?


II. LISTENING SKILL: Skill A - Understanding main ideas and organization

2.1. Short conversation: Understanding main ideas

a. Necessary skills:

Understanding the overall topic of basic idea of a conversation

Understanding the speaker’s general purpose in having a conversation

Inferring the speaker’s purpose or main idea when it is not directly stated

b. Example questions:

What is the main topic of the conversation?

What are the speakers mainly discussing?

What is the woman’s main concern about ………………?

Why did the speaker mention ………………?

c. Practice

Exercise 1: Listen to the conversation and choose the best answer for the following questions

(Track 1.1)

1. What are the people mainly discussing?

A. How many people it takes to play a game

B. The steps it takes to register an intramural sports team

C. The cost of registration to make a team

D. Making an intramural basketball team

2. How many people are required to form the team?

A. 2

B. 4

C. 6

D. 8

3. How many more people are needed to form the team that the people are discussing?

A. 2

B. 4

C. 8

D. 10

Exercise 2: Listen to the conversation and choose the best answer for the following questions

(Track 1.2)

1. What is the discussion mainly about?

A. A service in a library

B. Where to find journals

C. A broken copy machine

D. What the woman does

2. Why does the man mention the reference desk?

A. The person there can answer the woman’s question

B. It is another place to make copies

C. The woman must go there first

D. Something that the woman needs is located there

3. According to the man, what can the woman find on the fourth floor?

A. The reference desk

B. The article she needs


C. A cash card machine

D. Copy machines

2.2. Long passages and lectures: Understanding main ideas and organization

a. Main ideas questions


Listening carefully to the beginning of the lecture or talk (for a conversation, listen to the first

few exchanges), where the speakers mention the topic.

Pay attention to expressions that indicate the topic:

o Today’s talk is on……………….

o Today we’re going to talk about ………………..

o Now we are going to discuss ……………….

In a conversation, listen for cues that will indicate a speaker’s main purpose.

o How can I help?

o What do you need?

o Can you help me with ……………?

Listen for key words that are emphasized or repeated.

Keep in mind that two or more major ideas together may define the overall topic.

Do not choose an answer choice that is too general, not mentioned, or related to only part of

the information.

Example questions:

What is the main topic of the lecture?

What is the talk mainly about?

What are the speakers mainly discussing?

What aspect of ………………does the professor mainly discuss?

What aspect of the problem does the ……………… help with?

What features of each type of ……………….does the professor focus on?

What concerns does the students have about ……………….?

Why did the professor mention ………………?

What is the student’s motivation for …………….?

b. Organization questions:

Necessary skills:

Recognizing the organization of information in a lecture or a conversation

Recognizing the sequence of information

Identifying the main steps of a process

Summarizing a process with its main steps

Example questions:

Why does the speaker mention ………………..?

Why does the professor tell the students about ……………..?

Why does the professor discuss ………………?


Why does the professor make a distinction between …….. and ………….?

How is the discussion organized?

How does the professor organize the information about ……………?

How does the professor support the idea that …………..?

How does the professor clarify her point about …………..?


Use diagrams, arrows, and outline format while taking notes to indicate the organization and

relative importance of information.

Listen for transitions that indicate sequencing of information.

o First, now the first step is …

o Next, (and) then

o So now

o The last step is ……, finally

Different types of organization may appear in the answer choices as follows:

o Classifying/ categorizing

o Describing causes and effects

o Explaining causes/ reasons

o Giving examples

o Showing contrast

o Summarizing a process

o Comparing

o Reminding

o Defining

o Contrasting

o Explaining in chronological order

c. Practice

Exercise 1: Listen and choose the best answer for the following questions (Track 1.3)

1. What aspect of mountains does the professor mainly discuss?

A. A particular mountain

B. Weather on mountains

C. How mountains form

D. Countries with different kinds of mountains

2. What is the talk mainly about?

A. The talk discussed how K2 is taller than Mount Everest

B. The talk explained that more people try to climb K2 than Mount Everest, but fewer people make it

to the top.

