In this post, I’m going to examine the task in B1 Preliminary Speaking Part 2. In this Part, each candidate is given a photo and asked to talk about it for one minute.
Let’s look at one of the photos that appears on page 61 of the B1 Preliminary for Schools Handbook for Teachers, available from the Cambridge website. (The direct link appears under the photo below).
The interlocutor will hand the photo to the candidate, and in this case, will say: ‘Here is your photograph. It shows someone learning how to do something. …. Please tell us what you can see in your photograph.‘
Unlike B2 First, where candidates are told that they should talk for about a minute, there is no mention of time in the instructions.
Tip 1: Talk for a minute
Make sure your students know that they should talk for around a minute. *They should keep talking until the interlocutor stops them and says: ‘Thank you‘.
How to describe the photo
The photos will always show a person, or some people. So, I train my students to start with describing the people in the photo. A good way to approach is to follow the order of the Interlocutor’s back-up questions:
Tip 2: Wh-questions
I train students to use the same order as the back-up questions, but use Wh- questions as quick and easy prompts to remember and use: Who?, Where?, What?, When?
Who? I can see two people. A woman and a girl. I think they might be a mother and daughter or perhaps an aunt and niece. They look very relaxed together.
Where? They are in a kitchen. I think it could be their kitchen at home because they’re wearing casual clothes. It’s a nice, clean kitchen.
What? The girl seems to be learning to cook something. She has an i-pad and is probably following a recipe. The woman is not cooking. She’s smiling and encouraging the girl.
When? I imagine that this is probably in the morning or afternoon as I think the light is natural, not electric. And I guess it might be during the school holidays, or at the weekend since they look very relaxed.
Notice how the ‘Why?’ is incorporated into each of the Wh- question answers. In each answer, I’m giving the reason why I think this.
Tip 3: Speculate!
If you re-read my sentences about Who?, Where? What? and When?, you’ll find lots of language of speculation.
I think they might be a mother and daughter …. They look very relaxed together.
I think it could be their kitchen at home because …
The girl seems to be learning to cook something. She …….. is probably following a recipe.
I imagine that this is probably in the morning or afternoon as …
And I guess it might be during the school holidays, or at the weekend since …
Tip 4: Give reasons
And if you look back again at my sentences, you will see that I’ve give reasons for my speculations, using because, as and since.
I hope you find my tips useful and that you’ll share them with your students.