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The Speaking Test

Introduction

The speaking test is paper 5 of the Cambridge Advanced English exam. We cannot give you a
practice speaking test, because you need someone to speak to. However, we will tell you about
the test and give you some advice on how to prepare for it. Remember you will be tested
together with at least one other student.

Part 1. Lasts for about three minutes. Tests how you make introductions, and find and give
personal information. (e.g. names and addresses.)
Part 2. Three to four minutes. Talk about a topic suggested by a picture. Each candidate talks
for about one minute.
Part 3. Three to four minutes. Group discussion about a particular situation to test how you
agree, disagree and make a point.
Part 4. Three to four minutes. Wider group conversation. The examiner prompts a more
general discussion on one of the topics you have discussed.

The whole paper takes about 15 minutes and gives you 20% of your total mark. Click the link
below to see how the papers are marked and for more information about the test.

Here you can see an example how a speaking exam might begin. This first
part lasts for about three minutes. When you have read it through click on
ANALYSIS.

Functions 4

Here you can see an example how a speaking exam might begin. This first
part lasts for about three minutes. When you have read it through click on
ANALYSIS.
Interlocutor: "Come on in. Have a seat. It's hot today isn't it?"

Hans: "Yes"

Miguel: "Yes, it is, isn't it? It's been hot all week."

Interlocutor: "Do you two know each other?"

Hans: "Yes, we are in the same school of languages."

Interlocutor: "Can you introduce me?"

Miguel: "Sure, I am Miguel, er Miguel Carrera, this is Hans Bloeston."

Interlocutor: " I'm pleased to meet you. Have you known Miguel long, Hans?"

Hans: "Yes, we have, since the start of the term. We are often studying together, but we do not sit together in the
class. I am by the front but Miguel likes to sit near the back."

Miguel: "I sit with a friend of mine back there. It's not such a good idea, you know, because he speaks Spanish
too. If I sat with Hans then I would have to speak more English!"
Interlocutor: "Does your teacher let you speak Spanish in the classroom? Or German?"

Hans: "Sometimes, yes."

Miguel: "Or sometimes when we are doing exercises, we speak it quietly, even when we shouldn't. It's wrong,
maybe, but it is a do you call it a temptation?"

Interlocutor: "That's right. Do you have any brothers or sisters, Hans?"

Hans: "She is a sister - she is younger than me, Yes, I am well, eighteen years old, so she is now fifteen."

Miguel: "What's she called?"

Hans: "Her name is Freya."

Miguel: "That's a nice name. Is she learning English too?"

ANALYSIS.

Interlocutor: "Come on in. Have a seat. It's hot today isn't it?"

Hans: "Yes"
This reply is a bit short - with a native speaker this reply would mean that the speaker wanted
to finish the conversation.

Miguel: "Yes, it is, isn't it? It's been hot all week."
This is a better answer, because it shows competence with social speaking techniques (small
talk).

Interlocutor: "Do you two know each other?"

Hans: "Yes, we are in the same school of languages."

Interlocutor: "Can you introduce me?"

Miguel: "Sure, I am Miguel, er Miguel Carrera, this is Hans Bloeston."


This slight hesitation and correction is fine, because many native speakers would do exactly
the same.

Interlocutor: " I'm pleased to meet you. Have you known Miguel long, Hans?"

Hans: "Yes, we have, since the start of the term. We are often studying together, but we do
not sit together in the class. I am by the front but Miguel likes to sit near the back."
The small errors in this statement will be marked as 'non-impeding errors' because they do not
seriously interfere with communication.

Miguel: "I sit with a friend of mine back there. It's not such a good idea, you know, because
he speaks Spanish too. If I sat with Hans then I would have to speak more English!"
The 'filler' here ('you know' ) is good style, and much better than using the filler 'errrrrr'!

Interlocutor: "Does your teacher let you speak Spanish in the classroom? Or German?"

Hans: "Sometimes, yes."


Miguel: "Or sometimes when we are doing exercises, we speak it quietly, even when we
shouldn't. It's wrong, maybe, but it is a do you call it a temptation?"
The examiner will not mark you down for being ambitious, especially if you use the right
constructions to get feedback on possible errors - but do not be ambitious and
incomprehensible.

Interlocutor: "That's right. Do you have any brothers or sisters, Hans?"

The interlocutor has decided to find out more about how Hans manages general conversation,
so she rather suddenly changes the subject.

Hans: "She is a sister - she is younger than me, Yes, I am well, eighteen years old, so she is
now fifteen."

Miguel: "What's she called?"

Hans: "Her name is Freya."

Miguel: "That's a nice name. Is she learning English too?"

Miguel is doing the right things to keep the conversation going without interfering with Han's
opportunity to express himself.

Summary

Hans is the weaker student. His replies are often too short, and some of
his constructions ('A school of languages' instead 'of a language school' ,
'She is a sister' instead of 'I have a sister') are rather clumsy. While Hans
has made no serious errors, he has not shown fluency or particular skill
either. Miguel seems relaxed and has made no serious errors, so the
examiner has decided to give Hans a chance to demonstrate more of his
language ability by asking him to speak about his family- while also testing
how Miguel keeps the conversation going with someone who is not
naturally talkative.
In the second part of the CAE speaking test you are shown a set of
pictures, and you will be asked to talk about them for approximately one
minute. All of the pictures have a common idea, and you should try to find
this. The person you are with will also be asked one or two short questions
about the pictures. Then you and your partner will exchange roles.

