“Getting it right in the FCE Speaking Test” – Cathy Myers
For those of you unfamiliar with the FCE Speaking exam, in the second part each candidate is given two photos to compare and contrast and then the examiner asks the other candidate a related question.
Even though students can be shown two photos on any topic, we can prepare them for this part by helping them with their timing and reminding them each time we practise of what to talk about. They could compare the location, the situation, the people involved, the activities they’re doing, how they might be feeling. Candidates are expected to speculate a bit (using could, might, probably) and IF they have time left over, they can talk about their own experience/opinion. The best thing you can do when preparing students for this part is to be strict on time, just as the examiner will be on the day. When they’ve talked for a minute, stop them.
Another of Cathy’s tips when preparing students is to give them photos which include vocabulary they are unfamiliar with as paraphrasing is a key skill at FCE level.
Finally, train students to be as concise as possible when talking about the pictures – with only a minute to show what you can say, you don’t want to waste half your time saying, “Well, as we can see in the first picture, picture A, which is at the top of the page…whereas in the second picture, I mean picture B, which is below it at the bottom…” (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get what I mean!)