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FCE Speaking exam, part 2

Beitragsserien: First Certificate

FCE Speaking exam, part 2

5 tips for the speaking exam, part 2: The Long Turn

This is sometimes called ‘The Long Turn’ because you must speak for a minute on your own.

So, what happens in this part of the exam? You work with the other candidate in the exam room and you take it in turn to speak about some photographs that the examiner places in front of you. There will be two sets of photographs, one pair for you and one pair for the other candidate.

The examiner will tell you what to speak about and you then must speak for one minute, answering the examiner’s question. At the end of the minute, the examiner will ask the other candidate a question about your set of photos. The process is then repeated with the other candidate answering questions about his or her own set of photos. Listen and watch carefully because you will have to answer a question about these photos at the end.

Let’s look at an example, shall we? Here are two photos

Picture 1 cyclist on mountain


Picture 2 Two people with a kite surf

The examiner will give you the two photos and will then ask you a question. It always going to have the word ‘compare’ in it. “I’d like you to compare the photos and say ….”

Can you think of something the examiner might say about these photos?


“Compare the photos and say why the people have chosen these      activities.”

pastedGraphic.pngTip 1 Look for similarities and differences

What words could you use to start the description?

Both pictures show…

Both show…

Both display…

On the one hand…whilst on the other hand…

In one there is…but in the other we see…

Start with a short description of what is in each picture (not too much detail) but make sure that you don’t limit yourself to just what can be seen- see tip 3.

pastedGraphic_1.pngTip 2 Extra ways to say what you can see

Don’t forget to add in phrases that show you can extend your description:

Also, I can see…

In each picture there’s a piece of equipment, as well

Additionally, in the right -hand picture …

They’re alike in that they both….

As in picture 1, picture 2 shows…

pastedGraphic_2.pngTip 3 Expand the conversation beyond the obvious- speculate

You don’t only have to talk about what you can see. Add in some possibilities and give your opinion Use your imagination. Words and phrases that tell the examiner you’re doing this include:


I wonder if…

I wonder if the guy on the bike is an experienced rider?

She/ He/ They might be…

It could be that….

It could be that the kite surfer is recovering from an injury and needs some help to get back onto the board.

I’d say that…

I believe that…

It seems to me that…

It seems to me that the other person in the water is a teacher.

It’s hard to say but…

I’m not very interested in…but…

I’m not very interested in outdoor activities, but I think the cycling looks more enjoyable.

pastedGraphic_3.pngTip 4 What if you don’t know much about the subject?

Don’t panic! You know a lot, honestly.

Start with the basic questions. Who, what, where, when, why?

Where are the pictures taken?

Indoors, outdoors, at work, at home, during a leisure activity,


Time of day, time of year, present or in the past, a special event like a birthday perhaps?


You may have to interpret the pictures, but this is a great section to show your vocabulary;

“I wonder if the person is……. A student, a teacher, a beginner, a senior citizen, a youngster, a child, a bride, a young man, a foreigner, a business owner, an employee….


Because they are … working, studying, learning, growing, developing, missing, enjoying, listening to, reading, speaking about…. Get the idea?


What is visible in the pictures that you can name? You might not know everything but there will be some things that you can name.

pastedGraphic_4.pngTip 5 Practise!

Use any material around you. Look at 2 pictures from a website, a newspaper or magazine. If you are feeling creative, take two of your own photos using your phone.

Look at the photos for 45 seconds and then start speaking. Time yourself. Can you speak for 1 minute? I bet you can!

Use your phone to record the speech. Play back the recording and listen to where you made a mistake or missed an opportunity to use great vocabulary.

Here’s what you might say about these 2 photographs

Both photos show people involved in outdoor sporting activities.

In the left-hand photo we see a cyclist riding alone up a hillside whereas in the other photo we see two people involved in what looks like kite surfing at sea. Both photos demonstrate quite intensive sports I believe, and both can be performed solo even though we see two people involved in the surfing. The main difference I notice is that one activity is land-based whilst the other takes place on the water. As for other similarities, I imagine that both participants are using expensive equipment, and both will have developed skill to use the equipment. Looking at the surfing picture though, I wonder if one of the people is a teacher offering tuition to a beginner.

The cyclist appears to be in a remote area. Perhaps they have chosen the activity as they love the idea of being outdoors and having a tremendous sense of freedom. Or, maybe they’re lost!

I definitely think the surfer is a beginner and he has chosen to try this as his new hobby. The sea doesn’t appear to be too rough. I’d say it was perfect for a trial run. If he can manage to stand up, he’ll have a great sense of achievement.

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