A Daily Exercise

Here is a small exercise that will help you develop your reading, speaking and writing skills all at the same time. Take any good English newspaper, pick out a news article of about 150 words and set a timer/alarm for 20 minutes. First read the article carefully, underlining the key details and unfamiliar words you come across. Take 30 seconds to collect your thoughts and write out a few quick sentences to summarise what you learned from your reading. Now spend two minutes on thinking about the event, incident or person described in the article in your opinion.

 Switch on your voice recorder and speak about it for 30 seconds. This whole exercise should not take more than seven to ten minutes. In the remaining time, you will analyse your responses. First make a list of the unfamiliar words you have underlined. Next, read your summary to see if you got the important information through “the WHs”—who, what, when, where, why and how. Finally, listen to your voice recording and make a note of problems in structure, pronunciation and clarity.

 Over time, you should move on to more complex texts such as short editorials in international English magazines, or technical encyclopaedia entries.

This is a short daily exercise that can be done at any time of the day, as long as you concentrate for the duration of the exercise. This small investment of 20 minutes every day will produce great results by the end of your preparation.