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Frequently Asked Questions on LPAT - English Language
Paper 4 Speaking


  1. Is eye contact between the candidate and the examiners necessary in the 'Reading Aloud' part? Without eye contact, would the candidate get a lower level?

    Eye contact is not necessary. In fact, the Oral Examiners will be looking at their score sheets for much of the time as they have to assess a candidate's performance in real time. There is therefore little opportunity for 'normal' eye contact, at least on the part of the Examiners, and candidates should not expect to have 'someone to talk to', in the usual sense. Lack of response should not be interpreted as unfriendliness or disapproval, of course, nor as evidence of poor performance. Examiners are not allowed to give any verbal or facial response to what the candidate says because this might affect the fairness of the assessment.




  2. If I can't finish Part 1B (recount), will I be marked down?

    This depends. If a candidate were to speak for only a few seconds, it would be difficult for examiners to judge the quality of the English and they would find it impossible to give a score on this part of the Assessment. The key is keeping an eye on the timer so that you leave yourself enough time to do the recount – about 2 minutes should be fine for this as we think the prose passage can be read aloud in under 3 minutes. Time-keeping is the responsibility of the candidate, not the examiners, and you should speak up immediately if you cannot see the timer or you think it is being used incorrectly.




  3. Do we need to come to a conclusion in the group discussion (Part 2)?

    No, there is no need to come to a conclusion. In any case, some of the topics will not lend themselves to a 'conclusion' if this means a final decision or course of action. Groups normally find that there is plenty of time to explore the topic and will often summarise what they have been saying, or draw some general conclusions, quite naturally towards the end of the discussion time.




  4. In Part 2, what happens if the other members of my group are silent, or try to dominate the discussion?

    It is part of the challenge of this kind of assessment to be able to cope with different kinds of participation on the part of group members. There is inevitably an element of ‘competition’ inherent in the testing environment and some candidates respond to this by trying to talk more than anyone else. In practice, however, it is very difficult for an individual to dominate the conversation for more than a couple of minutes. If the examiner feels that there is a problem in this regard and that candidates are actively being prevented from speaking, they will warn the offending candidate. You should not rely on the examiner’s intervention, however, as each conversation will have its own dynamic and examiners may view the interaction differently from you. If your group mates are very uncommunicative, you can see this as a challenge – to bring them out – and as an opportunity to demonstrate more of yourself and your ability. The bottom line is, though, that you cannot control what others say and do, so you should prepare for different eventualities.