FCE Speaking Part 2 Examples

FCE Speaking Part 2 Examples

Here you will find sample tasks for FCE Speaking Part 2 (pictures comparison) with answers and useful phrases. You can print them or save in PDF. Check our FCE Speaking Part 2 Tips to know how to get better score!

Sample answers are written in italics

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#1. Living in different places; Exercising

FCE Speaking Part 2 - Living in the city

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 flat of a busy city do so because they have a more active lifestyle – they commute to work, go to parties, restaurant, exhibitions and other activities a city has to offer. In contrast, those who reside in a remote place like in picture two prefer the more relaxed and slow 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 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.

FCE Speaking Part 2 - Exercising

Candidate B, now it’s your long 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 doing it you might feel pleasantly exhausted. It is also beneficial for your brain, allowing your mind to wander.

Candidate A, which type of exercising 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.

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#2. Different types of work; Places for holiday

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 seems 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 is always a struggle. No matter how good you are at it, you have to perform very tiring, repetitive actions which is demanding both mentally and physically.

FCE Speaking Part 2

Candidate B, now it’s your long turn. The pictures show different holiday location. Compare them and say why people might choose to spend their holiday in each place. (1 minute)

Candidate B: Both picture one and two 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 warmer, more pleasant climate. They are also likely to appreciate the local food, rich with fruits and vegetables. As for the second photo, it might be favoured 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, low temperatures of a ski resort may not be to some people’s liking.

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#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 a 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 didn’t even put it on 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 rather 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 communication, where everybody is in the same room. However, the left photo presents a different way to communicate – that is, 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 the 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.

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#4. Rush Hour; Watching a movie

FCE Speaking Card - an overcrowded subway car during peak hoursFCE Speaking Card - Huge line of cars and buses stuck in a traffic jam

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 place where they study. However, are differences that are easy to see from the 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 with their passengers must be feeling more comfortable.

As for the reason of their choice, I assume that not many people actually have this luxury, to choose how to travel. I think the vast majority of train passengers from the first picture would gladly commute by their own car, if they could afford it. However, some of them might choose public transport 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 usually they are packed with people. I can walk too, if it’s not too far away, but it is never my first choice.

FCE Speaking Card - a group of people in cinemaFCE Speaking - Two people watching TV in the living room

Candidate B, here are your pictures. They show people watching a movie. Compare the pictures and say what are the benefits of watching movies in these ways. (1 minute)

Candidate B: In both pictures we can see people enjoying a film. One looks like a 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 go 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, you can really feel the explosion 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 less popular genre, something like a documentary or other niche variety, then it would be much better to watch it on your own since not everyone is going to find it fun.

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#5. Shopping; Free time

FCE Part 2 card - a lady in an expensive dress is buying luxurious shoesFCE Speaking Part 2 Card - a young girl buying clothes in a thrift shop

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 is going through rack of clothes in what seems to be a thrift shop. The main difference between the two situation 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 from the right picture is having 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 as 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!

FCE Speaking Card - A girl sitting on the floor between bookstalls in a library, looking at picturesFCE Speaking Part 2 Card - a group of people camping, drinking tea and listening to live guitar music

Candidate B, here are your pictures which show people spending their free time. Compare the two pictures and say what are the advantages and disadvantages of spending your free time in these ways. (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 it 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 your may feel lonely. As for the positive aspects of camping with friends – they are numerous. The fresh air, good company, 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.

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#6. Shopping for food; Kids with bikes

FCE Speaking Card - A family of three grocery shopping in a supermarketFCE Speaking - Two people buying fruit from a street vendor somewhere in Asia

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 had 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 enjoy doing it together, making those decision 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 country. Smaller towns and villagers tend to have many outdoor markets where you could buy fresh, natural food. In bigger cities, people mostly shop in supermarkets.

Speaking Card - Father teaching her daughter how to cycleTeenager on a bmx bike midair, performing a stunt

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 the bike by her father. In contrast, the boy in the right picture looks really confident with 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 like a exception. It’s a shame, really – I wish we had warmer climate, because cycling really looks like a fun thing to do!

