Let’s start with a quick recap on what happens in the Cambridge Advanced Speaking Exam. It is 15 minutes long and consists of four parts.
Part 1 General Questions – 2 minutes
Part 2 Individual Long Turn using photographs – 4 minutes
Part 3 Collaborative Task – 4 minutes
Part 4 Discussion – 5 minutes
What are they looking for?
A successful candidate in the Cambridge Advanced speaking test is someone who can demonstrate a wide variety of language in their speaking. They are also accurate in their grammar and in their pronunciation of sounds.
What to do in each part of the exam
These are very general questions , typically about things like routines and leisure activities. Answer them as well as you can.
Choose two out of three pictures in the exercise and answer both questions.
Each topic is discussed by both candidates. Interaction is key here and be sure to involve your partner in the discussion. In the second part of the task you are asked to make a choice you do not have to agree with your partner.
Answer the questions you are asked in as much detail as you can. Make sure that you listen to your partner as you will have to respond to what they say.
What to Do
- Be natural
Anything you say should sound like it’s how you speak naturally.
- Give full answers
“Yes” and “No” answers are not adequate at Cambridge Advanced. Look for any opportunity to expand on your answer and demonstrate your range of language.
- Pay Attention
While this goes without saying, you need to be alert and listening to what both your partner and the examiner are saying.
What Not to Do
- Do not interrupt
In interactions there should only be one voice. Avoid interruptions.
- Do not monopolise the conversation
The exam involves two people. Be respectful and encouraging towards your partner.
- Try not to learn off special expressions for the exam
While it is important to show variety, very specific learnt phrases are often noticeable to examiners and they may not always improve your score. They can also draw attention to errors.
- Do not overuse expressions to help you think
Some teachers & websites actively encourage this. Although it is a natural feature of speech, their overuse can suggest that a candidate is either hesitating too much or that they have difficulty maintaining a conversation.