In this episode of PASS FCE a full speaking test with 2 students Bea and Tatiana
Hello and 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.
Today we’re going to hear a full FCE speaking test with students Bea and Tatiana. You may remember Tatiana from episode 9 of PassFCE in which she did a full test with Nacho.
I’ll put a link to that episode in the show notes at inglespodcast.com.
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 for about 2 minutes.
Now let’s listen to Bea and Tatiana.
PART 1 (2 minutes)
Bea speaks well in part 1. I like her use of the present simple tense for describing habits. She said, “I try to meet my friends and we usually go to the cinema, or to the theatre”
But she said, X“
we go out to take something“X That’s a direct translation from her native language, Spanish. In English, it’s better to say, “We go out for a drink” or “We go out to have a drink.”
Tatiana uses the gerund well after the verb ‘to like’. She said, “I like reading, spending time with my friends….doing some sports”
(I’m also pleased that she said ‘doing sport’ and not X“
making or practising sport”X which is a common mistake with Spanish speakers)
Bea forgot the gerund after the verb ‘like’. She said, X“
I like cook“X instead of “I like cooking”.
Tatiana uses the gerund correctly after the preposition ‘for’. She said, “I use the internet for researching for my job, and also for spending my spare time watching TV series or movies.”
Bea uses the gerund after ‘like’ in her next comment, so as an examiner, I think she probably does know the grammar (like + gerund) and the first mistake was probably not so serious. She correctly said, “I like swimming”
PART 2 (4 minutes)
Moving on to Part 2 which 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. This 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/or similarities.
2. Answer the question
Keep speaking until the examiner stops you.
Let’s listen now to Tatiana and Bea.
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.
Bea, 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.
Tatiana, Which of these things would you prefer to do in the evening? (30 seconds)
Now Tatiana, 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
Bea, do you enjoy spending your free time in the city? (30 seconds)
Bea compares the photos well. She uses the present continuous to describe what she sees in the photos, “I see a man fishing”, “…they are drinking or eating something”, “they are enjoying their free time”, “they are having a good time”
She also uses prepositions correctly, “IN the photo ON the left.”
I like her use of ‘need to’, She said, “The man needs time to relax, needs to be alone.” But she said X“
Needs to be alone for thinking“X We should use an infinitive here, “Needs to be alone TO THINK”
Tatiana said, “I prefer having social contact” which is a nice expression.
Tatiana also compares her photos well. She said, “The first one shows people spending time shopping at the street market.”
Bea said, X“
I like go out“X instead of “I like going out”, but she uses the gerund correctly when says, “We really enjoy going to open air markets.”
Bea responds well in this part, using the word ‘mall’ and the infinitive when she says, “going to markets TO SEE sales or TO SEE something rare or different clothes”
In part 2 you have to speak for 60 seconds and then comment for 30 seconds. Remember to keep speaking until the examiner stops you. Remember C-A-P
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 Bea because…..” or “as Tatiana said before” or “I agree with Bea when she said that…” etc
PARTS 3 and 4
Let’s move on to parts 3 and 4 which are about 8 minutes altogether.
In part 3, you have to 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 Bea 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.
Tatiana invites Bea to begin by saying “Would you like to start, Bea?” Very nice!
I like Bea’s use of the expression “to keep in touch”. She said, “We need to keep in touch with our friends and our family.”
Bea said, X“
for many people are a very important invent“X. We can improve this by saying, “for many people IT IS a very important INVENTION.”
I’ve said before that it’s very difficult when you’re speaking to be quick enough to think about correct English, there isn’t time. But if you hear yourself make a mistake, in your head, say something wrong, that might be a grammar mistake or a vocabulary mistake (‘invent’ instead of ‘invention’, for example), then correct it immediately. Don’t let the examiner think that you don’t know the correct word or grammar.
Bea and Tatiana speak and interact very well together. They use words like “absolutely, you’re totally right” to agree with eachother.