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#7. Manual work; Cooking

FCE Speaking 2 - A man suspended in the air cleaning windows of a high-rise buildingFCE Part 2 - An old man with a younger women tilling soil, tending to their crops

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 he is father to 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).

FCE Pictures - Two cooks working on an exquisitve dish in a big restaurant kitchenFCE Speaking Card - A young man frying meat cutles in a small kitchen

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 a spacious kitchen of a restaurant or a café. The second picture, on the other hand, has 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 of dealing with food, it is not necessarily true. They could only be trainees – both of them look rather young. The man is the second picture looks about the same age, but he might have more years of cooking behind 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.

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FCE Speaking Part 2 Tips

In my teaching practice, Part 2 of Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE) is usually the most challenging one. In this entry, I will talk about the three things that have to be in your answer to get high score. These things are:

  • Describing the pictures
  • Comparing (things that are different and similar in them)
  • Answering the question (obviously!)

That’s it. Read on to learn more about each aspect of your answer. I will use the same set of two pictures to illustrate each point:

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Here are the photographs. They show people travelling using different forms of transportation.
I’d like you to compare the photographs, and say which person might enjoy their trip the most.

Describing the pictures

A very common mistake is to think that Cambridge assessors want to hear you giving a detailed description of what’s in the picture. No, that’s not what they are after. What you really need to do is show that you know the right tense used when talking about a photo (Present Continuous) and the appropriate preposition (in the picture):

In the left picture there is a man sitting next to his motorcycle. The landscape behind looks like a desert. In the picture on the right the person is on a plane, probably listening to music.

Note the underlined part: you don’t want to repeat the same structure twice (In the left picture/In the picture on the right). In your FCE Speaking part 2 you will have less than two minutes for your answer, so it should be easy to avoid repetition.

Some students prefer to point with their fingers, saying “in this picture” or “in that picture”. Don’t do that – you lose your chance to show a way to synonymize.

The second things here is the use of prepositions (next to his motorcycle/on a plane). It’s nothing fancy, but little things like that help you score more points for lexical and grammatical resource.

Right now the answer looks half-baked – the sentences are isolated, there isn’t much connection between them. Let’s fix that by introducing comparison!

Comparing (similarities and differences)

This is an integral part of FCE Speaking Part 2. If you don’t compare, you will never score well! So let’s talk about what the two pictures have in common and then mention differences between them:

In the left picture there is a man sitting next to his motorcycle and the landscape behind looks like a desert. In the picture on the right the person is on a plane, probably listening to music. While both people in these photos are going from point A to point B, the passenger of the plane will probably get there much quicker and more comfortably, whereas the motorcyclist is not as fast or convenient.

There – both differences and similarities included. Words in bold (Whereas, while) are so-called ‘introductory words’ – they help us introduce ideas. In this case, they aid us in contrasting. Now that comparing is out of the way, let’s get down to the main part – the exam question!

Answering the question

This part seems simply and straightforward – and it is, actually. However, in FCE Speaking Part 2 they have two main types of questions:

  1. Speculative questions (Modals of speculation, like the question we have here)
  2. ‘More’ or ‘The Most’ questions. (for example “Which transport do you believe is the most environmentally friendly?”)

The first type requires you to use appropriate phrases to speculate. See them here (link not available right now, sorry!)
The second type is probably easier with no real traps. The only tip I here is to answer the task question after you have described and compared the picture:

In the left picture there is a man sitting next to his motorcycle and the landscape behind looks like a desert. In the picture on the right the person is on a plane, probably listening to music. While both people in these photos are going from point A to point B, the passenger of the plane will probably get there much quicker and more comfortably, whereas the motorcyclist is not as fast or convenient.

I believe that the person who chose going by motorcycle is going to have a more fulfilling experience as they will get more chances to enjoy the scenery, to feel more connected to the environment. They may even choose to stop wherever they feel like – this is not really an option when you’re a passenger on the plane!

And that’s it. Since you will have done comparing them by then, there is no need to mention the second picture if you don’t want to. I did just because I thought it fits and added a little bit of additional contrasting.