In this tutorial, we will:
- Share advice and tips on how to pass your IELTS Speaking part 3 in the IELTS exam.
- Look at the 4 categories that you are graded on and see what each one means
- Look at some example questions and learn some new vocabulary to use in your responses.
The speaking test has 3 parts and one important thing to appreciate in order to pass your IELTS speaking test is how the examiner will be marking you in your IELTS speaking test.
The four categories you are graded on are :
- Fluency and Accuracy
- Grammatical range and accuracy, so that is all the complex grammar structures which we are going to be looking at today
- Lexical range which means how wide your vocabulary is and how easily you are able to use collocations, use synonyms and compound words.
The IELTS Speaking test has 3 parts: Part 1 lasts around 4-5 minutes and is designed as a warm up to help you feel relaxed and get used to the examiner’s voice. You will be asked some questions about your work / studies before a variety of questions about familiar topics such as your family, hobbies, schooling or education, music, festivals or traditions in your country.
IELTS Speaking Part 2 is often called the ‘Long turn’ and is a kind of presentation. You are presented with a cue card which contains a series of questions about a single topic. After a minute to think, prepare and write notes, you will start speaking and have to keep going as fluently and coherently as you can for around 2 minutes.
Speaking Part 3 lasts around 4 minutes you will be asked some more abstract and wide ranging questions relating to the cue card you had in Part 2. To score very highly here in IELTS speaking part 3 you need to master skills which relate to speaking confidently and coherently on a wider range of topical subjects.
- Let’s take a look at some of these subskills starting with comparing and contrasting. This means thinking of similarities and differences.
Here is a typical Part 3 question: I want you to keep these three key words in your head: Both, but and for example while you listen to these questions.
The topic here is Sport and the cue card for Part 2 was about Describing a sport which you have played in a team.
P3: Which is more exciting to watch: athletics or gymnastics? Remember the four words (both, but/ however, for example) and listen to this example answer – or even better pause here and write down your own first.
They are both sporting activities which demand a significant amount of skill and dedication and are usually both started at a young age – especially if you want to become a professional but I think that athletics has a wider appeal and the track races such as the 100m or 200m can be incredibly exciting! For example, in the Olympics, those races are usually the highlight of the athletics competition.
Here’s another example – also sport.
Is it better to attend a sporting event or watch it on television? Remember those four words and write down your own answer to test yourself now you have had an example.
Well, I know that watching both live or on TV can be exciting and that fans always make time to support their favourite team or individual sportsman. However, in my country participating in live matches is out of reach for many budgets as the ticket prices has risen dramatically in recent years, for example stadium seats for football matches are often over £150 and on that basis watching on TV with friends or family is a more accessible option.
Summary: Have answered all parts of question/ structured it well/ added range of vocab without repetition. I have used a lot of ‘sport vocab’ here and paraphrased eg attend / participate in . I have Understood the question needed me to compare and contrast and made sure that this is what the answer does!
- Next, identifying problems or reasons and detailing which is not always as
easy as it sounds and is very important to be confident and happy with for all Parts of the IELTS speaking test. Let’s have a look at another example.
It’s a good idea to think of Part 3 as a discussion with the examiner. Your answers will be shorter than in the Part 2 presentation and imagine that you having an interesting conversation with a friend / tutor/ colleague so make sure you pause and allow time for the examiner to ask another question or react to what you are saying.
The topic here is Urban problems, again very common in IELTS both writing and speaking tests.
P3: What are the biggest problems faced in many cities today? You have to react quickly here BUT if you have been preparing for your exam carefully and I strongly recommend trying the technique of mindmapping which we have also recommended for Task 2 writing.
On your mindmap – place city problems in the centre and draw lines out from this. THINK – what are some problems in your own city? Start with these and then move out from here, thinking about other geographical or political areas as well as adding social or environmental problems. This is such a great way of organising your thoughts. I know you won’t have time to do this in the Part 3 BUT remember part 3 continues the theme from part 2 – so if you have done a quick mindmap for Part 2 a lot of this content may still be useful for you.
Listen to this answer: working from my mindmap I am going to 1. Identify problems and 2. Add details.
