Mai Duyên - powered by Happy Scribe

Good afternoon.My name is Eli.

Can you please tell me your name?

Good afternoon.

My name is Mai Duyên.

Okay. And what should I call you?

You can call me Duyên.


Okay.Duyên in this

first part, I'm going to ask yousome questions about yourself.

Let's first of all talk about

what you do.Do you work or study?

Currently, I am the last year university studentin a foreign trade university in Vietnam.

What subject are you studying?

I'm majoring in international business.

Have you been studying thissubject for a long time?

I've been studying this for four years.

At first, I was quite torn betweenEnglish language and international

business but I just wanted to trysomething new apart from English,

which is something I have spent a lot oftime learning when I was in high school.

But actually right now I realisedit was not really a right fit for me.

Why not?

Because right now, I put much more effort

on learning English and practise speakingand writing English much more than

my major.

And I know I just feel like Ihave a soft spot for languages.

And what do you like most aboutthe subject you are studying.

In terms of theoretical aspect,

actually I didn't focus much on my studiesat university because

maybe because of the old fashionedteaching methods of my teachers.

But actually I learneda lot from my friends.

They were very dynamic and I learned

from the way they speak and they talk infront of people and all the soft skills.

Let's move on.Let's talk about shopping centres.

Do you often go to shopping centres?

Right now I tend to do shopping onlinebecause of the COVID 19 definitely.

But normally I don't go to shoppingmalls or shopping centre because

it's too expensive for students like me.

When did you last go to a shopping centre?

Well, it's really hard to say because

actually we're not right now.

We were on lockdown for several monthsand we were forced- encouraged -to stay indoors.

So the last time may be when I visited

a local street market near my apartmentlike to buy some fruit and vegetables.

Do you prefer large orsmall shopping centres?

Well, it depends on my purpose.

If I just want to go window shopping

with my friends or meeting up with them,maybe I prefer to go to big shopping malls.

I just want to see all the luxuriousitems or fashionable shoes.

But if I

tend to save up money for for a rainy day.

So I tend to buy in some local markets or some small shopping centres.

Why do you think some people don'tlike going to shopping centres?

Personally I think there are some people

who like to bargain-like in some street markets you can talk

to the shop owners and you canbargain and you do the talking.

But there's maybe some people

they tend to be quite sceptical aboutthe products on some big

shopping centres because they don'tknow exactly where they come from.

Let's talk about mornings. Do you find iteasy to get up out of bed in the morning?

To be perfectly honest with you,

I'm a night owl, so I find it reallychallenging to grab myself out of bed

in the morning, early in the morning.

So I tend to have a lie inuntil the noon or afternoon.

Then I spend a lot of time workingand studying till the early hours.

Okay.Now in this next part I'm going to give

you a topic and I'd like you to talkabout it for one to two minutes.

Before you talk,you'll have 1 minute to think about what

you're going to say and you canmake some notes if you wish.

Do you understand?

Yes, I understand.

Okay, so here's yourtopic. Can you see that?

Yes, I see that.Great.

Okay, so you'll have 1 minute to prepare.

All right.

Remember, you have one to two minutesfor this, so don't worry if I stop you.

I'll tell you when the time is up.

Can you start speaking now, please?

Let me take you back to when I wasin the sophomore year in university.

Actually it was at the end of the final

exam in my university and actuallyI'm a chronic procrastinator,

so I tend to delay everythinguntil the deadlines are looming.

And at that time, it's also the time of thebirthday of one of my closest friends.

And because

I was too busy with our deadlines,

I stayed up really lateand I'm too tired with all my work.

And then her birthday slipped my mind.

And I remember on that day when I wasbrushing my teeth in the bathroom and I

saw the calendar and realisedit was her birthday.

And I just feel like at that timeI lost track of time

and right at the momentI called...

She didn't receive the call.

