Why students fail the C2 Cambridge Speaking Part

C2 Speaking part

There are stories of people who have a really high level of English and then not performing very well in the C2 Cambridge Speaking Part. Many of our C2 Proficiency students are surprised by this fact. However, there is no surprise when you haven’t thoroughly prepared the Speaking Part. Candidates who have a good level of English very often don’t bother to prepare the C2 Speaking paper. And that’s a huge mistake. These candidates usually rely on their ‘social’ knowledge of the language to pass and that’s just not going to work on the day of the exam.

You can avoid this by just keeping a few things in mind. Remember that the motto for any Cambridge exam is simple and that is ‘PREPARE-PREPARE-PREPARE’.

How should you prepare for the C2 Cambridge Speaking Part?

  1. Know before-hand what the examiners might ask you (and the tasks).

    This is simple! Cambridge have provided really helpful materials to prepare all the parts of the C2 Speaking exam. So, you don’t even have to look much, it’s all there on the Cambridge website. Make sure you understand what each task requires. It’s really important to complete the tasks for each part. This is not only true to the speaking, but also for the rest of the exam. You need to complete the tasks. We’ve listed the most useful resources to prepare the Speaking part here:

      1. The skills which will be tested
      2. Some tips for the speaking test
      3. A speaking simulation – Sample Test
  2. Look into the grading

    It’s easier to take an exam when you know what you will be graded for. Logically, you need to know which things will provide you with the most points during the exam. In order to get a clear picture of what you need to get full marks, here is a correction chart of all the parts that belong to the Sample Test we included above. Check the marking chart here.

  3. Yes, now you should use all those fancy words and expressions

    This is something examiners will keep very much in mind. But we all know how difficult it is to remember new expressions. Therefore, it’s very recommendable if you develop certain connections between the expressions and phrases you use in your native language with their equivalent in English. This will make it easier to use fancy expressions on the day of the exam. If you use them in your native language, it will be easier to incorporate them into your English.

  4. Practise with a tutor and another candidate

    The best thing to do to make sure you know what to do during the C2 Speaking Exam is to simulate the exams as many times as possible. There are many schools which provide really affordable lessons and very accurate situations in terms of similarity to a real exam. So, don’t miss out on these. Remember, PRACTICE-PRACTICE-PRACTICE. You can take a look at C2 Speaking Simulations we organise and book them at your convinience.

2. The different parts of the C2 Speaking Exam (and the best way to practise them?)

Part 1 (2 minutes)
The interlocutor first asks you and your partner a few questions which focus on information about yourselves.

Part 2 (4 minutes)
In this part of the test you and your partner are asked to talk together. The interlocutor places a set of pictures on the table in front of you. There may be only one picture in the set or as many as seven pictures. This stimulus provides the basis for a discussion. The interlocutor first asks an introductory question which focuses on two of the pictures (or in the case of a single picture, on aspects of the picture). After about 1 minute, the interlocutor gives you both a decision-making task based on the same set of pictures.

Part 3 (10 minutes)
You are each given the opportunity to talk for 2 minutes, to comment after your partner has spoken and to take part in a more general discussion.

The interlocutor gives you a card with a question written on it and asks you to talk about it for 2 minutes. After you have spoken, the interlocutor asks you both another question related to the topic on the card, addressing your partner first. This procedure is repeated, so that your partner receives a card and speaks for 2 minutes and a follow-up question is asked.
Finally, the interlocutor asks some further questions, which leads to a discussion on a general theme related to the subjects already covered in Part 3.


  • Get to know the ins and outs of the Speaking exam
  • Look into the grading and marks
  • Practise

We hope our guide will help you pass your C2 Cambridge Exam. If you need more information or help about the courses we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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