And so to the final post – “But wait!” I hear you say, “There are four parts in the FCE Speaking exam!” That’s true, but we ran out of time in the session, so there are only three posts, I’m afraid!
The key point that Cathy made about the third part of the exam is that candidates are too quick to answer the second question which means that they don’t demonstrate the language expected. Candidates should be using language to put forward an opinion, agree, disagree, etc and they often jump to making a final decision. However, in this part of the exam, candidates don’t need to reach a final decision in order to pass – but they do need to demonstrate the language expected.
So, it is important when preparing students for this part to encourage them to respond and extend. A bad example of part 3:
A: I think we should buy him a watch because the one he’s got is really old.
B: No, I disagree. I think we should buy him a CD of his favourite group.
A: That’s a good idea. Or we could get him a photo album.
B: I don’t think so. We could get him…
And so on. In this part, students need to justify both their ideas and responses, making the conversation sound as natural as possible.
Remind students to show as much of what they know as possible!
Encourage them to use a wider variety of language (things could be fabulous, rather than good; or essential, rather than important) – careful with your collocations though!
Make sure students are familiar with the exam (great advice from my boss, Dani Jones) – although you don’t know exactly what language will come up in any part of the exam, you DO know exactly what the students need to do in each part so drill them constantly on the format (How many papers? What are they? What do you have to do in Paper 3, Part 2? How many questions are there? etc) I would also let your students know WHY you’re doing this as it can seem a bit patronising and get a bit annoying!