FCE Speaking Paper: The Key to Success (Step 1)

On the first part of the FCE Speaking Paper, you will need to speak about yourself for up to one minute. However, this is not as easy as it may sound!

Try and speak for one minute while recording yourself and then listen back. How does it sound? Is it fluent with no pauses? Do you repeat yourself? Are you managing to talk about yourself in an interesting way?

Part 1 on the FCE Speaking paper is where you have a chance to “sell yourself” and make a good first impression on the examiner. It is therefore vital that you prepare as best you can.

Write It Down
It may sound strange, but the best way to improve your speaking is to write down all the information that you want to include. At this point, don’t worry if what you have written takes more than one minute to read back. What is important is that you include everything about yourself:

  • your family background
  • your education
  • your hobbies
  • your holidays
  • your work experience
  • your future plans
  • etc., etc., etc.

Once you have finished writing, read through your text and look at how you can improve it. Analyse your text in detail: can you add adjectives; can you “lift” the language by using more advanced vocabulary; can you make more complex sentence structures; etc.? Here are some examples on improvements that can be made:

“My name is Pilar and I’m from Spain.”

“My name is Pilar and I was born in Barcelona but I’m currently living in Madrid.”

“I’m 20 years old and I study at the university.”

“I have just turned 20 and I’m currently studying English Literature and Art History at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.”

Once you are fairly happy with your text, record yourself again and listen back. Does it sound better than the first recording? Can you improve it further?

This “speaking document” should be a “live” document and as you progress in your FCE studies, you should constantly update it until you are satisfied with it.

Once the first introductions have been made, the examiner will ask you further questions about yourself and you should be able to use the information that you have prepared and answer the questions fluently.

Remember, the better you prepare, the more likely you are to be successful on the FCE Speaking paper.

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