FCE Speaking Test: Part 3: (Collaborative Task)
Tests ability to: use language to discuss, express an opinion, to agree and disagree, speculate and evaluate etc.
In Part 3 of the test, which lasts about 3 minutes, the examiner will give both candidates instructions and a set of visuals and the candidates will have to try to reach some form of agreement.
The examiner will say something like:
Q: Now, I’d like you to talk about something together for about 3 minutes.
Q: I’d like you to imagine that you are planning a week-long touring holiday with your partner around the country that you’re studying in. You want to see as much as possible but don’t want to spend too much money on transport. Look at the types of transport shown in the photographs.
Q: First talk to each other about how useful each of these forms of transport might be for your holiday. Then decide which one would be best.
Q: All right?
Notice there are TWO instructions here: first to talk about each form of transport then to ‘decide’ which one is best for your holiday. This means you have to do more than just describe the different forms of transport. You also have to show you can work with your partner to try to reach some form of agreement. You don’t have to reach agreement but you must at least work towards this.
It will help both yourself and your partner if you work together collaboratively on this task.
1. Be prepared to ask your partner for his or her opinion rather than simply stating your own. For example:
‘What do you think?’
‘How about you?’
‘Do you think …?’
2. Listen carefully’ to what your partner says and respond to comments he or she makes to help the discussion flow. For example:
‘Do you think so?
3. If you disagree try expressing this politely. For example:
‘I see what you mean but …‘
‘I can see your point but …‘
‘But don’t you think …’
4. Use expressions to allow yourself time to think. For example:
‘That’s a good question.’
‘Well, let me think …‘
‘It’s difficult to say …’
5. You’ll possibly find you don’t understand something your partner has said. If this happens, take control with simple questions like those below to help you deal positively with the situation. This will also give you the chance to impress the examiner with your communication skills.
A) If you didn’t quite understand a word or phrase just say something like:
“Sorry but could you explain what you mean by ……..” or
“I haven’t come across that word/expression before. Could you explain what you mean?”
B) If you didn’t hear or didn’t understand something your partner has said, ask them to repeat it:
“Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you say that again?”
“Excuse me. Could you repeat that?”
C) Alternatively, you might want to confirm what you think your partner said so you could say something like:
“Do you mean ……..”
“When you say …….., are you asking/do you mean ……..?”