How to do a great explanation for an oral exam

explanation for an oral examHave you ever had problems structuring your arguments?

Well I know many of my students have had this exact problem, so this post is about creating a great explanation.

Let’s dive into it.

Parts of your explanation

The best explanations have structure. They are the best because they are easy to follow and develop their points well.

Here is how I structure an explanation every time. I use the same method, so I don’t have to think about how to structure my argument

Also, it reduces the amount of time that I think and allows me to focus solely on my explanation.


  • Restate the question.
  • Make a statement from the question
  • Outline your points that you’re going to talk about.
  • Transition into body.


  • Transition from introduction.
  • State my first point.
  • Explain my first point using what, why and how.
  • Transition into my second point
  • Explain my second point using what, why and how.
  • Transition into my third point.
  • Explain my third point using what, why and how.
  • Transition to conclusion.


  • State your points and bring it back to your main question.

What does this sound like?

Here is a video for you to watch.


I know for some people this seems easy, but for many it’s not.

Knowing how to create an explanation is only part of it. The other part is being able to do it. If you can’t put what you learn into action, then it is useless.

Things to avoid

  • Long pauses. A short pause is acceptable, but a long pause indicates you probably don’t know what you want to say or how to say it.
  • Filler words. Try to avoid words like “um” and “uh” they don’t add to your argument. This is very hard to do, but if you can reduce them, your explanation will become clearer.
  • Not pronouncing your “s.” This is something that many French people have problems. Make sure you pronounce the endings of words.

Final thoughts

If you use the same set up every time, you won’t have to think about it when you do an explanation.

How to prepare for the PSC language exam (SLE test)

how to prepare for the els language exam pscHow to prepare for the PSC language exam is largely dependent upon what you already know. The more you already know, the easier it is.

However, you need some guidance to help you.

In this post I will point out some resources for you to prepare for your PSC language exam.

Oral exam

Remember when you’re doing the oral exam you need to explain what, why and how. The how part isn’t necessarily the most important, but what and why are. So focus on what and why.

The better you can use things like good transition words and conditionals, the more likely you are to be seen as a competent English speaker. That means you’re more likely to get a C.

Here is a list of PSC language oral exam resources for you:

Writing exam

Remember when you doing the writing exam that they will try to trick you by putting words in English that are a direct translation from French.

So it is important to know the difference between, what is right in French and what is right in English.

Here is a list of ps language written exam resources for you:


Final thoughts on how to prepare for the PSC language exam

I hope you found this post helpful, and it gives you an idea how to prepare for the PSC language exam.

If you found this post helpful, share with somebody who has a PSC language exam coming up.

Good transition words to use

good transition wordsSometimes good transition words are hard to come by. Many people stumble when using transition words, and how to use them. In this post I’ll give you some good transition words you can use in an oral conversation.

I’ve created this chart for you to help you see how you can use the transition words.

Good transition words chart

Good transition words
Chronology or steps To begin,first,second,third,next,after that,afterwards,then,finally, as soon as, before,after, whenever, when,until
further information In addition,as well,moreover,furthermore,what’s more,also,in addition to,as well as

Giving examples For example, for instance, to illustrate, specifically, as soon as you can see, as can be observed, such as

Contrast of ideas In contrast, however, yet, nevertheless, nonetheless, on the other hand, on the contrary, although, even though, though, while, whereas

Similar ideas Likewise, similarly

cause, purpose or result As a result, consequently, that is why, therefore, thus, hence, because, since, as, so that, in order to

Emphasis Clearly, obviously, in fact, indeed, certainly, undoubtedly, definitely

Explanation In brief, that is, to reiterate, in other words

conclusion To conclude, in conclusion, to sum up, in short

Transition word video

Here is a quick video showing how to use transition words.

If you can’t see the video, click here.

Final thoughts

I hope this list of transition words helps you with your oral conversation. If you want to know what are transition words check out my other post.

Good transition words are great for oral exams. They can help show how good you can use English. Also, they help you lead your listener through your arguments or reasoning.

If you are doing the PSC language exam, transition words will help you when you’re doing the oral tests. As I mentioned, transition words help you develop your ideas in an easy-to-understand way.

You can also use transition words when you write, and that will increase the level of your writing. Just make sure to use them correctly.

What transition words do you use? Leave a comment.