THE FCE BLOG by Claudia Ceraso

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cambridge English First - Oral Exam Part 2

This is not the first time I have written about the oral exam. A quick Google search today has pointed at a lot of teachers writing about the FCE, so it is time to link to them and the great job they are doing to help their students learn.

Understanding English shares a couple of videos on  the oral exam. By the way, thank you Gordon for your kind words about this blog and for introducing Simon and Marcela. We have been exploring their blogs with my students.

Let's take a closer look at part 2. This is the part where you are supposed to compare two pictures and answer a question about them in one minute. Then, your partner will be asked a short question about your picture (30 seconds) before his turn.

I asked my students today what they find challenging about this part. Let me share their answers:

-The pictures are not that inspiring. At times, it is hard to improvise ideas about them.
-As you speak, you become more aware of the language you are using. You keep monitoring yourself and that is kind of "tense".
-Sometimes, you find you need the "right" word or expression and you cannot find it so...ahem, you need to say something else!

Fair enough. I'd say, try to think about this test as a game with rules that we can play clumsily at first and get better with  practice. Check out this previous post for ideas on how to practice on your own.

Practice and tips, of course.

This is a page for teachers, but you will find there a list of 38 useful phrases to use in part 2. There is a full description of the format of this part as well as detailed advice on the language you may be expected to use.

If the previous page has too much detail for you, I'd recommend a visit to FCE Pass. Find a brief collection of phrases arranged by function: description, comparison, expressing differences and answering the question. There are photos for practice, too.

This pdf document highlights useful phrases for asking for clarification, correcting yourself and the language of speculation, which is very important in this part.

Lastly, I'd like to recommend this video of part 2 with advice from a teacher to their students as they perform for part 2. This is not an example from Cambridge, it is useful practice, though.



More? Okay.

Related post
See this previous post for a description of the language needed for the complete oral test.









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