English / Language Resources

CELSA Oral Exams (“concours”)

If you are reading this you may have received an invitation to come for interview, in which case congratulations.  The English oral exam should not fill you with fear.  With preparation, a few simple techniques, a smile and steady eye contact, you should do well.

Later we will give you some advice on how to prepare, but just for now, I thought I’d share some advice I gave someone yesterday.  The first thing to bear in mind is that, before being jury member and candidate, we are human. This is also a Communications school, so simple courtesy (in English) and a friendly manner will go a long way. If two candidates have a similar language level, but one  is cold and unsmiling while the other is charming, then shoulnd not be surprising that it is the latter who will be taken. So, a friendly “good morning/afternoon”, “thank you, goodbye” just open and close your time with the jury.

During your presentation, don’t forget to make eye contact with the jury members. And I say members: try not to focus all your attention on one of the jury, ignoring the other.

For your summary, don’t end with “that’s all” or “I’ve finished”, or “that’s all I understood” as it is too sudden and doesn’t prepare the jury for the end.  Use signpost language: “the interview ended with the journalist saying…”, “the report concluded by pointing out that”, “And finally.”  Structure is always appreciated.

Towards the end we often ask, “why do you want to come to CELSA?”  We are often told “because it is the best school.”  Flattery doesn’t always get you everywhere.  Think, rather, about what the school offers, what you want to learn, how it fits in with your future plans.  We want to know if bringing you to CELSA will be useful for both.  Coming to CELSA should not merely be seen as a branding exercise for your CV.

Keep watching this space.

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