Prepare for the GBC by predicting questions

Predicting questions is a great way to prepare for your GBC test.

We have a lot of experience here at The English Farm with the GBC assessment—I have personally helped hundreds of students prepare for it. So we know what categories and topics you're likely to encounter.

How to predict questions

Make a list of any questions you can think of about each of the categories below.

Start with easy questions and work out to more difficult ones. The goal is to find a question you can't answer right away. Then build your vocabulary and have ideas ready for those kinds of questions.

Most importantly, talk about them outside of lessons! You should be able to discuss the topics below in any situation, not just with the GBC assessor. 


1. Personal

The test nearly always begins with some questions about your own life. Topics often include your hometown, leisure time, travel, education and goals. These are simple questions, so it's easy to find the vocabulary you'll need to talk about them.

Be sure to give lots of specific, vivid details in these answers. When you talk about your life, make it as interesting as possible. 

2: Your work

These are also personal questions but specifically related to work. Make sure you know how to talk about your company, job, responsibilities and workplace.

A great way to practice is to give a short recap of your day at the start of your lesson. Talk about your tasks, your daily challenges and your goals at work. 

3: Your country

This category includes national politics, the economy, and the education system, as well as culture and history. One good way to prepare for this category is to read national news in English.

You can also check out Wikipedia articles for quick facts about your country. The box at the top of a Wikipedia entry gives you specific data to use for a strong answer—"Our population is declining" has much less impact than "In the past 5 years, our population has gone from 127 million to 126 million". 

4: Global issues

Frequent topics here are climate change, the effects of globalization, trade and geopolitics. Speaking tests will typically avoid topics that change on a daily basis, but you can mention the news in your answer.

To prepare, read and/or listen to English-language news. Some good resources are BBC World News, The Guardian, CNN, Al Jazeera and Reuters. Choose your favourite one. In good journalism, all the basic information can be found in the lead paragraph.

5: Abstract

Abstract questions can include almost anything! It's hard to predict and prepare for these.

A good place to find a variety of subjects is our Discussion topics. The last discussion question is usually abstract. Use these for homework—writing about something forces you to think deeply about it, and it helps you remember it, as well.

Your teachers are your best resource in preparing for the GBC, so attend lessons regularly to make good use of them. Write homework, and practice every day! Without this, you'll never be fully prepared for your test.