And I suppose that she tried to ignore me

because of my mistake and I triedto find something to make up for her.


on the next day, I decided to invite her

to one of my favourite cafe, which waslike a stones throw from my university.


actually I pretended that Ididn't remember her birthday.

But then when she went there,

I just gave her a surprise party and my

apology and fortunately she forgave me.

Thank you. And did she forgive you?

Yes, of course.

Okay, wonderful.

Now we'll move on to part three.

And in this part, I'm going to ask you some

more general questionsrelated to your topic.

So let's first of alldiscuss arriving on time.

So you're living in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, is it importantto arrive on time?

Yes, in some special cases,punctuality is very important, like some

interviews or some important exams because

I think you want to come across asa profession and confident and punctual

person, and for some importantexams, you have to be on time or

otherwise you will receive a zero score.

And so what can people do to makesure that they arrive on time?

I think as a general rule, they tend

to take notes on computers, on phones.Like myself, I use both of them

and I think time is also something

that they really should focus on,like they should set the alarm for,

especially in times when theywere too busy or too tired.

Why do you think somepeople always arrive late?

I suppose it's just one of the habits,

like it comes from small things in yourlife when you don't achieve all the small

tasks and it has a ripple effecton everything you do in your life.

Let's move on.Let's talk about the fear of missing out.

So some people call this FOMO.

Have you heard of that?

Some people think that social media can

make our fear of missing outmore acute, so we feel it more.

Do you think that's true?

I think it's true nowadays,especially for youngsters,

because every day we are bombardedwith a lot of information

and I think this is one of the mainreasons why it pushes us to reach for our

phone every time when we are free,we don't do everything and all the instant

gratification, justattracts you to social media.

And when you want to focus on something, but there's a lot of

popping up of the notifications on your screensand you tend to check and check it.

And after 1 hour, even when there are no

notifications, like your brain can createa habit and you try to interrupt you

by actively check your phoneand scroll through your social media.

And do you think the things that we seeon social media increase our fear

of missing out on special eventsor holidays- for example?

Can you repeat the question?

Yeah, of course.

Do you think that the things that we see

on social media can increaseour fear of missing out?

So for example,

sometimes when I go on Instagram I seephotos of my friends on holiday

and that makes me feel like Ishould go on holiday as well.

Do you think that the things that we see

on social media canincrease our fear of missing out?

I think one of the disadvantages of using

social media is you can compare yourselvesto others so you want to copy

the lifestyles, you wantto have what they have.

If you have a friend,they go on a holiday, they post some

fascinating pictures and things like that.

You can think that you shoulddo that or you are left behind.

So what can we do to reducethat fear of missing out?

I think that we should decidewhich is our priority,

why we use social media to catch up

with our friends, to knowwhat they've been up to.

Not in a way like you judge theirlives and judge our lives also.

And I think deciding what is importantto you and your focus right now is very

important even much more important todecide what's not important to you not

right now is more important than decidingwhat is important to you right now.

Thank you very much.That is the end of the speaking test.

So, how did you feel?

I feel nervous.

You didn't seem very nervous.

No, actually, my heartbeats so fast right now.

Right? Oh, interesting.Yeah.

But fortunately I don't stutterduring this speaking test because

I stutter whenever I feel too nervous.

But actually, practisingspeaking IELTS helps me a lot.

It has improved a lotfor the last two years.


So it's kind of like, when you find

yourself getting very nervous youstart to repeat the words very quickly.

Is that what happens?Yes.

But right now, I think because I put

myself in stressful situations a lot.

So I think I guess we are more familiarwith it and I control it more.

Yeah.People often say "practise makes perfect".

So because you're constantly in these

difficult stressful situations, you becomebetter able to deal with the stress.

Yes, absolutely.

I think the real IELTS testis much more stressful

because the examiner and I don'thave time to break the ice.

We just addressed goneright into the test.

Yeah.It was quite nice that we got to speak

a little bit before westarted recording this test.

Great.So you did very well.

It was a really nice test.

