B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage)

Speaking: Part Two

The mini presentation

The Task

In this part, you have to talk for one minute about a business topic.

The examiner gives you three possible subjects for you to present, you have one minute to choose and to prepare your answer.

You have one minute to prepare.

You can download the questions for all the Speaking Test here.

You can learn more about the correct grammar to use in this part of the Speaking Exam, in the B2 Business Vantage BEC Exam Guide book, available here.

 

Preparation procedure

  • Read the subject of the questions quickly. Do not read the examples topics now.

  • Choose the subject that you have professional or personal experience of. If you do not have experience of any of the three then choose the most general subject.

  • Now read the example topics. Try to think of one example of each point.

 

Speaking task procedure.

  • Do not ask the question. The examiner will do that.

  • Use the same order as the examples.

  • You don’t have to talk about all the examples. If you want to talk about one or two then you can. You can also think of your own examples.

  • Use a structure and use presentation vocabulary. One minute is actually very short so if you follow this formula giving some detail you will find that you speak for about a minute. You can use different adjectives, important necessary and useful are examples.

 

B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage) Speaking Part Two Question

Firstly + example topic is important because + give your own example with detail

Secondly + example topic is necessary too because + give your own example with detail

Finally + example topic is also useful + give your own example with detail

This formula should take about one minute if you speak at a normal speed and add good detail. However, if you have more time (the examiner will ask you to stop at the end of the minute) then I recommend returning to the example topic which you think is the most important, and finishing with something like this; Overall example topic is the most important because…

Firstly + example topic is important because + give your own example with detai

Be professional

It is vital to give professional examples. You can talk about yourself but always try to use a professional context. If you have to choose a topic you have only experienced as a customer try to keep the examples general but use the perspective of the company not of the customer.

I have often had students who want to speak from a personal perspective. With some questions, this is a very natural mistake but you MUST avoid it.

For example, with this question,

What is important when applying for a new job?

  • Salary

  • Career development

  •  

It is easy to fall into the trap of saying something like this:

Firstly the salary is important because I want an increase in my annual salary if I change jobs. When I changed to this job, there was a significant difference so it was a worthwhile move.

Secondly, career development opportunities are necessary too. I would not change companies unless I was moving to a higher position, nor would I decide to change if I could not see any future chance of promotion.

Finally, the location of the new company is a factor too. I have to commute for over an hour to my office, so if I could find a new job which was closer to home I would definitely consider the reduction in travel time in my decision.

What is wrong with that? you might think. The English is good and the points made are logical.

I agree that the English is good and there is logic in the answers. However, does it answer the question, what is important when applying for a new job? No, it is an excellent answer to the question, what is important for you when you apply for a new job? It is vital in the exam that you answer the specific questions asked (this is true for all parts of the speaking text and the writing test).

Fortunately, if you adjust the perspective in the above answer, you can have an excellent answer.

Firstly the salary of a possible new job is important to consider because you should have an increase in annual salary when changing jobs. Most people would feel that a significant difference in salary makes changing companies a worthwhile move.

Secondly, career development opportunities are necessary too. Generally, people do not change companies unless they move to a higher position, or if they cannot see any future chance of promotion.

Finally, the location of the new company is a factor too. Many people have to commute for over an hour to their offices, so they would definitely consider the reduction in travel time in their decision. It might even be as important as the previous two points.

So, by using you, people and they instead of I, the answer becomes more professional and less personal. More importantly, the answer gets a positive result for this part of the test.

Ways to practice.

Use past exam papers, some are available online, or you can buy a book with past exam papers of all parts of the exam.

If it is difficult to think of spontaneous examples, try the exercise with more every day topics

For example

What is important when you go to the supermarket?

A list

Bags

Money

You should be able to produce something like this.

Firstly it is important to write a shopping list because you can plan what you need and your shopping trip will be quicker. Make sure you don’t forget your list.

Secondly, bags are useful because now you often have to pay for bags. If you take your own bags you can save money and help the environment.

Finally, money is essential because without it you can’t pay for your shopping. Overall money is the most important because it is what you really need, you can forget the other two.

The Presentation – Part 2. The Question.

It is important to remember that the other candidate has a role here too. When the minute is finished, the examiner will stop you. The examiner will then ask your partner to ask you a question. Students often forget that this is coming but you need to be prepared.

Your partner needs to ask you a question about your presentation so it will not be difficult to answer. He or she will relate the question to one of your points. You need to give a short clear reply, similar in length to the questions in the interview in Part 1.

It isn’t over yet though. Now you must listen to your partner’s presentation and ask a question about it.

Procedure

  • Listen to the introduction and the first point of your partner’s presentation. If you understand it, then start thinking of your question.

  • Start your question with “Do you think” “What in your opinion is…” Which of the things you mentioned is the most or the least important?”.

B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage) Speaking Part 3

The Meeting – about 5 minutes

The Task

In this part you talk to your partner, (finally!) The examiner describes a situation and you have to discuss it with your partner and decide about something. The examiner will describe the situation twice.

You can download the questions for all the Speaking Test here.

The key to part 3 is interaction. But what does this mean? It means that you have a conversation, you have to talk about the situation but also listen and respond to your partner. This is not always natural especially when you are stressed, but you interact with people every day don’t you?

You can learn more about the correct grammar to use in this part of the Speaking Exam, in the B2 Business Vantage Preparation Guide, available here.

Procedure – play tennis!

  • Try to start. This way you will feel more relaxed because you are speaking.

  • Give an opinion about one part of the situation and ask your partner if he/she agrees?

  • Remember to say Do you agree not are you agree? If you are worried about making a mistake, with agree, just ask What do you think?

  • Listen to your partner and respond to what they say.

  • Introduce another point and ask your partner to respond.

  • Keep going. (see you are playing tennis, back and forth back and forth).

  • Decide time! Usually, if the discussion works well and you have agreed and disagreed about the same things, then the decision part is easy because it is “obvious” what you have decided.

Would you like a free Cheat Sheet of Essential Vocabulary for Speaking Part 3? Just leave your email address below.

 


Now that you understand how to maximise your score for the B2 Vantage Speaking Test you are ready to start learning how to prepare to succeed in a different part of the B2 Vantage exam. Go to Reading, Writing, or Listening.