Do you think academic education is more important than experience in the field?
“Um, I think they’re both important, but I’m not sure which one is the most essential. Obviously, academic qualifications provide basic knowledge which might be necessary to do a certain job. For example, a doctor definitely needs a medical degree. On the other hand, there is a difference between theory and practice and some things can only be learned by doing them.”
Tips: (1) Try to add some synonyms if you can. In this example, “medical degree” and “qualifications” are used as specific replacements for “academic education” in the question (2) Try to give specific examples for general statements. In this example, “a doctor” is used as an example of “a certain job” (3) Use transition words and phrases to organise your answer. In this example, “On the other hand…” is used to contrast “academic education” with “experience in the field” (4) Stress ‘strong’ words like “definitely” (5) If you don’t know which side is the “most important” just say what your opinion clearly (like in this example!)
2. What skills are required to start a small business?
“Setting up a small business can be risky, and so you need a broad range of abilities. One of the most important is being well-organised. You have to be able to keep track of your company’s revenue and expenses and find ways to save and make money at the same time. Having a calm temperament/Being able to keep calm is also important. If you get too stressed, you might make some bad decisions and your business might fail because of them.”
TIPS: (1) If you need a second to think about what “skills” to talk about (or any question where you need to give reasons, list ways, or give more than one example) start with a general sentence with something like “broad range” or “variety” (2) Make sure your main ideas are clear. In this example, the main ideas are “…being well-organised” and “Having a calm temperament…” (3) Use synonyms from the question. In this example, “setting up” is used instead of “to start” (it also uses a different grammatical structure!) (4) Try to add some topic-specific words. In this example, the topic is “business”, so words like “revenue” and “expenses” have been used (5) Make sure you explain your ideas. In this example, the speaker explains why “being well-organised” is important.
3. What are the risks of running your own business?
“Of course, the biggest danger is that you’ll go bankrupt. I think much more than half of all new businesses go out of business in the first six months. If you invest too much in your business you might be personally liable, which could mean you would lose your house. Another one is the fear of failure. Many people don’t even take the chance to start a business because they’re worried about failing and being embarrassed.”
TIPS: (1) Always use synonyms if you can. In this example, “danger” and “take the chance” are used instead of “risks” (2) Try to use some appropriate phrasal verbs. In this example, “go out of [business]” is used (3) Try to use some topic-specific words. In this example, “bankrupt”, “invest”, and “personally liable” are used (4) Always link different ideas. In this example, the second point is introduced casually with the phrase “Another one is…”