PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON! It’s only a Cambridge exam

Sitting in peace in the office, we realize how stressful it must be for our students to have just one month left to their exams and therefore we have decided to help. How? By going through different tips written by students who have already taken these exams, putting them together and making the most of it for those, who are about to take the exams now.

So, are you ready for the first article of this series? There will be posts, videos and sessions from English for Lunch.

Let’s get started with FCE speaking then!

What does the exam look like? Firstly, take a look at this video, so you know what we are talking about in the following lines. Two examiners and two (exceptionally 3, when it is the last group’s turn) students are sitting in the room. One examiner is going to speak with you (in your FCE textbook you can find him disguised as “interlocutor”) and the other one (called “assessor”) is going to make notes. There are 4 sections with different things to do in each section.

The first part takes about 2 minutes per student. The examiner asks you a question and you reply to the examiner. You don't have to talk to your partner(s) in this part of the exam. Cambridge wants to help you relax in the test so they start with some nice, easy questions. Don't worry if you get off to a bad start - a lot of candidates start badly because they are nervous.

Part two of the speaking test is called the 'Long Turn' because you and the other student(s) take turns to give long speeches. You get two colour photos. You have to talk about them on your own for a minute. When you finish, the examiner asks the other student (student B) a question about your pictures - student B should talk for about 30 seconds. Then student B gets other two photos and has to talk about them for one minute. When that is over, the examiner asks you a question, and now you have about 30 seconds to answer.

In part 3 you are given a spider web with five keywords linking to a question. You get about 15 seconds to read everything, then you have to discuss it with your partner for 2 minutes. When the time is over, the examiner will stop you and he will ask another question. You discuss that question for another minute.

In the final part of the test, you have about 4 minutes to talk about the topics from part 3 in more detail. You are tested on your ability to give opinions, give reasons for your opinions, and your ability to politely discuss things with your partner. The examiner asks you a question and you answer it the same way like in the part 3. Plus, you should not only respond to your partner's answers but also you should ask for their opinions.

The best advice at the end is: stay calm. Don’t stress, don’t panic. It’s only fifteen minutes long. Thousands of students before you have passed, so if you have been preparing well, why wouldn’t you pass too? : )

Next time we are going to bring you more details about each section of these 4 parts of the FCE speaking test so you can get even more ready!

If you have more time and you are interested also in general information, you can take a look at some other articles we’ve written in the past:

Thinking about taking a Cambridge exam? Find detailed information about your options here...

Source of the video: Youtube

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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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