In this final part of the speaking, you have an individual conversation with the examiner. This task is similar to the first one, but the topic of discussion is the one from Part 3. You should express and justify your opinion on the subject as the examiner guides you, asking you related questions. You might get to answer the same question as your partner. The examiner might also encourage you to engage in a dialogue with the other test-taker. This part of the exam lasts for up to 5 minutes.
Part 4 sample questions with answers
Examiner:Boris, is it better to have a high-paying job or the one that is more enjoyable? Boris:Well, if both can’t be had, then I guess doing something you really like should be the priority. I doubt that the money you get for doing the job you loathe will do you any good. But to reiterate, ideally, the two should come hand-in-hand. Examiner: Thank you. Ira, do you agree? Ira: Of course, you’d be really blessed to do something you’re passionate about and make good money out of it, but how often is it the case? You must be extremely lucky to find yourself in such a position. If we take more realistic cases into account, then I’d go with money over enjoying what you do – in the end of the day that’s what job is all about – earning money! One can always have fun in their free time.
Examiner:Ira, how does unemployment affect society in general? Ira: It’s a tough question… Lack of job openings must have serious economic and social consequences – people are unable to afford even the most basic things, their purchasing ability goes down, which in turn affects the economy negatively. People and society find themselves in a Catch 22 situation. Examiner:What do you think, Boris? Boris:I’m not sure if it is as bad as Ira makes it look. A well-qualified professional is always going to be able to find employment. It’s the lack of necessary qualifications that might be preventing certain individuals to find a position to their liking, and they are probably unwilling to resort to menial jobs. It’s all about the attitude.
Government and unemployment
Examiner:Now I would like you to discuss the following question: should the government be responsible and provide for the unemployed? Ira:I’d like to express my own opinion if you don’t mind? Boris:Of course, go ahead. Ira:Thank you. I totally support this notion – the state should provide financial security for those unlucky ones without any reliable source of income. It would allow people to get better qualifications or enroll on a course to make them more employable. Boris:You do make some valid points – it would be fair to support individuals who are keen to get re-educated to have a more relevant skill-set in the ever-changing job market. However, I believe that this system could be easily exploited by the less conscientious individuals – people could just live off of welfare, being unemployed officially, while at the same time having a part-time job on the side. It is something that can’t be tracked easily. Ira:It doesn’t have to be so negative, though! But I totally see what you mean, and indeed, such a possibility definitely exists. I guess it’s not easy to find the middle ground in this matter. Examiner:Thank you. That is the end of your Speaking test.
These are the three important aspects of Part 3: 1 – Starting the dialogue 2 – Connecting and transitioning the ideas 3 – Reaching an agreement
1. Starting the dialogue
At the beginning of Part 3 you have to decide who will begin the conversation. It is important to be respectful and give your partner room choice. You can either initiate this yourself of wait for your partner to go first. Here are some phrases for both:
Starting the dialogue
Do you mind if I go first? Would you mind going first/starting? Care to go first? Should I begin, or would you like to go first? Would it be okay with you if I started this? Is it okay for you if I start?
Yeah, sure, go ahead. Okay, I will! I’d rather you went first, if that’s okay with you. By all means, go ahead. Sure, not a problem
The responses do not necessarily have to be linked to the corresponding question, so feel free to mix and match them. A good idea is to let the initiator go first, but ultimately it is up to you.
2. Connecting the ideas
A common mistake in Part 3 is to simply wait for your turn to speak, without paying attention to your partner’s response. This is going to bring your mark down! Instead, you want to implement ideas from your partner’s answer into your own. It’s important to transition the ideas smoothly – your exchange should look like a dialogue, not a series of isolated sentences! Here are some ways to make your speech more cohesive:
Introducing an idea
Supporting or including an idea
What about… I believe that .. deserves mentioning/being mentioned If we’re talking about (topic), then… is definitely… I’m not sure that… is really important, however… A point worth discussing is…
Speaking of… You’ve mentioned…, which is interesting because… I’d like to add another point regarding… There is one more thing about… Another aspect of… is that…
3. Reaching an agreement
In the second half of Part 3 you have to agree upon one or two aspects of the mind-map. If you fail to agree on one, it is okay to respectfully disagree. Here are some useful phrases for suggesting, encouraging a conversation, agreeing and disagreeing:
I totally agree with your point… I’m with you on that one… Your arguments are very compelling I had a different idea, but your arguments sound very convincing Your points are very persuasive, and I side with you on that one
I see what you mean, however… You make some valid points, but let’s consider… With all due respect, I can’t agree/I have to disagree Your logic here is flawless, but another point to consider is…
Inviting to join
… is probably one of the things we should take/consider/mention, since… I think/believe that… is worth nominating/considering/mentioning/pointing out Let’s not forget about… Additionally,… should probably be included, as…
Where do you stand on…? What’s your take on…? Please share your thoughts on this matter? What about your idea on? That’s what I think, but what about you?
Part 3 sample task and answers
Here are some different types of occupation people might choose to have. First you have some time to look at the task. (15 seconds)
Now, talk to each other about the advantages and disadvantages of each of these occupations.
