How to do Speaking part 2 in the Cambridge CAE Exam

by Mark February 12, 2021
CAE Exam: Speaking Part 2

Here we look at the second part of the Cambridge CAE Exam speaking test…

So, you’re thinking of taking an Advanced exam? Welcome to this series of posts about the Cambridge C1 Advanced exam, sometimes known as the CAE exam – the Certificate of Advanced English. The whole exam is divided into four different ‘papers’ – Reading & Use of English, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. This page offers a guide to the second part of the Speaking Exam in the Cambridge C1 Advanced Exam, what it tests, how to approach it and how to revise for it. Don’t be afraid, Speaking part 2 – let’s go!

What speaking part 2 involves

Part 2 of the Speaking Exam wants to see how well a student can talk about a random topic with very little preparation time. The Students take it in turns. The first student is given 3 photographs and 2 written questions. The student must talk for about 1 minute about two of the photographs and answer both of the written questions. The second student is then asked a question by the examiner regarding the first student’s photos. The roles are then reversed and the second student is given different photos and different questions.


Approximately 1-2 minutes in total per student.

What's being tested

The student’s ability to talk about a subject and speculate on possible situations and show a range of vocabulary quickly and coherently.

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How to do Speaking part 2

Make sure you understand the questions

You need to answer two questions (which are written down for you), so it is important that you understand what they are asking you and that you continue to refer back to the questions while you’re giving your answer.

Choose two of the photographs

You don’t need to spend a long time describing what you can see in the photos, you could simply say something like: “I’m going to talk about this picture which shows somebody doing something and this picture which show a diffrent person doing something different.”

Don’t describe the photos

What is more important is to answer the two written questions. Don’t waste valuable time by describing what you can see in the photos.    

Answer question 1 for both photos before starting question 2

Because you have to talk about two photos and answer two questions, there are two ways you can approach this exercise. Firstly, you could choose one of the pictures to focus on and answer the two questions for this picture. Then choose a second photo and answer both of the questions for that picture.  However, you’re required to compare and contrast the two pictures that you’ve chosen and so an easier way to do this is to use the second method – take the questions one at a time. So, answer the first question for both of your chosen photos, and then answer question two for both photos. This will make it easier to compare and contrast them.

Photo 1 Questions 1 & 2 Question 1 Photos 1 & 2
Photo 2 Questions 1 & 2 Question 2 Photos 1 & 2
A possible way The recommended way

Listen to your partner while they’re speaking

When your partner has finished talking for a minute about their two photos, the examiner will then ask you a follow up question about your partner’s pictures. You only need to talk for 15-20 seconds, so you only need to give 2 or 3 sentences to your answer.

Test Yourself


Why might the people be doing these things together?

What benefits might the people get from the activity?

One minute



Which activity is the most beneficial to the group?

About 20 seconds

Thank you for reading our post. For more information about the Cambridge Advanced Exam (CAE) you can check out the official site here.

You’ll find more English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our English courses in Dublin, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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CAE Exam: Speaking Part 1
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