Skills tested


The task is to answer 3 questions on different topics

comparing, stating an opinion, giving explanations, describing a place, describing a person

Picture Story

The candidate receives a picture story with an opening line; the task is to tell the story

sequencing events, describing cause and effect, comparing, describing experiences

Transactional Dialogues

The candidate receives a cue card and the task is to act out the situation on the card

functional exponents for requesting /giving information, asking for clarification, booking something, confirming / denying, paying for something


The two candidates receive a card with a sentence describing a problem or situation. The task is to discuss the issues in pairs

stating an opinion / preference, giving reasons, and comparing / getting to an agreement


Preparing Students for the Speaking Test

Students who have been following a general English course in a situation where English is primarily used in the classroom, and where the focus is on using English in everyday situations, will already be able to make a reasonable attempt at the exam tasks. It is important that they have an understanding of what is expected in each task.

For the first task, candidates should be able to introduce themselves and say a few things about themselves. In practising this in class, the teacher should discourage scripted, memorised monologues, but rather get students to interview each other (here scripted questions are fine), getting the interviewers to ask questions in an unpredictable order so that the ‘candidate’ gets practice paying attention to question content and responding spontaneously. It is vital too for students to know what to do and say when they don’t understand a question – how to ask the interlocutor to repeat the question for instance – so that a communication breakdown does not occur at the outset of the speaking exam. Assure students that the interlocutor is interested in them feeling at ease, so that they can carry out the subsequent tasks to the best of their ability, and this first stage is intended partly to warm up and relax the candidates.

As the picture sequence task requires a simple use of narrative tenses, specific practice in this area (all coursebooks have a unit devoted to narrative tenses) is essential; work on sequencing linkers (then, later on, at the same time) is also important. The teacher can provide practice activities where students are given a picture sequence and notes made by the teacher. The latter serve as a model for the kind of notes the candidate might prepare, and also give practice speaking from limited prompts (untrained candidates often try to write out the whole story instead of just brief prompts). In class, students can practise telling stories to each other, have competitions for whose is the funniest, the most original, etc., and also write their stories out, both for the amusement of anyone who might read them, and as a means for the teacher to give focused feedback on language.