Boost your speaking test score by being more likeable

Be likeable!

All person-administered tests are vulnerable to examiner bias, but don't worry—if you are likable, then it can work in your favor. One study showed that even with a rigorous, standardised, and well-known test, examiners scored likeable, warm people much higher than average.

On top of that, the G.B.C. test makes an effort to measure intangibles like nervousness and enthusiasm—that means you need to pay attention to not only what you say, but also the way you act.

Working on your test-taking persona and considering your likeability could improve your overall score

One successful strategy is to create a test-taking character who is as animated, enthusiastic, and immediately likable as possible. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Be positive. Positive people are generally believed to be more likeable than negative people. One way someone can seem more positive in a speaking test is by ending answers on a positive note. Even if you have a negative opinion, you might say, "to wrap up, I think the economy is in trouble. The Japanese birth rate is too low, and the Olympic boost is short-term. But I hope I'm wrong!" 
  • Demonstrate empathyPeople tend to like you more when you are understanding about what they’re going through. Examiners test people all day which can be repetitive, and dare I say it, boring. Try starting with an empathetic remark like, "how are you holding up?" or "it must be exhausting to administer so many G.B.C. tests!"
  • Have a sense of humour. It’s simple; funny people are likeable people. Although being funny in a different language can be challenging, it not only shows a strong grasp of English, but also shows that you're the type of person who can approach situations in a variety of ways. ​.

There are many ways to be likable, and of course, nothing is going to improve your score as much as improving your language skills. However, showing empathy, humour and positivity towards your examiner could give you the edge over other individuals, so why not give it a go

examiner bias [noun]—unconscious treatment (either positive or negative), in this case, by an examiner.
intangibles [noun]—things that cannot be easily measured.
rigorous [adjective]—extremely thorough and careful.
to give you the edge [idiom]—give you an advantage.
to give it a go [idiom]—try it.