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This post offers English learners 5 examples of collaborative task (Part 3) and the discussion (Part 4) that are in the B2 FIRST. These are the 3rd and 4th tasks in the speaking exam (HERE) that learners must carry out.
In this part of the exam the two candidates are to speak together about a situation for about two minutes. They should discuss the situation and take into account all of the 5 options provided. In the end they have about one minute to come to a conclusion (agree or disagree HERE). The way this exercise is assessed is simple (see the link for more details HERE).
The interlocutor will describe the task and then the candidates have about 15 seconds to look at the information, then the should debate the topic for about 2-3 minutes. The examiners are not involved in the task and the candidates are to interact independently until the examiner says “thank you”.
This post will provide advice to be able to pass the conversation task of the B2 First. It evaluates the candidate’s Interactive Communication skills
For interactive communication “Initiates and responds appropriately, linking contributions to those of other speakers. Maintains and develops the interaction and negotiates towards an outcome”. This means that you can form questions well, you can continue a conversation and make it interesting, and you can link topics to other topics or to what your partner has said. And that you try to give a conclusion. I always tell candidates that you want to think of it as la patata caliente. You do not want to speak for too long (20 seconds maximum) and then you pass it to your partner with a question or a question tag. It is an informal conversation and you can interrupt and show disagreement. Try to be creative and give the activity a context, boring conversations usually get a bad mark/grade.
What does this part of the speaking involve?
Collaborative task (part 3) 3 minutes: In this part of the exam the candidates speak together about a situation for 2-3 minutes. In this part you need to look at the 5 options or topics and use the following skills to have a conversation. They will have two minutes to discuss the options and then one minute to come to a conclusion.
- Initiate and respond (questions)
- Develop (maintain the conversation and make it interesting)
- Link (relate your points to those of your partner)
- Negotiate an outcome (conclusion)
An important part of this part of the exam is the use of ´question tags´, the conversation needs to be natural and easy to follow with little repetition or hesitation. Do not stop speaking until the examiner stops you.
How can I answer this task well?
You need to watch examples and also practice with your speaking partner. What the examiners want is an informal conversation, as if you were two friends chatting in a café. See this link for examples