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FAQs

Normally there would be some description of the story, the characters, the setting and so on, plus some consideration of what the candidate liked about it. A brief reading of a short extract from the book may be appropriate, but this should be within the context of a talk and not predominate.

Explain the nature of the event, what planning you need to do for this, what you need to be careful about, what permission you need to get, how you send out the invitations. Clarity of thought and expression and a sense of enthusiasm and ownership are the things to encourage.

The job is the candidate’s choice and they should prepare the CV to reflect their suitability to meet the particular requirements of that job. The job outline given to the examiner should be as clear as possible – so define the size of the organisation, level of seniority, nature of the business etc. If the candidate is vague or has not a particular job in mind however, the examiner will suggest one.

The candidate need not memorise an introduction but be prepared to explain what they are going to speak about and why, which may involve some personal information ("I am speaking about the dangers of smoking because I recently lost a dear friend to cancer.")

As stated in the syllabus the intended audience must be defined, so this may differ depending who the audience are and what effect you wish to have upon them. It may often be more effective to present a more balanced consideration of the subject, leaving the audience to make up their own minds (even though there may be an underlying agenda to encourage one outlook over another).

There is no required format for the talks in communication skills exams - candidates are awarded marks for both the content and delivery of their talks, so planning an effective structure of the talk is part of the exercise.

The examiner will choose the article, but the content will not be so complex that they would need to prepare the subject or have any prior knowledge of it.

The examiner reads an article which takes about 4 mins. The candidate may take brief notes and then summarise the main points giving some views on content. This is primarily an exercise about listening, extracting the key points and then summarising. A common mistake for candidates is to try and write everything down that the examiner reads and then try to read it all back. The summary may be quite short - just a few sentences. If there were lots of dates in the piece it would be important to decide on which are the important ones e.g, an article on the Beatles might read "John Lennon (born 1943), Paul McCartney (born 1943), Ringo Starr (born 1940), George Harrison (born 1945)... achieved a major breakthrough in 1963 when...". The summary might say - the four members of the group - all born in the early 1940's - achieved a breakthrough in 1963.

The examiner will read the article out loud at a measured pace.

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