This is a handout to help the students make a good impression in the first part of the FCE Speaking Paper.
Step One: Explain the students the format of Part 1 and what is expected of them.
Step Two: Now look at the cartoon, ask your students if they think the answer is good, bad or acceptable – giving reasons. Explain to your students the answer is not very good, as the candidate has only repeated the words from the question and hasn’t expanded his answer, for example, explaining why he likes sport or what sports he is particularly interested, etc.
Step Three: Ask your students to think of possible answers to the “wh” questions listed and go through them as a group – this will help them expand upon their own answer, making it more informative, interesting, etc – it also gives them the opportunity to demonstrate a wider range of grammar and vocabulary.
Step Four: In pairs, ask your students to answer the questions using the “wh” question technique. Remind them to paraphrase and also to think about what tense they need to use – future, past simple, etc. – to avoid making silly mistakes. Go round the class listening to their answers – I really don’t think at this stage it is necessary to “overcorrect” them, they’re getting experience at this point.
Step Five: Go through the learner’s strategies outlined on the Teacher’s Handout.
- It is important for candidates to remember that the examiners are listening out for good examples of grammar, vocabulary and discourse management; therefore, if candidates only speak briefly, the examiners will be unable or less likely to award marks for these areas.
- If candidates make a mistake with grammar or vocabulary, they should show that they have recognised their mistake and correct themselves, if this can be done quickly and immediately. But going back and correcting errors highlights the errors for examiners and interrupts the flow, which will affect interactive communication and discourse management marks. So this should be done sparingly.
- It’s best for candidates not to rehearse extended stretches of speech. This is because there is a danger that their rehearsed speech will not be directly relevant to the interlocutor’s question, and relevancy is an area that’s assessed. Furthermore, candidates often use unnatural intonation and voice range patterns when they are giving a speech.
- Instead, candidates should prepare by practising the language forms that they are likely to use in the test (e.g., present simple and used to for routines, or structures such as ‘interested in+ -ing’ or ‘prefer + object + to + object’). Similarly, they should know and be able to pronounce vocabulary associated with their studies or job and general interests and use correct tenses. Note recurrent errors as they speak, and highlight them.
- Finally, candidates should be reminded that they should be using conversational English during the test.
Teacher’s Handout: suggested answers are included.