Here you will find speaking cards for FCE Speaking Part 2 (picture comparison) with answers and useful phrases. You can print or save them as PDFs. Have a look at our FCE Speaking Part 2 Tips to learn how to get a higher score!
Sample answers are written in italics.
#1. Living in different places; Exercising
Candidate A, here are the photographs. They show various places where people live. I’d like you to compare the photographs and say why people might choose to live there, okay? (1 minute)
Candidate A: The left picture shows some big city with a line of apartment blocks built right next to the sea, while in the picture on the right we can see a peaceful village next to a train station and a train passing by. While both photos have various residences in them, the right one looks much more quiet than the other.
I believe that people who choose to live in a busy city do so because they have a more active lifestyle – they commute to work, go to parties, restaurants, exhibitions – all the activities a big city has to offer. In contrast, those who reside in a remote place like in picture two, prefer a more relaxed, slower pace of life.
Candidate B, which place would you prefer to live in and why? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B: Personally, I’d go with the quiet place next to the train station. I could commute to the city centre by train, take morning strolls in the woods, and generally enjoy everything nature has to offer. I don’t party that much and I’m not into eating out, so I won’t miss out on most things a busy city has to offer.
Candidate B, now it’s your turn. These pictures show people exercising. Compare the photographs and say how the exercising might make people feel. (1 minute)
Candidate B: The right photo shows a girl on a river bank doing what looks like gymnastics, while in the left picture, a lady is in the middle of a tennis match. Both do some kind of sports activity, however, one is performed outside while the other is done indoors. Moreover, tennis requires special equipment such as a racket, while the other exercise doesn’t need anything at all.
I believe that both people feel content with what they’re doing as exercising energises you, and if you spend enough time at it, you might feel pleasantly exhausted. It is also beneficial for your brain, allowing your mind to wander.
Candidate A, which type of exercise would you prefer and why?
Candidate A: Even though I’m not very good at tennis, I would have to choose it over the activity in the other picture – I’m hopeless when it comes to body balance! Tennis is a nice combination of physical exercising and thinking – you don’t simply run after the ball – you have to calculate your hits and plan ahead. I like this aspect of tennis very much.
#2. Different types of work; Places for holidays
Candidate A, here are the two pictures. They show people performing different jobs. I’d like you to compare the two pictures and say what difficulties the people might have when doing their jobs. (1 minute)
Candidate A: Both pictures here show people at work, but the nature of their activity is very different. The lady in the picture on the left is facing a difficult creative task, judging by her body language and the images on her laptop screen. In contrast, the man in the second photo does a very physically demanding job at something that looks like a construction site.
While the man’s job is fairly straightforward, it can be very dangerous to his health and well-being. The woman’s task here seems to be rather tricky, as she appears to be stuck with the task. Undeniably, both jobs can be very stressful.
Candidate B, which job do you think is more difficult? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B: I think the duties shown in picture two are much more challenging. Sure, creative thinking is not easy, but physical and manual labour are always a struggle. No matter how good you are at it, you have to perform very tiring, repetitive actions that are both mentally and physically demanding.
Candidate B, now it’s your turn. The pictures show different holiday locations. Compare them and say why people might choose to spend their holiday in each place. (1 minute)
Candidate B: Both pictures show various types of resorts. While the left picture looks warm and peaceful, the other one looks rather cold and even a bit dangerous. However, somehow both of them look equally cozy, though for different reasons.
People looking for a place to spend their holiday at may prefer huts by the seaside if they come from a colder country and want to experience a warmer, more pleasant climate. They are also likely to appreciate the local food rich in fruits and vegetables. As for the second photo, it might be preferred by more active, young people, who are really keen on sports and exercising.
Candidate A, which of the two places is better to spend a family holiday at? (~20 seconds)
Candidate B: The location shown in the first photo is definitely much better for a family with kids. Every member of the household can enjoy sunbathing and swimming, while some kids can be too young to try skiing. Also, the low temperatures of a ski resort may not be to some people’s liking.
#3. Eating; Business meetings
Candidate A, here are your pictures. They show people eating. I’d like you to compare these pictures and say who you think enjoys their meal most. (1 minute)
Candidate A: Picture one and picture two both show people having a meal. One of the places seems to be an expensive restaurant or café; the other looks like a regular apartment. In the left picture, the people are dressed up for the occasion, while the right photo shows us a person dressed very casually.
I believe that the girl in the right picture is enjoying her food more – she hasn’t even put it on a plate; she is eating it right out of the frying pan. I guess she must be really hungry! The women in the photo on the left seem to be more preoccupied with the conversation than the food itself. They probably came to the restaurant to meet each other, not to eat.
