In this episode of PASS FCE….A full oral exam with FCE students Tatiana and Nacho.
Welcome to PASS FCE, a Mansion Ingles podcast specifically created to help you pass the Cambridge First Certificate in English Exam.
I’m Craig, I’m a teacher at the British Council in Valencia, Spain, a Cambridge Oral examiner with over 20 years of teaching experience.
Before you send me an email and say, ‘But Craig, last episode you said you were going to speak about the writing paper”. Yes, I know I said that, but here’s the thing; Tatiana, who is in my FCE class, is taking the exam in March. Most of my class will probably take it in June this year, so they have time to practice the speaking. But I suggested that Tatiana practise a full speaking test and I obviously want to publish this podcast before she takes the exam so that she can hear it and improve her speaking even more. So I’ll speak about the writing paper next episode, episode 10.
The other student who you’re going to hear is Nacho, who agreed to be Tatiana’s partner for the test. Nacho is taking the exam in June.
So, let’s begin with Part 1 of the test.
In part 1 the examiner asks you general questions about things like your family, home, job/studies, hobbies, holidays, future plans etc. Obviously he or she will ask your name and where you’re from. This part lasts about 2 minutes. Try to relax, be friendly and smile. It’s only English!
Here’s Nacho and Tatiana.
PART 1 (2 Minutes)
Good afternoon. My name’s Craig and this is my colleague Jonathan.
And your names are….Can I have your mark sheets, please? Thank you
Where are you from? and you…?
First we’d like to know something about you.
How do you like to spend your weekends?
Tell us about a place you like to go with your friends.
Do you like cooking? What kind of things do you like to cook?
Do you prefer to watch TV or use the Internet? What do you like to use the Internet for?
Are you going to do anything special this weekend?
I thought that Tatiana and Nacho did part 1 very well. They sounded relaxed and natural. They answered the questions well.
Nacho said, “I live in a near town”, it’s better to say, “I live in a town quite near here.”
Tatiana said, “I used to cook traditional food, like rice…” It’s better to say, “I usually/often cook traditional food…”
Before you do your speaking test, make sure you know how to talk about your job or studies. How do you say your profession or your course of study in English?
Can you talk briefly about a hobby you have or something new you would like to take up (start doing)?
You might be asked about a film you’ve seen, a book you’ve read, a party you’ve been to and you may be asked about things you’re planning to do in the future.
Don’t learn long sentences and repeat them like a parrot “I’m from Valencia which is the third largest city in Spain and has a population of 900,000 – No! Don’t do that.
Moving on to Part 2. This part lasts for about 4 minutes and you have to speak about 2 photographs and then make a comment about your partner’s photographs for about 30 seconds.
If you don’t understand the question, ask for repetition (gives you a few seconds to think).
I’m sorry, could you repeat that, please?
Would you mind repeating the question?
You have to COMPARE the photos, so speak about the differences and similarities.
2. Answer the question
Keep speaking until the examiner stops you
Let’s listen to Tatiana and Nacho
In this part of the test, I’m going to give each of you two photographs. I’d like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about a minute
and also to answer a short question about your partner’s photographs.
Tatiana, it’s your turn first. Here are your photographs. They show people who are doing different things in the evening
I’d like you to compare the photographs and say what the people are enjoying about doing these things in the evening.
Nacho, Which of these things would you prefer to do in the evening? (30 secs)
Now….here are your photographs. They show people spending time in the city in different ways
I’d like you to compare the photographs and say why you think the people have chosen to spend their time in these ways
……do you enjoy spending your free time in the city? (30 secs)
Did you notice that Nacho asked me to repeat the question? I suspect he wanted a second or two to think. This is ok, but if you ask the examiner to repeat the question too many times, you’ll probably lose marks.
Keep speaking until the examiner stops you. Remember CAP
2. Answer the question
3. Personalize (I prefer this photo/situation because…. I don’t like this one because….)
Listen to your partner. When you have to comment for 30 seconds on your partner’s photos you can say, for example, I agree with Nacho/Tatiana because….. or as Nacho said, “Well, as Tatiana said before, I would prefer…”
I think it’s a photo which shows….
XI’m not feeling to fishingX – I’m not keen on fishing / I don’t like fishing very much
A basketball court in the middle of the city which is surrounded by big buildings
XAsian people which are in the marketX – who are in the market
It’s very difficult not to make small mistakes in the speaking. You have to think quickly, be fluent. But you should try to be as accurate as you can. If you hear yourself making a mistake, correct it immediately
“The people is shopping – Sorry, I mean the people are shopping.”
Let’s move on to Parts 3 and 4 which are about 7 minutes altogether
Give your opinion and ask your partner’s opinion.
Asking for an opinion
What do you think?
How about you?
Do you agree?
Do you think it’s a good idea?
What’s your opinion?
Giving your opinion
In my opinion…
I think we should…
As far as I’m concerned…
On the other hand I think that…
From my point of view…
Remember, you can say if you agree or disagree with your partner:
I don’t think so because….
I’m sorry but I don’t agree because…
Yes, but maybe it would be better if we….
I can’t agree with you because…
I completely/totally/absolutely agree with you.
I’m 100% in agreement with you.
I couldn’t agree more.
Remember that after 2 minutes you have about a minute to decide something. Let’s see how Tatiana and Nacho do the final parts of the test.
Now I’d like you to talk about something together for about two minutes.
Here are some modern inventions and a question for you to discuss. First you have some time to look at the task.
Now, talk to each other about why these inventions are important in our everyday lives.
Thank you. Now you have about a minute to decide which two inventions you think it would be most difficult to live without.
PART 4 (about 3 and a half – 4 minutes)
• What do you think is the most important invention for your family?
• Do you think that mobile phones are becoming too popular these days? Why?
• Which way do you prefer to travel? Why?
• What’s your opinion?
• One final question, how do you both think that technology will develop in the future?
• Can you think of other ways where technology may develop?
Thank you. That’s the end of the test.
The Internet is probably the most important invention in our daily lives.
Yes, I’m with you
It makes our lives easier
I agree with you up to a point because I consider the Internet….
XI would prefer the car because of the comfortableX …because of the comfort (noun) (a car is more comfortable, and convenient)
XThe last decade has been very improving the technologiesX – Technology has improved a lot during the last decade.
Would you like to start, Nacho?
What do you think about it?
Let’s move on to…..
X…my mum, who hadn’t a washing machine when she was youngX – …my mum, who didn’t have a washing machine (it’s not usual to contract ‘have’ when it’s a full verb)
Xour lives without them were very, very differentX – our lives without them would be very, very different
Xwe can keep the contactX – we can keep in touch
XI feel more safety in a carX – I feel safer in a car than in a plane (‘THAN’, not ‘that’)
XI can’t imagine how much can improve technologyX – I can’t imagine how much technology will improve…
XI hope the improvements were get betterX – I hope we will see better improvements (in technology)
Thanks so much to Tatiana and Nacho for agreeing to be recorded for this podcast. We hope it will help you prepare for the speaking.
Remember, although many students get nervous about the speaking, it is often the easiest part of the FCE exam to pass.
Thank you for listening, and we’ll be back very soon with another episode of PassFCE.
Next episode: An overview of the Writing paper (promise!) and another interview with an FCE student.
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