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Improving Your Discourse Management (DM) Mark on Your Speaking Test

Discourse Management

What is it and how can you improve your score?

Discourse management refers to the ability to produce extended written and spoken texts, for example conversations.  Discourse management is one of the key components used in the assessment of spoken language in the PET, FCE and CAE tests at Inforum.

Sometimes simply referred to as ‘Fluency’, your Discourse Management score is assessed on your ability to produce good conversations which are relevant (on topic) and express your ideas in easy to follow but descriptive manner. Hesitation, repetition and using only short phrases and sentences are your enemy here.

So what can you do to improve?

  1. Understand your subject of conversation. Try to speak only about the given subject and do not digress or drift away onto another subject.
  2. Take your time. Gather your thoughts before you speak and don’t speak too quickly. Speaking at a comfortable pace will allow your mind to keep up with your speaking. Speaking too fast will just lead to hesitation and stress.
  3. Don’t repeat yourself. This refers to more than just repeating words, it also refers to repetitive structure. Using a variety of tenses, pronouns and synonyms as well other tools such as a mix active and passive sentences can add variety and impact to your speaking.
  4. Use cohesive devices to link your ideas and build interesting sentences rather than a series of short ideas. These might include;

Adding information:                 and / as well as / furthermore / in addition to

Sequencing information:         firstly / first of all / secondly / next / meanwhile / subsequently

Illustrating information:            for example / such as / for instance / in the case of

Comparing information:          as with / similarly / the same as / equally / likewise

Qualifying information:           but / however / although / unless / except / apart from / if

Contrasting information:         whereas / alternatively / unlike / on the other hand / however

Cause and effect:                   because / as a result of / consequently / therefore / due to

Summarise information:         in short / on the whole / overall / in brief / in other words

Emphasising information:       above all / especially / significantly / notably / indeed


So as you can see, just by using a few simple tools and doing a little practice, you can easily turn a less than impressive passage of speech and turn it into something special and more importantly, possibly achieve that higher score you desire.

Good luck.