• 5 FCE Oral Prep Tips: When the Examiner Joins the Discussion

    In the final part of the Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) oral exam the examiner will join in the discussion in order to stimulate it.

    This three-way discussion is generally based on the photographs you have already discussed with your partner during the exam.

    Here are some tips to help you shine.

    1. Anecdotes

    This is a great time to show off your own unique English skills. When relevant, make reference to your own personal experiences when answering the examiners questions. It’s a good idea to keep them short however.

    Some good ways to lead into this are…

    This reminds me of when…

    Actually, I have personal experience with this particular issue…

    2. Use a Variety of Adjectives

    Using a wide variety of adjectives could set you apart from other candidates.

    Rather than saying, that’s a good point you could use the adjectives:






    3. Don’t forget the other candidate

    When the examiner joins in the discussion, it is tempting to forget the other candidate in the exam with you. This would be a mistake, however, because you will be marked on the interaction between the three of you.

    4. Don’t be afraid to disagree

    If you don’t agree with what the examiner is saying, don’t be afraid to disagree with him/her. Indeed, this is a great way to get the discussion going. However, be careful with the tone you use to express this contrary opinion.

    Actually, I hold the opposite view…

    I hope you don’t mind me saying, so but I think the opposite is true…

    Yes, I see what you are saying but I think we should also bear in mind that…. 

    5. Build On What You Have Already Said. Don’t Repeat It

    The purpose of this section is to show a development, and not a repetition, of what you have already said.

    A great way to shine in this part of the exam would be to say that after considering the topic further you have changed your opinion of it.

    You can do this in a number of ways:

    On further consideration, I would go back on what I said earlier….

    Actually, that’s a really good point. You have made me see the topic in a new way…


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