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PET Speaking Exam Part One – Video Lesson

by Oli Redman on 31 May, 2016 , No comments

In this lesson, you’ll learn about part one of the Cambridge PET speaking exam. Do you know the basic information about the speaking exam and how it works? Do you know how to act in the exam? Do you know how to impress the examiners? In this video you’ll see the answers to these questions. You can also see some advice on how to get a higher score in part one of the PET speaking test.

About the PET Speaking Exam, Part One

Let’s start with some basic information.

In part one of the speaking test, you’ll be with a partner, but you won’t talk to them. You speak only to the examiner.

This part lasts between two and three minutes.

Now, let’s look at the questions you could be asked and how to answer them.

The main topics the examiners could ask you about are:

The examiner will ask you questions on two or three of these topics.

Before we talk about these topics, let’s start at the beginning.

How to Answer the First Questions in the PET Speaking Test

The examiner will first ask, “What’s your name?” Remember to speak in full sentences.

PET Speaking Exam Part One Advice - what's your name?

When the examiner asks you for your name, don’t just say, “Michael.” Say:

  • My name is Michael.

This shows that you know how to make simple sentences.

When asked for your surname do the same. Don’t just say, “Jones.” Say:

  • My surname is Jones.

After you have given your surname, the examiner will ask you to spell it. Practise, practise and practise some more spelling your surname.

You might think this is easy, but a lot of students confuse letters on the exam day.

How to Add More Information to Your Answers

The examiner will usually ask, “Where are you from?”

Remember to speak in full sentences and try and add extra information. You want to show the examiners that you can add details to your answer.

So, when the examiner asks, “Where are you from?” Don’t just say, “I’m from London.” Give more information about your town or city.

Say:

  • I’m from London, the capital of the UK, which is in the south of my country.

Or:

  • I’m from Seville, a beautiful town in the province of Andalucía.

This shows that you are a confident English speaker who can form sentences and give extra information.

How to Sound Natural and Confident

The examiners might ask you to talk in more detail about your town. Remember to speak clearly and confidently. You want the examiners to be able to hear and understand you.

If the examiner asks you to tell them something interesting about your town. Don’t start muttering, “My town is interesting because it has lots of museums and parks…”

Be clear. Be confident.

  • My town is interesting because it has lots of fantastic museums and beautiful parks.

This sounds better and easier to understand, right?

Also remember to try and sound natural. You don’t want to sound like a robot who has memorised all the answers. You should sound like you are talking to a friend.

In PET, the examiners want to see that you can communicate naturally. Listen to the difference between these two answers to the question:

  • The most interesting part of my town is the zoo because you can see lots of different animals such as lions, elephants and zebras. Lots of people like visiting the zoo.

Now let’s compare this with a more natural way to answer this question:

  • Um… The most interesting part of my town is … the zoo because you can see lots of different animals. Such as lion, elephants and … zebras. Lots of people like visiting the zoo.

The second answer sounds a lot more natural. Try not to sound like a robot when answering. Use intonation.

What to Do if You Don’t Understand Something

Maybe you didn’t hear the examiner or didn’t understand the question. What should you do?

Ask them politely to repeat the question.

Don’t try and answer the question if you aren’t sure what you are answering. Maybe they asked you where you are from. You don’t want to say, “I love playing basketball. It’s my favourite sport.”

It’s better to ask the examiner to repeat the question. Say:

  • I’m sorry, could you repeat that, please?

Or:

  • Can you say that again, please?

Don’t worry about having to ask this. It’s normal, and it won’t affect your score. Just make sure you’re polite.

How to Use More Adjectives and Verb Forms

On the topic of family and home you might be asked to talk more about your family and where you live. Remember to use adjectives to show off your abilities.

If they ask you to describe where you live, don’t just say, “I live in a flat which has three bedrooms.” Use some adjectives. Show off.

Give them more information. Say:

  • I live in a gorgeous flat in the city centre which has three bedrooms; there’s also a huge living room and a tiny kitchen.

Can you see the difference? Which sounded better? The second one, right?