Candidate B, how often do you eat out? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B: Almost never, I’m afraid. Eating out is rather expensive in my city. You also need to put on some fancy clothes – you know, because everybody else does and you don’t really want to stand out. When I do go out, it is usually a very special occasion that needs to be celebrated – like somebody’s wedding or a graduation ceremony. It makes it even better – each time is really memorable!
Candidate B, now it’s your turn. These two pictures show people in business meetings. Compare them and say how people in these environments might feel. (1 minute)
Candidate B: In both of these photos, we can see people discussing things connected with business. The picture on the right shows a traditional, face-to-face way of communicating, where everybody is in the same room. However, the left photo presents a different way to communicate – using modern technology such as video conferencing.
I believe that the person in the left photo feels a bit detached from the meeting as the people she’s communicating with are not physically present. However, she probably appreciates the flexibility that online communication offers. As for the situation in picture two, the office workers there are probably much more comfortable, engaged in old-fashioned business conversation in a meeting room.
Candidate A, which type of business meeting is more efficient? (~20 seconds)
Candidate A: Well, I’d say that both ought to be pretty effective, as businesses across the globe use them. I believe that having a meeting using video calls might be a better choice; you don’t have to spend time to go to the meeting, and it’s much easier to arrange, you know, to make sure everybody has free time. When every participant has to come to some place, it gets more complicated.
#4. Rush Hour; Watching a movie
Candidate A, here are your pictures. In these pictures, you can see people commuting. I’d like you to compare the two pictures and say why they might have chosen to commute this way. (1 minute)
Candidate A: In both of these pictures, we see people on their way somewhere. It could be their job or the place where they study. However, there are differences that are easy to see at first glance. In the left photo, people have almost no personal space because it’s very crowded and they have to stand really close to each other. In the right picture, on the contrary, most cars are private, and drivers as well as their passengers must be feeling more comfortable.
Speaking of the reason for their choice, I assume that not many people actually have this luxury of choosing how to travel. I think the vast majority of train passengers in the first picture would gladly commute by car if they could afford it. However, some of them might choose public transportation to save the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.
Candidate B, how do you usually commute? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B: I use my bike for most in-city journeys, but when it snows, I prefer to go by taxi or ask some friends to give me a lift. I’m not very keen on buses, as they take forever to get somewhere and are usually packed with people. I can walk too, if it’s not too far away, but it is never my first choice.
Candidate B, here are your pictures. They show people watching a movie. Compare the pictures and say what the benefits of watching movies in these ways are. (1 minute)
Candidate B: In both pictures, we can see people enjoying a film. One looks like a cinema theatre, and the other seems to be an ordinary living room. The theatre seems to be half-empty, with some vacant seats in the first two rows.
I believe that the advantages of watching a show from home are rather obvious: you don’t have to dress up and go somewhere. It’s so much more comfortable just to stay at home, grab your favourite snack, and put a nice flick on. However, movie theatres have their advantages as well: both the picture and the sound are much better, and you can really feel explosions, for example, if it is an action movie. So yeah, each situation is good in its own way.
Candidate A, is it better to enjoy a film on your own or with others? (~20 seconds)
Candidate A: If it is a mainstream movie, then I guess it’s much more fun to watch it with your friends. They say that sharing an experience makes it more enjoyable. And on the contrary, if the film is of a less popular genre, something like a documentary or another niche variety, then it would be much better to watch it on your own since not everyone is going to find it fun.
#5. Shopping; Free time
Candidate A, here are the two photos: they show people making purchases. I’d like you to compare the photos and say which person is facing a more difficult choice. (1 minute)
Candidate A: In the left picture, a lady is in what looks like a very expensive shop. She is deciding on the particular style and colour of shoes to buy. The right photo shows us a teenage girl going through a rack of clothes in what seems to be a thrift shop. The main difference between the two situations is the amount of money the person is willing to spend; one is ready to pay extra for the brand and prestige, while the other probably wants to save money on the purchase.
I believe that the girl in the right picture is having a more difficult time as she has to find something that suits her taste and won’t break the bank. The person in the right picture seems to find shopping to be yet another fun activity, a way to spend her time.
Candidate B, how often do you shop for clothes? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B: To tell the truth, I don’t do much shopping for things to wear. Our family is rather big with lots of brothers and cousins, so I usually get a lot of hand-me-downs — you know, things they no longer wear, so I get them instead. I actually like this arrangement; I get free stuff and it makes them feel better — it’s a win-win situation for everybody!