And I'm incredibly impressedwith your vocabulary, especially

lots of very impressive idiomaticvocabulary, which is great.

And what we'll do is, in a second, we'llgo through a lot of that vocabulary.

You spoke very naturally.

You did very well to answer a lot

of the questions, includingthe tricky questions in part three.

And your vocabulary was wonderful.


when you're speaking and this is probablythe lowest of your scores,

it would be for pronunciationand particularly sentence stress.

And I think this sometimes happens when

you're trying to focus on usingparticular vocabulary.

So you were talking about your- in parttwo- you're talking about your friend's

birthday, and you wanted to say howthe birthday slipped your mind.

And because you were kind of so focusedon using that phrase- "it slipped my mind"-

you didn't put

the right amount of emphasison the fact that it slipped your mind.

Instead, you put emphasis on the factthat you wanted to use that vocabulary.

So if I was telling a story, for example,

where I forgot my friend's birthday,I would want some sort of pause or

element to emphasise that that was the important part of the story.

But instead, what you did is you kind ofwent through it in roughly the same tone.

So if I was talking aboutmissing my friend's birthday,

I would say something like,"and then I looked at my calendar,

and that's when I realised I hadforgotten my friend's birthday".

And you lean in a little bit,whereas what you did is more like: "and then

I looked at the calendar and I realisedit had totally slipped my mind".

And so there was like a slight kind

of distortion, because what youwere saying was very dramatic.

But the way you were sayingit was quite kind of flat.

I think that would be somethingto work on in the future

is being quite expressive

and understanding that when you usedramatic vocabulary, or when you're saying

something dramatic like you've missed your friend's birthday

then try and emphasise it with your voice.

Does that make sense?


I think it's still one of the things

that I need to improve: the intonation,the way I stress the sentence,

because actually I realised I will be morecomfortable when I use common words.

But when I try to use more complexlexical resource, I tend to be too jumpy

And I forgot the tone and the emotionsrelated to the sentence.

Yeah, that's quite common when people are

focusing on using specific wordsrather than conveying their idea.

Now, you use so much idiomatic vocabulary.

Like it's like

you use more idioms and more idiomatic

vocabulary than I would expecta native speaker to use

with the same questions.

And that's a good thing and a bad thing.

The good thing is it's amazingthat you know all of this vocabulary.

Like when you were talking about the deadline-you were talking about your work-

so I think a native speaker would probablyjust say: "and I had this huge deadline

that I had to work towards" and you wereable to use this idiomatic vocabulary:

"and I knew that the deadline was looming",

"a looming deadline",which is very impressive,

but sometimes maybe it doesn't fullycommunicate what your message is.

So I would focus a bit more on

communication and a little less ontrying to use idiomatic vocabulary because

you already have an absolutelyamazing variety of vocabulary.

And let's actually go through some of that.

So in part one,I love the phrases "torn between".

You said you were "torn betweenEnglish and business management".

Lovely to say "I was torn between thesetwo subjects"- very nice.

Again, you said that "you're notthe right fit for the subject you study".

So "to be or not to be the right fit",- very nice.

"To put effort", you had a "soft spot for English".

You mentioned "old fashionedteaching methods".

I liked it when I asked you about

the shopping centres and youparaphrase that to "shopping malls".

Sorry, you use a synonym,so that shows high level vocabulary.

I really like this sentence where you said

"forced" and then you corrected yourselfto "encouraged to stay indoors".

That was a really

impressive use of English,because what you did there is you took

a passive sentence and using both the word"forced" and "encouraged" is correct

in that sentence, you can say "forced tostay indoors", "encouraged to stay indoors".

And what you did is you self corrected sothat you could convey your idea better.

So you started by saying "wewere forced to stay indoors".

And then you thought, okay, wait a second,we weren't "forced" to stay indoors.

We were "encouraged" to stay indoors.

And just noticing,

the slight distinction betweenbeing "forced to do something"

and "encouraged to dosomething" is very impressive.

