FCE with a twist – design your own exam speaking question!


Levels: Upper-intermediate/B2

You could, however, easily adapt the following lesson plan to suit other exam groups.

Aimed at: Young adults/adults

Aims: To encourage speaking in the context of FCE part 2 of the Speaking Paper/ To expand students´vocabulary/ Revision of useful expressions for the language function of giving opinions/comparing and describing photographs/ To encourage group work and promote interaction/ To help students better understand what to expect in part 2 of the FCE Speaking Paper/ To increase students´motivation/ To make learning memorable

Time: +/- 90 minutes

Materials: Scissors/glue/old magazines/two blank sheets of paper for each pair of students

Cambridge English vídeo/ovehead projector

The following lesson idea was inspired by Our Future competition and some of the suggestions there:


1Let´s brainstorm!

Have students work in small groups and answer the following question:

Why is it important to certify your level of English?

Have their ideas listed on the board and add some of your own ideas to their lists. At the end of this activity you should have something similar to this on the board:



+/- 5 min

2What to expect in the Speaking Paper PART 2 of the FCE exam?

Have students watch the below video (2:01 – 5:44) of Florine and Maria doing Part 2 of the Speaking Paper:



Have students work in pairs and tell each other what they are expected to do in this part of the exam. You could use the following questions to guide them:

  • How long does the whole part last?  (3 to 4 min)
  • How many pictures are there in total/for each candidate? (4 pictures in total/2 for each candidate)
  • What do the candidates have to do with the pictures? (Describe and compare them/answer one follow-up question about the other candidate´s picture)
  • How long do the candidates have to speak for? (around 1 min/follow-up question: 30 seconds)
  • What are some of the useful phrases for this part of the Speaking Paper?

Have a brief class feedback.

You can find more information about the exam at: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/first/preparation/

+/- 10 min

3.  Useful phrases: Describe, compare and give opinion!

  • Have the following useful phrases written/displayed on the board:

Another thing that´s different is…    As I see it..    On the other hand…

In my opinion…   Both pictures show…  One difference between the pictures is that…

On the one hand… This picture shows…but that one…   Another difference is that…

These two pictures are similar because…   The most obvious similarity is that…

It seems to me…   The first picture…whereas the second one…   I´d say….

In the other picture it looks like…   In both pictures there are…

In the other photo there is/are

Feel free to add more!

  • Have students work in small groups and organize the above phrases under the following categories:


Describe:                      Compare:                           Give an opinion:


Have a brief class feedback.

+/- 10 min


4.  Create your own Speaking part 2 task!

Have students work in pairs and hand out the magazines, scissors, two blank sheets of paper and glue to each pair of students. Have them use the magazines to cut out pictures in order to create their own Speaking part 2 task:


FullSizeRender (51)


At the end of this activity they should have something similar to this:


FullSizeRender (49)FullSizeRender (50)


Have students think of their own introductory question:

  • I´d like you to compare the photographs, and say…

And a follow-up question for another candidate to answer:

  • Do you find it easy to choose a holiday destination?

+/- 20 min

5. Are you ready to do the task?

Have students use the useful phrases from part 3 and prepare an answer to the exam question: describe, compare and give opinion about their photographs. You could also ask them to time each other so they have a realistic view of how long they have to speak for during the exam.

Once they have practised using their own images, have all the sets displayed around the room ( stick them to walls/board, etc) and ask each pair of students to do the task again. This time, using their classmates´ideas.

Repeat the procedure until all the photograph sets have been described/compared.

While they speak, listen carefully and make notes on both, a good and inappropriate language use.

+/- 15 min (this would depend on a group size)

6. Feedback time!

Write some of the examples of the language you noted down during the previous activity on the board. Have students work in groups and decide whether or not these are exemples of a good language use. If not, have them suggest corrections.

Have a brief class feedback.

+/- 10 min

Happy creating!

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