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Table 3 Individual communication 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. Abandoning the message I did not know how to say it because I do not have the information…So I could not include it. (Alice) - Applied when thoughts are irrelevant to question
- Also when ideas or words inaccessible while speaking
2. Asking examiner’s help I wasn’t clear about the question so I ask to repeat. (Don) - Used when input question or expressions not understood, heard clearly or as time-buying measure when mind is drawing blank
3. Elaborating I was trying to say something about my neighbour… to talk for a longer period. (Diane) - Applied to keep response fluid, meet speaking test requirements or clarify a message
- Often resort to personal experiences or aspects not covered earlier
4. Pausing/slowing down I spent time thinking about other meetings. At first, I did not think of… (Holly) - Used to generate ideas, formulate speech or filter through a string of thoughts
5. Reformulating output I was trying to structure the sentence -- a thought came and I was thinking how to express that also. So I started with ‘sort of’ and changed. (Bill) - Used when a different idea had presented itself or useful language was inaccessible while responding