Spanish Oral (anxiety) Watch

rellamy
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In about a month, I have my Spanish oral mock (the topic is holidays). However, I really have no idea how to talk for a minute (our assigned time) about my photo. I know some people have to talk for more than three minutes about theirs, which I suppose I should feel relieved about... It doesn't help that I have a crippling anxety disorder.

So I have two questions, any input is very much appreciated:

- how should I best go about talking about the photo for a continuous minute?

and

- does anybody have any tips for calming anxiety in these situations? (what usually helps me is listening to white noise, but, obviously, I can't do that in the exam)

thanks
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naniolkiewicz
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1. Just try to describe what the photo relates to - Christmas, happiness, families coming together and just overall say what Christmas is all about and what does a Christmas tree signify

2. try doing mindfulness before the exam, this takes practise but once you get into the habit you will be able to control your anxiety anywhere at any time, trust me - been there, done that and it works.
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MattWhitelock
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I managed to scrape an A in my mock, and got 13/15 for the photo part specifically. This was a massive improvement from the previous mock, when I got an E.

The main thing I would recommend to improve is to just learn little phrases that you can say, and keep practicing putting them together to form coherent sentences. Ask your teacher if she does any practice session where you can get 1 on 1 speaking practice. Learn phrases to make you seem more fluent, eg if you want them to repeat the question, instead of asking in English say "Puedes repetir la pregunata, por favor", meaning "Can you repeat the question, please". Just find little things like this that you can add, I think adding things like that to my speaking got me a fair few extra marks for fluency. As well as that, make sure you get the correct verb endings, conjugations, masculine/feminine, etc, main thing is to practice doing what you will do in the exam, so that you are prepared, similar to doing past papers for maths or science. Another example of a thing that you can add to your speaking, is if the photo is in black and white, say "La foto es en negro y blanco, con no otros colores", meaning "The photo is in black and white, with no other colours".
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Livxdx
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What was the picture choice you were given?
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Lelanor
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If you're being asked questions after talking about the picture, make sure you listen to the questions!

It sounds obvious but in my first (real) Spanish oral exam, I had to ask my teacher to repeat most of the questions once because I was nervous and was so relieved that I'd manage to answer one question, I didn't listen properly to the next.

The minute will probably pass quicker than you think it will when you decide what you want to say. If one minute is a strict time limit, make sure what you say has a strong sentence at the beginning. Try to make every sentence count for marks, but if you need to add lower level sentences just to add length, put them right at the end. Make sure that everything you want to say fits into a minute and prepare an extra couple of sentences to say if you end up speaking too quickly and finishing too early. If it isn't a very strict time limit, still start with a strong sentence that you will be able to remember well. Generally, slow and steady will let your teacher understand you and give you time to think.

Before oral exams, I try to get into a Spanish 'mode', reminding myself of key vocabulary. (Once I got too far into this and started attempting [and failing] to translate all my thoughts into Spanish...)

If the person who is going to be assessing you for your mock exam is your spanish teacher, try to spend the next month becoming more comfortable talking to them by answering questions in lessons as often as you can, or by going to any practice available. The mock exam itself will also help you feel more comfortable talking to the person you have to talk to in preparation for a real exam.

Finally, remember that, in general, teachers are understanding of exam nerves, and while an anxiety disorder is more intense, they have probably seen other very nervous and anxious students.

Good luck in your mock!
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MattWhitelock
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(Original post by Livxdx)
What was the picture choice you were given?
Picture 1 was a photo of a woman on a snowy hill with a dog, and picture 2 was a couple walking in a shopping center. Both were black and white. I picked picture 2, because it didn't seem like I'd be able to say much about picture 1.
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blamethenargles
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(Original post by rellamy)
In about a month, I have my Spanish oral mock (the topic is holidays). However, I really have no idea how to talk for a minute (our assigned time) about my photo. I know some people have to talk for more than three minutes about theirs, which I suppose I should feel relieved about... It doesn't help that I have a crippling anxety disorder.

So I have two questions, any input is very much appreciated:

- how should I best go about talking about the photo for a continuous minute?

and

- does anybody have any tips for calming anxiety in these situations? (what usually helps me is listening to white noise, but, obviously, I can't do that in the exam)

thanks
Orals are the worst if you have anxiety, because they're the most unpredictable! Please make sure you tell your teachers before the exam and get the support in place that you need, if you haven't already. Calming wise, I usually make sure I'm in first to get it over and done with, and spend time alone in a separate room before I'm called in. In the exam, be conscious of your breathing, and if you need to pause, or stop, don't be afraid to do so, because the examiners are there to help you do your best!
Regarding the photo, since you know about the topic, learn as much holiday related vocabulary as you can! If you learn sentences it could sound unnatural and rushed. Practice with past papers if you can, and keep on top of grammar revision so you can say what you want accurately.
I hope this helps, and good luck!
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Aimez
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I have real bad anxiety to. I literally don't talk in class if I am not regarded to.

Speak to your teacher! I'm sure he/ she will be understanding. Your head of year or form tutor:s are exactly there for that reason!

Is this spontaneous or do you plan and memorise paragraphs?
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Imma Simma
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I'd suggest doing as much speaking in Spanish prior to the exam and just trying to describe everyday objects with friends who also speak Spanish. Rather than trying to memorise anything, just remember quotes that are easily adapted e.g. "There appears to be", "on the left".
Good luck with your exam!
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