“I don’t know what to say/write in my own language on this topic!” – is that how you feel when you see some of the STANAG exam topics?

“What topics can I expect in my exam?” is that the question you’re asking yourself?

As to what topics to expect, the general description of the exam can give us some guidance:

In writing, we can expect topics from such areas as politics, technology, economics, culture, social matters and job-related/military areas.

In speaking, the scope of possible subjects includes military training, military life, addictions, health and fitness, customs and traditions, free time, food and eating habits, tourism, money, media, generation issues, refugees, city vs country, rich vs poor,  shopping, holidays, environment, work and employment, politics, economics, education, international relations, terrorism and global security, sport, family and family life, means of transport, travelling, disasters, military operations, crime.

The general topics will be put in the current perspective in reaction to the latest changes and events in the world.


When you are preparing for your exam, you can collect ideas for speaking and writing while reading and listening.

Prepare a bank of important current events and vocabulary from the texts, recordings and broadcasts you read, watch and listen to.

Here’s how the general topics can be put in the context of current events.


  • war in Ukraine
  • China in international politics
  • British monarchy
  • refugees and immigrants 


  • economic crisis
  • inflation
  • prices of fuel and energy
  • post-pandemic economic issues


  • drones
  • latest technological advancements
  • space exploration


  • growing prices
  • post-pandemic psychological problems
  • online education


  • recruitment
  • deployments
  • international training
  • military cooperation and alliances
  • PTSD

These are just ideas. They will be changing depending on the mainstream events and topics of interest in the world.

Try creating your own bank of ideas. You can do it by noting down vocabulary, phrases and points of view on the topics you read or listen about.


Read the news headlines every day. Set a specific time of day to do it, for example, in the morning before you start work.

Read headlines in all the above mentioned topic areas.

Choose one article to read which describes one of the main current themes to note down points of view and important issues as well as vocabulary and phrases.

In this way, you will create a bank of ideas and language related to current topics.

You’ll be able to expand and refer back to it.

What to do when you don’t know what to write or say?

You cannot predict everything and it can happen that the speaking or writing topic will surprise you during the exam.

If you have to speak or write about the subject that is unknown to you, remember:

  1. You don’t have to be an expert in everything. It’s ok to present general information or assumptions about any topic during the exam.
  2. Invent data and facts if you need to. Try to keep them logical and as true to life as possible.
  3. Avoid excessive briefness in the presentation of your ideas. Describe all elements of the issue step-by-step. Don’t assume that they are obvious. The fact that they are obvious for you doesn’t mean that they are for others. 
  4. Present your argumentation in a way that shows your reasoning, the sequence of events, cause and effect, and logical connection between ideas in as clear way as possible. It makes understanding easier.
  5. If you don’t have a definite opinion about a given issue, present its various aspects, different points of view, a balanced view.

Being up to date with current events will allow you to feel more self-confident during the exam.

Creating the bank of ideas and vocabulary will help you activate the vocabulary learned while reading and listening as you’ll be able to go back to it and use in your speaking and writing.

For exam practice, see my offer or join the Speaking Club (click below).