FCE Speaking Test Part 2

Part two of the Cambridge English: First Speaking test is called the 'Long Turn' because you and student B take turns to give long speeches. You get two colour photos. You have to talk about them on your own for a minute. When you finish, the examiner asks the other student (student B) a question about your photos - student B should talk for about 30 seconds.

Then student B gets two photos and has to talk about them for one minute. When that is over, the examiner asks you a question, and now you have about 30 seconds to answer.

1. Interaction Diagram


In this part of the test, nobody should interrupt you, and you shouldn't talk when the other student is talking.

2. More Detail

The photos are always different but the process is always the same. The examiner will ask you to COMPARE the photos AND SAY something about them.

Study these examples from past exams:

Compare the photographs and say why they have chosen to travel in this way.

Compare the photographs and say why you think the people are talking.

Compare the photographs and say what the people are enjoying about doing these things.

See the pattern? So the first thing you should learn is how to compare things, and make sure you answer the second part of the question.

Read my article about useful language for speaking test part 2 for some ideas.


3. Common Mistakes

  • Most FCE students describe the photos. Nobody asked you to describe them! You are asked to compare - there's a big difference. Describing has ONE element - This man is riding a bike. Comparing has TWO elements - This picture shows a man riding a bike while this one shows a motorbike.
  • If you forget a word or make a mistake, don't worry. Just keep talking. You have to talk for one minute. Mistakes are normal. Keep going!

How about an example?

Compare the two photos and say what might be good or bad for the people traveling in these ways.


There is a man riding a bicycle. He has a helm. Um... helm. Hat? Helmhat? Helmet! Yes, he has a helmet. This man is on a motor bicycle. There is a yellow taxi behind him. Um... I finished.

(Problems: described the photos - didn't compare - wasted time on one word - didn't say what might be good or bad.)


Both pictures show men on their own. In the picture on the top there's a man on a bicycle while in the other picture he's got a motorbike. In the first photo he's out in the countryside somewhere, maybe in Scandinavia. In contrast, this man is in a city and it looks quite dusty and polluted. Here in the first image, though, we can see it looks clean and the air seems fresh.

I think there are good things about traveling by bicycle - it's good exercise and it's very healthy. And cheap! On the other hand, riding a motorbike doesn't give any health benefits and it's much more expensive because you have to buy petrol.

What about the downsides of the bicycle? I suppose it isn't very safe because cars don't respect you. But that's the same on the motorbike sometimes. Oh, the bike is quite slow - much slower than the motorbike. That's the really good thing about the motorbike - the speed, and it's easy to find a parking space!

BLAMMO! I just passed FCE.

4. Practice

It's easy to practice - you just need two photos on a similar theme. Make sure they have people in.

I just typed the word 'travel' into google image search. The first two photos are PERFECT:


They've both got two people, but the first one looks like two friends and in the other it looks like a couple. The first shows a trip to the countryside while the second is in a city.

What sort of question would the examiner ask?

Compare the two photos and ...

  • say what is good and bad about these types of holidays
  • say what the people are looking at and why
  • say why they have chosen this sort of holiday.

Easy, right?

Now you know how to make your own exam-style questions, you can practice whenever you want.

5. The Follow-Up Question

Let's say student B was given the photos from part 4. He would talk for one minute, and then the examiner would ask you a question about the photos.

Something simple like:

Which of these holidays would you prefer?

You should talk for about 30 seconds. How many sentences can you say in half a minute. Three? Four? Let's say you can say three sentences in 30 seconds. You could say something like this:

Well, that's a very difficult question because I like both types of holiday. It's very interesting going somewhere outside of the city because I like to get some fresh air and see some dramatic things. But probably my first choice would be to go to a city, because there are also nice things to see but then I can get an ice cream whenever I want.