Collaborative Task

How long does it last?

4 minutes

What does it consist of?

The Collaborative task is an integrated speaking and listening task. The examiner reads a prompt. The prompt may express a dilemma, situation or opinion. The candidate needs to ask the examiner questions and make comments to find out more information and keep the conversation going.

For example, the examiner could say:

"In England, you have to stay in some form of education or training until you turn 18. I wonder if this is the right age".

You need to respond to this with a question. For example, you could ask questions like these ones...

  • What do you think is the right age?
  • Do you think 18 is too old or not old enough?
  • What are your doubts?
  • Why don't you think 18 is right?

Then you have to make comments, ask more questions and keep the conversation going.

ISE II (B2) Speaking & Listening sample video No.9
The collaborative task is at 04.59 but I strongly recommend watching it all for a taste of the whole speaking and listening exam.

What language functions do I need to use?

The examiner's prompts, which are pre-prepared by Trinity, will allow you to use the language functions for ISE II in a natural way.

More specifically, you will:

  • Initiate and maintain the conversation
  • Express and expand ideas and opinions
  • Highlight advantages and disadvantages
  • Speculate
  • Give advice
  • Express agreement and disagreement
  • Elicit further information
  • Establish common ground

Which grammatical structures should I try to use?

Second and third conditionals ◗ Simple passive ◗ Used to ◗ Relative clauses ◗ Modals and phrases used to give advice and make suggestions, eg should/ought to, could, you’d better ◗ Modals and phrases used to express possibility and uncertainty may, might, I’m not sure ◗ Discourse connectors because of, due to ◗ Present perfect continuous tense ◗ Past perfect tense ◗ Reported speech ◗ Linking expressions, eg even though, in spite of, although

How will I be assessed?

The Collaborative task, Topic task and Conversation task are given one score using four criteria: ◗ Communicative effectiveness ◗ Interactive listening ◗ Language control ◗ Delivery

Prompts to practise with a friend

Be natural!!!!!

For each prompt brainstorm 3 questions to ask.

Listen to your partner's response and comment, give advice, agree or disagree, give a personal anecdote, ask another question.

Prompt 1: I dislike working nine to five. I don’t think requiring people to work nine to five is productive.

Prompt 2: I couldn't live without my phone, but I don't think we're using cellphones properly.

Prompt 3: I love working with my colleagues but dealing with the customers I find a lot harder.

Prompt 4: I think my new colleague is more talented than me. My manager also seems to like him more than me.

Prompt 5: After a certain age, it is just too difficult to learn a new skill.

Useful phrases

finding out more

- how come you think that?

- why do you think that?

- what are you worried about?

giving advice

- If I were you,... You should,... You shouldn’t... You’d better... You ought to... Why don’t you...


- I think so too

- I'm with you on that

- I completely agree

- I know what you mean


- I see your point but I think...

- I don't fully agree because ...

- I'm not quite sure about that...

- let's agree to disagree

- we're not quite on the same page

- I see what you're tring to say but i think...

giving your opinion

- In my opinion...

- From my point of view...

- I feel strongly that...

- I think/don't think that...

Useful links

Here are some videos that can help you prepare for the collaborative task (they'll also help with the listening).

They aren't specifically for the Trinity exam, but they will still be useful, so do explore and practise.

Please ask me if you need any help at all.

Vocabulary: How to talk about ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES