Red Balloons, London T-Shirts and Open Doors: The Experiences of an Oral Examiner

“Look at the following pictures. I would like you to describe them for me please,” I asked as I handed the candidate the photos. As he spoke, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would have said if our positions were reversed. Some pictures are so vague, I actually feel sorry for the test takers. How long and to what extent can you describe a red balloon? The student had already started trembling as I urged him to continue with his description, so as to meet the time restrictions imposed by the university. To his merit, he did quite well as he expanded the description to how the image made him feel.

By Katherine Reilly, Author, Teacher Trainer

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