A2 Key Speaking

There are two parts in the Speaking section of the A2 Key Exam.

1. Introductory phase – The examiner asks each candidate in turn some personal information, for example, questions about their everyday lives, school, work, hobbies, friends, family, etc.

2. Collaborative task – The candidates speak together and discuss different pictures about the same topic for 1-2 minutes. After that, the examiner asks some questions to each student about the topic of the pictures.

The test takes 8 to 10 minutes, and there are two candidates who take the test at the same time.

There are also two examiners. One person called the interlocutor talks to the students and asks all the questions. The other person listens to you and takes notes to give you a mark.

Here’s a video of a test so you can see how it works.

 

Here is a list of topics that you might find in A2 Key Speaking:

  • Daily life
  • Personal details
  • Home
  • Food and drink
  • Hobbies and leisure
  • Sport
  • Personal feelings, opinions and experiences
  • Health and exercise
  • Language
  • Entertainment and media
  • People
  • Shopping
  • Places and buildings
  • Clothes
  • Weather
  • Travel and holidays
  • Transport

Part 1 – Description and Tips

In Part 1, the examiner talks to each candidate individually so you don’t talk to the other candidate but only with the examiner. They usually ask you for your name and where you are from and then they might ask you about a couple of topics from the list that I gave you earlier.

It is important for you to give full-sentence answers so, for example, if the examiner asks you where you are from, you should could say, “I’m from Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain”, or, “I come from Hamburg which is in the north of Germany”.

You can also give some extra information like reasons or examples, but the most important thing is to make full sentences in every answer you give.

Let’s have a look at another example. This time we are going to watch Asia and Vittoria do Part 1 of the A2 Key for Schools Speaking test.

Generally speaking, both candidates do a pretty good job. They both give full-sentence answers and they answer exactly what the examiner asks.

They could give more information in some of their answers like examples and reasons why they do or like certain things, but it is not bad.

Their language is also OK, but they make some typical mistakes, for example, they both confuse fun and funny or Asia says, “I have 12 years old”, instead of saying ‘I am 12 years old’.

When you prepare and practise for the test, always think about vocabulary that you can use for the different topics we looked at earlier. This can help you add more information to your answers and make them more interesting.

Part 2 – Description and Tips

Part 2 is very different from Part 1. You have to interact with your partner(s) and discuss different pictures before the examiner asks you a few extra questions about them.

The pictures might look like the ones below. Note that there is always a question at the top. This is the question you have to ask and answer for each picture with your partner.
When you discuss the pictures, it is important to ask your partner good questions and to give your opinion. Again, you should always give full-sentence answers and also use reasons and examples to give more information.

Let’s see how Asia and Vittoria do this first phase of Speaking Part 2.

At the beginning, Asia has some problems with asking questions, but it gets better. Vittoria does a better job and feels more confident.

Both of them could give a little bit more detail because some of their answers are too short. Again, always add extra information. I know I’ve already said this three times, but it is super important.

All in all, they work together and they also answer the examiners extra question well without waiting too long.

Then, in the second phase of Part 2, the examiner asks you a little more about the topic, but the questions are not directly about the pictures anymore. Here, you go back to interacting with the examiner instead of your partner.

The idea, however, is still the same: full-sentence answers with extra information. Let’s check the video again and watch the last phase of Asia and Vittoria’s test.

Asia and Vittoria do a very good job answering the examiner’s questions. They both say why they enjoy being by the sea or in the mountains. Vittoria adds that she goes to the mountains every summer and Asia mentions that she likes the sea because it is fun for her.

Both candidates prefer doing sports with other people because it is more interesting (Asia) and more fun (Vittoria).

In my opinion, this might be their strongest phase of the test because their answers are complete and they don’t have to think about them a lot. It feels very natural and that makes a good impression.

Useful language for A2 Key Speaking

The easy part for me as teacher is to explain to my students what they have to do in each part A2 Key Speaking, but the harder part is to make them use good language.

Because of this I would like to give you some good expressions which you can use in your exam.

As you know now, the key to good marks are complete answers and giving your opinion well. Below, you will find what you need.

Giving reason

  • because
  • because of + -ing/noun
  • since
  • as

Giving examples

  • for example
  • such as
  • for instance
  • like

Expressing a result

  • so
  • to
  • in order to
  • for + -ing

Expressing contrast

  • but
  • although
  • even though
  • however
  • on the other hand

Giving your opinion

  • In my opinion, …
  • I think/believe/feel …
  • For me, …
  • I would say …