The speaking part of the C1 Advanced from Cambridge Exam English consists of 4 parts and lasts for about 15 minutes. There are 2 (or sometimes 3) candidates in the exam, in which the candidates must speak individually and also interact to complete the tasks.




The evaluation for the speaking exam:

As in all of the Cambridge speaking exams there are two examiners present during the exam. The interlocutor is the person who asks the questions and interacts with the candidates to carry out the exam. The interlocutor assigns 25% of the candidates’ grade with the GLOBAL MARK. The second examiner is the assessor, this person does not interact with the candidates, they just listen and assess. The assign 75% of the grade with 5 different marks (GRAMMAR RESOURCE, LEXICAL RESOURCE, DISCOURSE MANAGEMENT, INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION AND PRONUNCIATION)


Grammar resource

Maintains control of a wide range of grammatical forms. This means that the candidates can use a variety of grammar forms in a controlled way that best suits the situation. Candidates must be daring with grammar forms to make sure they demonstrate the advanced level.


Lexical resource

Uses a wide range of appropriate vocabulary to give and exchange views on familiar and unfamiliar topics. This refers to the flexibility of vocabulary use, again candidates must be adventurous with vocabulary use to make sure they use attention grabbing words and phrases. Idioms are a great way of doing so.


Discourse management

Produces extended stretches of language with ease and with very little hesitation. Contributions are relevant, coherent and varied. Uses a wide range of cohesive devices and discourse markers. Candidates must use language in an extended, controlled and organized way. The organization of speech is key, as is the use of connectives and conjunctions.



Is intelligible. Phonological features are used effectively to convey and enhance meaning. Pronunciation is not the most demanding part of the Cambridge exams and by no means do you need to sound native, but you must focus on intonation and individual sounds to make sure you reach the appropriate level.


Interactive communication

Interacts with ease, linking contributions to those of other speakers. Widens the scope of the interaction and negotiates towards an outcome. This means that the candidate can both interact with their partner and the interlocutor with ease. All factors contribute to this part of the evaluation, including body language, eagerness to speak and attitude. You must make sure that you have practiced the exam format and that you complete each task to the required level.


Global mark

Handles communication on a wide range of topics, including unfamiliar and abstract ones, with very little hesitation. Uses accurate and appropriate linguistic resources to express complex ideas and concepts and produce extended discourse that is coherent and easy to follow. Basically you jst want to complete the exam with ease, without being prompted too often and to demonstrate that you have prepared for the exam.



Format of the CAE exam:

Part 1 (Interview)

The candidates are asked for personal information about themselves with simple introduction questions. The task usually lasts for 2-3 minutes and is used as an ice-breaker. The key to doing well in this part of the exam is to give a good first impression. You must speak with extended, fluent and confident answers.


PRACTICE QUESTIONS: Starter speaking questions – (C1) for the Advanced Cambridge ESOL exam (CAE)


Part 2 (Long turn)

The candidates are to speak for one minute without interruption about 2 images (they are given a choice of 3) and also to answer two direct questions. The candidate is to compare and contrast the images, drawing on their own experience to answer the questions. They should use their own opinions to do so. The key to passing this part of the exam is to organize your speech to ensure that you incorporate complex grammar and sufficient cohesive devices. YOU MUST AVOID HESITATING AND REPEATING YOURSELF.


USEFUL INFORMATION: 10 Activities Using Images and Photos


Part 3 (Collaborative task)

In this part of the exam, candidates are to interact and have a conversation for about 3 minutes. They must speak about a given situation, using their skills to initiate and respond, speculate, develop and maintain the conversation and try to negotiate an outcome. The best way to pass this part of the exam is by asking lots of questions and trying to have an informal conversation about the task. It is also easier if you purposely disagree with your partner and later come to an agreement.


USEFUL INFORMATION: 5 activities to improve interactive communication skills


Useful phrases:


  • I see your point
  • I get what you mean
  • We see eye to eye
  • I understand your point of view
  • Exactly
  • That´s right!
  • You took the words right out of my mouth
  • I couldn´t agree more



  • No way!
  • Are you serious?
  • You must be joking!
  • Are you pulling my leg?
  • Really?
  • What are you on about?
  • I can´t agree with you on…


Part 4 (Discussion)

In this part of the exam the interlocutor directs the conversation to encourage the candidates to interact further. The candidates have the opportunity to give and exchange their ideas, express opinions, justify themselves and also to agree and disagree with each other. The most important part of the last task is to show a willingness to speak and also to develop topics and make them more interesting. You must express your personal opinions.


USEFUL INFORMATION Advice for speaking better during Cambridge oral exams


Useful vocabulary:

  • In my opinion, …
  • In my eyes, …
  • To my mind, …
  • As far as I am concerned, …
  • Speaking personally, …
  • From my point of view, …
  • As for me / As to me, …
  • My view / opinion / belief / impression / conviction is that …
  • I hold the view that …
  • I would say that …
  • It seems to me that …
  • I am of the opinion that …
  • My impression is that …
  • I am under the impression that …
  • It is my impression that …
  • I have the feeling that …
  • My own feeling on the subject is that …
  • I have no doubt that …
  • I am sure / I am certain that …
  • I think / consider / find / feel / believe / suppose / presume / assume/reckon that …
  • I hold the opinion that …
  • I dare say that …
  • I guess that …
  • I bet that ….
  • I gather that …
  • It goes without saying that …




Good luck with the exam.


Extra practice:

C1 ADVANCED: key phrases for the speaking exam





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