Oral Exam: Preparation Through Simulation

Exams are easy. We are looking forward to the exam date. In the exam we are relaxed. The days until we get the exam result fly by. Who would have thought I could lie so much in so few lines? The truth is: Most of the time we sit exhausted and tense in the exam. The oral exam in particular demands a lot from us. We have to learn a lot and then retrieve what we have learned as quickly and precisely as possible. How can we better prepare for this special exam situation?

Oral Exam – Preparation Through Better Memorization?

In contrast to the written exam, the oral exam has one major disadvantage: We lack cues and answer options. In written exams, our brain gets support in retrieving what it has learned. The questions are formulated in a targeted manner or may even contain information that indicates the solution. In some exam formats, solutions or partial solutions are already given to us. We read a word or phrase and remember where we’ve seen it before. We lack this visual recognition value in the oral exam! The subject matter is the same for both exams. We have to learn by heart for both the written and the oral exams. The difference is in the way we need to retrieve our knowledge. Let’s discuss some tips you might use. 

See The Big Picture!

One difficulty with oral exams: the questions are mixed up. They are not always sorted thematically or chronologically. This means for you: You have to make quick leaps of thought and constantly integrate your knowledge into the “big picture”. You can take that into account while learning! If you notice cross-connections between topics, i.e., the same keyword appears in two different lectures: Write this keyword on a list and memorize the associated topics! You do this for all your learning material. Then, in the evening, go through your list and recite the topics associated with each keyword. In this way, you make necessary mental leaps faster in the exam and do not mentally remain stuck on one topic.

By the way, if while preparing for the oral exam you also need to create an essay for another subject, you can cut corners by getting help from an essay writer for this. 

Anticipate Questions & Simulate The Exam!

I don’t know how you see it, but for me, an oral exam is always more uncertain than a written one. This is probably due to the many questions that could be asked. The course of the exam depends on many different factors that we can rarely influence. As a result, despite extensive preparation, we still feel a little insecure. How can we gain confidence in the oral exam?

You develop a routine for exam questions! Even before the oral exam takes place, you will ask yourself numerous questions about the exam material. This increases the likelihood of already knowing the questions from the examiner. This has two advantages: You retrieve the answers faster because the question acts as a trigger and you remember the answer you formulated while studying. You feel more competent and face the questions with more self-confidence.

This also applies to the oral foreign language test! Suppose we are talking about the English, French, and Spanish exam: In preparation, write down exam questions in the foreign language and answer them! A big plus for foreign language exams: you not only know the questions but have already practiced pronunciation and grammar while learning!

The Oral Exam Hack

  1. Form a study group! Ideally, there are four of you and you have already learned extensively.
  2. Each of you chooses a topic relevant to the exam and formulates exam questions about it. Everyone is now an expert on a different exam topic.
  3. For each exam question, the expert works out the answer and records it in note form.
  4. Now we continue in partner work: An expert becomes the examiner and asks the examinee his pre-formulated questions. Then you switch roles. Now the other expert asks the questions.
  5. Expand your list of questions if new questions arise. Evaluate the “examination interview” afterward.
  6. Switch partners until everyone have gone through all the exam questions.
  7. Final round: Sit in a circle and jump through all the questions on the different topics. Anyone can ask and answer!

Why Is This Hack Worth It?

  • Exam preparation is more fun.
  • You go into the exam with more confidence.
  • You answer exam questions faster and more precisely.
  • You prevent exam anxiety.
  • You successfully complete your oral exam.

You will see: practice makes perfect. At some point, you will be so practiced in spontaneous answers that you are no longer afraid of the questions!