- Read and annotate the transcript carefully at the start of the exam.
- Use highlighters to mark out different speakers' turns if this helps you see patterns more quickly.
- Label word classes, sentence functions and sentence types (e.g. The use of the noun phrase acting as a minor sentence "stupid men" by speaker x is a humorous utterance which serves to draw the speakers together.).
- Discuss and label the features and effects of interaction (e.g. The use of a tag question by speaker y when she says "we studied this text last week didn't we" helps to facilitate a response from the other students in the class.).
- Think about context all the time - much of what the speakers say will be linked to the type of talk they are engaged in and what they are doing.
- Use the bullet points on the question paper to help cover all the assessment objectives.
- Take an overview of the whole interaction and discuss patterns that you see across the transcript.
- Discuss the transcript line by line; this is usually boring and unhelpful.
- Make "deficit judgements" about spoken language with comments such as "this is bad grammar", "speaker x uses broken English" or "no one really speaks like this".
- Try to apply theory to everything, especially if all you're doing is talking about Grice's (bloody) maxims; if you see accommodation, patterns of female/ male converstaional behaviour, face threatening acts, by all means mention them, but don't write too much.
- Forget the context; context is everything in spoken interaction.
- Assume every micropause or non-fluency feature is a significant hesitation; we all use micropauses and false starts.