Candidate B, here are your pictures, which show people spending their free time. Compare the two pictures and say what the advantages and disadvantages of spending your free time in these ways are. (1 minute)
Candidate B: In both of these pictures we see people doing things they enjoy. The girl in the left picture probably prefers solitude; that’s why she is in a quiet library, sitting between bookstalls. In contrast, the group of friends from the second picture seem like the outgoing and sociable type; they seem to be camping somewhere in the woods.
I hold that the advantages of being on your own are not that many: you don’t depend on other people, and you don’t have to do something you might not like. The disadvantage is that sometimes you may feel lonely. As for the positive aspects of camping with friends, they are numerous. The fresh air and good company can be a nice change from your routine. I can’t really think of any disadvantages!
Candidate A, do you prefer spending free time alone or in a company? (~20 seconds)
Candidate A: I’m the reclusive type. I don’t need people around me all the time to feel comfortable. Whether it’s reading, long walks in a park or even travelling, I’m in my element when I’m on my own. I don’t mind being with friends occasionally, but I don’t feel like spending too much time with others.
#6. Shopping for food; Kids with bikes
Candidate A, here are your pictures. They show people shopping for food. I’d like you to compare these two photos and say what they might find enjoyable while doing their shopping. (1 minute)
Candidate A: While in the left picture we can see people making purchases in a supermarket, the right picture shows people buying food from a street vendor. The place in the first photo probably has a wider variety of goods, but the food in the other picture is more likely to be fresh and natural.
I believe that the family in the supermarket enjoys doing it together, taking everyone’s opinion into account. They look really happy. The people in the right picture are probably glad to have the opportunity to purchase fresh produce. The buyer and the street vendor are likely to know each other, too.
Candidate B, Which type of shopping is more common in your country? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B: I can’t say that either of these types is more popular than the other. It really depends on the part of the country. Smaller towns and villages tend to have many outdoor markets where you can buy fresh, natural food. In bigger cities, people mostly shop in supermarkets.
Candidate B, here are your pictures. They show young people on bicycles. Compare the pictures and say what challenges they might be facing. (1 minute)
Candidate B: Well, the little girl in the left picture is being taught how to ride a bike by her father. In contrast, the boy in the right picture looks really confident on his BMX bicycle, performing a stunt jump. Both of them are probably enjoying the experience, but for different reasons.
The girl is probably feeling nervous because she has to be steering the bike, maintaining balance and, being aware of her surroundings at the same time. It must be really difficult to do all that when you’re just a beginner cyclist. This can’t be said about the boy, whose challenge is quite different — he has to land his bike safely without breaking it or hurting himself.
Candidate A, is cycling popular where you live? (~20 seconds)
Candidate A: No, not at all. We have harsh winters with lots of snow, and our summers are really short. You can see an occasional cyclist, but it is more of an exception. It’s a shame, really. I wish we had a warmer climate, because cycling really looks like a fun thing to do!
#7. Manual work; Cooking
Candidate A, here are your pictures. They show people doing manual work. I’d like you to compare the photos and say why they might have chosen to do this work. (1 minute)
Candidate A: The man in the right picture seems to be hanging from a high-rise building, cleaning windows; this looks a bit scary, to be honest. On the contrary, the left picture has an old man, probably the father of the young girl next to him. They are tending to their crops — a much more peaceful picture, if you ask me!
The man cleaning the windows probably chose that activity to make money because it looks rather dangerous, or maybe he is really into doing risky things, you know, for adrenaline. The people in the right photo might be looking after the crops because they depend on them, or it could be just their hobby; it’s hard to tell.
Candidate B, which person finds their activity more satisfying? (~20 seconds).
Candidate B, here are your pictures. They show people cooking. Compare the two pictures and say how experienced they might be at what they do, okay? (1 minute)
Candidate B: The left picture shows professional cooks preparing some elaborate dish in the spacious kitchen of a restaurant or café. The second picture, on the other hand, shows an apartment with a man cooking a much simpler meal.
Even though the people in the first picture are more likely to have more experience dealing with food, this is not necessarily true. They could only be trainees; both of them look rather young. The man in the second picture looks about the same age, but he might have more years of cooking under his belt, so you never know!
Candidate A, who does the cooking in your family? (~20 seconds)
Candidate: My wife does it, thankfully. I’m hopeless at cooking; anything more complex than frying some eggs or boiling a sausage is way too much for me. I realise that it’s one of the best skills to have, so I will probably try to deal with this shortcoming of mine in the future.
Most of the pictures here are taken from pexels.com, a great site for copyright-free visual content.