Cambridge Proficiency Part 2 Speaking

Cambridge Proficiency Part 2 with its combination of pictures and extended discussion incorporates familiar elements of other Cambridge speaking exams. Here we’ll examine it in detail and offer some tips on how to perform well.

CPE Part 2 Speaking Summary

Part 2 is where candidates look at a set of pictures they need to link around a general theme. As a task it is split into two parts. For both parts candidates will use a booklet which displays all of the pictures. In the first task the examiner indicates which pair of pictures to discuss. This initial task is more of a comparison than a discussion exercise as you can see from the sample question below. Bear in mind too that there is no fixed pattern as to which letters will be selected by the examiner in the exam and in this given example it is A and E.

Instructions & Sample CPE Part 2 Pictures

First set of instructions

In this part of the test you going to do something together. Here are some pictures which show people in different situations.  First I’d like you to talk about pictures (A) and (E) and say what might has happened before this.

You have about a minute for this so don’t worry if I interrupt you.

Proficiency part 2 pictures sample

After about a minute there is another set of instructions and a further task for both candidates.

Sample Instructions

Thank you. Now look at all the pictures. I’d like you to imagine that a magazine is planning an article on risk.  Talk together about the positive and negative aspects of risk, as shown here. Then suggest another type of risk that could be included in the article.

You have about three minutes to talk about this. 

Doing It better!

The focus of the Proficiency Part 2 is threefold

  • Tests candidate vocabulary ranges
  • Provides visual prompts to encourage the use of organised ideas
  • Encourages interaction and linking of ideas and opinions between candidates

Organisation is crucial here in the sense that candidates must attempt to produce well-developed ideas. Another aspect is that candidate interaction is also a key element.

Some ideas to consider

  • Practise with Pictures
    Whether it’s a single picture to generate ideas or a montage as you find in the exam, practice is paramount. For instance, changing the general theme also allows you to recycle picture sets. A theme of discovery, nature or disaster could just as easily work here as a description of the practice task.

  • Build Topic Vocabulary
    There is always scope to expand vocabulary range thematically. Generating lists from coursebook materials or other study material can help in demonstrating an appropriate range of vocabulary for C2.

  • Create a list of topics
    While you cannot predict what topics may appear on the exam, practising on as wide a range of topics as you can will help set you in the frame of mind to do the exam task. Whether they are very general or very specific the aim here is to train yourself for the flexibility of response that the exam requires.

  • You can also take a look at our review of a Proficiency speaking test .
CPE Speaking Part 1

Questions in this part are very general.

CPE Speaking Part 3

In Part 3 present a topic and discuss a related theme.

Proficiency Speaking

Take a look at our Proficiency speaking exam summary