Smart Ways to Score High in IELTS Speaking Part 3

Monday, April 20, 2015

In part 1 of the Speaking test, the examiner asks you questions on familiar topics about your personal life and interests. Note that this is not usually related to the topics that follows in Part 2 and 3.

But, this case is different in Part 3 of speaking test.

In Part 3 of the speaking test, the examiner asks further question to the topic of Part 2. These questions explore more abstract ideas and issues.

Here is an example of Task-2 question.

Describe a school or college where you were a student. You should say:
  • What type of school/college it was
  • where it was
  • when you studied there
and explain how you felt about it when you were a student there.

If you have this cue card in Part-2, then the examiner may ask you following questions in Part-3:

  • Do you think the school in your country are equally good, or some better than others?
  • How can a person’s education affect their future life?
  • Do you think there`s too much emphasis on exams in your country?


The part 3 of the speaking test mostly consist questions relating to arguments. Argument means, you need to discuss both sides of the question.

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Using linking words is a smart idea on this regard. For example, you can use
  1. But
  2. However
  3. On the other hand
  4. Although
  5. though
Example Question: Do you think there`s too much emphasis on exams in your country?

Answer (using linking words): Few people believe examinations are perfect way to measure ability of students. However, most education institution in my country use them.

Notice that in IELTS speaking part -3; the examiner can ask you question you may no prior idea to make arguments.

Do not worry! The speaking test assesses your speaking ability, not your knowledge of the world.

You won`t lose marks if you don`t know much about a topic, so admit this make a guess. You would not loose point for giving wrong answer.

In fact, if this happens that you are speaking out of topic, the examiner may move the conversation on to a related topic.


If you can`t think of anything to say immediately, it is useful to know some expressions for `filling in`. They can give you a few seconds to think about your answer. Look at the following 'filling in' expressions:
  1. I`ve never really thought about that
  2. Let me think
  3. Let me see
  4. That`s a good question
  5. I`m not sure
For Example if you are asked a question like this: Do you think Climate Change can the way we are living now? You can answer: I am not an expert of climate change but I think it will bring us no good.

IELTS speaking high score

Clarifying your meaning is vital point in Part-3 long for getting better band score.

Several techniques you can use here to demonstrate that you are able to give clear, precise meaning It will make  your English sound more advanced and natural.

Remember, this is common practice among native speakers to ensure their listeners fully understand the points they want to make.

One thing you can do on this regard is to use conditional sentences to describe cause and effect. Look at the use of "if" as conditional sentences below.
  • If this city keeps growing, eventually it will join up with the towns around it.
  • It would have been better if the airport had been built further from the city.
  • If cities grow too quickly, they become chaotic and unhealthy places to live.
  • If the government spent more money on developing rural areas, people wouldn`t be so keen to move to the cities.
Another thing you can do on this context is to began a sentence with Personally...means you know that what you`re saying is only your opinion or preference, and may people will disagree.

For example, Personally, I wouldn`t want to live in a city, but I`ve lived in London all my life.

Part-3 questions are focusing on arguments as well as contrasting ideas. Good use of advanced, natural-sounding phrases for connecting and contrasting ideas is one of the things that can help get you a high score.

Here we will discuss two advanced way to contrast ideas.

1. Using "Having said that..." : This can be useful for contrasting ideas which are contradictory

Example: I think it`s very important to know what`s happening in your country and in the world. Having said that, I don`t actually follow the news carefully every day.

In this example, the candidate contrasts what he thinks with what she actually does. Note that you use a stress on saying "said" to sound more natural.

ielts speaking using contrast words

2. You can also use "apart from that" to contrast an exception with a general rule.

  • They may be exciting for people who have a special interest in the subject, but apart from that, they tend not to have a lot of appeal.
  • I watch the news and some current-affairs programs, but apart from that, I watch very little TV.
  • Apart from checking the headlines on the internet, I don`t really follow the news.
Remember, giving complex, structured answers will gain you marks, but it may not always be possible.

The model answers given below are written to demonstrate a range of strategies, and only the most advanced candidates can consistently give answers like these.

Lean from these examples, but unless you need band 7.5 or higher, don`t worry about giving such complex answers to every question yourself.

1. Do you think the quality of TV in your country is generally good?

There are three or four channels which are quite high quality, and in particular we have an arts channel which produces some excellent programs. But the majority of channels don`t seem high quality to me. They show a lot of imported programs, moronic game shows and repeats there are far too may advertisement as well. On some channels, they take a half-hour program and make it up to an hour with advertisements and trailers for other programs.

(Here the speaker Gives a hypothetical scenario of how things could be different)

2. What problems do you think can be caused by watching too much TV?

Obviously, it`s not very good for the health to sit still for hours at a time. I know I always feel quite bad if I sit in front of the TV for an entire evening. In my opinion, there`s also a danger that watching TV can become a substitute for real life. It`s easier to sit at home and watch TV than to go out and meet people. But it`s obviously better to go out and do something more social and active.

(The candidate starts here with an obvious idea, then add a less obvious, more philosophical idea.)

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of showing imported TV programs?

The advantage is that some imported programs are very high quality. They`re well written, well acted and cost a lot of money to produce. In that respect, they`re of then much better than anything produced locally. However, the disadvantage of showing a lot of imported programs is that it means we haven`t developed much of a TV production industry in my country. If we made more TV programs. there would be more  jobs for actors, directors, script writers etc. and we might start making interesting programs rather than mostly just silly game shows, as I mentioned before.

(The candidate starts with the exception (high quality programs) and then describes the general rule.)

4. Do you think that the things children see on TV and in films can influence their behavior?

This has been discussed a lot in the media, especially the question "Does watching violence on TV make children violent?" In my opinion, children don`t have a problem distinguishing between fantasy and reality. I wouldn’t let my kids watch horror films, but that`s because I think it would upset them, not because I think they`d star: killing people! The area where I think TV and films really can change their behaviors is advertising. Children are very easy to influence. A lot of advertisements on TV are aimed directly at children, and some films these days seem little more than advertisements for toys or computer games.

(In this example, the candidate starts with an ongoing debate first and moves on to own opinion by contrasting with the popular idea)

5. Do you think Hollywood films can change local cultures?

Perhaps a combination of American films, TV and music can have an effect. A lot of young people dress in quite American-looking style, and a lot of English words and phrases have entered our language. Some habits have changed too. For example, young people drink more alcohol than their parents did. Perhaps that`s because of influence from the media.

(Here the candidate expands the focus of the question and makes sure it still includes what the examiner asked)


IELTS speaking part-3 is all about showing examiners your ability to break an argument with examples and appropriate logic. Here you need the ability to present you idea with complex sentences.

Linking words can be helpful on this regard to present in a logical sequence so that it could be easy for examiner to follow your conversation and this will eventually prompt for high band score.