How to write a speech for paper 2

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It’s no question that all the questions in the IB Chinese paper 2 will ask you to format your piece according to a specific text type – the real mystery is which text type do you prepare for?

While many students try to be efficient by  playing the ‘chance’ game – preparing only the text types they think are most likely to come up – IB papers have proven on numerous occasions to be highly unpredictable. Besides, it’s infinitely better for your nerves if you walk into the exam knowing you’re prepared for any text type they throw at you. The intention isn’t just to play the game – it’s to win it.

In  this blog, we’ll focus specifically on how to write a speech, walking you through the basic conventions so that you can maximise your format scores in Paper 2! We’ll use the past paper question below to guide us in our structuring:

November 2016:

你作为学生代表,在学校举办的“健康生活周”的开幕式上发言。写一篇演讲稿,谈谈健康饮食对高中生的重要性,并提出一些建议。(You are a student representative giving a speech at the opening ceremony of the “Healthy Life Week” organised at your school. Discuss the importance of healthy food to high school students, and then offer some suggestions.)

A speech is different to all other text types as primarily, it is a verbal as opposed to written mode of communication, and you have an audience to address and cater to. For example, you might address the elderly different to how you address a group of students. Therefore, before embarking upon writing a speech, make sure you know who you are, and the audience you’re addressing.

The specific question above explains that you are a school representative addressing a speech on the importance of healthy food to high school students at a school ceremony. From the question, we garner that our primary audience is the students, though the teachers can be addressed as well.

The basic structure of a speech that could be written in response to this question is as follows:

One of the key conventions that will show the examiner that you understand the demands of the question and text type asked of you when writing a speech is to address the audience, especially if the question already outlines to you who you’re speaking to. Before you write anything else, make a note to recognise your target audience, indicating to the examiner that you what you’re doing and you know your role in the context of the question.

You should then proceed by introducing yourself, once again showing the examiner that you understand your role. For example, since the question says you’re a student representative, introduce yourself as a student representative and outline your role in the event. In the guide above, the student has explained that their duty in addressing this speech is to “discuss with everyone the importance of healthy food to high school students,” or “跟大家谈谈健康饮食对高中生的重要性.”

Next, you want to elaborate on your points, always keeping your target audience in mind. Since the target audience is students, the representative in the guide above not only argues their points by emphasising the benefits of healthy food, but also by relating it back to students and why it’s important for students to eat these particular foods.

After you’ve elaborated on your points, you should provide a conclusionary statement at the end of your speech, summarising your main points in 1-2 sentences. This will help reinforce and condense what you’ve stated previously so that you effectively convey your main message.

Once again, as this is a speech, you’ll have to thank the audience for listening and even bid them farewell, if you like. In the guide above, the speaker concludes their speech and ends with a simple, final thank you to everybody.

Overall, a speech isn’t too difficult to master once you’ve learned the basic conventions and know what to look for in the question. Following this structure and making sure you understand what’s being asked of you in the question will set you on the path to a high score in Criterion C (format), as well as a higher overall score. Remember, text type is key, and while abiding by the conventions is important mainly for Criterion C, being able to write in the correct form and tone will definitely boost your score across all three criteria, so don’t play the efficiency game!

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