Narrator: The aim of this demonstration
is to support teachers and examiners in conducting the Cambridge IGCSE English
as a Second Language speaking test. The speaking test is aimed at second
language candidates and its main aim is to assess language used with the
purpose of meaningful communication.
The speaking test is NOT testing how much candidates know
about a certain subject and there are no right or wrong answers in this test. The
test is designed to help candidates communicate clearly by responding to your
The key to running successful
speaking tests in your centre is to be completely prepared.
A few weeks before the test you will be sent a
copy of the Teacher’s/Examiner’s Notes and two sets of speaking assessment
cards. These documents must not be opened until
one working day before the exam. These materials must remain confidential
and must be kept in a secure place by the Centre until the end of the
Well in advance of the test, you
must find a suitable room to conduct the speaking test with two chairs and a
table or desk in between. The room must be quiet and free from disturbances. Examination
conditions must be in place at all times. Candidates must not communicate with
each other or share the contents of the cards.
Download the Speaking Examination Summary Form and fill in the
Centre details and candidates’ names and numbers. You should fill in the
candidate’s names and numbers in the same numerical order that they appear on
the mark sheet (MS1). This form can be found on the Cambridge Samples Database.
Before the tests begin, you need to
check your stopwatch and recording equipment. The recording equipment must be
of good quality and you must make sure that candidates can be heard clearly
throughout the whole test.
One working day before the
speaking test, you need to open the Speaking Assessment Cards and the teacher/
examiner’s notes. Use this time to familiarise yourself with the topics and to think
about the questions you might ask.
Once the materials have been opened,
they must be stored securely whenever they are not being used to prepare or
conduct live speaking tests. You must NOT share this information with anyone and
the speaking test materials must remain confidential until after the results enquiry
Check your recording device. The
candidate must be able to be heard clearly. Place the recording device closer
to the candidate or, if possible, use two microphones: one for you and one for
Each CD should begin with a clear
statement giving the Centre number, Centre name, Examination syllabus details,
Examiner name and date.
Check that your equipment is charged
or has batteries and that the CD or USB you are using has enough space.
Check that your room is ready for
the candidates- it should be a quiet room, away from noise and distractions.
Re-read the Speaking Assessment
In the exam room you should take:
- A stopwatch
- Recording Equipment with spare
batteries or a charger
- A glass of water
- Teacher’s/Examiner’s Notes
- Speaking Examination Summary Form
- Form MS1
- Speaking Assessment Cards
- The Speaking assessment criteria grid
- You cannot bring:
- Mobile phones- Candidates’ phones
are not permitted in the test.
During the speaking test:
Candidates must be examined on their
own and the speaking test must be conducted in English all the way through. The
whole speaking test should last about 10-15 minutes. Candidates must not bring
any notes into the examination room.
Candidates must not write any notes and they are not allowed to consult
It is important that you begin recording as soon as the candidate enters the examination room and that once
the recording of the test has begun it must not be paused. Even though part D
is the only assessed part of the test, you must record the WHOLE test–Parts
A,B,C, and D
The speaking test has four parts:Part A – Welcome and
introduction, Part B – Warm–up which lasts 2 to 3 minutes, Part C – Preparation
period which also lasts 2 to 3 minutes and Part D, the Assessed
Conversation which lasts between 6 and 9 minutes with a total time of between 10 and 15 minutes
All parts of the speaking test
must be recorded but only Part D is assessed.
Part A-Welcome and introduction:
- Start the recording as
soon as the candidate has sat down.
- Give the candidate’s
name and number and welcome the candidate and explain briefly what is going to
happen in each part of the speaking test. The examiner script for this part is provided
in the Teacher’s Notes.
- Remember- Part A is
Narrator: Remember that you need to start recording as soon as the candidate
enters the room.
[Examiner explains the structure of the test and states their name and the candidate name]
Narrator: Take this time to ensure that the candidate is clear about the structure of the test and what will
happen at each stage.
Put the candidate at
ease by conducting a short conversation, maybe 2 to 3 minutes on general topics and the
candidate’s hobbies and interests. Give the candidate
time to get used to the exam situation. Decide on a suitable
speaking assessment card for the candidate. And remember - Part B is
NOT assessed but needs to be recorded.
