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Cambridge Advanced English Speaking Test

Cambridge CAE Advanced Speaking Test Part B

The aim of this section is to focus on the following.
  • Coping with vocabulary problems by asking for help or using paraphrase
  • Ranking characteristics and reaching agreement
The exam question prepares you for Part B of the CAE speaking test which requires you to describe a picture and compare it with the description of a similar picture.

One of the most frustrating problems facing many English learners is not knowing or being able to remember a particular word or expression in English. This type of difficulty also occurs quiet frequently in your own language and you get round it by using a munber of strategies. These strategies are also likely to be very useful in a foreign language.
  • Sometimes there are a number of words which have more or less the same meaning. If you can’t think of the exact word, use a synonm or a word with a similar meaning.
  • If you don’t know the right word or one with a similar meaning, you can use paraphrase or explain your meaning with a complete sentence or desctiption.
Finally, if you really need a particular word or expression, you can always ask another person for help. You can say:

I don’t know how to say it.
I don’t remember what you call it.
I don’t know the word in English.
What do you call it?
What is the English for ...?
What is (own language word) in English?
I can’t remember ... what do you call (own language word) in English?

Look at the words and expressions below. Do they have positive or negative meanings? Which words have similar meanings?
      attractive, austere, charming, dangerous, demolish, derelict, do up, falling down, hideous, improve, property, pull down, renovate, restore, ruin, run down, severe-looking, solid, masonry, structurally sound, ugly, unsafe

Which of these words or expressions would you use to describe the properties in the photos? What do you think the buildings were used for originally? What else could you say or describe about the building?

Images courtesy of Wikicommons

Try discussing these questions with your speaking partner.
  • What would have to be done to restore these buildings and turn them into living accommodation?
  • How much do you think it would cost to do this type of work in your country?
  • Is it fashionable in your country to do up old properties or do people generally prefer to build new homes?

Imagine you and your speaking partner are responsible for selling one of the properties. What would you say if you were trying to persuade someone to buy it? Decide which of the following features might be most important, discuss them, and prioritize them.
  • Plenty of scope for redevelopment
  • 15 minutes drive form an attractive market town
  • Bargain price
  • A charming property in an idyllic setting
  • A lot of character
  • An excellent long term investment
  • A lively neighbourhood
  • An interesting property for people with character

Now, practice what you would say to someone who might be interested in buying the property.

More about Cambridge Advanced English

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