CAE Speaking

Part 3: Discussion (< Previous Next >)

Tests ability to: use language to discuss and interpret, to agree, disagree or agree to disagree, negotiate and collaborate, to rank or classify.

In Part 3 of the CAE Speaking test, which lasts about four minutes (six minutes for groups of three), the examiner will ask you and your partner to talk about another set of visual prompts together.

Example Task

The examiner will say something on the lines of:

Q: I'd like you to talk about something together for three minutes. (Five minutes for groups of three)

Q: Here are your pictures showing different occupations. Discuss the role these people have in our lives. Then decide which job tends to be the most stressful.

Q: All right?

Notice there are TWO instructions. The first asks you to 'discuss' the role of the people, and the second asks you to 'decide' which job is the most stressful. This means you're required not only to talk about each visual but also to show your ability to negotiate and collaborate with your partner. You don't have to reach agreement but you must at least work towards this.


It will help both yourself and your partner if you work together collaboratively on this task.

1. Be prepared to ask your partner for his or her opinion rather than simply stating your own.

2. Listen 'actively' to what your partner says, responding to comments he or she makes. Use expressions such as the following to comment on something:
"That's an interesting point."
"I was interested in what you said about ..."
"So, when you say ........, do you mean ........?"
"Could you explain what you mean by .......?"

3. Use expressions to allow yourself time to think. For example: 'That's a good question.', 'Well, let me think ...'

4. In order to bring the discussion to a constructive conclusion try using expressions such as the following:
"So, weighing up the pros and cons, do you think …?"
"Are we generally in agreement that …?"
"So, all in all do we feel …?"
"Essentially, do we all agree that …?"
"So, to sum up …"
"So, in general …"
"It seems we’ve reached the conclusion that …"

Try a Test

CAE Speaking Success!

Remember - you are not in competition with your speaking partner! Unit 8 of CAE Speaking Success will teach you our three top strategies for working cooperatively in Part 3.