Hacking your Oral Exam - Useful Tips

Tips & Tricks

  • Come 30 mins before the exam. You might get a few more minutes to prepare (normally 20mins prep time)
  • Take notes. Real notes. Notes consist of single words or three word phrases. Never write full sentences.
  • Take the notes in English. All you need is a trigger in the exam.
  • Make sure to memorize the structure of your presentation (Goethe exams only but also partly useful for TELC exams).
  • Make sure to communicate with your exam partner. Do not hold monologues (except maybe in the self-introduction at the beginning but that will be clear by the instruction of the examiner.
  • Dealing with difficult exam partners:
    • Learn standard phrases like:
      • Es tut mir leid, aber ich verstehe Dich (immer noch) nicht. or
      • Kannst du bitter langsamer sprechen?
  • If your partner is weaker / stronger than you lead / let them lead. Social interaction stands in high regard with examiners.
  • Ignore the examiners (unless they are your exam partners, which usually doesn't happen in TELC or Goethe exams).
  • Drink a tiny portion of Schnaps (non-smelly alcohol) and drink it just before the examination room. A bit or orange juice makes it taste nicer. Don't do this if you are a (former) alcoholic or have any other serious issue with alcohol. Alcohol is a remedy in this case.
  • Practice your oral exam (naked) in front of a mirror. Get used to feeling vulnerable. This might do it. Make sure there's no one around you don't want to be around.