My last speaking post concerns Part 3 and 4 of the oral exam, when you talk to your partner discussing photos (3) or answering the examiner’s questions.
When you look at the official Cambridge brochure, what you need to present in the oral exam is the following 12 skills:
For Part 2 mostly:
- comparing (whereas, slightly more, by far the biggest)
- describing (in the top right picture)
- speculating (it seems as if, might, doesn’t look particularly)
For Parts 3 and 4:
- general interaction (right*, well**, where shall we begin?)
- sustaining interaction (moving on to, shall we move on?, anyway, as I was saying)
- expressing opinions (it seems to me that, I believe that, as I see it, from my point of view, I have an impression)
- justifying opinions (you see, I mean, besides, basically)
- (dis)agreeing (I completely agree, I couldn’t agree more, I think I see what you mean but***, that’s true in a way I suppose but)
- exchanging ideas (what about you? I bet you, so all in all do you feel)
- suggesting (why don’t we, how about, wouldn’t it be better to)
- evaluating (looks like we have a winner here, so it’s definitely out, let’s cross this one out shall we)
- concluding (so to sum up, it seems we have reached a conclusion)
*”Right” is what you say quietly WHILE your partner is speaking. It’s good manners in English to make noises to show you are listening.
**Feel free start ANY utterance with “well” if you are talking to the examiner. You can also start ANY utterance with “so” if you are talking to your partner.
***In English you can’t say that you disagree. You need to somewhat agree, then present your point of view after the “but”.
The best way to practise the expressions is to find a partner and prepare a set of cards with the expressions. Try:
- talking about anything using the cards
- doing exam tasks from Part 4 using the cards
- doing exam tasks from Part 3 using the cards
- doing exam tasks from Part 3 using the cards and timing your task (give yourselves 3-4 minutes)
- doing exam tasks from Part 3 without the cards
As you can see, what you have to do during the exam is:
- to use a lot of expressions rather than say something intelligent
- to do “the ping pong” with your partner, that is either encourage them to speak or fight for your turn
- not to waste too much time at each photo, keep moving on, time flies