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Table 2 Individual cognitive strategies used and usage patterns

From: Behind a spoken performance: test takers’ strategic reactions in a simulated part 3 of the IELTS speaking test

  Stimulated recall Usage patterns
1. Analyzing input When you say meetings, -- more than one, it’s not just one meeting or two meetings…why do people meet there… (Andy) - Used upon examining keywords from input question(s) to then plan content of response
2. Anticipating grade or examiner’s reaction/impression I want to use some good words not just ‘They are nervous’ to get a high score. (Dolly)
I gave you [the examiner] some personal experience so you can think ‘this candidate is not memorizing a whole sample’ (Faye)
- Mobilised when adjustments made post-monitoring or evaluating of performance
- Driven by goal to obtain higher score or impress the examiner
3. Linking previous knowledge/experience I remember my first class here… so I took as an example for answer. (Diane) - Triggered by input questions; language and content for response drawn from mental images of experience or knowledge
- Idea development hindered when topic knowledge is limited; tendency to then to make-up details
4. Making-up answer The example, I ask my friend but he is not willing to attend because sheer waste of my time… did not happen. (Harry) - Used when no relevant experience or knowledge comes to mind
- Combine reality and fictional facts to make up; examiner cannot detect truth or lie
5. Recalling To explain diplomatic, I could not find the word …like a good relationship between two countries. (Alice) - Used while producing utterances to express or clarify ideas
- Time-consuming lead to topic avoidance or reformulating the response
6. Summarizing thoughts verbally During a past skype meeting I was checking my facebook or on the mobile phone…. That’s why I said people are much more ‘present’ at face-to-face meetings. (Bill) - Used while speaking to control rush of ideas and to avoid lengthy, irrelevant explanation
7. Using first language I was thinking in Malay how to categorize them [meetings]…what comes to mind was company meeting…and with friends (Gina) - Used to understand meaning while listening to input questions or to locate synonyms while responding
- Applied when having difficulty explaining concepts in L2 (e.g. categorizing formal and informal meeting) or those learned in L1