I. Fluency and Coherence
Back in the 80s there was a song called ‘Words don’t come easy’.
Fluency is pretty much it. How easy is it for you to find your words? Does your speech flow like a river or is it intermittent like a lagged video game?
Coherence means you are easy to understand, logical. Can you go from A to B in a straight line or is more like a tangled line? If you want to get from the ground floor to the 4th floor you take either the stairs or the lift.
II. Lexical Resource
Ok, this sounds jiberish. What exactly does that mean?
Vocabulary! How rich is your vocabulary?
You won’t impress the examiner if you use basic words such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘important’, ‘really’, and ‘very’. Also, you won’t impress them either if you use really sophisticated words which you can barely pronounce but you make basic grammar mistakes. Consistency is key. Luckily enough, posh words are of Latin origin and we, Romanians, are even luckier because we speak a Latin language. Think of some synonyms for ‘important’. There are two words which have the same spelling as the ones in Romanian. They are ‘vital’ and ‘crucial’. And the list could go on and on.
III. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
Grammar seems to be the big bad wolf for many English learners, especially if it isn’t taught the right way.
If you’re aiming for Band 5 in Grammatical range and accuracy then using Present Simple, Past Simple, and Future with ‘will’ is enough.
From band 6 onwards there are two words which confuse the candidates: ‘complex structures’. The word ‘complex’ can be daunting. But no need to worry. It’s just a label. ‘Complex structure’ is the Romanian equivalent of ‘frază’ and the only way you can build one is by using linkers or connectives such as ‘however’, ‘because’, ‘although’ or ‘when’.
You must produce a minimum of 75% error-free sentences to get a band 7.
The way we pronounce words can sometimes confuse other people, especially if these words have the ‘th’ sound in them. It’s ok if you can’t pronounce it correctly, just make sure you don’t pronounce it as a ‘z’.
Also, if you have a little bit of accent it’s also alright as long as the examiner can understand you. Try to sound as natural as possible. Don’t focus on your mistakes.