FCE exam speaking tips

Speaking is often the most important skill for learners of English. Speaking skills, however, do not develop in isolation: improving your listening skills, for example, will eventually help you improve your speaking skills. Moreover, there are some simple tips that will improve your performance on the day of the speaking test.


Paper format

The FCE Speaking paper is made up of four parts and lasts approximately 14 minutes. The two candidates are asked to respond to the examiner’s questions individually in Part 1 while, in Part 2, they are required to take an individual long turn followed by a brief response from the other candidate. In Part 3, the two candidates have a conversation using visual materials and in Part 4 there is a discussion on topics related to Part 3.


Tip # 1: Give full answers (Part 1)

Candidates should try to answer the examiner’s questions in full. Short, “yes” or “no” answers do not give the examiner a good impression and should be avoided. Ideal answers are normally made up of two to three sentences. Offering examples to explain an answer is a good way to make answers longer.


Tip # 2: Organise your talk (Part 2)

After having looked at the visual materials, the candidate should start with a general summary or description of the topic, and then continue with the similarities and differences between the two photographs. Finally, the candidate can offer their opinion with examples. When preparing for the speaking test, learners should practice making one-minute talks as often as possible. 


Tip # 3: Work collaboratively (Part 3)

Candidates should work together in this part of the speaking test. They should be prepared to listen to each other carefully and ask for each other’s opinions instead of simply talking about their own ideas. They are allowed to agree or disagree on certain aspects of the topic, and they should use appropriate language to say so.


Tip # 4: Respond constructively and show interest (Part 4)

As before, short answers should be avoided. The candidates should continue to work with each other, show interest in, and respond to what the other is saying. When preparing for this part of the test, learners should practice general conversation skills and cover a wide variety of topics.


If you’re interested in developing your English skills further to prepare for the FCE exam, take a look at our Cambridge Exam Preparation course. 

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