Questions and sample answers for Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) Speaking Part 1. As well as the example responses, this page has useful phrases that will help improve your score! If you are new to this exam, check our CAE Speaking page. Please note that four questions is an approximate number! You might be asked fewer or more questions.
CAE Speaking Part 1 Question Samples
Please note that these examples come in sets that follow the questions sequence of the actual exam. First you get one or two questions about yourself (e.g. “Where do you come from?” or “How long have you been studying English”), followed by a couple of questions on topics such as plans for the future, hobbies, the way they spend their day and so on. Questions are written in bold, sample answers are in italics.
Where do you come from?
I’m from Madrid, I’ve been living there for two years now. Originally I come from Estepona, a small resort town in the south of Spain.
What do you do there?
I study art at Complutense University of Madrid, my major is history of fine art. I also do a part time job at a local restaurant as a waiter and I volunteer as an ESL teacher at my former school.
What do you do in your free time?
I play the ukulele – if you don’t know, it’s a small four-string guitar that originates from Hawaii. I’m rather keen on reading too – but I don’t read much contemporary literature, mostly books written in the twentieth century.
How long have you been studying English?
I started learning the language when I was eight, but I wasn’t too crazy about it at the time – my parents insisted that I had English classes. I really came to like it in my teens though!
What can you tell me about your home town?
I’m afraid there is very little to tell about it – it’s a nice, clean and quiet place, but there isn’t much to attract visitors. We’re somewhat famous for the velodrome that was built over a century ago, but that’s about it.
Do you work or study?
I’m a part of an evening course at the end of which I will become a certified electrician. I also work shifts at a local fast-food joint in order to pay the bills and help my family.
What kind of work do you plan to to do when you graduate?
Just like my peers, I plan to relocate to a bigger city where it’s easier to land a job. There’s always an option for me to work at one of the local factories, but that’s more of a plan B for now.
How important is it for your to stay close with your family?
I am really attached to my mom and dad, and I’m sure they feel the same. I’m in my late twenties so it might sound weird, but I can’t image leaving them to move to a different place.
Do you live in the city centre?
Oh, I wish. No, apartments there are really pricey, I live with my family on the outskirts. Thankfully, our town isn’t that big so it takes me twenty minutes at most to get anywhere I need to.
Have you got any hobbies?
I’m really into drawing, both on my tables and using watercolours. I picked up this hobby when I was in high school and I have been doing it ever since.
In your opinion, why do people learn English?
Well, everybody seems to speak it nowadays, so I would guess that people don’t want to feel left out. It opens all kinds of opportunities for you, so might as well learn it!
What is your attitude to exercising?
I’m not very keen on sports or doing physical exercises, although the benefits are obvious – it makes you a healthier, happier you. A fit person looks great too! I guess I should definitely try working out, ha-ha.
Are there interesting places to go where you live?
Well, my city is famous for its national park – in fact, it’s the largest in Europe! Of course, since it’s the capital, there lots of places to go, so everybody is sure to find something to their liking.
How often do you meet up with your friends?
Nowadays we got together only once or twice a year. I guess most of us grew apart after school, maybe we didn’t have much in common to begin with!
Who is more important to you – your friends or your family?
As they say, blood is thicker than water – we don’t get to choose our family, but we befriend people that we are fond of. That said, family still remains a priority to me, although I’ve never been in a situation when I had to choose between the two.
What is your attitude to volunteer work?
Oh, it’s a great thing to do! Helping someone in need is a reward in its own. Not everything you do should be compensated monetarily, life isn’t about making money as far as I’m concerned! Knowing that somebody has benefitted from your effort is just so great!
Have you got any brothers or sisters?
I’m an only child in my family. I do have cousins though, I see most of them regularly at our family meetups. I’m a bit jealous of people who have a sibling, it must be great to have someone of your age, someone you can relate to.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
That’s a tough question to answer… well, I graduated as the top student of my class, I guess that has to count for something. I’m still young so I don’t have much to brag about!
Are you more comfortable alone or with other people?
I’m really extroverted, so being with other is really my element! It just doesn’t feel right to me – spending time on your own, it seems so unnatural. Humans are social creatures after all, we are meant to belong to a group.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully, I will have graduated and found a decent job. I might have a family by then, even kids, who knows. However, I’m not the one to make such long-term predictions, I prefer to plan short-term and see where it goes.
What kind of school did you go to?
It was a regular comprehensive school. I went there because it was in the area we lived in. I had math and physics as my main subjects, so I had plenty of classes in both.
How do you usually relax?
I kind of enjoy playing videogames, so if I have an hour or so to kill, I turn on my console and play something with my brother. I also play the piano, but I’m not very good at it, so it doesn’t really help me to decompress.
What kind of food do you like?
I’m a really fussy eater, I’m afraid! I’m not a vegetarian, so I’m fine with eating meat, but there are certain vegetables, namely onion and cabbage, that I simply can’t stand! That’s why I have to cook myself to make sure they don’t get in my food.
How important is it for you to be successful in life?
It really depends on how you define success. If we talk about money, then sure, I don’t mind being well-off! But if you mean fame or recognition, then I don’t care much for that. In fact, I’d rather not have that.
