CAE Practice tests for the EFL Exams Home  
  About CAE Use of English Writing Reading Speaking  

More about the Cambridge Advanced Speaking paper

Remember: You will do this exam with another candidate. If you are the last people taking the exam that day, there might be more then one other candidate, but mostly there will two candidates doing the test. The other person is not a competitor. The interlocutor will make sure you have time to talk. Also people who try to do all the talking are showing poor language skills, and may even lose marks. Contribute to discussions, but do not completely dominate them. There will be two examiners. One is the interlocutor, who will talk to you. The other is the marker, who will sit quietly and take notes of your language skill.

For the first part of the test, the interlocutor may ask questions like 'How are you?' 'Do you live in this city?'. This is the kind of conversation we call 'small talk'. At this time the examiner will for his first impression, so it is important that it should be a good one. Practice this kind of conversation as much as you can with your friends, and see how it is done in English-language films.

The second part of the test may have two pictures linked by an idea - for example you might see children on a beach, and old people at a historic site. you will see that the theme is leisure and holidays, and you should compare the pictures explaining what is the same (people on holiday) and what is different (the age of the people, the type of holiday). The interlocutor may ask you some questions like 'Where did you go for your last holiday?' but you should speak for yourself as much as you can without being prompted.

In the third part you may have a picture - for example different kinds of houses, or something written down, such as advertisements for things to do in the evening. You will be given a task, such as to arrange the houses in order according to which you think is best, or you may be told to look at the advertisements and plan your evening. Remember to use expressions such as 'Well, I think ...' or 'on the other hand ...' 'it's up to you, but I would prefer ...'.

In the fourth part the interlocutor might expand one of the themes - with the example questions here he might ask 'Do you think young pepole today have more leisure than their parents?' You will be asked to give reasons for any statements you make, so again, it is a good idea to practice having this kind of discussion. You can practice by trying to explain something to an imaginary person.

You are marked on a number of factors. Your fluency is important, as is the range of your vocabulary and whether you use expressions in the correct way. But just as important is how you use the language ability you have. It is better to express yourself clearly using a slightly more limited range than to be incomprehensible with a large vocabulary. Also, there is no harm in speaking slowly and thoughtfully provided that you don't overdo it. Your timing and rhythm are much more important than how fast you speak.

©2006 Biscuit Software