Speaking in public is the number one fear - even above death! It's no surprise that the speaking is part of the exam people are most afraid.
However, it's also the part where you can take advantage of the most marks for the least time, when compared to the other skills. You have the advantage that it's directly in front of the examiner, which might be scary at first, but it's really an advantage. Think about it...human interactions are generally warmer and people's empathy plays a huge part. So, if you can really impress, you will be rewarded!
1. Don't worry!
It's only 15 minutes to do the whole exam. If you aren't prepared and don't know what to expect then it will be a shock and you'll hate the whole experience. However, if you have practiced what you're going to say, where possible. And, if you've made sure you understand what the examiner is looking for, you'll have no problems getting top marks!
2. FCE Speaking part 1 (2 minutes)
You are alone for this part. You speak directly to the examiner and answer his/her questions clearly and concisely.
You don't speak to your partner at this point. It's really just to get you settled down and warmed up. Don't panic if it doesn't go very well, you can make up for it later. But, if it does go well, you'll be really confident for what is to come.
Questions are normally on these topics:
Your work or education
Things you like and things you don't like
Friends and family
3. What if I don't understand something?
Don't panic! Turn this to your advantage. Ask correctly for the examiner to repeat it.
Please could you repeat that?
Could you say that again, please?
4. Show you can use the grammar of the question in your answer to help make sure you give them what they are looking for.
You don't have to do this, but it will help you to be sure what you are saying is accurate.
Here's a silly mistake:
Do you enjoy cooking?
Yes, I enjoy to cook.
Why not use the same grammar as the question in your answer?
Do you enjoy cooking?
Yes, I enjoy cooking.
Here's another example:
Are you going to go on holiday this year?
Yes, I'm going to go to Mexico. It's going to be my first time.
5. Don't be a robot
You know what they are probably going to ask you about. Think about it like the beginning of a job interview. Have something rehearsed, which you can adapt on the day. It will be obvious if you are just giving fixed robotic answers. Practice some different answers and make them feel more fluid and natural. Then, when you come to the exam day, you will come across as relaxed and the stress and intonation will sound natural.
That will impress the examiner a lot!