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PET Speaking Exam Part Three – Video

by Oli Redman on 22 July, 2016 , No comments

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the Cambridge PET speaking exam part three. You’ll see what to expect in part three of the PET speaking test and how to improve your score.

Don’t forget to watch our lesson on the Cambridge PET speaking exam part two!

1. Basic Information

Part three of the PET speaking exam lasts approximately 2-3 minutes. You do not speak to your partner; you’ll speak for one minute by yourself.

The examiner will show you a large, colour photo, and you’ll have one minute to describe it.

The examiner will give your partner a different photo with a similar theme. For example, if your photo shows people shopping in a shopping centre, your partner’s photo may show people shopping in a market.

2. How to Begin Your Answer

So the examiner shows you your photo. What do you do? How do you start?

To begin you should give a general description of what you see in the photo and what is happening.

If you see a group of people in a café say:

  • In the photo I can see a group of people sitting in a café.

This is a good way to start, with a simple description to describe the situation.

If you can see a bedroom, say:

  • This photo shows a bedroom in a house.

It is better to begin with a simple, general introduction. Don’t start describing all the details at the beginning.

Let’s do an example together.

PET Speaking Exam Part Three Advice - station image

Here’s one way to start your answer:

  • In this photo I can see a kiosk in the middle.

What do you think? Is this a good way to start?

This answer is OK, but it’s focusing too much on details. Remember: it’s better to give a general description of the picture.

Now have a look at this example:

  • This photo shows a large train station with lots of people.

This is a much better answer because it gives a general description of the photo. From this general introduction, you can now choose which details you want to talk about.

3. Using Prepositions of Place to Describe the Picture

After your general introduction, you need to describe the photo in more detail.

When you describe the photo in detail, you should imagine the examiner cannot see the photo. Don’t use your finger and point to things in the photo; use your words to describe what you see.

How can you do this?

You need to use prepositions of place to say what things are in the photo, and where they are.

PET Speaking Exam Part Three Advice - prepositions of place

If there is a bike on the left side of the photo, say:

  • On the left I can see a bike.

Do not point and just say there is a bike.

If there is a cat in the bottom right of the photo say:

  • In the bottom right, there is a cat.

Remember to study the prepositions of place for describing a picture.

Let’s see how you can use some of these prepositions to describe a picture in your PET speaking exam.

PET Speaking Exam Part Three Advice - people looking at computer

What can you say about this picture?

Here’s one possible answer:

  • I can see a table. There is a laptop and some mobile phones.

This answer needs more information. Can you think of a way to make it better?

Here’s a better answer:

  • At the bottom of the photo I can see a table. On the table there is a laptop and some mobile phones.

This sounds much better, because you’re using prepositions to say where things are. This makes your description clearer.

As you can see, in this photo there are a few objects on the table.

PET Speaking Exam Part Three Advice - people working at a table

You can use prepositions of place like next to, beside or around to describe where things are in relation to each other. For example,

  • Next to the laptop there are also some notebooks on the table.
  • There is also a cup of coffee beside the notebooks.
  • There are four people sitting around the table.

To review, you should imagine that the examiner cannot see the photo. You have to say what you see and where the people and objects are.

4. Using Adjectives in Your Answer

After you describe where things are in the photo, what next?

You should describe the people and things in the photo using adjectives and descriptive language. Using adjectives will make your speaking more interesting and give you a chance to use the English you know.

You have one minute to speak and you need to talk about the people and objects in detail.

Let’s look at an example.

PET Speaking Exam Part Three Advice - group of people

What could you say about this photo?

You could say:

  • On the left there is a man who is wearing a t-shirt. Next to the man there is a woman who is a wearing a top. I think the top is nice.

But this isn’t a great answer because there are no adjectives, except the word nice which doesn’t give us much information. To get a higher score, you need to describe what you see in more detail.

Here’s a better answer:

  • On the left there’s a man who is wearing a dark blue, short-sleeved t-shirt. Next to the man there’s a woman who’s wearing a grey, long-sleeved top. I think the top is lovely.

Doesn’t this sound better? Using more adjectives and giving more details in your description will make your answer stronger and more interesting.

Let’s look at another example.

PET Speaking Exam Part Three Advice - students in class

So what can we see in this picture?

You could say:

  • In the centre there is a woman who has blonde hair. She’s wearing a top.

This answer is OK but it doesn’t give much information about the woman and what she looks like.

A better answer would be to say:

  • In the centre there is a woman who has straight, blonde hair which is in a ponytail. She is wearing a plain, grey top with buttons.

Again, this answer is much better, right?

Why? Because it uses more adjectives to describe the woman. You are showing the examiners what you can do with your English.

5. Giving Your Opinions

In part three of the PET speaking test you should also give your opinions about the photo.

It’s also important to explain your opinions with reasons. Don’t just say what you think; say why you think so.

For example, don’t just say:

  • I think the people in the picture are happy.

Give a reason, like this:

  • I think the people in the picture are happy because they are all smiling.

You can use these phrases to introduce your opinions:

  • In my opinion…
  • I think…
  • Probably…
  • Personally…

Let’s look at an example.

PET Speaking Exam Part Three Advice - woman on phone

What could you say about this picture?

You could say something about her clothes, such as:

  • In my opinion her blouse looks good on her, because it’s pretty and colourful.
  • Personally, I don’t like her blouse, because I think it’s old-fashioned and a bit ugly.

You could also say something about what she’s doing or how she’s feeling. For example:

  • She looks quite worried. She probably got some bad news.
  • I think she might be going shopping because she’s carrying a shopping bag.

Giving your opinions is a great way to use your language and find interesting things to say about the picture. This will also help you to get a higher score in your PET speaking test.

6. How to Finish Your Answer

Finally, remember to try to keep talking about the picture until the examiner stops you.

You may not have time to talk about everything. This is okay; you don’t need to describe EVERYTHING in the photo.

But, you should try to describe the most important things in the photo: the people and what they are doing.

If you use the advice from this lesson, and use lots of prepositions and adjectives to describe the photo, it should be easy to talk for a minute.

So to conclude: start with a simple description of what is happening in the photo.

Imagine that you are describing the photo to someone who cannot see it, and use prepositions of place to say where things are. Use lots of adjectives and descriptive language.

If you are going to give an opinion, make sure you say why.

And, remember to continue talking until the examiner stops you.

Now that you’ve seen some sample questions and photos, you should have a good idea of how to do well in part three of your Cambridge PET speaking exam. Good luck!

PET speaking part three quiz

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Oli RedmanPET Speaking Exam Part Three – Video