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Exam structure and tasks
Useful phrases
Tips and FAQ's
Activites for further practice
Assessment scale
Exam day tips


Whats in the Speaking paper?

The Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another
candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners talks to you and the other examiner listens.


Time allowed:

1012 minutes per pair of candidates

Number of parts:


25% of total

with the examiner

You have to talk:

with the other candidate

on your own

Parts 12

Part 1 (Interview)

Conversation with the examiner. The examiner asks questions and you give
What's in Part 1?

information about yourself, talk about past experiences, present job, studies, where
you live, etc., and future plans.

What do I have to
Giving information about yourself.

How long do we
23 minutes
have to speak?

Practise Part 1
Now try Part 1 from the sample Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking paper.

Part 2 (Discussion)

The examiner gives you some pictures and describes a situation to you. You have to
What's in Part 2?
talk to the other candidate and decide what would be best in the situation.

What do I have to

Making and responding to suggestions, discussing alternatives, making


recommendations, negotiating agreement.

How long do we
23 minutes
have to speak?

Practise Part 2
Now try Part 2 from the sample Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking paper.

Part 3 (Extended turn)

The examiner gives you a colour photograph and you have to talk about
What's in Part 3?

What do I have to practise?

Describing photographs.

How long do we have to

3 minutes in total; 1 minute to talk about the photograph.

Practise Part 3
Now try Part 3 from the sample Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking paper.

Part 4 (General conversation)

Further discussion with the other candidate about the same topic as the
What's in Part 4?
task in Part 3.

What do I have to practise?

Talking about your opinions, likes/dislikes, experiences, habits, etc.

How long do we have to

3 minutes

Practise Part 4
Now try Part 4 from the sample Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking paper.

Tips and FAQs

In general

Practise your English, in and out of the classroom, as much as you


Listen carefully to the examiner's questions.

Ask the examiner if you don't understand what you have to do.

Speak clearly so that both examiners and your partner can hear you.

Remember that both the examiners want you to do well in the


In Part 1

Talk to the examiner, not your partner.

Make sure you can spell your name.

Try to give more than one-word answers.

In Parts 2 & 4

Talk to your partner, not the examiner.

Ask your partner questions.

Listen to your partner's answers and look at them to show you are
interested in what they are saying.

Give your partner a chance to speak too.

In Part 3

Talk about everything you can see in the photograph, e.g. colours,
clothes, time of day, weather.

Try to explain what you mean in other words, if you dont know a


In general

Don't worry too much about making grammatical mistakes.

Don't worry too much if you don't know a word.

Don't worry if your partner is a stronger or weaker speaker than you. The
examiners assess you individually.

Don't sit in silence in the test, even if you are nervous. Examiners can't
give you marks if you don't speak.

In Parts 2 & 4

Don't speak for too long without involving your partner.

In Part 3

Don't try to talk about things/ideas outside the photograph.

Don't stop talking if there is a word you don't know, just talk about
something else you can see.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Whats in the Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking paper?

The Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking test has four parts and you take
it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the
examiners talks to you (the interlocutor) and the other examiner listens and
completes the mark sheet (the assessor).
Can I take the test alone?
No. You are examined in pairs (i.e. two students together) with two examiners.
At centres with an uneven number of candidates, the last three candidates take
the test together. The test is longer when three candidates take the test.
Candidates cannot choose to take the test in a group of three.
Why are there two examiners?
One examiner (the interlocutor) speaks to you, and the other (the assessor) does
not take part in the test but listens to you speak and interact with the other
candidate. Both examiners give you a mark, but the assessor gives more detailed
marks than the interlocutor.

What happens if the other candidate wont let me speak?

Examiners know how to deal with this situation, and give both of the candidates
an opportunity to speak. It is important both to talk and to give the other
candidate the chance to talk. Remember, there is also a time in the test when
you speak on your own.
What should I do if I dont understand what the examiner asks me to
You can ask the examiner to repeat the instructions. However, you should listen
carefully and try to understand them the first time. Dont worry if you dont
understand a word. You can ask your partner to explain a word in Parts 2 and 4,
but you must always talk in English!
Will my speaking be compared to my partner's speaking?
You are assessed on your own speaking, and not compared to your partner.
Do I have to pass the Speaking test to pass the Cambridge English:
Preliminary exam?
No. If you do well in the other papers, you can still pass the exam.
Do the Part 1 Phase 2 questions remain the same each year or vary?
They vary, but will always be on general topics.

PET- Speaking part 1


PET- Speaking part 2


PET Speaking part 3


PET Speaking part 4


Exam day tips: Cambridge English Speaking tests

(not including Cambridge English: Young Learners)

For tips for paper-based and computer-based exams see

For more information on our exams, go to

Before the test

What to bring to the test

On the test day

At the end of the test

Check the date, time and address. Your

centre will send you this information. If
you have any questions, contact your
centre before the day of the test.
Remember to check how long it will
take you to travel to the venue.
Get to the venue early. Follow the
directions to find the waiting area or go
to the reception of the building and ask
for directions.

Bring your identification (ID), for

example a passport or national ID card.
It must be an original (not a copy) with
a photo of you.

Turn off anything electronic (for

example, your mobile phone) when you
arrive at the venue.
The centre may take your photo for
identification after the test.
The supervisor will:
check your ID
give you your mark sheet. Please do
not fold it
tell you where to wait, and take you
to the test room.
Follow the instructions and wait quietly
for your test.
While waiting for your test you can
practise your English by talking to
the other candidates quietly in the
Your supervisor will tell you where to
put your bag during the test.
If you have any questions or problems,
tell the supervisor immediately.

UCLES 2013 CE/2129/3Y11

Please leave quietly.

You must not speak to other
candidates waiting to do their test.

Good luck with

your test!