tips for the speaking test

Speaking – tips for the FCE learner
Read the detailed tips on how to tackle Paper 5.

Part 1:

  • Try to remain clam. These questions are designed to relax you and give you the opportunity to tell the examiner a little about yourself.
  • Answer the examiner’s questions in full sentences, but try not to talk for too long.
  • This part tests your ability to converse in a social context.
  • Avoid long periods of silence where you are searching for words. If you cannot remember a word try to talk your way round it by explaining in more detail or defining what you mean. Never ask your partner to give you the word you need!

Part 2:

  • Listen very carefully to the examiner explaining your task.
  • Do not treat the pictures as two separate themes. Link them constantly by comparing and contrasting them.
  • Keep talking until the examiner interrupts you. Then you will be sure that you have completed the task.
  • Use expressions of comparison and contrast.
  • Listen to what your partner says carefully when it is their turn to speak. You will be expected to comment on their ideas when their one minute is finished.

Part 3:

  • Listen very carefully to the examiner explaining your task.
  • Do not look at the examiner during this task. This part if for you to work together with your partner.
  • Use lots of expressions for asking for/giving opinions, agreeing/disagreeing, making suggestions etc.
  • Make sure you and you partner speak equally. Do not dominate or interrupt your partner.
  • If you happen to be with a candidate who is not willing to collaborate, try to draw them into the discussion by asking for their opinion and encouraging them to expand on their ideas.
  • Make sure you have a dialogue not two separate monologues. Frequent turn-taking is required in this part.
  • Remember to cover all the points of the task and be prepared to tell the examiner what your final decision is.

Part 4:

  • Expand your ideas you came up with in part 3.
  • Personalise your opinions and give some real life or hypothetical examples to back up your ideas.
  • Use this part as your last opportunity to show the examiner how well you can speak in English!

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