The ID Check
Although the ID check is not intended to be part of the test, in reality it is part of the test. The examiner is hearing your speech and forms a judgment about your English. The recorder is recording what you say. So the examiner will notice the quality of your language and any English mistakes you make. The examiner also gets an impression about how you relate to a foreigner. Although that factor is not considered in the grading of a speaking test.
The examiner’s intention here is really to check your identity. The examiner has your application form in front of him with your photo on it. In addition to asking you questions, he has to compare the person sitting in front of himself with the photo.
If the ID check were to be considered in terms of linguistics, the language function is, “Verifying One’s Identity”. The idea here is to give appropriate answers to simple questions that are used to verify your identity. “Appropriate answers” means short and crisp answers. Not long answers or answers that are full of extra details. But if you are friendly and can speak fast, a short, quick comment along with some answers would not damage your “performance”.
The ID check begins with a greeting such as, “Good morning” and the examiner introduces him or herself.
Then the examiner asks you The Four Standard Questions. They are “standard” because every candidate is asked these exact same questions. (See below)
The examiner wants to do this part of the test quite quickly, in 20 to 30 seconds. So he or she might be very “business-like” (somewhat formal) when they ask these questions.
The Standard Introduction Questions
- Good morning/afternoon. My name is _____ . Can you tell me your full name, please? (= Could you tell me your full name, please? = Please tell me your name.)
- What can I call you? (= What shall I call you? = What should I call you?)
- Can you tell me where you’re from? (= Could you tell me where you’re from? = Where are you from?)
- Can I see your identification, please? (= Could I see your identification, please? = May I see your identification, please?)
A more detailed explanation of how to speak in the Introduction phase of the test can be found on this page.