Candidate A (Boris):Do you mind if I go first? Candidate B (Ira):Sure, go ahead. Boris:I believe that a part-time job offers a serious advantage of giving you more free time and flexibility to do something else while allowing to make enough money for a living. Ira: It might be so, but are you sure working part-time will be enough to cover anything but one’s living expenses like bills and groceries? I really doubt it, to be honest.. I think working in a smaller company offers similar advantages to the ones you’ve mentioned, but the money must be better since you’ll be putting in more working hours. Boris:I guess you are right. And the smaller companies are usually willing to give you more leeway with your schedule and your decisions. However, smaller businesses tend to go under quite often, so there’s very little in terms of job security. But what about self-employment? On paper, it should give you all the freedom you wish for, being your own boss and all! Ira:Oh, I’m not so sure about that. You’ve brought up financial security, and working for yourself is such a dangerous venture! If stability is something you prioritise, that is probably not your best option. It does sound lucrative though – you earn as much as you make, there is nobody to order you around. It sounds so invigorating!
Examiner: Thank you. Now you have about a minute to decide which occupation is most stressful.
Ira:Being self-employed is likely to be the most taxing one emotionally, I mean you have the weight of the decision on your shoulders, everything depends on you, all this has to really taken its toll emotionally, wouldn’t you agree? Boris:To be honest, at first I was thinking about working for a major company, but you do have a point and you’ve managed to convince me. In the light of your arguments mine seem to be irrelevant, I won’t even bother with them.
Extra question: which way of commuting might be most popular in rural areas?
Speaking Part 3 Useful Phrases
Bus or tram
– Walking is free – or almost free. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes – Walking to work or place of study takes exactly the same amount of time as you are not dependant on traffic congestion. This makes it more reliable – It is a nice, gentle form of exercising
– Commuting by bus or tram is quick and affordable – Bus lanes make getting somewhere quick even during rush hour – Using public transport shows environmental awareness and that you care about the planet – You can read or listen to the music en route
– Trains never suffer from traffic congestion, although they might be overcrowded during peak times – Trains always run on schedule so you can plan your day more effectively and reliably – Arguably, trains can be more comfortable than cars and buses as they maintain constant speed throughout the way without having to accelerate or slow down
– Probably one of the most expensive ways to commute, driving offers unmatched personal freedom – It is most convenient for big families with kids as they have to be taken to places like school or kindergarten – Some people find the process of driving a car enjoyable in itself, without going somewhere in particular
– Affordable and environmentally friendly – Carpooling encourages socialising and bonding with your colleagues/fellow students – Both driver and the passengers benefit if they chip in to pay for fuel – Makes the commute more fun when there are more people in the car
Part 2 is about four things: 1 – comparing (talking about similarities and differences between the pictures) 2 – speculating (making guesses about what is going on in the pictures) 3 – describing 4 – answering the questions
This aspect of Part 2 is really straightforward – we highlight similarities and differences in both photos. The only difficult part might be finding a good phrase or a template to talk about this. Here are some useful phrases for that:
Talking about similar things
Talking about differences
Both pictures show… In both pictures we can see… Both pictures one and two have… Pictures one and two are similar in the way that there is/are… in each one. Just like the picture on the left, the right picture has/shows… The two pictures have a number things in common, namely… These two pictures convey the same message/idea of… // share the same message/idea
Unlike the first picture, picture two has/shows In contrast with the right picture, picture on the left has/shows/displays Picture one…, while picture two… Conversely, picture two… Picture on the right shows a different approach to… While the second picture takes place…, picture one… Contrastingly, these pictures show different takes on… *some topic*
The comparison part can be extremely challenging if you choose two pictures that you can’t see any real differences in – keep that in mind when making your choice.
2. Guessing and speculating
You have to do this when answering the questions and when you describe the pictures. Showing doubt or uncertainty is one of the integral CAE Speaking Part 2 & 3 aspects.
This must be… It might be… The people may be… It has to be
When describing pictures, alternate between different phrases: The first picture has/shows/displays In the first picture, there is/there are/we can see
One thing to remember – don’t spend more than 15 seconds on describing BOTH pictures. Another important aspect is not to just describe – you would want to include either comparing them or speculating:
“While in the first picture there is a man all on his own looking at a picture, the second one shows a group of kids, probably schoolchildren, enjoying a show together.”
4. Answering the question
When you address Part 2 questions, you usually do so for both pictures, either talking about differences or similarities based on the question context. You are advised to speculate as well to make your answer more hypothetical since we can’t really know it for sure.
Sample answer :
Candidate A, here are the photographs. They show various places where people live. I’d like you to compare the photographs, and say why people might choose to live there, okay? (1 minute)
Candidate A: The left picture shows some big city with a line of apartment blocks built right next to the sea, while in the picture on the right we can see a peaceful village next to a train station and a train passing by. While both photos have various residences in them, the right one looks much more quiet than the other. I believe that people who choose to live in a flat of a busy city do so because they have a more active lifestyle – they commute to work, go to parties, restaurant, exhibitions and other activities a city has to offer. In contrast, those who reside in a remote place like in picture two prefer the more relaxed and slow pace of life.
Candidate B, which place would you prefer to live in, and why? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B:Personally, I’d go with the quiet place next to the train station. I could commute to the city centre by train, take morning strolls in the woods and enjoy everything nature has to offer. I don’t party that much and I’m not into eating out, so I won’t miss out on most things a busy city has to offer.