Free Clep Prep

A free resource for those preparing for CLEP, DANTES and Excelsior Examinations

Public Speaking DSST
Practice Page

Here's how the Public Speaking DSST Practice Page works. Don't worry, we'll also walk you through each step. This is just a short list -

  1. Pick a topic from the list of sample topics
  2. Pay attention to the audience that goes along with your topic
  3. Click on the "Start the Prep Timer" link
  4. Fill in the blank text boxes with your body main points
  5. In the next step, flesh out those points
  6. Using your points, quickly type up your introduction
  7. Time yourself
  8. Do the same with your conclusion

I'd run through this entire page once or twice as a dry run, just to get used to the steps. When you're ready for the real thing, then you can time yourself.

Topics and Audience List
Topic Audience
Is human cloning moral? College students (both sexes) in their 20's-30's
Love is more powerful than hate. Retirement home audience, mixed-sex age 60-80.
Students should/should not be subjected to random drug testing. A PTA Meeting Audience
Does television have a negative influence on children? First time parents
Zoos are/are not good for animal conservation Academic peer review board.
Are beauty contests harmful? A high school classroom
Can terrorism ever be justified? Graduate level class

Keep in mind that on the exam you'll be assigned the topic and audience. It won't be up to you. For our purposes, we're going to start you off easy. Once you have your topic and audience picked out, click the link below to start the timer. It will open in a new window.

The timer's running so we'll keep this fast.

Step 1 - Brainstorm your killer points. Think of as many as you can right off the bat and type them below. You need at least three, but if you come up with five that's okay. You shouldn't spend more than 30 seconds on this step. As soon as you have to start thinking about another point, that's where you should stop.

Step 2 - Select your three main points from the list above and copy/paste them into the text boxes below. Remember to select the strongest killer points that you can. Make them hard to argue with.

Step 3 - Now that you have your three main killer points, fill in the subpoints beneath them. These are the talking points that support your killer points. They can be descriptions of your killer points, a story that strengthens your killer point, or identifying an argument that someone else would use and showing how they're wrong. Whatever it is, it needs to support your main point.

Important! - You're not writing your speech out here. You won't be able to do it in the 10 minutes that they give you. All you're doing here is writing down something that reminds you of what you need to say. Just a quick bullet point saying "Arkansas trip" to remind yourself to tell the story of your trip to the Arkansas zoo, or "Death Row Prisoner Upkeep" to remind yourself to talk about the constant cost on the taxpayers. Short little blurbs, not essays!

Step 4 - Type out your introduction. Remember the five main things - Attention Getter (if you can come up with one quickly) Introduce yourself, Introduce the Topic, Establish Credentials or Rapport with the Audience and give a quick list of your killer points. All of this should be easy since we have most of the information already. Go ahead and give it a try. Type up your Introduction in the box below.

Aim for between nine and ten sentences. Speaking at a normal pace with proper pauses, ten normal-sized sentences will last you around 30 seconds.

If you'd like to time your introduction, use the below timer. Figure out how fast or slow you'll need to talk.

Step 5 - Do the same for your conclusion. Remember - Review your points, give the audience a worst case scenario of what will happen if your advice is not followed, give them a best case scenario, and then thank the audience for it's time. You can practice your conclusion time by using the above timer again.

If you find yourself running short on prep time, try to identify what part is taking you the longest and just do that part a few times. Use the timer above to time yourself until you can get it down quickly.

Once you've got it down and can complete the prep time portion, then comes the fun part - the actual speech!

You'll need some sort of recording device to practice this the right way. If you have an answering machine, you can use that. You can try your cell phone's voicemail, but most have a cut-off around the 2 minute mark. Windows also has a voice recorder, but it's horrible. Try Audacity instead (it's free and rocks) if you're going that route.

When you're ready, click on the below link to start the Speech Timer. I've set it for the full five minutes, but remember you're aiming for four minutes. Don't watch the clock! Glance at it every now and then, but stare at your notes instead. Remember that you're aiming for one full minute per killer point. Just talk, and concentrate on keeping your speed at a normal tone and using plenty of inflection in your voice. Once you hit that minute mark, you can move on to the next killer point.

Go ahead and give it a shot -

If for some reason you realllly overdo one of the points and are running out of time, just shorten the last points and then roll into your conclusion. You want to mention all your points because you said in your intro you would (right?), but it's not necessary to use the subpoints if you don't need to.

Once you're done, playback your speech and really listen to yourself. Identify the parts that sound good and try to copy that style. Likewise, identify any "umms, ya knows" or other needless distractions and tell yourself to watch out for those. One of the benefits of not actually writing out your speech (besides the time it saves) is that you shouldn't sound like you're reading from a page. I hate that monotone voice thing. Use inflection! Speak conversationally, just as if you were standing in front of an audience and doing your best to sway their opinion.

Keep doing this until you can start from scratch, bust out a speech outline in under 10 minutes, and then give a 4'sh minute speech all in one sitting. Then do it again. If you need more topics, you can find a great list here: Speech List

Get this down and the actual day of the speech will be nothing to worry about. Hope this helps, and if you have a suggestion of your own please feel free to let me know via our Contact Us form at the top.

Go get those credits!

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