There are some mistakes you can make in STANAG 6001 discussions that can be easily avoided if you know where to look. Watch the video training and learn how to avoid them.


Hello StanagExperts! My name is Małgorzata Mazurek and this is 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid in STANAG 6001 Discussions. Let’s begin.

What is a STANAG6001 discussion?

You may probably know that a STANAG 6001 exam level 3 usually consists of two speaking tasks. One of them is a monologue, which I talked about in a previous video. And second one is a discussion. A discussion entails having a dialogue with the second candidate, sometimes with an examiner. It also entails an exchange of arguments, and in the Polish version of the exam, it entails negotiating the order of suggested factors or elements that you should discuss. And it also checks your ability to initiate and maintain a conversation. It is also very important to interact and to show that you can interact with the second candidate during this part of the speaking exam.

So, what are the 7 common mistakes in a discussion and how to avoid them?

Number 1 is an unnatural discussion. What does it mean? It means that people start using the language that is characteristic for a monologue or people start using vocabulary or expressions that are very formal. So, don’t start with a formal and irrelevant introduction, for example, Good morning ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to do this or that. It’s not a lecture. It’s a conversation. So, don’t use unnaturally sophisticated language and inaccurately complex structures.

What to do instead? make it sound like a natural, semi-formal conversation because this is what it is supposed to be. How to do it? Well, the best way is to try to use natural and real-life language.

What is another thing that people often have problems with?

It’s reciting a monologue instead of having a discussion. After they’ve had a monologue in the first task, people very often forget that task number two is about a conversation, and not about another monologue. What not to do? Don’t try to say as much as you know about a factor in one go without interacting because in this way you’re having another monologue. Don’t forget it is a conversation, it is an exchange of arguments. Don’t dominate the discussion or don’t let yourself be dominated in the discussion.

Instead try to share the time that you have for this task evenly. Remember to interact. Interaction between speaking partners during the exam is one of the factors that are actually evaluated. refer directly to what your colleague says by more than saying “I agree”. If you want to say that you agree, say what you agree with directly and precisely.

Point number 3 or the mistake number 3 is that people try to add as many arguments, ideas, examples as they can without justifying or explaining how they are connected with this topic. Don’t just add new things. Focus on a few chosen ones and explain them thoroughly. Make also sure that each factor is discussed in detail by both candidates , each factor as required in the task instruction. Justify and explain every new piece of information. Just say how it is connected to the topic, how it is relevant.

And about the precision of argumentation. Here what is also important is the precision of questions. Instead of just asking “Do you agree with me?”, it’s a very good practice to ask “Do you agree that is the most dangerous?” for example. Be very precise also when you ask questions in a conversation.

Mistake number 4 is the lack of precision. People often change the topic because they don’t understand the question or they know more about something else which is closely related. Don’t change the topic because you know more about something else. Also, don’t change the general, abstract question into a question about your personal experience, particular situation or example.

What to do instead to be precise? Well, if you don’t understand the question or a word, just ask about it. You can use words as: “I’m not quite sure what you mean by this or that. Could you please explain the question? Could you explain this word? Could you please clarify the question or the word for me?” It’s better than changing the topic. Also, be ready to discuss general and abstract ideas, which may require, for example, hypothesising. Bringing everything down to a personal experience and particular example won’t always do the job.

The 5th idea, the 5th factor that is important and which often causes problems is language. So, don’t use language that is too formal and unnatural. try to make a conversation of this task. As it was already mentioned, it’s not a monologue. It’s not a lecture. So, try not to use memorised sentences. Don’t try to stage a monologue. don’t use linking words that are characteristic for written language.

Instead, use language that is simple but not simplistic. Focus on argumentation, fluency and varied vocabulary, instead of focusing on fixed expressions or learning full sentences by heart. Timing is also a very important issue. So, don’t ignore the time limit. Each task in an exam has its specified time limit, so make sure that you know what the time limit is and stick to it. It is important because sticking to the designed time limit makes it possible for you to conclude the task properly and to achieve your task goals.

Also, what is related to the timing is a conclusion. So, don’t forget about your common conclusion even if you don’t fully agree. This is connected with the negotiated order discussion in the Polish version of the STANAG 6001 exam in which you are supposed to reach a conclusion about a list of factors. It’s not obligatory to have a common conclusion, but it is recommended to have one. If it is possible to agree, even partly, then do it. But if you cannot agree on any of the factors and their order, then sum up what you’ve discussed and what your common ground is or is not. But anyhow, remember to conclude.

Ok. That’s all for the 7 important areas in which to avoid mistakes in a discussion. If you think that this is useful and that it is something that you’d like to practise in a group of like-minded people, candidates preparing for the STANAG 6001 exam.

If you’d like to practise those things with me, I’d like to invite you to take part in the StanagExpert Speaking and Writing Workshop which starts on 10 January

and if ou want to know more about it, check out the COURSES tab on (link in the comments below)and I hope to see you there. Thank you. Bye, bye.