So you’re preparing for the Cambridge B2 First! From wanting to live and work abroad to going to university in an English-speaking country, whatever your reason, this high-level English qualification is perfect for you.

Yet, it takes some preparation, particularly when it comes to the speaking section as you may feel more nervous. But don’t fret, you’re in the right place.

In this short guide, we’ll explain how to get top marks in the B2 First speaking section, as well as offer useful language and some top tips for test day.

 

The B2 First Speaking test

 

The B2 First Speaking section takes around 15 minutes to complete, is divided into four parts, and makes up 20% of the overall test. It is taken face-to-face with two candidates and two examiners – one will lead the questions, while the other takes notes.

In this part of the test you’re being assessed on your ability to:

  • communicate effectively in face-to-face situations.
  • talk about opinions and information on a range of topics including your interests, hobbies, studies, work etc.
  • successfully interact with another person when discussing a range of ideas.
 

Let’s take a closer look at each part now.

Speaking Part 1

The B2 First Speaking Part 1 section is the introduction which consists of a short interview which lasts for around 3 minutes. Here, the examiner introduces themselves to you and asks you to confirm your name and hand over your mark sheets.

Next, they’ll ask you a few interview-style questions on topics such as home, family, work, and your general interests. Here are some examples of what you might be asked:

How to get a high score in the B2 First Speaking_Speaking Part 1_OxfordHouse

Cambridge B2 First Exam Paper (zip)

Speaking Part 2

Otherwise known as ‘long turn’, in Part 2 the examiner will give you two photographs and ask you to answer a question about them. For this, you will have to speak for roughly 1 minute. Then, the examiner will ask the other candidate to comment on your photographs for about 30 seconds.

Following this, it will be the other candidate’s turn to answer questions about a new set of photographs. You will then also be asked a follow up question about them.

In this part, you’re being tested on your range of vocabulary, as well as your ability to compare, describe, express opinions and speculate. Be careful not to simply describe the photo – make sure you answer the question. See below for an example of the photographs you will receive in Part 2:

How to get a high score in the B2 First Speaking_Speaking Part 2_OxfordHouse

Cambridge B2 First Exam Paper (zip)

Speaking Part 3

Part 3 consists of a collaborative task that requires you and your partner to answer a question using prompts. You’ll have two minutes to discuss the first question. Then, the examiner will give you another minute and ask you to come to a decision about a follow up question.

In this section, the examiner will be looking at your ability to exchange ideas, express and justify opinions, agree and disagree, and reach a decision through negotiation. Here is an example of what this task will look like:

How to get a high score in the B2 First Speaking_Speaking Part 3_OxfordHouse

Cambridge B2 First Exam Paper (zip)

Speaking Part 4

You’ve nearly made it to the finish line! Part 4 is your final task and consists of a further discussion with the other candidate on the theme you’ve just covered in Part 3. The examiner will guide you both through this task with questions. This task lasts around 4 minutes.

Here, you’re being tested on your ability to further interact with your partner. Check out the following questions for a taster of what you might be asked:

How to get a high score in the B2 First Speaking_Speaking Part 4_OxfordHouse

Cambridge B2 First Exam Paper (zip)

 

Useful language

 

If you want to pass the speaking test with flying colours, you need to use a variety of vocabulary. Here are some examples of useful language for interacting with your partner in Parts 3 and 4.

Agreeing:

  • You’re absolutely right.
  • I see eye to eye with you.
  • I totally agree.
 

Disagreeing:

  • I see what you mean, but I don’t think the same way.
  • I think I would actually have to disagree.
  • I see it a different way.
 

Asking for an opinion:

  • What’s your point of view?
  • How do you feel about this one?
  • Would you go along with me?
 

Expressing your opinion:

  • I believe/think that…
  • In my opinion,…
  • If you ask me,…
 

Starting the discussion:

  • Shall I start?
  • Shall I go first?
  • Would you like to begin or shall I?
 

To see an example of two exam candidates doing the speaking section, watch the following video. You may pick up some other useful phrases too.

 

Cambridge English tips

 

Look at the pictures and prompts carefully: Before you do Parts 2 and 3, it’s vital that you use the seconds you have before speaking to look at the pictures and tasks carefully. This will help make sure there are no misunderstandings when you start speaking!

Ask someone to practise with you: A great way to prepare for each part is to have a friend or family member go through the speaking test with you. They can ask you interview questions and introduce the long turn, then roleplay being your partner for the collaborative and further discussion tasks. Practise as much as you can before test day and you’ll feel more confident!

Time yourself: While practising, make sure that you time yourself according to the section you’re working on. It’ll help you know what to expect on test day.

 

More B2 First resources

 

If you’d like to see a past speaking paper or practise different parts of the exam, download these two free B2 First sample tests from Cambridge English.

You can also find more online resources for practising the Cambridge English exams.

To learn how to get top marks in the Reading and Use of English sections, check out these posts:

Reading and Use of English Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.

 

Looking for further support?

 

Are you looking to prepare for the B2 First exam but don’t know where to start? Get in touch with us! We offer courses that are designed specifically to help you get ready for the exam. Sign up now!

Glossary for Language Learners

 

Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

fret (v): to worry or feel anxious.

hand over (pv): pass something to someone.

roughly (adv): approximately.

prompt (n): a clue or words to remind you.

taster (n): a sample of something.

with flying colours (exp): to do something like a test extremely well.

see eye to eye (exp): to be in full agreement.

Key

exp = expression

n = noun

pv = phrasal verb

adv = adverb

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