How to do a great explanation for an oral exam

explanation for an oral examHave you ever had problems structuring your arguments?

Well I know many of my students have had this exact problem, so this post is about creating a great explanation.

Let’s dive into it.

Parts of your explanation

The best explanations have structure. They are the best because they are easy to follow and develop their points well.

Here is how I structure an explanation every time. I use the same method, so I don’t have to think about how to structure my argument

Also, it reduces the amount of time that I think about how to explain something and allows me to focus solely on what I am going to say.


  • Restate the question.
  • Make a statement from the question
  • Outline your points that you’re going to talk about.
  • Transition into body.


  • Transition from introduction.
  • State my first point.
  • Explain my first point using what, why and how.
  • Transition into my second point
  • Explain my second point using what, why and how.
  • Transition into my third point.
  • Explain my third point using what, why and how.
  • Transition to conclusion.


  • State your points and bring it back to your main question.

What does this sound like?

Here is a video for you to watch.


I know for some people this seems easy, but for many it’s not.

Knowing how to create an explanation is only part of it. The other part is being able to do it. If you can’t put what you learn into action, then it is useless.

Things to avoid

  • Long pauses. A short pause is acceptable, but a long pause indicates you probably don’t know what you want to say or how to say it.
  • Filler words. Try to avoid words like “um” and “uh” they don’t add to your argument. This is very hard to do, but if you can reduce them, your explanation will become clearer.
  • Not pronouncing your “s.” This is something that many French people have problems. Make sure you pronounce the endings of words.

Final thoughts

If you use the same set up every time, you won’t have to think about it when you do an explanation.

Published by

Iain Robson

A teacher, a learner, and all round nice guy. I love talking to people through social media, and in real life. Feel free to connect with me on twitter