Long turn (part 2) 3 minutes: In this part of the exam, each candidate must speak individually for 1 minute (do not stop until the examiner says “thank you”) about a question and 2 photos. The candidate needs to compare the images to answer the question using a variety of connectors and complex grammar (passive, relative clauses, conditionals, wish, modal verbs) to show that they can organise and extend their speech. Do not just describe, you need to go from one image to the next to make your points. It is essential to only talk about the points that are relevant to the question. Complex grammar is easy to use; you should use fixed phrases, like:
- (passive) This photo was taken/These photos were taken…
- (impersonal passive) It is said that…
- (relative clauses) There is a person who is…/There are some people who are…
- (modals) This is a beautiful image, it may/might/could be…..
- (conditionals) If I were the person in the picture, I would/could…
- (wish/if only) The activity in the picture looks fun, If only/I wish I could
Another important thing to look at is the use of connectors (HERE), especially for contrast:
- on the other hand
- even though
- in spite of
It is also a good idea to conclude the long turn with a simple conclusion that gives your opinion about the questions. Use these simple expressions:
- to sum up
- in a nutshell
- on balance
- all in all
- in the end
- in summary
- to finish off
After describing the images, your partner will answer a simple question for about 30 seconds.
Which is the most productive way of spending your free time?
Question for other candidate: How do you usually spend your free time?
DOWNLOAD 12 EXAMPLE EXAM QUESTIONS IN PDF HERE
HOW THE SPEAKING EXAM IS EVALUATED:
The speaking exam is done with a partner that you can choose or it can also be a trio of 3 candidates.
The speaking exam for the B2 first certificate exam (FCE) consists of 4 parts including: an interview, long turn, collaborative task and discussion, it is a paired activity and lasts between 12-14 minutes. The parts are always the same so it is easy to practice. The evaluation scale for the B2 ranges from 0-5, candidates need a 3 to pass. The evaluation scale is split into 4 sections.
- Grammar and vocabulary
- Discourse management
- Interactive communication
Candidates are assessed by 2 examiners (Interlocutor 25%/Evaluator 75%) and the evaluation scale is readily available on the Cambridge website. The interlocutor is the person who asks you questions, the evaluator only listens and assesses.
What is says is as follows:
For grammar and vocabulary “the candidate shows a good degree of control of a range of simple and some complex grammatical forms. Uses a range of appropriate vocabulary to give and exchange views on a wide range of familiar topics”. This basically means that you grammar is correct with simple structures and you can use some difficult grammar (passive, conditionals, modal verbs etc.) and that your vocabulary is good when talking about the topics from the units of study.
For discourse management “Produces extended stretches of language with very little hesitation. Contributions are relevant and there is a clear organisation of ideas. Uses a range of cohesive devices and discourse markers”. This part of the evaluation states that you need to organise your speech, use various connectors (5-8), what you say is focussed on answering the questions and you do not doubt much when you are speaking.
For pronunciation “Is intelligible. Intonation is appropriate. Sentence and word stress is accurately placed. Individual sounds are articulated clearly”. Basically the examiners need to understand you easily and your intonation needs to seem English. As I have said in the pronunciation section, Spanish speakers rarely fail this part but it is also an easy part to get a good grade on to help with your overall mark/result.
For interactive communication “Initiates and responds appropriately, linking contributions to those of other speakers. Maintains and develops the interaction and negotiates towards an outcome”. This means that you can form questions well, you can continue a conversation and make it interesting, and you can link topics to other topics or to what your partner has said. And that you try to give a conclusion. I always tell candidates that you want to think of it as la patata caliente. You do not want to speak for too long (20 seconds maximum) and then you pass it to your partner with a question or a question tag. It is an informal conversation and you can interrupt and show disagreement. Try to be creative and give the activity a context, boring conversations usually get a bad mark/grade.