This section of the CAE speaking exam is a little bit tough for most people. They usually find it difficult to talk about the pictures they are seeing for the first time. People usually do not have a good imagination to develop ideas about the pictures shown to them immediately. In this article, we will try to solve your problem and tell you how you can perform well in the second part of CAE Speaking. Stay tuned with us.

Overview of C1 Advanced (CAE) Speaking Part 2

Both candidates are assessed together in the second part of the CAE speaking exam. The interlocutor shows you three pictures. You have to choose any two of them and speak about those photographs for 1 minute. The interlocutor then asks your partner a question about your photographs. Your partner is asked to speak about two of the three pictures shown to him which are different from the ones shown to you. When your partner finishes describing his views about the pictures, you are then asked a question about them. You are given 30 seconds to answer the question.

In the CAE Speaking Part 2, the pictures are usually about people doing relevant things. The set of three pictures shown to one candidate are relevant to one another.  For example, if a woman is shown in one picture reading a story to her children, the other picture may be showing a person reading a book in a library or reading room. There is always some kind of relevance in the pictures. That relevance among the pictures is key to cracking this part of the exam.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Tips on the C1 Advanced (CAE) Speaking Part 2

If you want to get a better score in the 2nd part of the CAE speaking exam, then read the following tips. Students who follow these tips perform much better than their competitors in the exam.

Tip 1: Choice of pictures

As said earlier, you will have to choose two out of three pictures. Don’t take more than a few seconds in choosing the pictures. Try to choose the pictures that have more similarities or differences among them. This will give you a broad range of ideas and allow you to use a wide range of vocabulary.

Always remember not to choose pictures that are not clear to you or pictures you are not familiar with.

Tip 2: Take time developing ideas

Once you have selected the pictures, take a few seconds to analyze them. Look for the similarities and differences, which is the key to the CAE Speaking Part 2. Develop ideas in your brain about them. Organize your thoughts. Think about the common theme or idea behind the pictures. Once you have prepared yourself, start expressing your views about them.

Tip 3: Stick to the selected pictures

Your entire talk should be around the selected pictures. Avoid any irrelevant sentences or ideas. Don’t ever mention the third picture and stuff related to it. People do a common mistake that when they run out of words, they start mentioning the other picture. This should be avoided as it gives a negative impression to the examiner.

Tip 4: Give equal time to both pictures

Try not to spend most of the time talking about one picture in CAE Speaking Part 2. Our advice is to talk about both pictures together. This approach will let you use linking words for moving between the pictures. The use of linking words like while, whereas, in contrast, conversely, etc. will tell the examiner you know how to combine sentences. They are looking for the same thing to give you a good score.

Tip 5: Avoid simply explaining pictures

You are not supposed to simply describe and explain what the people are doing in the first and second pictures. You are required to analyze the pictures and express your views. The best approach in our experience is to compare two pictures. Explain why people are doing that, what they might be feeling etc. Give examples but they should be relevant. Examples should not be in the form of a list.

You can also add your feelings to the answer. You can tell the examiner what you might do if you were in that picture. But always remember, everything should be relevant.

Tip 6: Don’t stop talking

Keep on talking for the whole minute. Don’t stop talking at all unless the examiner stops you. You have got only one minute in this section to show your English to the examiner. Sitting silently will result in wasting time and your score will be affected badly. If your mind blanks out at any moment in CAE Speaking Part 2, start using filler sentences to bring your mind back on track. When your mind is back, you can start where you left off.

Tip 7: Talking about your partner’s pictures

You will be asked to talk about your partner’s pictures for 20 to 30 seconds. The examiner will ask you a question related to his pictures. Try to be relevant while answering. It does not matter how your partner performs during his turn, you are supposed to give your best performance. While answering, avoid using the words or sentences your partner has used earlier. Avoid copying his ideas. Try to express your ideas about his pictures too, but only when you are asked to do so. Remember again that your answer should be relevant to the question asked.

Tip 8: The lifesaver tip

Suppose you are shown pictures you don’t know anything about in CAE Speaking Part 2. In that unfortunate movement, you can use diverting tactics. You can describe what the people are doing, what they are wearing, what is their gender, what they are supposed to do, what they might be thinking etc. Start explaining the pictures one by one. Say whatever comes to your mind about the pictures.

Although this practice should be avoided when you are stuck in a condition you have no idea what to talk about, using this tactic will save you. You should not be guilty of sitting silently, which is a big crime. Most people fail due to two reasons; either staying silently and not talking at all or not being able to complete the task of talking about the pictures.


We hope that this article on CAE Speaking Part 2 was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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