There are in total 4 parts to the Aptis speaking exam. All Aptis exams are done online including the speaking part, so this means that you will be speaking through a microphone with a computer, and it will be recorded. No examiner will be present

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Make sure you practice speaking to yourself out loud at home and be comfortable doing so as it can be difficult at times.

Also remember to speak clearly and to take your time answering the question, there is no need to rush. There is a time limit for each part, however you will be able to see the timer. It will be something like this:
Listen carefully and choose either 1, 2 or 3. Read the question carefully and listen out for any negatives, this will help you decide the answer.

This is good because it will allow you to plan and structure your answer as you go through each question. As you do each part, there will be  written and spoken instructions to tell you what to do. It will be clearly stated when to begin speaking, so listen carefully to the instructions and questions. In total, the exam 

will take 12 minutes. Remember that the Aptis exam is for all level (A1-C1) so as you go through the exam, the questions and tasks will get more and more difficult. Try to remain calm and relaxed while answering to the best of your ability.

Part 1 - 3 Short Questions

In this part, you will have to answer 3 questions giving personal information about yourself and your interests. Topics can range from various of subjects (family, sports, free time, etc). So be flexible talking about different subjects and expressing yourself.

You have 30 seconds to answer each question, you are expected to continue speaking for the whole duration of the time.

Example questions could be:
  • What’s the weather like today?
  • Tell me about your favourite singer.
  • What do you like about the weekend?
Try not to make your answers too complicated and just give your honest answer. However, if the question is asking…
`How often do…?´- Try to use adverbs of frequency.
`Describe your…?´ or `Tell me about…..?´- Try to use good adjectives.
Part 2 - Describe a photograph

In this part, you are going to speak for 2 minute 15 seconds in total. Try to give complete answers and continue speaking for the duration of the task.  You have 45 seconds to answer each question. First, you will be given a photo to describe in as much detail as possible, in 45 seconds. The photos will generally consist of a person doing something in different contexts, for example, it could be of a person in trouble, on holiday or even could be at home doing homework. 

After you have finished describing the photo, you will then be asked to answer a further 2 more questions related to the topic of the photo. Normally the extra 2 questions are about personal experiences or giving an opinion regarding to the situation in the photo.

For example:
Describe the photo
  • Answer a question  `Tell me about what you like learning the most?´
  • Answer another question  `What do you think is most important when learning something new?`
When describing the photo, try to link up your ideas and add structure to your answers rather than just pointing at things that you can see. Using linking words/connectors will help you with this.
Part 3 - Compare 2 photographs

With part 3, you now have to compare the photographs (NOT DESCRIBE). So be careful about how you give your answer. The photos will be different to the photograph in Part 2. Both of the photographs will have something in common with each other.

Once again, the main subject of the photo will vary in many situations and settings such as problems, holiday, friendship etc.

The structure for this part is the same as Part 2; first compare the photos and then answer a further 2 more questions connected to the photo, normally about your experience and giving an opinion. You have 45 seconds for each question.

For example:
  1. Compare these two photographs / Tell me what you see in these photos
  2. Respond to one question  `Which one of these concert would you prefer to watch
  3. Respond to another question  `Why do people enjoy going to concerts?`
When comparing the two photos, try to speak about how they are similar and different rather than just describing what you see. Also think about comparatives for this part. If possible, you could try to add speculation to your answer to gain extra marks.
Be constantly comparing, go back and forth between the photos. 1st photo to the 2nd photo back to the 1st one… Don’t stay too long speaking about one photo.
Part 4 - Long Speaking

The last and final part, but also the most difficult part. You will be shown a photograph, you do NOT need to speak about the photo though. Then 3 questions will appear related to the topic of the photograph, this is what needs to be answered.

Firstly, you will be given 1 minute to make notes and plan your answer. Questions can range from personal experiences to preferences and opinions to speculation.

Then you have 2 minutes to answer all 3 questions. This part is challenging how you are able to speak at length about a topic, link up your ideas without hesitation and general fluency.

For example:


  1. `Tell me about some customs in your country´
  2. `Why are traditions important?´
  3. ´Which country would you like to visit the most related to its culture?´


You are expected to continue speaking for the whole length of time if possible. The last question will be the most complex one to answer. Remember you can see the timer, so give yourself about 45 seconds to answer question 1 and 2 each and the last 30 seconds for the last question.
When planning your answer, DO NOT write word to word what you want to say…You won’t have time.
Make bullet points and write down the first couple of words that comes to your mind when thinking about each question. Subconsciously, this is what you feel most confident to talk about. Try to get 8-12 bullet points in total for all 3 questions. This will help you to complete the 2 minutes.
Let’s use the second question as an example: `Why are traditions important?´
  • Brings people together
  • Holidays
  • Memories
  • Celebration
This will also add flexibility to your response!
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Final Tips
  • Give full complete answers and expand your reasons/opinions.
  • Speak as much as possible at home and with friends. Try not to worry about mistakes, focus more on communicating your answers successfully without hesitations.
  • Record yourself speaking as fluently as possible for a minute or two, then listen to it and write down ways to improve your speaking.
  • Study and improve your vocabulary, it will help you give complete answers.
  • Add a bit of grammar to your everyday routine…(wake up, make breakfast, while eating breakfast, study a bit of linking words or modal verbs)
  • Compare as many things as possible, such as football and tennis…The more you practice, the more you will improve.
  • Try to enjoy speaking English. Speak with a smile and be motivated, it will help how you sound when you are speaking.
The Scoring?

Once you have finished your exam and submitted your answers, the recording will be marked by a professional examiner and graded between A1-C1.

Once all the parts of the exam (reading, writing, listening, etc) have been completed, you will be given a numeric total from all of the exams, plus an overall CEFR level. The overall numerical score is the sum of the scores obtained in each skill..


Want to try out an example? Then head over here to try a sample and test your level of English.

Keep a look out for my next blog on how to successfully describe and compare pictures.

Hope you are successful in your attempt in passing your exam using my help today.


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