What kind of area do you live in?
We live in a suburban neighbourhood with semidetached houses mostly. It is a nice place to live – it’s clean, quiet and trouble-free, however commuting to the city may take longer that usual.
How do you prefer to communicate with your friends and family?
Nowadays I mostly use mobile apps to exchange messages. I resort to calling when it’s really time-sensitive or when I don’t feel like typing a long message. I prefer to be texted rather than called to as well.
Is it easier to learn English alone or with somebody else?
Well, practicing the language is much easier with a partner – it goes without saying. When it comes to studying though, I am in favour of working on your own, because then you can do this at a pace that is most comfortable for you.
Do you prefer to go out or to stay at home?
I’m a real homebody, I’m afraid! My friends keep trying to convince me to go to parties or get-togethers, but these things are simply not for me! I feel rather anxious when I have to talk to a person I don’t know, I’m just too embarrassed to approach people. Simply talking about this makes me nervous.
What do you do for a living?
I have a part-time job as a nurse in the only hospital in our town. I also give guitar classes – it helps me to pay for university tuition and I like sharing my knowledge with others, so its a win-win for everyone.
Do you consider yourself to be particularly good at something?
Mom says I’m really talented when it comes to playing the guitar, that I take it after my father. I also score consistently well in my math tests, so there’s that. I don’t think I have any other remarkable skills or talents.
Do you have any pets?
We live in a flat, so we choose not to have any animals at our place since they need some space to frolic in. If we lived in a house though, I would love to have a cat or a dog. Even a bird would be nice
What aspect of learning English do you find most pleasant?
Learning about the various cultures of native English speakers is really fascinating. It is quite interesting how different can people be, even though they speak the same language. English history is rather captivating too, with its many tumultuous periods.
How did you get here today?
I had to take the bus – I live quite a way from here, you see. It would have taken me over an hour to walk here, but the bus got me here in less than a quarter of an hour.
Do you live alone or with your family?
I moved out last year, I rent a small flat with a friend. I think a person of my age should try living away from their parents to learn to be more responsible.
Who does the cooking where you live?
Well, I and my friend take turns preparing food. I rather enjoy my shifts, but the guy I live with doesn’t seem to be into it, so sometimes I have to remind him that it’s his turn today.
Do you prefer to plan ahead or live without doing much planning?
The latter, I’m afraid. I’m simply not cut out for planning – maybe because I’m not too organised. My father tried to teach me how to be more self-disciplined. Well, I guess it didn’t really work for me – I still find it quite difficult to plan and to force myself do what I don’t feel like doing.
Would you prefer to live in a big city or a small town?
I live in a populated urban area and I really like it there. There is always something to do, people seem to be more open. I grew up here and I can’t imagine living in a more quiet, rustic place.
Do you prefer to spend your time indoors or outside?
I have to spend a lot of time studying at school, so whenever I get a chance I try to get some fresh air. I spend most of my weekends in parks or in the woods near my house, just walking and contemplating things.
How often do you see your relatives?
Most of my aunts and uncles live far from here, so I haven’t been seeing much of them recently. In the past though we used to have extended family reunions two or three times a year.
Is there any advice you could give to people learning English?
Oh, I don’t really know! I believe that persistence is key – you have to dedicate some time to your studying every day, even if you are not in the mood. It also helps to learn as a group so you could support each other when you are about to give up.
What is your favourite place in town where you live?
I really like the Central Square, it’s in the very heart of our town. There’s plenty of vegetation there, so it is pleasantly fresh even on hotter days there!
Would you say that your interest have changed over the past few years?
To some extent they have, yes. I’ve taken up cycling and I’ve been doing more sports in general. But generally it has been pretty much the same for me. Can’t say I’m unhappy about it – I’m rather happy where I am in life at the moment.
How do you hope to use English in the future?
I hope to do more travelling in the future, mostly English-speaking countries. Without a doubt, it will help me to get around there, to meet and befriend new people. Hopefully, it will allow me to feel more involved with the cultural aspect of these countries too. You know, going to a play at a theatre or watching a movie.
Do you prefer live or recorded music?
Well, I don’t get to listen to much live music. But whenever I do it feels fantastic! So, live music it is for me. However, it could be the feeling of novelty that makes it so memorable and enjoyable.
How easy is it go get around your city?
It’s really easy, provided you’ve got a car! However, if you don’t have one, we have lots of bus routes as well as trams. You can also cycle, but there are no bike lanes so you better watch out!
Have you watched an interesting film or read a book recently?
I am reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the moment. I can’t say that I find the plot too fascinating, but it’s an iconic piece of literature. They say there’s a movie adaptation too, I might look into that after I’ve read the book.
What do you think is most important when learning a foreign language?
Understanding your limitations is key. As a non-native, one is unlikely to get as good as a person who has been speaking the language since their birth. Once you have come to terms with the idea, learning the language becomes so much easier. I’m talking from personal experience, so this may be very different for others.
Do you prefer to watch movies in the original?
If it’s in English – sure. My command of the language is enough to understand whatever’s going on, except for some finer nuances and shades of meaning. It is also quite nice to hear the voices of real actors, not the dubbed version, you know.