Part A.

BOTH CANDIDATES: YESTERDAY & TODAY

1.1 1.2

2.2
2.1

3.1 3.2
Part B.

In this part of the CAE speaking test you are shown a single picture, and
you will be asked to talk about it for approximately one minute. The
person you are with will also be asked one or two short questions about
the pictures. Then you and your partner will exchange roles.
EACH CANDIDATE: STATUES AND MEANING

HINT: When was this statue made?


What is it made from? Why was it
made - what does the sculptor
want you to think when you look at
it? Who is being shown? an old,
person, a young person? Why is
he dressed like this? Can you
describe his clothing/ His
expression? Where do you think
you would find a statue like this/ do
you like it?

A.

HINT: When was this sculpture


made? Do you like it? Do you find
it is relaxing/annoying/ boring?
Why? What is it made from? Are
the shapes natural? What are they
doing? Where are they looking? Is
the stone rough/smooth? What is
the woman wearing? Is this a
family group? How can you tell?
Where would you find a sculpture
like this? Do you prefer classical or
modern art?

B.
CAE Speaking Part 3

H CANDIDATES: The CAE test

Here are some pets for you to choose. Working with your partner, arrange them in the order
that you would like to have them. Which one would you like most? Which would you like
least? Why?

Part 4

Here you can see the start of part 4 of the test. In the exam this part will be much
longer, lasting four to five minutes, depending how quickly the rest of the test went.

Interlocutor: "Do you think it is right for people to keep exotic pets?"

Miguel: "Exotic is like strange and unusual, isn't it?"

Hans: "Yes"

Interlocutor: "I mean things like lions, or spiders?"

Hans: "I think it is okay to have a lion if you have a big place. A big, safe place for it."

Miguel: "I won't want that spider to escape either!"

Hans: "It's not so dangerous as a lion."

Miguel: "I think it's bad to keep exotic pets if they are kinds of animal that might go extinct."

Hans: "Then lions are okay - they are not going extinct. There are many lions in the world."

Interlocutor: "If you could have an exotic pet, what would it be?"

Miguel: "I think I would like that spider, because I could keep it in my bedroom, and then my
sister would never go in there!"

Hans: "But also not you ... I mean, you also would not go in - you have told me just now that
you don't like spiders."
Miguel: "This will be a guard spider for my things - I can sleep in another room."

Interlocutor: "Do you have a pet Hans?"

Hans: "I have a collie dog - she was a present for me on my birthday."

Interlocutor: "And you, Miguel?"

Miguel: "We have an apartment, and it is not so big for us to have a pet, in fact"

Analysis.

Interlocutor: "Do you think it is right for people to keep exotic pets?"
The interlocutor is expanding on the subject which was used as part of test 3.

Miguel: "Exotic is like strange and unusual, isn't it?"

This is the correct way to check the meaning of a word you are not sure about, so even though
Miguel does not know the word, he has shown good language skills.
Hans: "Yes"
This reply is too short, and anyone listening would not be sure if Hans is answering Miguel or
the interlocutor.

Interlocutor: "I mean things like lions, or spiders?"

Hans: "I think it is okay to have a lion if you have a big place. A big, safe place for it."

Miguel: "I won't want that spider to escape either!"

Hans: "It's not so dangerous as a lion."

Miguel: "I think it's bad to keep exotic pets if they are kinds of animal that might go extinct."

Hans: "Then lions are okay - they are not going extinct. There are many lions in the world."
Hans and Miguel are now having a good discussion, so the interlocutor lets them talk. Even
though Hans is using more limited English, he is making his points effectively.

Interlocutor: "If you could have an exotic pet, what would it be?"

Miguel: "I think I would like that spider, because I could keep it in my bedroom, and then my
sister would never go in there!"

Hans: "But also not you ... I mean, you also would not go in - you have told me just now that
you don't like spiders."
It is a good idea when your sentence is not working to leave it and start again as Hans has
done here. He correctly uses 'I mean' to show that he is going to try the sentence again. Even
native speakers sometimes have to do this.

Miguel: "This will be a guard spider for my things - I can sleep in another room."

Interlocutor: "Do you have a pet Hans?"

Hans: "I have a collie dog - she was a present for me on my birthday."
Interlocutor: "And you, Miguel?"

Miguel: "We have an apartment, and it is not so big for us to have a pet, in fact"
'In fact' is not correct here, but it shows that Migual understands that a usage like this (for
example 'actually') can go at the end of the sentence, and though he has made an error it does
not interfere with how the sentence would be understood. The 'not so big' instead of 'not big
enough' is rather more serious, because it is harder to understand.

Summary

In this part both Hans and Miguel have done well, because they have managed to
maintain a lively discussion. When they have made mistakes these have not interfered
with understanding (for example 'you have told me just now' should have been a simple
past rather then a present perfect). Remember at the FCE level you are not expected to
speak perfect, fluent and grammatical English. hovever, when a student uses language
imaginatively - such as Miguel's 'guard spider' this shows skill and language ability which
will help to gain a higher mark.