Do not give one word ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers. Instead, elaborate your answers when responding.
Don’t stop after saying something general. Remember the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why & how) to help you elaborate.
Carry on your conversation with the examiner until he/she asks you to stop. When you close your conversation, remember to go back to the topic in your conclusion (e.g. Singapore will be a more gracious society and a happier place in which to live if we are all kind to the elderly. After all, we will all grow old one day too!).
Imagine you are friends with the examiner and that you and the examiner are having a friendly conversation. Keep eye contact with the examiner throughout the session.
Do not lapse into Singlish, or non-standard English, during the conversation! Aim to speak as though you were writing. Sentences that are grammatically incorrect are not acceptable in the oral examination.
Formulate responses around an opinion (e.g. I think that littering is extremely irresponsible), then lengthen and spice up the conversation by giving a personal account or an example to support your opinion (e.g. I’ve witnessed so many people throwing their cigarette butts on the ground while rushing to board a bus).
However, it is important that points brought up are still relevant to the conversation topic. Don’t get carried away with your personal account and end up going on about irrelevant points.
Anticipate the examiner’s questions and prepare answers to these questions before being prompted. You can guess at the topic of the Stimulus-based Conversation after going through the Reading Aloud section as the two will share a common theme. By doing so, you will be less likely to be blindsided by a prompt that could take the conversation in a direction you are less prepared for.
Using fillers is one way to stall for time. One way to do this is to repeat the question stem at the start of the answer. For example, if the question was ‘Why do you think a healthy diet is important?’, you can begin your answer with ‘I think a healthy diet is important because…’. Don’t overuse fillers, though, as they can be distracting, make the conversation more tedious than it should be, or make you come across as hesitant or unsure.