So as soon as I heard that, I thought,

wow, this is a veryimpressive speaking test.

I really like things like"it depends on the purpose".

So I was asking you about

shopping centres, and I like that yousaid "it depends on the purpose".

Sometimes I like to go shopping,

especially to shoppingmalls for "window shopping".

And again,

very impressive vocabulary,but it almost felt like you were

guiding your answer to usethe phrase "window shopping".

Does that make sense?

Is that true?A little bit.

A little bit.I think so.


Yeah, that was just likemy kind of feeling.

But, like, at some point,

I was kind of aware that I felt that youhad phrases that you wanted to use.

So, okay, if I talk about shoppingcentres, I'm going to use "window shopping"

rather than really conveyingyour experience of shopping centres.

That would be a little bit of advice

for you is try not to focus too muchon using particular words and focus a bit

more on trying to communicatehow you really feel.

And then the big words will come

naturally, and as a result,you'll use them in the context

that's right for you.

I think I'm too focused on like,this is a test; not a conversation.

So I feel like I... try to...

I don't know almost createan alter ego or something.



I mean, sometimes kind of creatingan alter ego can be a good thing.

Like, for example,

the way that you can relax if you saythat sometimes you feel nervous,

if you create an alter ego,then sometimes that alter ego is more

relaxed than you are,and you can kind of go like, okay,

my alter ego, you go and do this test,and I'll just sit back and watch.

Yeah.But I think

actually, from what you have said,

I realised that the exact problemthat I need to improve right now.

for my speaking

I'm too focused on, like,I have to use big words.

And if I come up with a big voice and thenI feel like I feel really happy

and I can't convey the exactmeaning of what I said.

I think that's the problem.

So what you just did there was perfect.

That short speech therewas really really nice...

Because that was very real.

Did you see that?

And you used all of this lovely vocabulary

used "convey", "come up with",and the examiners will notice that.

But what the difference wasis that was "real speech".

You were doing your best to communicate

that idea, and I could feel that,and the examiner will feel that as well.

So that was wonderful.

I think what you just did there,that's the alter ego that you need.


I'm here, and I wantto communicate to you.

I want to tell you my thoughts,my beliefs, my experiences,

and that's what you just did perfectlyin that little speech.

Yeah.I think so.

I think I take maybe a little bitfalse approach to my speaking.

Like I need to boost- of course-

my vocabulary but I need to improvemy feelings and my emotions what I really

feel with that sentenceand speak from my heart.

And when you do that for you,that's what's going to help you get into

the 7.5, the 8 and the 8.5 and maybeeven band 9 as well because you've got

a very high level of grammar,you speak very accurately,

you've got a very high levelof vocabulary and the next step is to use

all of that to convey yourideas and your beliefs.

So how do you feel after havingdone this speaking test?

Actually I always feel after

some speaking test- even mock test I

always feel that I just wonder why I wasso stressed out to to pressure myself

to think of all the big wordsand everything like fancy big words.

But actually I think that I have a lotto say from my heart about the questions

so I think I need time topractise more about

learn to speaking fromwhat I truly think rather than

too much emphasis on vocabularyand grammar and things like that.

One thing I'd like to ask you is about how

you deal with being nervous because I knowa lot of people also feel very nervous

when they're doing the speaking testand you said that you used to stutter

and you used to get incredibly nervousand now you're getting better at that.

What advice or what kind of tips wouldyou give to people on how to improve

their nervousness and their condition?

I think

if it's something that you really want

to, then you find a way, even when youare so afraid of making a mistake.

But I think you just need to face it

when you lack something you need to fight

more like to put yourselfin that situation to get familiar

with and as you just said before,"practise makes perfect".

Okay, great.

Well, thank you very much for comingand doing the speaking test.

Yeah, thank you for your feedback.

I think it's very useful for me to improve

myself, not just in English, but in the wayI communicate by the language.


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