Hey! Welcome to the new audio lesson with ABC English Levels! I’m Valentine and today we’re practising the third part of the FCE Speaking paper. We will try to discuss a question from FCE Speaking part 3, and you’ll understand how to keep the conversation going, express your opinion and ask for your partner’s. You’ll learn some useful phrases and some practical tips as well.
Well, off we go!
Normally, the topic is the same for parts 2,3 and 4. So, let it be about leisure time as we’ve already had an example of dealing with it when we compared the two photos in one of our audio lessons.
You remember that in the 1st part of Speaking Part 3 you have 2 minutes to discuss a question and 5 options with your partner. Let’s say the question is «How can people benefit from these activities?«. And the 5 prompts could be: reading a book, going to a gig (gig is a live concert), hanging out with friends, gathering with the family and going cycling.
You have 15 seconds to think about the 5 options and how they relate to the question. So, you can quickly set possible connections between them. Reading – alone, relaxed, quiet atmosphere. Going to a gig – normally with friends, enjoying a lively world of music, meeting new people. Hanging out with friends – sharing your experiences, catching up on news. Gathering with the family – feeling support and love from people you have known since your childhood. Going cycling – healthy activity, especially good for those who work behind the desk all the time.
Phrases to keep the conversation moving
Let’s revise some expressions you can use to keep the conversation going.
- To agree: Yes, right. Absolutely! I can’t agree with you more. I’m with you here. I haven’t thought about it but you’re right.
- To disagree: I’m afraid, I disagree here (say why). I see what you’re getting at but I have another opinion (say what). Well, maybe but…
- To express your opinion: Frankly speaking, I believe, I guess, I suppose, I think, to my mind, in my opinion, I’m not sure but, I’m convinced that.
- To ask for an opinion: What do you think? What’s your opinion? Do you agree? And what about you? Question tags (isn’t it? aren’t they? don’t we? etc.)
- To move to another option: Shall we move on to the next option? What about (say the next option)? What do you think about (say the next option)?
Important! Each option you discuss must relate to the central question, do not deviate from it!
You: Do you want to start or would you prefer me to start?
Partner: I don’t mind if you start.
You: OK. Well, I’d say reading is an excellent way to relax if you work physically. You make yourself comfortable and let go with the characters. There’s always a good chance you learn something new, right?
Partner: Agrees or disagrees with you and moves to the next option. E.g.: Sure! I also think reading is the best way to train your imagination too. And what about going to a gig? I guess it’s really fun to rub shoulders with (meet and spend time with someone) people and feel the pulse of live music, isn’t it?
You should always react to your partner’s opinion first and then move on to the next prompt.
You: Can’t agree with you more here. There’s always someone interesting to meet at such events, and it’s a great possibility to recharge your batteries (take a break from your routine). And I believe hanging out with friends can give people the feeling of satisfaction and support in an informal situation. Don’t you think so?
Partner: Absolutely! Besides, people can catch up on what’s new talking to their friends. I think it’s very similar to gathering with a family, do you agree?
You: Well, maybe, but I think the family gives us that unique sense of home that we can never find anywhere else. OK. And what do you think about cycling? Isn’t it the healthiest way of spending spare time?
Partner: Yes, agree, cycling is the best cardiovascular activity in my opinion and the cheapest way of travelling as well.
In part 2 of this task, the examiner asks you and your partner a question related to the previous discussion and gives one minute to answer. Remember that you shouldn’t discuss every prompt again. Just get immediately to the point and offer your point of view.
So, the examiner can ask: Which activity is the most satisfying? Why?
You can choose any option that seems right to you, say about it and support your opinion. E.g.:
You: To my mind, going out with friends is the most satisfying as you change the atmosphere, have a good natter (chat) and a whale of a time (enjoy very much) together with the people who understand you best. What about you?
Partner: Well, you might be right but, frankly speaking, I’d choose a get-together with the family because of the cosy intimate atmosphere and the opportunity to meet with my nearest and dearest who I see only on family events.
- It is not necessary to reach an agreement with your partner, so don’t worry if you have another opinion. It might be good to use up one minute the examiner gives you to discuss the question.
- If it turns out you quickly agree on the best option, try to focus on more details, or give examples from your personal experience. You also can say why the rest of the prompts are not as good.
Well, let’s summarise. In today’s lesson, you’ve learnt the expressions to keep the conversation moving, useful vocabulary to talk about different activities and some tips to feel confident at the exam.
That’s all for today. In the next lesson, we’ll focus on the last, 4th part of the Speaking Paper.
This was ABC English Levels and Valentine. Take care!