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PET Speaking Exam Part Two – Video

by Oli Redman on 2 June, 2016 , No comments

In this lesson, you can learn about the Cambridge PET speaking exam part two.
You’ll see how to do part two of the speaking test, how to do well and how to impress the examiners.

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

Basic Information about PET Speaking Part Two

In the PET speaking exam part two you will be speaking with a partner, not with the examiner.

This part of the test will last two to three minutes

In this part of the exam the examiners want to see that you can communicate naturally with your partner.

You need to show the examiner that you can have a conversation with your partner by asking questions, listening to your partner’s ideas and responding appropriately.

What You Need to Do in Part Two of the PET Speaking Test

The examiner will describe a situation to you. You need to discuss this situation with your partner. You have a large piece of paper with pictures on it to help you. The examiner will repeat the situation twice.

Let’s look at an example situation:

Sample question for the Cambridge PET speaking exam part two

A family wants to go on a trip this weekend. Talk together about the different places the family could visit and decide which trip the family would most enjoy.

Remember to listen carefully to the situation described. Many students get confused at this point and try to talk about themselves. Remember: the situation is about other people, not about you.

This situation is not asking you to describe where you would want to visit this weekend. It is asking you to talk about where the family in the picture should visit.

You don’t want to start saying, “I think the castle is a good idea, because I love history.” This trip is not for you.

You are only recommending ideas for the family. You should say:

  • I think the castle is a good idea because it would be educational for the family.

Now let’s look at another situation:

Sample question for the Cambridge PET speaking test, part two

A classmate is leaving to move to another city. You and your class want to buy him a present. Talk together about the different presents that you could get for him.

This situation is not asking what present you would like for yourself. It is asking about a classmate who you know.

You don’t want to say, “I think the mobile phone is the best idea, because I love technology.” The present is not for you.

It is for your classmate. You should say:

  • I think the mobile phone is the best idea because he could use it to keep in contact with us.

Although this situation involves you, you have to be careful to understand who the situation is about.

So, remember to listen very carefully when the examiner is talking.

How to Start Your Answer

Now, let’s look at how to begin. Do you know how you should start?

I recommend asking a question to your partner first. This gives you more time to think about your ideas, and also shows the examiner that you are in control of the conversation.

Let’s look at another situation:

Sample question for the Cambridge PET speaking test, part two

In this situation you have to decide what object someone should bring with them when they are visiting your country.

A good opening question for this situation could be:

  • What do you think about the person bringing a camera?

Or:

  • Do you think they should bring a guide book with them?

This shows that you understand the question and that you are controlling the conversation. It also gives you more time to think about what you want to say.

Let’s look at another situation:

Sample question for the Cambridge PET speaking exam, part 2

In this situation you are on holiday in Paris and have to decide what gift to bring home for your friend.

A good opening question would be to ask:

  • Do you think a piece of art would be a good present for our friend?

Or:

  • What do you think about bringing back a model Eiffel Tower for our friend?

This sounds better than starting to talk about it yourself, or pausing because you are unsure who should speak first.

It is important to show that you’re taking part in a conversation.

Asking Questions to Your Partner

Remember that in part two of the speaking test you need to ask questions to your partner.

The conversation should be fifty percent you speaking and fifty percent your partner speaking. You don’t get extra points for speaking more.

After you give your opinion on something, ask your partner a question.

Your opinions on each idea should not be very long: one or two sentences and then ask another question. Ask your partner to respond to your ideas.

Let’s look again at our first example:

Sample question for part two of the Cambridge PET speaking exam

Remember: one or two sentences, then ask a question. For example:

  • I think going to the beach could be a good idea if the weather is good because the children could play in the sea. What do you think about the family going to the beach?

This shows that you are communicating with your partner and that you are having a natural conversation.

Imagine the same answer but without the question:

  • I think going to the beach could be a good idea if the weather is good because the children could play in the sea.

Maybe there will be a long silence. Maybe your partner does not know that you have finished speaking. This does not sound like a natural conversation. So, remember to ask your partner questions.

Linking Your Ideas Together When You Speak

In part two of the PET speaking exam, you need to link your ideas together with comparisons and contrasts.

You should not just talk about one idea at a time. You need to compare ideas and discuss which suggestions are better or worse, and why. Explain why you prefer one idea and not the other.

