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Friday, August 03, 2018


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Dear Simon,

Is it appropriate to use expressions like "you know" instead of hesitation in the speaking part?

Thanks for ur kind help.

Hi Simon,

What should I do if I encountered a Part 2 question which I have no related experience?

For example, the question is 'Describe a time that you were shopping in a street market', but I've never been to a street market...

Could I talk about other markets that I know? Or even, could I ask to provide an alternative question?


Part 2 questions are specifically written in a way that allow basically everyone to talk about something, and you are certainly allowed to 'change' the focus of the question a bit so that you can answer. Talking about any market would be fine.

You can't ask for an alternative question.


Native speakers use a range of natural 'markers' to answer questions, and 'you know' is one of them, so it is fine. However, you want to show a range of language, so you don't want to use it too much.

Dear Simon,
Will my 'Task response'score be lowered if in Task 2 I am asked to describe a DEVELOPMENT in a certain public place but I talk about an IMPROVEMENT, instead?

Thank you

Im desperately looking for the rest of your lesson.

Your strategy for focusing only on fluency means giving up the rest criteria. It's wrong.


'You know' is a common 'marker' used by native speakers, so it is perfectly fine in the test. However you want to show a good range of markers so don't use it too much.


Part 2 questions are deliberately written to be answered by everyone, so if you want to change the focus a bit and explain why, then this is always fine. Unfortunately, you can't ask for a different question.

Quan Le

Your Task Response in an essay is never really affected by an individual word. If you are asking about speaking, then there is no Task Response score in speaking, we call it Part 2, not Task 2. There is a question about a 'new development' in Speaking, and an improvement would certainly be a new development.

'Experienced Candidate'

I think you have misunderstood Simon's advice and he is absolutely correct. An examiner gets a 'first impression' in Part 1, and the first thing we notice is the voice, rather than the words. Pronunciation and fluency are key in this part, and also avoiding basic errors, such as mixing past and present tense. 'Focusing' on something does NOT mean 'giving up' the other things - it just means making something a priority.

How many questions are we asked in part 1?

A little simple well collocated topic specific vocabulary also wakes up tired examiners in Part 1. An easy opportunity, often missed!

Hi, is there any one who needs partner?
Let's practice together. This is my email:

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