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ONE OF THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES AT FCE, CAE, CPE



Hello my dear friends. I decided to make a post highlighting one of the most common mistakes made during the FCE & CAE SPEAKING part 3 and CPE part 2 both of which are collaborative tasks. 

👉🏻 RESPONDING APPROPRIATELY TO YOUR PARTNER 👈🏻

When not responding appropriately or initiating your part properly, your 'Interactive Communication' and 'Discourse Management' marks can be greatly affected. Below you'll find some common errors and correct ways of responding based on the task in the picture attached to this post. Have you ever fallen into these traps? 

🚫 "So, I'd like to begin. What do you think about constructing holiday flats then? Personally speaking, I think this idea is a great way to lure tourists to any holiday resort because as far as I know some people prefer self-catering holidays rather and forking out huge amounts on an expensive hotel - it's nice to be self-reliant. Do you agree?"


❗ When you start speaking, the moment you say " What do you think about / what about....?" you are actually posing a question to your partner where they should respond and therefore it would be wrong for you to continue speaking as many students do. Such questions could be useful as rhetorical devices but only in a monologue. So in a collaborative task, if you're going to have a question structure, don't confuse your partner - let them answer!



✅ "Ok, so I guess we can start with this one - the construction of holiday apartments. What do you think about this?" - "Yeah, why not. So, I guess it all depends on individual preferences - some tourists prefer to be self-sufficient rather than fork out huge amounts on hotels and having a balanced choice may well attract more tourists...."



🚫 "I'm not sure if providing parks may entice tourists to a particular town. Do they serve much purpose? I really have no idea about this point to be honest!" - "I see your point! Yes, parks may be useful in so far that children can play around, fetes are often held in them which I think holiday-makers might find rather appealing..."


❗ Where is the problem here? Yes, "I see your point!" as a response. What point was made? None. The first speaker was speculating, uncertain, so the phrase "I see your point!" would not be an appropriate way to reply. The phrases to agree, disagree, build the topic MUST be relevant. 


✅ "I'm not sure if providing parks may entice tourists to a particular town. Do they serve much purpose? I really have no idea about this point to be honest!" - "ACTUALLY, I believe there could be many perks. For example, kids get to run about whist having picnics and fetes are often held in parks and I see them as a great way to entice tourists to the region..."

🚫 "Of course many tourists like to pop to local shops to buy souvenirs, or tat as I would put it; you know, typical memorabilia that reminds them of the nice holiday they spent. Shops could prove quite beneficial, I suppose. Do you agree?" - "Yes, I agree! As for nightclubs, I can't say I am a huge fan..." 


❗Two problems here. (1) avoid repetition - "Do you agree?" - "Yes, I DO / Sure, I DO / most definitely etc." (2) The 2nd speaker has not responded to the 1st by giving any reason but has instead moved onto the next point. So no development is present.


✅ "Of course many tourists like to pop to local shops to buy souvenirs, or tat as I would put it; you know, typical memorabilia that reminds them of their nice holiday they spent. Shops could prove quite beneficial, I suppose. Do you agree?" - "ABSOLUTELY / I DO indeed... because many people like to boast about their trips by showing off their so called tat they bought. On top of that, if people are staying in apartments, then they need to feed themselves. So yeah, shops definitely serve a purpose in both aspects. As for nightclubs..." 

🚫 "I think nightclubs are aimed at teenagers or university students. So I guess it depends on the kind of holiday destination. If were focusing on people in general, I think the vast majority might be put off by the noise and the bahaviour associated with clubs when people pour out onto the streets in the early hours totally drunk. That could ruin the reputation of a town hoping to attract more tourists. See what I mean?" - "Sure, I do. As for me, I think clubs attract drunk people, usually those who are younger like students. When clubs close, they can end up being loud and disturbing families who want peace and quiet. Yeah, could harm any town if a place wants to attract families."


❗ This is the classic example of a student who is so focused on what they want to say that they didn't listen to their partner and basically repeated the content. So again, no development. 


✅ "I think nightclubs are aimed at teenagers or university students. So I guess it depends on the kind of holiday destination. If were focusing on people in general, I think the vast majority might be put off by the noise and the bahaviour associated with clubs when people pour out onto the streets in the early hours totally drunk. That could ruin the reputation of a town hoping to attract more tourists. See what I mean?" - "yeah, I do to some extent. But there are clubs aimed at families where kids can even play around also where no alcohol is permitted so not all clubs are bad. Like you said, it depends on the destination so a town aimed at families might want to include clubs at least for variety and students who want to get blind drunk would chose a place aimed at them." - "Yeah, good point..."



🚫 "I think building holiday apartments would definitely attract more tourists for many reasons. People want more than just hotels nowadays because they can be extortionately expensive for the mediocre services they provide. And not forgetting parks, I think tourists like a bit of greenery where they can have picnics and see some local wildlife that they might otherwise see back home. Oh as for nightclubs, not a good idea. They can put people off totally because club-goers often end up drunk and aggressive. Not a good idea in my opinion. Do you see what I mean? - "Emmmm, yeah...."


❗ A dominating speaker. Here, the 1st candidate has decided to go through three points from the task which in reality might take up a big chunk of the time allocated to complete the task. Furthermore, is the 2nd speaker expected to reply to all those points mentioned? Hard to remember when under pressure. Deal with one point at a time. At times, some points can be similar in nature so it is possible to combine two. But NO more.

How to prepare for this?

👉🏻 You need regular discussions in class to practice the art of responding and developing the conversation appropriately.

👉🏻 You MUST drill the appropriate use of phrases to respond. 

👉🏻 When doing the collaborative task for FCE, CAE and CPE, speakers should look at each other rather than the examiner / teacher. This will make them listen more. 

👉🏻 Teach students not to think about their answer in advance. Better to listen to what their partner says and build on it. This will solve the issue of Discourse Management to ensure cohesion. 

👉🏻 Practice developing imagination techniques as many students simply do not know what to say on particular themes. Remember, there is no right answer: just a relevant one. So you can say what you want. Stop trying to focus on what is real, true, right. Thinking too much will ruin your fluency.

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