I guess the best way to succeed in the independent speaking task is to get familiar with the topics you may come accross, and to practice, A LOT. I'm studying with a private tutor; when you have a normal conversation it's far different from what you're going to do in the test. The first time I tried to answer a question in 45sec I panicked, but now, after practicing for three days it's not that impossible after all. I'm still scared of it, but I'm working up confidence day by day. So, get used to it and good luck!
My exam is scheduled in the 14th of March (and another one in the 26th of April, just in case! )