FCE Speaking Paper: The Key to Success (Step 2)

Tips and advice for FCE students on how to pass the FCE Speaking ExamOn the second part of the FCE Speaking Paper, you are given two pictures that you will need to compare while speaking uninterrupted for one minute. The comparison should be based on the question that is printed above the pictures.

As with part 1 on the FCE Speaking Paper, try and speak for one minute about two pictures that have a similar topic 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 the pictures in an interesting way?

Write It Down
Once again, it may sound strange, but the best way to improve your speaking is to write down a template that you follow when doing this particular type of task.

You need to start with a standard opening phrase that you can use irrespective of the topic, e.g.:

  • It seems to me what these two pictures have in common is (topic). However, they do differ in some ways.

You then need to compare and contrast the two pictures. To do this, you need to make sure that you are confident in the use of different types of linkers.

In your template you should start by dealing with the first picture, then move on to the second picture. You should finish by summing up your comparison.

Try and include a wide range of phrases and vocabulary in your template, i.e:

  • The first picture depicts ….
  • First of all, I would like to point out that …
  • On the other hand, picture two portrays ….
  • From my point of view, the situation depicted in the picture is …
  • Furthermore, I believe that this ….
  • In addition, this picture also shows …
  • To sum up, while the pictures are quite different, they also have a number of similarities …

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

This “speaking template” should be a “live” document and as you progress in your FCE studies, you should constantly update it until you are satisfied with it. Only then should you decide on your final template, and focus on delivering it in one minute without it sounding “rehearsed”.

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

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