If you are preparing for the Cambridge B2 First Speaking Part 1 Exam or just want to improve your English speaking skills, this lesson is for you! 

We will look at some example questions and learn some tips and tricks for improving your English speaking skills.

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B2 First Speaking Exam Part 1 Format

Part 1 of the speaking exam is a conversation, or “interview,” with the examiner. You and your partner will take turns answering questions about your interests, studies, career, hobbies and/or family.

This part of the test is only 2 minutes long. You want to make sure to practice many different types of questions because you never know what the examiner might ask.

For this part of the exam, you’ll want to practice talking about yourself and giving your opinion on different topics.

If you aren’t taking the exam, you can still practice using these questions! 

Students practicing for the B2 speaking exam

Example Questions on the B2 First (FCE) Speaking Part 1 Exam

Available on the official Cambridge English website, here are some sample questions.

Likes and dislikes

  • How do you like to spend your evenings?
  • Do you prefer to spend time on your own or with other people?
  • Tell us about a film you really like.
  • Do you like cooking?

Special occasions

  • Do you normally celebrate special occasions with friends or family?
  • Tell us about a festival or celebration in your country.
  • What did you do on your last birthday?
  • Are you going to do anything special this weekend?

Media

  • How much TV do you watch in a week?
  • Tell us about a TV program you’ve seen recently.
  • Do you use the internet much?
  • Do you ever listen to the radio?

Other typical topics are family, sports, work, studies, travel, music, books, entertainment, and hobbies.

How to answer the questions for the Speaking Part 1 Exam 

The main idea is to answer the questions in 2-3 sentences with a variety of grammar and vocabulary. Let’s look at one of the questions.

  • Do you like cooking?

This is a yes/no question. However, for this exam the examiner wants you to give more information. (If you aren’t taking the exam, try to speak about each question until you have nothing else to say.)

Example answer:

Yes, I enjoy making dinner for my family and friends. The best part of cooking is trying out new recipes and sharing a meal with others. 

Of course, you don’t have to answer yes! Here’s another example answer.

Example answer:

No, I don’t often have time to cook. I am a very busy person with many hobbies and obligations. If I had more time, I would spend more time learning to cook.

Tips for the B2 First Speaking Part 1 Exam

  • Keep your answers short – remember that this part of the speaking test is only 2 minutes long. Try to say two or three sentences. 
  • Speak only about the topic of the question – don’t talk about things that aren’t related to the question.
  • Answer the question without repeating it – if the question is “How do you like to spend your evenings?”, don’t answer the question by repeating it: “I like to spend my evenings …” 

Instead, try to use other words (this is called paraphrasing). For example, you could say: “I usually play tennis after work.” or “I often meet up with friends in the evenings after school.

  • If you didn’t understand the question, ask the examiner to repeat it – ask politely by asking: “Could you please repeat the question?”
  • Include B2 level grammar structures in your answer – comparatives, conditionals, relative clauses, modal verbs, etc. This is a great place to show that you know these structures. 

Make sure you PRACTICE using them in your answers so they sound natural.

  • Try to use B2 level vocabulary – try not to use simple words like good, bad, big, small, etc. Instead, use descriptive adjectives, phrasal verbs, and words you’ve learned in class with your teacher. Again, you have to PRACTICE using these words in your answers. 

A great way to prepare for this part of the speaking test is to have ten B2 level words ready for each topic (studies, family, friends, entertainment, media, career, hobbies, travel, sports). This way, you can feel more prepared for the questions.

  • Relax – don’t stress too much about this part of the speaking exam. It’s meant to break the ice and help the examiner get to know you.

Speaking Exam Practice Task 

Let’s practice using these three questions:

  • Do you prefer to spend time on your own or with other people?
  • Tell us about a festival or celebration in your country.
  • How much TV do you watch in a week?

1 – Write out your answer

To begin, if you aren’t sure how to answer the questions, write out your answer first.

2 – Practice saying your answer

Speaking in English is different than speaking in your native language. Say your answer out loud a few times to warm up the muscles in your face and tongue.

3 – Record your answer using your phone

Record yourself saying your answer and listen to it. Are there any words that you had trouble pronouncing? Are you speaking too fast or too slowly?

Send your answer to your teacher or an English speaking friend. See if they can understand you.

4 – Practice, practice, practice!

Just like learning to play an instrument or a sport, learning a language takes a lot of practice. Try to practice speaking about a variety of topics

If you have at least an intermediate level of English, you can sign up for the Speaking Club Online. You can practice speaking English via Zoom with people and teachers from all over the world for free once per week. If you want more practice, you can sign up for a membership for unlimited practice.

The way that the Speaking Club works is you talk about a set of questions with 2-3 partners for 20 minutes. Then, you switch partners and questions two more times, for a total of 60 minutes of talking.

A lot of the questions in the Speaking Club Online are similar to the B2 First Speaking Part 1 Exam questions, that’s why I recommend it! I help students at the session on Wednesday at 10 am AEST.

You can also schedule a private lesson with me via Zoom if you want to improve your speaking skills.
If you have any questions or comments, please send me an email at ESLTeacher365@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

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