The CAE Speaking test is designed to test your ability to speak English in a conversational format. You will be tested with two or three other candidates, two Cambridge examiners will be with you, one who will ask the questions, and one who will score your speaking ability. In order to practice for this exam it is best to work with one or two other test takers, and a teacher. You have to be able to speak, listen and respond to the other’s responses. You may not know the other test takers who will tested with you on the day of the test. You have to be able to speak to anyone, and respond in with an extended answer, a short “yes” or “no” will not get you a good score.
The Four parts of the CAE speaking exam
The first part is the icebreaker part of the exam. The examiner will ask basic questions.
The format of the questions will be something like this:
Q. Hello, My name is Mrs.Smith and this is my colleague Mr.Pinkley, we are your examiners today.We would like to know something about you What is your name and where do you come from? .
Q. Why are you studying English?
Q. Why are you taking the CAE Exam?
Q. What are your hobbies and interests?
The second part of the exam tests your ability to speak about a topic, compare and contrast, hypothesize, and respond to a topic.
Here the examiner will give you a set of pictures, you have to find two which have something in common or contrast between two of them. You will have to speak for one minute without interruption, your partner will have to answer questions about your pictures. Then the roles are reversed. Your fellow examinee will be given a different set of pictures, he will speak for one minute about the pictures, and then you will answer questions about the pictures.
Tips for this task: Find two pictures that have either something in common or completely opposite, comment on this and hypothesize what the people in the pictures are feeling at the time. End your speech with a conclusion about the pictures. You should practice describing pictures in which people are depicted doing actions. Time yourself so that you can compare and contrast the pictures within the one minute time limit.
Part three test your ability to have a conversation about people. You will be given a few pictures, and as a group you will have to comment about the pictures. For example if the pictures are about people in different occupations, then you will have to talk about how these different people affect our lives. Then there will be a second question, for example, which job is more stressful. You will have to decide the answer and speak about this.
You will have to listen to what your partner says. This mean to actively listen, and be able to respond to his or her comments about the pictures. If you need time to think, you can use expressions like this: “That is a very interesting point, let me think for a second, oh, yes I feel that . . . ”
This part of the test will last about four minutes.
The examiner will join in the discussion and ask questions about the pictures that were used in Part Three. These questions will be more about your personal reactions to the pictures, or questions relating to what in the pictures are important in your native country. This part of the test will last four minutes. Here it is important to actively listen to your fellow examinee, make comments about what the other person said, and you can use personal examples to support your opinion about the pictures.
Good luck in preparing for the CAE, if you follow these tips, then you will score well