The beginning of a speaking exam can be a nerve-racking experience. Speaking part 1 is designed to break the ice and get to know the candidates.
If you have been following me for some time then you know that I do a series on PET Cambridge exam preparation. Check out my previous lesson plans on Writing Part 1 and Reading Part 1. You can find all the files needed to complete this lesson at the end of the blog post, available to download for free!
Speaking Part 1 is a short warm up before the real deal. The candidates take turns interacting with the interlocutor. The answers should be brief but not too brief.
Start the class by giving a set of questions to one of your students to interview you. Students listen to your one-word answers and write them down. Ask them if they think these answers were good. Obviously, they weren’t good at all! This is a good chance to explain the first point – always use full sentences to answer phase 1 questions. This gives them an opportunity to show their understanding and knowledge of word order and grammar.
As you already gave some time to think about the answers, ask students to work in pairs and practise fluency. One student acts as an interlocutor and the other as a candidate. Afterwards they change the roles. You don’t want your students to memorise the answers but it’s a good idea to have something up their sleeves when they enter the exam hall.
The second phase of the exam consists of personal questions. Candidates may be asked about their daily routine, their past activities, their future plans, any personal details…Normally the questions are quite simple and easy to predict. Even though it seems quite easy, it can be a little bit deceiving as candidates need to show a wide knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, and at the same time be able to justify their answers.
Using questions from a B1 Preliminary for Schools Sample Papers you can ask students to elaborate on basic one-clause answers, making them into two-clause sentences! To help them understand the task, for the first two examples provide the first clause. For example, a question How do you get to school every day? can be answered in so many different ways:
- I walk to school __________. (example answer: because I live nearby.)
- I go by car __________. (example answer: because my dad drops my off on his way to work.)
- I go by bike __________. (example answer: because I live nearby and I care about the environment.)
Of course, these are only my suggestions and your students can be as creative as they please – just make sure that the answers make sense and are grammatically correct.
The last two questions are fully blank and students need to think of three different ways in which they can be answered. Since all the answers were provided by students, there is no need to be redundant and ask them the same questions again. Instead you can finish with a group discussion. I have prepared a worksheet with the most commonly asked phase 2 questions that your students can practise by answering them on the spot!
Throughout the lesson you can write the most common mistakes and address them at the end during cold correction session. In this way you avoid interrupting your students and focus on fluency.
Hope you enjoy my PET Cambridge exam preparation series! Stay on the lookout for more lesson plans coming your way! If you are interested, feel free to download the lesson plans and all the worksheets below.