C. The talk looks at how K2 is not the tallest mountain, but it is the most difficult to climb.

D. The talk discusses how, since 1953, no one has climbed to the top of K2.

3. What is the evidence the professor gives to show how difficult it is to climb K2?

A. He explains how many climbers have died trying to climb the mountain.


B. He mentions the mountain’s height and weather conditions.

C. He lists the dates that famous climbers tried to go up the mountain.

D. He tells the story of his friend who attempted to climb K2.

4. Why does the professor say this:

A. To introduce the next part of the lecture

B. To see if students understood a point he has just explained

C. To check how many students read the material in the book

D. To remind students about the focus of the course

Exercise 2: Listen and choose the best answer for the following questions (Track 1.4)

1. What is the conversation mainly about?

A. Studying plants in school

B. Caring for plants

C. Moving plants from outside to inside

D. Keeping both pets and plants

2. What is the woman’s main point?

A. Houseplants are like pets.

B. It’s important to research the needs of houseplants.

C. She has very little free time.

D. Caring for houseplants takes too much hard work.

3. According to the woman, why is the orchid at home where it is?

A. There isn’t much light or moisture.

B. These conditions matched the orchid’s previous living conditions.

C. The orchid needs moisture but not light.

D. There is enough light and moisture.

4. Listen again to part of the conversation and answer the question.

Why does the man say this:


A. To indicate that he has moved to a new house.

B. To communicate his intention to change things

C. To remind the woman that it is a long time since she visited him

D. To explain that she will need a map to get to his house


III. SPEAKING SKILL: Part 1 – Social Interaction

Task 1: Listen to the recordings and decide which answer is better.

1. Examiner: Do you see your friends very often? (Track 1.5)




Louisa: Yes, I do.


Louisa: Yes … we meet up most weekends … we all get on

really well and have a lot in common so we’re always happy

doing the same things and going to the same places.

to get on well with: to understand someone and enjoy similar interests

to have a lot in common: to share similar interests

2. Examiner: What do you like about your close friends? (Track 1.6)




Anna: I think we like each other. We agree on

most things. We rarely misunderstand each



Anna: I think we enjoy each other’s

company … we see eye-to-eye on most things

so we rarely fall out with each other.

to enjoy someone’s company: to like spending time with someone

to fall out with: to have a disagreement and stop being friends

to see eye to eye: to agree on a subject

3. Examiner: Have you known each other long? (Track 1.7)




Amy: Most of them. I and my closest friend

Carrie began friends at college. Some of my

other friendships started long ago.


Amy: Most of them yes … although my closest

friend Carrie … we struck up a relationship at

college and got on like a house on fire … but

yes … my other friendships go back years to

when we were at school.

to get on like a house on fire: to like someone’s company very much indeed

to strike up a relationship: to begin a friendship

to go back years: to have known someone for a long time


Extend your answers instead of answering Yes or No only.


Do you often hang out with friends?

 Yes, I do. I like hanging out with friends at a café every Saturday morning so that we can chat

about everything. It’s so funny and relaxed.


Do you like reading books?

 Yes,

I do. I love reading books both for fun and for study. When I have free time, I enjoy

reading my favourite comic books which make me relaxed. Moreover, I also read my

textbooks at university to get information.

Use suitable linking words, such as, firstly, secondly, finally, besides, moreover, what’s more,



Do you like watching TV?

 Yes,

I do. I love watching gameshows because they are very exciting. Moreover, the

contestants are very clever so they win very big prizes sometimes.

Paraphrase your ideas: use different words and phrases from what the examiner asks you.


What do you do in your free time?

 Well, in my spare time, I enjoy doing various things

• Use compound and complex sentences


Who are you close to in your family?

 Well, I get on very well with my mother. She always gives me good advice when I have

problem in life. Besides, she’s the person whom I tell my secret to.

Being friendly and confident when speaking

Task 2: Discuss with your partner to complete these answers


Task 3: Work with your partner to ask and answer these following questions

Family and friends

1. What do you like doing most with your family?

2. Who are you close to in your family?

3. In what way is your family important to you?

4. In what ways have families changed in the last hundred years?

5. Should we rely heavily on our families or is it better to try to be independent?


1. Do you have many friends? Are they casual acquaintances or close friends?

2. Do you prefer to stay with your family or with your friends?

3. Do you prefer one or two close friends or many friends?

4. Is the time you spend with your friends as much as that you spend with your family?


5. What do you expect from a good friend?

6. Do you think friendships change as we get older? Why?

Task 4: Work with a partner to make as many questions as possible about people and

relationships. Then practice asking and answering.




1.1. Vocabulary

Task 1: Name the activities below

Task 2: Look at the boxes below.

In the first box, you will see a list of verbs in bold, and some of the words we use with them. These are

the things that people do in their free time.

In the second box, you will see a list of verbs to say that we like something.

In the third box, you will see a list of adjectives that we use to describe why we enjoy different


Write sentences to say what you enjoying doing in your free time, and why you enjoy doing them.

Some common expressions:


Task 3: Look at the following dialogue from Part 1 of the Speaking test. Match the examiner’s

questions with the candidate’s answers.




Hello, my name is Mary. What’s your full name,



Yes, I do think that people probably should have

more free time nowadays, because life is so

much busier and more stressful that we need

more time to relax.


My full name is Ling Bo, but you can call me



Okay, Charlie. Could I see your identification,



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