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TOPICS FOR A1-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 A1s
Modules 1-8 New Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate. The four assessment criteria, accorded equal weighting (25% each), are
Fluency 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.
2.
3.
4.

Your leisure activities.


What leisure activities are the most / least popular among young Vietnamese people nowadays?
Tell one first-time story of yours.
How is your view of beauty (associated with the way one dresses, looks, wears ones hair, etc.) different from your
parents?
5. Compare your lifestyle with the lifestyle of someone else (a member of your family / a friend of yours)
6. Describe a typical day of yours.
7. The rules of your class. (What you should and shouldnt do in class)
8. What is your dream job? Why is it what you wish to do? How can you prepare yourself to do it well?
9. How do you plan to improve your English next semester?
10. Where would you like / do you plan to go for your next holiday?
11. Name an achievement that you have done in your life. Explain why it is important.

12. What were your ambitions when you were younger? Were they realistic?
13. Talk about a celebration that exists in Vietnam(Birthday anniversary, New Year, Valentines day, Teachers day etc.)
14. Which place in Vietnam would you like to live in? Explain.
15. Your experiences of the first few months of college life. What/how are they? What have you learnt from them?