Using the adjectives gorgeous, huge and tiny makes this answer more detailed and interesting.

If you are asked to tell them about your family, don’t just say, “I have a brother and a sister.” Use some adjectives.

Say:

  • I have an older brother and a younger sister.

By using just these two adjectives your answer sounds better.

If you want to get even higher marks, try to use different adjectives and not just the regular boring ones.

We can all use good, interesting, nice or boring. But you should try and use some different adjectives like excellent, fascinating, wonderful or dull.

  • good – excellent
  • interesting – fascinating
  • nice – wonderful
  • boring – dull

The examiner asks:

  • Which do you think is better: living in the countryside or in the city?

Let’s compare two answers:

  • I think living in the countryside is a good choice. I find nature very interesting and the views are nice. The only negative is that it is sometimes boring.

This is a good answer.

Now let’s change the adjectives:

  • I think living in the countryside is an excellent choice. I find nature fascinating and the views are wonderful. The only negative is that it is sometimes dull.

This sounds much better, right? Using the adjectives excellent, fascinating, wonderful and dull makes the answer more interesting and shows that you have a higher level of English.

Next, let’s look at using verb forms correctly. It’s a good idea to show that you can use different verb forms. This will show the examiner your grammatical knowledge.

On the topic of leisure, you will have to talk about your hobbies: what you enjoy doing, what sports you do, what music or films you like, and so on.

FCE Speaking Exam Part One Advice - free time activities image

This is the perfect opportunity to show that you can use different verb forms.

If the examiners ask what kinds of sport you like doing, don’t just use the present tense. Don’t just say, “I like tennis. Tennis is my favourite sport.”

You could say:

  • I like playing tennis. In the past I loved football but today I prefer tennis. Next weekend I’m going to play it with my friend.

Using a range of past, present and future verb forms shows your ability to use English grammar to express different ideas.

Maybe they will ask about what music you enjoy listening to. Don’t just say, “I like pop music. I listen to it every day.”

This is a good answer, but you want to give more information and use different verb forms.

Say:

  • I used to like dance music, but at the moment I like listening to pop music. I love listening to it every day. This summer I am going to a concert to listen to my favourite band.

This sounds much better, right?

On the topic of future plans, you may be asked to talk about what you want to do in the future or how English will help you in the future.

Making Your Answers Interesting

My next piece of advice is to make your answers interesting. You don’t want to sound boring. Remember that the information you give doesn’t have to be true.

In general, you should try and give an honest answer because it will sound more natural. But if you can’t think of anything to talk about, you can invent an answer.

Imagine that the examiner asks, “What do you want to be in the future?” But you don’t know what you want to be in the future—what can you do?

You could invent an idea to make your answer more interesting.

Make your answers interesting.

Don’t say, “I don’t know what I want to be in the future.” Say:

  • I’m not sure what I want to do, but I’m considering becoming a scientist because I think science is fascinating.

This is a much more interesting answer.

Of course, you don’t get a higher score for being more interesting, but making your answers interesting will make you use a wider range of language.

You’ll naturally add more details and use more of your English, and this will help your score.

Maybe you will be asked about whether you enjoy studying English. Don’t just say “I like studying English because I like languages.”

Try to make it more interesting. Say:

  • I like studying English because I think it will help me in the future and I really enjoy listening to English music and it helps me understand my favourite songs.

This is a better answer. It’s longer, more detailed, and it uses a wider range of language.

In conclusion, in part one of your PET speaking exam, you should:

  • Speak in full sentences
  • Try to add extra information
  • Speak clearly and confidently
  • Try to sound natural
  • Ask the examiner to repeat the question if you don’t understand something
  • Use a range of adjectives and verb forms in your answers
  • Make your answers interesting

Now that you’ve seen some sample questions and have listened to some advice on how to do part one of your Cambridge PET speaking exam, my final advice would be to practise, practise and practise some more. Try to use some of the ideas we’ve looked at in this lesson!

Now you can watch: FCE Speaking Exam Part Two Advice.

 

PET Speaking Part One quiz

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Oli RedmanPET Speaking Exam Part One – Video Lesson