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Examination-style questions Speaking
Notes for students (Speaking cards)
a) In some cases you might want to sit on the fence, because you can see pros and cons on both sides.
But you need to decide which argument you can best defend, knowing full well that the examiner
will put counterarguments to you.
b) Spend a few minutes deciding which card to choose: it may seem obvious, but you don't want to dry
up halfway through. Perhaps the other card actually has more "meat" to offer.
c) Use the preparation time wisely: don't feel obliged to write out your opening stance word for word,
as this probably won't sound very spontaneous. But do have a number of bullet points to help you
through this first minute or so, uninterrupted.
d) Also anticipate some of the points that the examiner could come up with: you've got the other
speech bubble there to start with, so you have some idea already.
e) You may have some personal experience to offer to back up your case: that's fine, but keep this
narrative short. Remember: you are discussing issues of a general nature, so you should be taking a
more global view.
f) There should not be any vocabulary on the card that you do not recognise, but occasionally a
translation will be given in a footnote. These are all topics that you have covered before, so you can
be confident that you have the knowledge required.
Speaking cards some points to think about
CARD A POLLUTION
Personal choice is clearly stated in the lefthand speech bubble, but it is implicit in the
righthand one, too, where public transport is being advocated, without saying that people
cannot own their own car. Rights (in the lefthand bubble) and responsibilities (righthand
bubble) are being contrasted: perhaps these are not mutually exclusive. The bubble on the left
also touches on the issue of paying for the privilege of having a car, with a controversial
suggestion that tolls and taxes should be abandoned: what are the implications for government
revenue? But then subsidies for public transport cost the taxpayer. And what are the
limitations of electric cars?
CARD B ENERGY
France relies very heavily on nuclear power, with far more power stations than in UK. Think
what precisely are our needs for energy (domestic and industrial): perhaps these need curbing
anyway, so there are environmental considerations to take into account. The whole question
of risk needs debating: Chernobyl back in the 1980's is often quoted, and the effects are still
being felt today. What other forms of renewable energy can you put forward? Are they worth
AQA French A2 Level © Nelson Thornes Ltd 2009 1
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Perhaps there is a case
for having the best of both worlds, or is that sort of compromise just fudging the issue?
CARD C PROTECTING THE PLANET
First of all, consider specific items that we are encouraged to recycle.…read more
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CARD G WEALTH AND POVERTY
The standpoint expressed on the left reinforces the adage that "Charity begins at home". This
is something quite personal: do you give a certain proportion of your income to charity,
regardless, or do you tighten your belt when times are hard? The government can be held
responsible for social needs, whether there's a credit crunch or not. You might want to argue,
too, that donations to charities are sometimes siphoned off by corrupt governments abroad.…read more