How to select a topic for GCSE English spoken language component

by Anita Naik

The GCSE English Skills component is now called spoken language. It's mandatory but does not count towards your GCSE grade. However, it's assessed separately at Distinction, Merit, Pass or Ungraded.

It's an individual talk of approximately 5 minutes, with questions and applicable in all exam boards.

For many students, this can be a daunting prospect, and five minutes can feel like a long period to fill even when you are speaking about a subject you are knowledgeable about.

The key requirements to think about are:

• Presentations must be formal but can take a wide variety of forms, including talks, debates, and speeches.

• Presentations must be planned and organised and agreed on in advance with your teacher.

• You can use pre-prepared notes, but this is not a requirement.

• After the presentation, you must answer questions about your talk.

Teachers are looking for you to demonstrate your presentation skills as well as listen and answer questions about your presentation.

While presenting can feel nerve-wracking there are ways you can prepare

1. Choose a subject that you feel comfortable with, and you are already knowledgeable about. This can be a: hobbies, a sport, politics, a book or author you love, football, your culture or religion. The environment, climate change, the news, and even a well-known person can also we a good choice.

2. Bear in mind your presentation is all about communicating information, so you need to think what angle are you going to take that will be of interest.

3. Structure your talk, so it brings up interesting ideas and engages your audience. For example, if you're going to talk about a hobby don't just talk about why you like it, say what it means to you, how it's maybe changed your life, and why you feel it's popular.

4. For ideas watch other talks by teens on YouTube and TedTalks

5. These can help to give you ideas of how to make your short presentation interesting.

6. Practice with family and friends or if you feel shy record yourself on your phone and watch yourself back to improve your technique.

7. If nerves get the better of you breathe and admit to feeling nervous. Your teacher isn't going to mark you down on this.

8. Finally, don't build it up to be bigger than it is. It's five minutes, and though you are marked on it, it doesn't count towards your final GCSE English grade.