Strategies for improving your speaking skills for the Cambridge English Speaking Test

What is the Cambridge English speaking test?

The Cambridge Exams are English language exams that officially demonstrate your level of ability with the English language. Being accredited by Cambridge English Language Assessment, they are internationally recognised and of high quality. Each of the exams tests all four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. So, the speaking test is part of a bigger exam.

What do you do during the Cambridge speaking test?

This depends on the level of the exam that you are taking. However, they are done with a partner who is also taking the exam. You have to complete a few interactive tasks with them. There is an examiner present who will give you instructions. These can include talking about a photo, coming to an agreement, discussing and justifying your opinions, and talking about familiar topics like family and work.

How do they decide your mark?

The examiners listen to what you say during the tasks. They are listening for:

· Your pronunciation – How easy is it to understand you? How effective is your use of pronunciation features?

· Your grammar and vocabulary – Do you use the appropriate words? How good is your range of language?

· Your interaction – Do you start, maintain and finish interactions with your partner appropriately?

· Your organisation – Do you organise your contributions logically? Do you speak without too much hesitation?

Remember – the examiners are looking for things to give you marks for, not reasons to take marks away.

How can I prepare for the Cambridge speaking test?

Firstly, you need to know exactly which level you’re going to do. There are exams for A2-C2 levels for adults. Each one is a bit different, so find out which one is best for you. Maybe you need a particular level of work or you just want a challenge!

Next, look at practice material or example tasks. The more familiar with the instructions, the more relaxed you will be on the big day. Ideally, you will practise these tasks with another student about the same level as you, with a teacher present to give you feedback. A Cambridge preparation course is the best way to do this. See the Cambridge Exam website for more information.

What are some tips for improving my score?

To make sure you get the best score possible for the Cambridge speaking test, try:

· Recoding yourself to hear your pronunciation

· Repeating tasks until you can do them without too much hesitation

· Watching examples of other people doing the exam

· Doing grammar and vocabulary exercises to expand your language ability for the level

· Practise, practice, practise!

Where can I do a Cambridge Exam preparation course?

At one of our International Language Centres (ILC) centres around the south of England: you can choose from Britain’s second biggest city, Birmingham, to the historic, pretty city of Colchester. There’s the historic centre of education, Cambridge, or the super popular city of Bristol, bubbling with artistic energy. If you prefer being by the sea, the port cities of Southampton or Portsmouth are for you. Whichever ILC location you choose, you can be confident in your choice of English course.

Our Cambridge Exam preparation courses are run in the evenings, which means you can conveniently fit them around working or other commitments you might have during the day.