B2 First speaking part four - the discussion
At a glance
This final part of the B2 speaking test follows on from the previous task. You are required to have a discussion with your partner about the topics or issues you explored in part three. The examiners will be looking at your ability to be able to express and justify your opinions, as well as agreeing or disagreeing.
In a nutshell
- The examiner will ask a question and ask for you and your partner's opinion.
- You're also expected to say if you agree or disagree with your partner's opinion. The examiner will gesture to you both for when you should discuss the questions together or give your answer to them - watch the video at the end of part one here to see an example of what happens in this part.
- It is four minutes long (six for groups of three)
- You are examined on your ability to express and justify opinions, agreeing and/or disagreeing
What are the questions like?
Let's assume you had just answered the question we had in part three about the best ways to keep fit and healthy. The examiner will have a set of questions like this:
We can see here that the questions you're asked explore the topic of health and fitness further, and so you're asked broader set of questions on this topic and ones which invite you give your opinion.
Many of the questions you could be asked in part four of the speaking test ask you to talk about the wider implications of a particular topic and how it impacts society.
Which topics do they take questions from?
The questions will be about the same topic as part three. Some common topics chosen are:
- Your home country or city
- Free time
- Learning English
One of the easiest ways to prepare for speaking part four is to get together with your friends and have discussions with them about any of these topics. One of you could play the role of the examiner with a list of questions. You should practice agreeing or disagreeing with what your partner says and expressing your opinion. I also recommend that you get some practice with your English teacher or at your English academy
Remember that you need to try your best to justify your opinion and explain your answers;
If you don't know what to say, you can buy yourself thinking time by saying something like 'That's a really interesting question'. Scroll down this page to see more examples;
You won't have the questions written down, so it's really important for you to listen carefully to the question. If you don't quite understand the question you can ask the examiner to repeat it by politely asking 'Sorry I missed that, could you repeat it please?'
Look at the examiner when you answer the question they ask you and look at your partner if the examiner asks you to discuss the question together;
You are expected to agree or disagree, just like in part three, so be interested in your partner's opinion and listen to what they say carefully. Also, remember to say why when justifying your opinion;
Use a variety of vocabulary, not just 'good' or 'bad'. Some other adjectives you could use are fantastic, terrible, great or poor and many others depending on the context of your sentence.
Here is a list of phrases and words you can use for this part of the test. If you're not sure how to use them, ask your teacher for help.
Justifying your opinions
..and for me it's because..
I think this is mainly because of the fact that..
Building on your ideas
And also, let's not forget..
Another thing is..
There's also the fact that..
Just as importantly..
Giving your opinion
I think that...
I'm no expert but..
I would say that..
It's clear to me that..
In my view..
As far as I'm concerned
Well, one thing I'm sure of is..
The way I see it is that..
I see it that way too.
I totally agree.
I completely agree.
I was just going to say that!
I couldn't agree more.
Yeah, I see what you mean.
I was just thinking that!
Well, in my opinion..
Hm, well the way I see it is that..
I disagree because..
Yeah, but, the thing is..
Well, I'm not quite sure about that because..
I think you're partly right but on the other hand..
But don't you think that..
Well, I think you're right there but..
Well this is just my opinion but..
Asking for your partner's opinion
What do you think about this?
Do you have anything to add, Susan?
What do you think
Do you agree?
Don't you agree?
What would you say about this?
Did I forget anything?
Interrupting your partner
If I could just say as well..
I'd just like to add..
I'd like to comment on that
Buying thinking time
That's a really interesting question..
I've never really thought much about that..
That's a good question
Hm, well that's an interesting question and I think it's a complicated issue because..
Congratulations, you've just finished the speaking test for the Cambridge English B2 First exam!
Is there anything else you wanted help with? And how was your experience doing the speaking test? Write about it in the comments below.
Rob Hamburg is a trained English teacher from England who has numerous years of experience teaching English to young learners, teenagers and adults in Spain. He completed his bachelor degree in 2010 at The University of Manchester and obtained CELTA certification in 2015. As well as being an active teacher on Verbling, Rob teaches English online for SayABC and gives classes via Skype and Google Hangouts.