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GCSE Japanese Speaking Examiner

Finding a speaking examiner is important for candidates who have studied Japanese outside of their schools. Usually, speaking tests are held at the school where the student attends, so it is best if a local teacher can help. This page provides information I have learnt from the websites, my experiences as a speaking examiner and networking events. I am a private tutor, not a school teacher.

Please note that I cannot take responsibility for errors that may be in the information.

Guide to Speaking Examiner

What's GCSE Speaking Test?

It is a part of GCSE (The General Certificate of Secondary Education) Japanese exams. The speaking exam is conducted at a school or an exam centre during the assessment period set by the exam board called Pearson Edexcel. If the language is taught at school, the school teacher would conduct the exam. 

When is the Speaking Test?

From mid-April, after the Easter holiday to mid-May.

Who can be a Speaking Examiner?

A Japanese speaker who understands GCSE Japanese exam specifications and can come to the school such as a school teacher who speaks Japanese, or a local Japanese tutor - it is up to the school to decide on the suitability of the person for the position. DBS holders would be preferred for this role; DBS can be gained online.


The Speaking exam procedure is specified in detail. The examiner should read through Pearson Edexcel's support guide for the GCSE MFL exams. In the test, the examiner would read the scripts written in Japanese aloud and make conversations in Japanese. 

Components of the Speaking Test

​Candidates complete three tasks.

  • Task 1: Role play task        

  • Task 2: Picture based task 

  • Task 3: Conversation task part 1 and 2

GCSE Japanese FIVE Themes

The topics for each task are set based on the Five themes. The theme used for a task will not be used for another task. For example, if Role play is about a holiday, Theme 2 will not be used for Picture-based or Conversation tasks. 

  • Theme 1: Identity and culture

  • Theme 2: Local area and holiday

  • Theme 3: School

  • Theme 4: Study, work and future

  • Theme 5: International and global dimensions

How long is the entire exam?

Approximately 30 minutes per candidate for the exam including the preparation time.  And the paperwork takes an additional 15-20 minutes.

Speaking Test Procedures

Task1 and Task 2
Role play and Picture based Tasks 

The information cards for Role play and Picture based Tasks will be provided to the candidate and the examiner in a room, and then 12 minutes will be given to prepare for these tasks. Candidates are allowed to take notes.


The information cards will be set up on that day according to the instructions for the examiner issued by Pearson Edexcel. The candidate will not know the themes for these tasks until the test day.

  • Changes are NOT permitted

With Role play and Picture based Tasks, the examiner must read out the examiner's cards just as it is. No changes or improvisations are permitted. Questions can be repeated twice at maximum, which means three times in total. If the candidate still cannot answer the question, they should just move on.


  • Candidate's notes

They are allowed to see the notes that they have written down during the preparation time. The notes should be for reference only. Candidates should not read out whole prepared sentences in answer to questions. Candidates must hand over the note to the examiner before the Conversation Task.

Task 3
Conversation Task

The Conversation task is divided into two parts dealing with two different GCSE themes. The first part begins with a theme or subtopic chosen by the candidate. The candidate can talk about it for up to one minute. The examiner asks follow-up questions within the same theme. It is allowed and ideal if the examiner knows the candidate's chosen topic in advance.


After approximately 2.5 minutes, the second part of the conversation begins; another conversation is held on a different theme. The theme for the second part is indicated in the instructions for the examiner given the test day, find the GCSE Themes Sequencing-grid in it.

Duration of each task

  • ​Foundation Tier

Role play                : 1-1.5mins

Picture based task : 2.5-3 mins

Conversation          : 3.5-4.5 mins


  • Higher Tier​

Role play                : 2-2.5 mins

Picture based task : 3-3.5 mins

Conversation          : 5-6 mins

The examiner is responsible for timekeeping. I use my mobile phone.

Materials used on the test day

The following items should be provided by the school. 

  • Exam question cards to the candidate

  • Exam question booklets to the teacher/examiner 

  • CS2 (Speaking assessment record form)

  • CN2 (Candidate notes form)

  • A recorder


The examiner is responsible for recording the entire speaking test. At the start, the examiner records the following information. 

  • GCSE Japanese Summer [ex. 2023]

  • Foundation or Higher Tier

  • Teacher-examiner [your name]

  • Candidate [name]

  • Candidate number [ex. 1234]


Then the speaking exam begins with a phrase such as​ below.

  • Task 1, Role play. You are in a shop in Japan... (the instruction on the teacher's card). Irasshaimase, nani o kaimasuka?  (the first question)

The school should provide a recorder but occasionally, I was asked to use my recorder or mobile phone as the school had many speaking exams going on at the same time. In that case, I sent the audio file to the school's exam officer right after the test.

How long is the entire exam?

Approximately 30 minutes per candidate for the exam including the preparation time.  And the paperwork takes an additional 15-20 minutes.

Communications with school

Here is my example.

How it starts

Receiving a request from a school or a candidate's parent to conduct their Speaking Test. Discussing rough schedules and fees with the school.

Date booking (February - April)

The school will contact me again in the spring term to set the date and time of the Speaking Test which will be taken place in April or May.


If I don't hear from them until two weeks before the Easter Holiday, I ask the candidate's parent to remind the school. Sometimes I have to contact the school too if they haven't replied to the parent in time. It is very rare but I had an experience that a school booked me after the speaking exam period started.


Date and time, room information and candidate information such as Foundation Tier or Higher Tier are provided.


Fees are discussed when the school contacts me. I also check with the school's exam officer about the invoice on the test day, after the Speaking Test. Payment is made either by the school or by the parent/guardian. Including travelling time to a local school, I usually charge 2 hours of my teaching rate.

Supporting materials

Useful documents

The following documents have been downloaded from the Pearson Edexcel website in 2022 and 2023 to improve my understanding and confidence. Please visit their website and check the latest ones before the exam.

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