Listen to this example from our second discussion. If your partner says:

  • I think the mobile phone is a good idea because our classmate could keep in contact with us. What do you think about the camera?

And then you reply with:

  • I don’t think the camera is a good idea because cameras are old-fashioned. What do you think about the book?

These are good answers and ideas, but it doesn’t sound natural, does it? It sounds planned and strange.

Let’s listen again, but this time let’s join the conversation together.

Your partner says:

  • I think the mobile phone is a good idea because our classmate could keep in contact with us. What do you think about the camera?

A good reply would be to say:

  • I don’t think the camera is a good idea, because today all mobile phones have cameras. What do you think about the book?

The second conversation sounded better, right?

Comparing the ideas helps you to sound more natural, like you’re having a normal discussion.

Our next point: you need to react to your partner’s ideas and suggestions. How can you do that?

How to React to Your Partner’s Ideas

When your partner speaks, you need to listen actively.

Don’t just sit there like a robot.

React, nod your head, or say something to show how you feel about your partner’s ideas.

Another important point is to look at your partner when you are having your discussion. Remember you are not talking to the examiner. You are talking to your partner.

It would be strange if you were looking at a different person whilst taking to somebody else.

If you agree with what your partner says, you could say something like:

  • I agree
  • Good idea
  • That’s interesting
  • You’re right
  • That’s true
  • I think so too

If you disagree with your partner, remember to be polite. You don’t want to insult your partner’s ideas, do you?

You shouldn’t say that your partner’s idea is stupid or wrong just because you disagree. Say something like:

  • Really? I’m not sure about that
  • I don’t think I agree
  • I don’t think so
  • Good idea but I prefer…

For example: if your partner says:

  • I think the book is a good idea because books are not that expensive to buy.

If you disagree, you shouldn’t say, “That is a stupid idea because we want to get our classmate a nice present, not a cheap present.” You should be polite. Don’t insult the idea.

Compare it with another idea that you think is better. Say:

  • I don’t think I agree. I understand that a book would be a cheap present, but we want to get our classmate something to remember us, like the trainers.

This sounded much politer, didn’t it?

Or maybe your partner says:

  • I think the family should go to the cinema, because it is a great experience.

If you disagree, don’t say, “That is a terrible idea, because what if they can’t agree on the film?” You should be more respectful.

Say:

  • The cinema is a good idea but I think going to the beach is better, because the beach has something for everyone.

This is a politer reaction and you can use it to discuss other ideas.

How to Finish Your Answer

Once you have finished discussing your options, you should come to a decision together.

A good way to show you have control of the conversation at the end is to ask:

  • What have we decided?
  • Shall we choose one?

Now remember, you don’t have to be completely honest.

If your partner really thinks that one idea is much better than another, you can agree with them to finish the conversation. It doesn’t matter if you really agree or not.

The examiner does not care about your ideas. The examiner wants to see how well you communicate with your partner.

If your partner is unsure, try to lead the decision. Look at our first example:

Sample question for part two of the Cambridge PET speaking exam

You could say:

  • I think the family should go to the beach, because we agreed it has a lot of activities for all of the family.

This shows that you have control over the conversation.

Let’s look at our second example again:

Sample question for the Cambridge PET speaking test, part two

You could say:

  • I think we can agree that the mobile phone is the best idea, because our classmate can keep in contact with us.

Again, you are controlling the discussion, but also involving your partner. Doing these things can help your score.

Make sure you leave enough time to reach a final decision with your partner, but you also need to talk for the full 2-3 minutes. If you stop too early, the examiner will not say anything, and you will be sitting in uncomfortable silence.

When preparing for the PET speaking exam, try to get a feeling for how long you need to speak. Don’t answer the question too quickly. After around two and a half minutes of discussion, start trying to reach a final decision.

Review

To review, in part two of the PET speaking exam, try to:

  • Listen carefully to the situation the examiner describes
  • Start by asking your partner a question
  • Ask questions
  • Compare and contrast different ideas
  • React to your partner’s suggestions
  • Disagree politely
  • Make the final decision together

Now that you’ve seen some sample questions and have listened to some advice on how to do part two of your Cambridge PET speaking exam you should have a good idea how to do this part.

PET Speaking Part Two Quiz

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Oli RedmanPET Speaking Exam Part Two – Video