I liked Bea’s story about her grandmother buying ice to keep the food cold, like a fridge. She told the story very well except for one small error. Did you hear it? She said X“
go“X instead of “went”
and she was speaking about the past.
They quickly move on from fridges to talk about aeroplanes. It’s important to keep the task (and the conversation) moving, but you don’t have to talk about EVERY idea in the task.
Tatiana gives her opinion well by using the expression “As far as I’m concerned….”
She also asks her partners opinion with the phrases, “What about you? What’s your opinion?” These expressions are very useful. Try to learn them and use them in part 3 when you take the test.
She also disagrees with Bea by using the expression “I completely disagree with you.”
At the end, Bea corrected herself very well. She remembered that ‘agree’ is a verb. She said wrongly X“
I’m agree“X, but she immediately corrected herself by saying “I agree”. Well done, Bea!
PART 4 (about 4 minutes)
Part 4 is the final part of the test and lasts for about 4 minutes.
The examiner will ask you and your partner some questions that are connected to part 3. The subject, or topic, will be the same,
but the questions are very wide and open and you will be asked your opinion on the subject in general.
Let’s see how Bea and Tatiana answer their part 4 questions.
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?
Do you think we will ever have self´driving cars?
Do you agree, Bea?
How do you think technology will develop in the future?
And what’s your opinion, Tatiana?
Thank you very much. That’s the end of the test. Goodbye!
Bea and Tatiana answer the questions well in the final part. They express their opinions and they give full, complete answers.
Bea said, “I think I prefer the train, because I don’t really like aeroplanes.” (very good!) Then she says, X“
I’m a little afraid about the highers.“X
The preposition with afraid is usually ‘of’ and the noun of ‘high’ is ‘heights’, so the correct expression is “I’m a little afraid of heights.”
Sometimes, in this part, the examiner will ask you if you agree with your partner. You must listen to what your partner says. Here, I asked Bea if she agrees with Tatiana’s opinion that we will have self-driving cars.
Bea agrees, but she didn’t just say “yes, I agree” and stop! She continued and said that she’s a little stange because she doesn’t really like cars or driving. She finds is so stressful.
It’s very good to do this. Give a full answer and say how you feel, Don’t give a short answer and stop.
You’re doing a speaking test, so SPEAK! Show the examiner that you can speak English and you can speak it well. The examiners can’t guess how good your English is, you have to show them!
Bea said that X“
doctors and medicine will be very improving“X. I think it would be better to say, “Doctors and medicine in general will improve a lot in the future.” or you could change the verb ‘improve’ to a noun and say, “I think we will see a big improvement in medicine in the future.”
Bea also tried quite a difficult sentence and she nearly got it right. She said, X“
As more improves the technology, more facilities doctors have.“X I would correct this a little and say,
“The more technology improves, the more facilities (or abilities) doctors have.”
Tatiana tried the same sentence structure and she also came very close to getting it right. It’s good to try difficult grammar structures in the test, even if you do make a small mistake.
Don’t keep your grammar and vocabulary too simple and basic.
Tatiana said, X“
The more inventions are in this area, the less problems of healthy we have.”X I would change this to, “The more inventions there are in this area, the less health problems we’ll have.”
(‘health’ is the noun and ‘healthy’ is the adjective)
In my opinion, both Bea and Tatiana both passed that speaking test. I’d like to thank them 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.
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Muy buena gracias por toda la ayuda que prestan
It’s our pleasure 🙂
Edgar E. Vidal
I’m learning English and I think that it was a really good podcast to listen to.
Thanks Edgar. I’m pleased you found the podcast useful.
Very valuable podcast.
Thank you 🙂
Very useful! Thanks
Hey Craig! Sandra here from the UCV. using your podcast for a speaking workshop I’ll be teaching in Jan. Great stuff here! I aslo shared your podcast and website with my students 🙂
Thanks, Sandra. Glad you find it useful. Let me know if you ned anything and we’d love to have you as a guest in the New Year to talk about American English!