The English Language Oral Test is a daunting prospect for some students, but who better to help them prepare for it than exam chief Rex King. The latest in his series of talks about exams will be broadcast on RTHK Radio 4, at 6.30 pm today. Mr King, Deputy Secretary at the Hong Kong Examination Authority, answers three teenagers' questions about how to make the best impression in the role-play and discussion sections of the test. He tells students the most important things to remember about the role-play, whether or not the exam room will be air-conditioned, and if they can use a pencil to fill in forms. Other questions include: Can candidates ask for a question or answer to be repeated? Have there been any changes to the exams this year? Is it a good idea to change the order of the questions or ask extra questions? And should candidates answer in complete sentences? Students also quiz him over whether the discussion part of the test is really fair, and whether or not they should start the discussion. Mr King stresses that candidates must make a special effort to speak loudly and clearly so their work can be heard and judged by the examiner. It is also important to try to play the role convincingly. 'Imagine you are actually doing that and make it real. If you can identify well with the role, then what you are doing will sound convincing and that will impress the examiner,' he says. Students need have no fear about asking for answers or questions to be repeated occasionally, but have to avoid getting stuck on one difficult point and failing to move on, he says. The role-play this year will be cut from five to four minutes, but the discussion is longer - six minutes - to ensure all four students in the group have their say. Mr King says there are rules to stop one candidate from dominating. As well as looking at language skills, like pronunciation, examiners want to see how students react in a group, whether they listen to what other people say, know how to interrupt politely and can make their own points sensibly. Amazingly, up to 3,000 students simply forget to turn up for the Oral Test every year and have to pay a fee to have their exam rescheduled, Mr King reveals. In his next talk, Mr King will discuss how the Oral Test is marked and give two examples of simple, fun ways students can improve their spoken English.