It seems like most cities across the world are facing huge challenging at the moment. Ranging from environmental as levels of pollution are high due to factory emissions and this affects air quality to overcrowding and overpopulation as so many people have been obliged to relocate to urban areas in order to look for work or schooling for their children.
Identify problems: pollution and overcrowding. Detail – factories / air quality + work and schooling.
Another example, similar topic. What problems does an overreliance on private transport cause in urban areas? Same strategy; identify and then detail.
For many cities and town planners transport has to be one of the most important and worrying issues and as use of private cars has continued to grow, traffic problems including traffic jams, pollution and dangerous air quality have become more and more concerning. In China, for example, the government have implemented policies which only allow people to drive on certain days of the week.
Identify problem/ add detail in using an example.
- Developing your opinion.
In Part 3 you can of course talk about your own opinion BUT it is also very important to think of this as a broader discussion and not just making it about what you think. It is really useful preparation to practice expressing your opinion and writing it down as well and here is a useful exercise to do this!
Take a pen and paper and write down this list; Health, wealth, family. Society, career growth, intellectual growth. How important are these in your life? If you had to rank them 1-6 how would you do this? WHY did you decide this?
In part 3 (and in writing part 2) you may need to present and then justify your opinion. – equally you may want to disagree or challenge a statement.
Make a note of some of the useful language you will hear in these examples:
P3. Do you agree that teaching children is easier than teaching adults?
Many people would agree with this assertion as children learn quickly and often more easily than adults, especially if the topic is new or exciting but I think thatjust because they are young and keen, it does not necessarily follow that youngsters are easier to teach. In fact, in many cases, teachers may have discipline issues to deal with which is a lot less likely with adults.
P3. Do you think parents should control how much television their children watch? (q clearly asks for opinion)
This is a difficult question and I totally understand that many parents who need some quiet time are inclined to use the TV as a babysitter. It may be true that many children watch a lot of TV, and it’s hard to believe that this is as constructive or informative as reading or playing in the park with friends, so I think the hours should be monitored when possible as exercise and socialising are also very important.
- The next skill I want to look at today is Expressing doubt and probability, and this is very important grammatical skills which would help you score highly and useful in IELTS speaking as well as of course in writing part 2. You can see the links between both parts of this test so as you prepare and as you get feedback for your writing always keep this connection in mind.
The verb to doubt means that something is very unlikely and we can use this to express caution /or the unlikelihood about something happening.
Ex: Whilst most governments know that radical steps need to be taken in order to mitigate global warming, personally I doubt that enough will be achieved in my lifetime.
Many teaching professionals have their doubts about an extreme focus on exams and testing as it has been shown that many children really struggle with this formal kind of education.
A successful solution to the problem of air quality and it’s affect on so many citizens looks in doubt at the moment.
SO far in this tutorial we have looked at
- Comparing and contrasting
- identifying problems or reasons and detailing
- developing your opinion and
- expressing doubt
the final two skills for IELT speaking part 3 which are really worth the effort to master are
expressing probability and speculating
- expressing probability.
- How likely do you consider the possibility that a cure for all infectious diseases will be found?
- Do you agree that the trend among many young people not to read books anymore will continue?
The final skill I want to touch on today is that of speculating – again something which you are familiar with for writing task 2. Particularly in problem / solution essays
This is a fantastic opportunity to show off your confident use of modal verbs which are used to express possibility and to offer suggestions. Often here you will be using conditional sentences as well so that means extra points!!!
The best way to start your sentences here are using the words: Unless, as long as, on condition that, provided that , supposing that ….
P3 What could be done to prevent future job losses among young people?
Unless drastic action is taken to provide more jobs or to offer intensive training opportunities, many newly graduated students may end up only working for a few years.
Conditional (unless instead of if + modal may / might / could also possible)
Is tourism responsible for damaging local livelihoods and customs and should be travel less?
As long as people want to go on holiday and have the funds to afford such global trips, it is hard to stop this trend and the damage it might cause. Supposing that travel to remote areas was banned or limited, this could significantly affect the income of many villagers although of course, it would probably in turn, allow a return to a less commercial way of life.
Take a look at our speaking feedback service if you’re interested in improving your IELTS score.
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