CAE Part 2 Speaking

On this page we take a look at CAE Part 2 speaking and how to give a better speaking performance in this part of the test.

How It Works

The C1 Part 2 speaking task


In this part of the test I’m going to give each of you three photographs. I’d like you to compare two of them on your own for about a minute and also to answer a question briefly about your partner’s pictures. 

Candidate A it’s your turn first. Here are your pictures. They show photographers in different situations. I’d like you to compare two of the photographs and say what might be difficult for  photographers in each situation and say who might be interested in their photographs.

Sample CAE Part 2 Speaking Example 

cae part 2 pictures

Examiner: Thank You.

Candidate B  which picture is most difficult to take? Why?

What to do in the C1 Part 2 Speaking


Choose your photos and quickly read the questions. Although the Part 2 exercise uses pictures, it is not just a description exercise at Cambridge Advanced. If you look at the first question from this exercise it’s asking you for your opinion about what’s happening in the pictures.

How difficult might it be for photographers in these situations?

You do need to describe briefly what you can see in the individual pictures but then you must offer your opinion about this question for each picture you choose.

Tip #1 Use relevant and clear vocabulary.

  • For your chosen photographs identify what you think they are and where they are.
  • For our examples we have some form of wildlife shoot, possibly a wedding photography session and a group of press photographers covering some type of important event.
  • What words and expressions help clearly describe these photographs?

Tip #2 Join your ideas together.

  • Linking words are essential here. The usual whereas, however, in contrast, on the one hand are all useful here. Practise using them naturally.
  • Consider using discourse expressions here like  I suppose, I mean, actually and  speculate using modal verbs like might could etc.

Tip #3 Be accurate in your grammar.

  • While it goes without saying, you should have no serious errors with your grammar.
  • Try to vary the type of grammar expressions you use as much as you can.

Tip #4 Be natural.

  • As with all the other parts of the C1 speaking exam Part 2 is also about being natural. So any time you want to use an expression think of how well it fits with what you want to say.
  • Idiomatic expressions can be great at any time but it doesn’t always improve an exam score to try to simply include them. If the context is right then they can help you make a good impression.

Tip #5 Keep talking.

  • While this may also be quite obvious it is important to speak for the specified time. Until the examiner tells you to stop it’s your time.
  • Spend time practising before your Cambridge Advanced exam and speaking test. This practice needs to consist of you speaking for a minute or more about a range of pictures and topics. Use stopwatch on a computer or phone. This should help ensure you won’t stop during this CAE picture task. Some candidates occasionally find it difficult to start again once they stop.

Tip #6 Answer the second Candidate B question fully.

What applies to the main picture task also applies when you answer the second question after your partner has finished speaking. Answer it as best you can in as much detail as you can. You should try to speak for about 30 seconds.

Final Note

In comparison with other parts of the test although candidates do talk for longer alone in the Advanced Part 2 speaking there is no reason why it should be more challenging. After all you do have the two photographs to provide you with ideas and they are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your range of language.

Sample C1 Part 2 Answer

 Here’s sample answer for this set of pictures.

OK I’m going to choose pictures number one and 3. (Optional)

First Question – Picture 1

The first picture looks like it’s some kind of nature setting and you have a photographer there with some animals. It looks like some kind of desert so there’s a physical challenge for anybody in that kind of environment. I think you also need an awful lot of patience to get very good photos especially when you are waiting for animals to appear.

First Question – Picture 2

In contrast the 3rd picture is an urban setting where there is a very large group of photographers.  I suppose they are what we call paparazzi and they are there waiting for somebody important to arrive, maybe a politician or celebrity. In this case what makes it difficult is that there are so many of them so getting a good photograph is not going to be easy and they can end up fighting for the best position.

Second Question

I think they all need a lot of skill and patience but I’d say the photo of the press photographers would be extremely challenging. I mean, it’s hard to get a good shot and they are quite limited in what they can see. It’s also the kind of press event where things move quickly and people only have a short window to react.  

NOTE: The idea of indicating which pictures you plan to talk about is optional. Some people prefer to do it that way even though it is unlikely to have any effect on the overall score. It can be a useful way to focus on the pictures and to let the examiner know which ones you are talking about. 

To find out more take a look at our review of a complete sample CAE speaking exam

Learn more about other parts of the Advanced Speaking Test

CAE Speaking Part 1

Questions in this part of the test are very general

CAE Speaking Part 3

In Part 3 discuss each topic together

CAE Speaking Part 4

Give opinions on a similar theme to Part 3

Advanced Speaking

See our guide to the speaking test

CAE Speaking Part 4

Give opinions on a similar theme to Part 3

Advanced Speaking

See our guide to the speaking test