The HKCEE oral English examination evaluates students' use of interviewing and answering techniques . Candidates will be required to discuss issues based on real situations they might encounter at work or even when they go on to do higher studies. The oral test is from May 31 to June 28. Students attempting both syllabus A and B in the English Language Examination are required to sit for the oral test. The two-part test counts for 18 per cent of the total marks for English. According to the Hong Kong Examinations Authority (HKEA), the primary emphasis of the test is effective communication with other candidates and examiners, not grammatical accuracy or perfect pronunciation. Students should be aware that what they convey should be clear and needs to associated with the situations they are given. Candidates are advised to speak up and show confidence so that examiners may take into account the clarity with which they express themselves. According to Lai Yuen-ling,an English teacher at Po Leung Kuk Lee Shing Pik College, most candidates score well in the four- minute role-playing task. Candidates ask the examiner a series of questions and note the answers. Then, candidates are asked by another examiner to report the information received. Students who manage to show they are really conducting an interview, rather that just asking questions mechanically, can make a good impression. Being at ease and asking questions in a natural way is the way to excel in this task. Candidates should improve their techniques in using verb forms, tenses, intonation and phrasing. The manner in which a candidate asks questions (what, why and how) should fit into the situation, and the structure needs to be grammatical. Practising simple introductions will help candidates in the role play. Candidates have to state their name, role, position, organisation and job purposes in a confident manner. The second part is a six-minute discussion. Candidates will be put in a group with three other students to discuss an assigned task which might relate to the role play. Try to be a good listener and pay attention to the others as you should interact with and respond to them, rather than just expressing your own ideas. If your opinions are irrelevant to the discussion, you will not receive good marks. Ms Lai said candidates should try to elaborate on their ideas or try to help others to develop their views further. Simply saying things such as 'I agree with you' or 'It's a good idea' without demanding to know the rationale for the views of other candidates does not amount to effective communication. 'Knowing how to clarify an idea is one aspect of group interaction,' Ms Lai said. Candidates do not have to rush through all the suggestions on the paper. They are only listed for reference. Ms Lai said as long as the discussion progressed in a meaningful way, candidates would not fail to talk about everything that had been suggested. According to the HKEA annual report last year, candidates' failure to speak in an audible manner was a problem noted by examiners. Note-taking skills are impor tant. Write down just the relevant points. In group interaction, most students have problems finding the right words to express their ideas, develop an argument or construct grammatical sentences. Some candidates are known to memorise problem-solving or discussion phrases and idioms. This does not help in real situations. Students must also be cautious not to monopolise the discussion. They should give others a chance to participate. If you do not agree with someone's opinions, politely guide the conversation and steer it back to the issue. Start practising as early as possible by taking part in English-speaking days, games or fund-raising activities with friends and teachers. Real interview experience will boost your confidence. Being able to distinguish between similarly-pronounced figures - such as 15 and 50, 16 and 60 - is also helpful. Improving pronunciation or vocabulary by revising past papers is crucial.