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TOPICS FOR A3-LEVEL SPEAKING TEST

The following topics for the 3-minute speaking test are chosen in alignment with what is taught in class, i.e. from Level A3s
Modules 1-6 New Cutting Edge, Intermediate.The four assessment criteria, accorded equal weighting (25% each), areFluency and
coherence, Lexical resource, Grammatical range and accuracy and Pronunciation.
ROUGH DESCRIPTION OF THE FOUR ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
Fluency and coherence: How much communication is possible? To what extent is the topic developed or the basic message
conveyed? How well are connectives and discourse markers used? How often is the flow of speech interrupted by pauses,
repetitions, self-corrections, hesitations, etc.? Are interactive strategies used naturally?
Lexical resource: How sufficient is the candidates vocabulary to convey the message or develop the topic? Any attempt to
paraphrase? How frequent are the errors in word choices? How flexible is vocabulary used? Any use of less common or idiomatic
vocabulary or collocations? How wide is the range of vocabulary resource utilised?
Grammatical range and accuracy: How successfully are the basic sentence forms produced? How frequent are the grammatical
errors and can they lead to misunderstanding? How flexibly can the candidate make use of a mix of simple and complex
sentences? How large is the range of structures used, and how naturally and appropriately? How frequent are error-free sentences
produced? Do some grammatical mistakes persist?
Pronunciation: To what extent is speech intelligible or generally understood throughout? How frequently do mispronunciations
occur and cause difficulty for the listener? How precisely, subtly and flexibly are the pronunciation features used?
Notice that each topic relates to a specific module assigned to a level. As a result, the vocabulary and language focuses required
to develop the topic are part of the expected testing points that teachers / examiners should elicit from candidates. Such an
alignment is not aimed at lowering the speaking standards or impose constraints on assessment. Instead, examiners / teachers in
charge have lots of leeway to encourage and evaluate students speaking performance.

Given the time constraint 3 to 5 minutes we suggest this is how a speaking session should proceed: candicates skip
greetings and introduction and come up with at least 3 prompts and go straight away to presenting his/her topic through
these prompts. The students presentation may be followed by 2 Q & A exchanges, as illustrated by the following:
Example topic
Name an achievement that you have done in your life.
Explain why it is important. (Level A, topic 11)

Suggested prompt
1 What is it?
2 What did you do to achieve this?
3 Why is it important?

1.How do you really spend your time (on sleep, work, leisure activities,
homework, chatting, etc.)? Are you happy with the way you use time?
How can you spend it better?
2.Talk about an important person in your life. Why is he/she important to
your life?
3.Talk about things in common and differences between two people (e.g.
your father and mother, you and another member of your family or a
friend of yours).

4.What do you first notice about people when you first meet: their voice,
their face and hair, their clothes or something else?
5.What do you remember most about your old school days?
6.Think back to your life when you were younger. What are the
differences and similarities between your life then and now?
7.What do you look for in a holiday destination? Have you been
anywhere that you think is a perfect place for holiday?
8.Compare your hometown now and at some point in the past. What
changes have taken place? Do you feel generally happy or unhappy
about these changes?
9.What are the positive characteristics that are important in almost any
job/role?
10. What characteristics do you most admire in others? What are
unimportant to you?

11. Between a successful career and a happy family life, which one is
more important to you?
12. Are there any jobs that men/women are naturally better suited to?
13. What do you think of the idea of people leaving stressful jobs in the
city to start a new life in the countryside?
14. Which newspapers and magazines do you read? Do you usually read
the serious news stories first, or do you turn to more light-hearted
articles?
15. How useful for you is what you read and see in the media? How can
we become critical readers or viewers?