The aim of this quick activity is to add some fun and challenge to the Speaking part 2 (comparing the photos) of FCE and CAE exams. Students choose useful expressions to use in this activity and are able to see how much they already know.
Start by eliciting what students need to do in this part of the exam:
- answer the question(s) about the photos
- compare the photos
- speculate about the photos
Draw a table on the board. Include as many columns as you have students.
Give each student a copy of the exam task. Ask them to identify the theme and main question(s) they need to answer in the task.
Tell your students that instead of doing the task in a traditional way, they will be able to choose one of three different challenges, varying in their level of difficulty:
Level 1: compare two photos
Level 2: compare two photos and add some speculation in the same sentence
Level 3: compare two photos, speculate about them and answer the question all in one sentence
Given they are correct, they get 1, 2 or 3 points written in the table. You might ask other students to help you assess their peers.
To make the game more difficult, tell your students they are not allowed to repeat whatever another classmate said.
I tried this activity with some groups and individual students. They were quite excited to approach the exam task from a different perspective and found it quite rewarding to challenge themselves to use the language they might have felt uncomfortable using before. I was positively surprised that no student settled for only one level of difficulty in the game and they all wanted to see whether they could reach Level 3. We also spent some time discussing what they found the most difficult and came up with some decent model answers.
It was a great revision /extension activity that worked as an effective morale booster and a welcome change from the traditional exam grind.