We start by giving a brief overview of the changes to the revised Cambridge English: First (First Certificate) and Cambridge English: First for Schools exams which are due to be implemented from the beginning of 2015. These changes include the combination of Reading and Use of English into one paper, changes to the length of the tasks in the new Reading and Use of English paper, changes to the tasks in the Writing paper and changes to the Speaking paper.
We briefly look at differences between the Standard exam and the For Schools exam. We then discuss how to prepare for one of the more challenging parts of the revised First exam, the Speaking paper. We discuss the changes to each part of the Speaking paper in detail, the rationale for the changes and their implications for how to prepare students for oral exams or speaking tests. We look at the testing aims and criteria for each part of the Speaking paper. These include students’ ability to express themselves clearly with an appropriate range of grammar and vocabulary as well as their ability to perform particular tasks including talking about themselves, using a range of social language, speaking at length, interacting and reacting to other speakers and expressing their general opinions and discussing issues.
We work on a range of practical classroom techniques and strategies we can teach to ensure our students’ success in the Speaking paper. Examples of exam preparation materials will be taken from Complete First 2 nd edition (Cambridge English 2014).