[Examiner and Candidate begin the warm up]
Narrator: This section should help
you to see which card you are going to choose for the candidate.
Part C: Preparation period
Select one speaking
assessment card for the candidate. This must take place after the warm-up.Give the candidate
2 to 3 minutes to prepare. In this time the candidate may ask questions Any
necessary explanation should be given at this point. Candidates must not
make notes during this period. Candidates should
keep their speaking assessment card for the rest of the test. Remember- the
preparation period must be recorded. The speaking assessment card needs
to remain with the candidate for the whole time. Each Speaking assessment card has
a topic for discussion between the examiner and the candidate, together with
five prompts to help the conversation. Students are not allowed to use
dictionaries or write anything down.
Try to encourage the
candidate to use their full 2 to 3 minutes to prepare for the speaking test. You
can answer any questions that the candidate might have but do not give the candidates any ideas about
what they could say.
The candidate can ask you questions about the meanings of words and for
further clarification but THEY MUST NOT WRITE ANYTHING DOWN. Let the candidate
keep the card for the rest of the test. You should not make any notes whilst
the candidate is speaking.
This is the Speaking Assessment Criteria Grid. Part D is assessed on: Structure, out of 10. Vocabulary out of 10 and development and
fluency, also out of 10.
You need to give each candidate
a mark out of 10 for each of the criteria and then add these together to give a
mark out of 30.
You will find the Speaking
assessment criteria grid in the syllabus and in the Teacher’s/ Examiner’s Notes.
Part D: Assessed Conversation
- Use each of the 5
prompts from the Speaking assessment card in the order that they appear on the
- Ask additional
questions of your own based on the candidate’s responses.
- Aim to spend an
equal amount of time on each prompt.
- Don’t let the
candidate deliver a monologue-this should be a discussion.
- Remember- this is
the only part of the test to be assessed.
[Examiner reads from the card]
Narrator: The examiner can use the opening
sentence to help start the conversation.
[Examiner and Candidate conduct the test, using the card to refer to the prompts]
Narrator: Continue to work your way
through the five prompts in the order they appear on the card until the time
limit ends. All five prompts must be used. However, you can introduce open
questions of your own related to the topic. Do not allow the candidate to deliver a monologue and make sure you ask a range of questions. Try not to pose the prompts as
questions, they should be used to develop a conversation.
[Examiner and Candidate continue the conversation, using the prompts from the card]
[Examiner asks a follow up question.]
Narrator: This question allows the candidate to develop their answer.You should ask a range of questions throughout Part D that build on what the candidate has said and encourage a conversation.
[Examiner and Candidate continue the test]
Remember that for Part D you have 6 to 9 minutes. You should stay within this time limit but allow the candidate time to develop their answers. You should use the full time to ask all of the questions on the speaking assessment card and to develop the conversation further with some additional questions of your own.
Here are some key points to remember:
- There are no right or
wrong answers to the questions.
- You should always appear
interested in what the candidate is saying.
- You should ask open
questions to develop conversation.
- You should give candidates
the full time allowed for each part.
- You must not allow
candidates to deliver speeches or monologues.
- You must not indicate
how well you think the candidate has done either during or after the test.
At the end of each candidate’s test:
- Remind the candidate about confidentiality.
- Keep the speaking assessment card. The candidate must not
take this out of the room.
- Complete the Speaking
Examination Summary Form with the candidate name.
- Check your addition of
the total marks.
- Check the battery on
your recording device
- Reset your stopwatch.
- Check you have
sufficient space on the USB/CD for the next candidate
When all the speaking tests are complete:
- Transfer the marks from
the Speaking Examination Summary Form onto the Mark Sheet, MS1.
- Select the samples to
send to Cambridge Assessment and transfer them to a separate CD/USB. The sample should include a candidate with the highest mark and a candidate with the lowest mark. The remaining sample candidates should be spread evenly across the mark range. Further essential information about the sample can be found on the samples database.
- Centres must keep a copy of the recordings of all the tests until the end of
the enquiry period.
- Label the tracks with
the candidates’ names and numbers. Asterisk the selected candidates on the
Speaking Examination Summary form.
- Send the sample CD/USB,
completed MS1 (or a printout of marks submitted electronically) and Speaking
Examination Summary Form to Cambridge Assessment as soon as the tests have been