The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face test that lasts approximately 15 minutes. Let’s have a quick overview of the timings and tasks.
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Today I will be talking about the third and final part of the Speaking test. If you want more detailed information about Part 1 or Part 2, take a look at my previous blogs:
So let’s look at Part 3 in more detail …
The final part of the IELTS Speaking test is a discussion between the candidate and the examiner. It is designed to give you a chance to speak in a more relaxed way. It lasts for 4 to 5 minutes and can be a two-way conversation.
Many students feel nervous about this section of the test and worry that they won’t understand the questions. It is true that the questions will be more advanced in Part 3, but that is a positive thing. It gives you a chance to let your English language ability really shine.
What is Part 3 about?
Part 3 of the test will be related to the topic in Part 2. The examiner might ask you to explain the reason for something, the advantages and disadvantages, the future of something and so on. Basically, the thing to do is give an answer including your opinion and then explain why you think that. Add some real-life examples if you can too.
But what do you do if you have absolutely no idea what the examiner has asked you?
Well, first, you can ask them to repeat the question, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t catch that, could you repeat the question?’. If you are still unsure and need some thinking time then say something like, ‘That’s an interesting question, let me think about that…’ or ‘ I have never really thought about that before, let me see…’ or even ‘I am not really sure but if I had to answer I would say…’ The worst thing you could do is to sit in complete silence and just not answer!
In Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test you are expected to give opinions. Whether or not you have the same opinion as the examiner doesn’t matter, it is just important that you can express an opinion in clear and coherent English. Remember that you are not expected to have specialist knowledge about the subject and you are not being tested on your opinion, just your English.
- Well, I think/suppose/would say …
- I think most people would agree that …
If you notice that you have made a mistake then you should definitely go back and correct it. This is what native speakers do all the time and it shows the examiner that you are able to recognize and correct your own mistakes, this is a good thing.
- I mean …
- What I meant to say was…
- What I want to say is …
- What I’m trying to say is …
One way to think about the answers that you give in this part of the IELTS Speaking test is that they are more formal than an everyday conversation. The Examiner needs to hear you give a full answer. You can think of your answer fitting into this structure:
- Give an opinion (say what you think)
- Give a reason for your opinion (say why you think this)
- Give an example (show what you mean)
Have a go at answering some sample questions taken from the ‘The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS’. Remember to use the 3-part strategy ‘Opinion – Reason – Examples’.
- Do you think it’s more important to earn a large salary or to be happy in your job?
- Do you think some people spend too much time on their computers these days? (Why?)
- Pollution is a problem in many countries. What do you think governments can do about it?
Remember, the examiner wants to give you the best possible mark in the test. Make sure you answer all the questions as fully as you can so that the examiner can assess your language.
Today I am sharing some activities that will help you prepare for Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test. You will watch a video of an authentic IELTS Speaking test (Part 3) below to complete the tasks. This video is from The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS which I personally think is one of the very best IELTS preparation books available today. The test taker in the video is not a native speaker, his English is not perfect, but it doesn’t need to be, when you take IELTS you are probably not aiming to get a Band Score 9 so making a few mistakes is OK.
Good luck in the test everyone.
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