Speaking Part 3 Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

For today’s free lesson ​we are going to look at some common question types in part 3 of the IELTS speaking test. We will analyse, in grammatical terms, what kind of response is required for each question type and this will help you to give more accurate answers thus improving your score for task achievement and grammatical range and accuracy.


Exercise 1 | What do you already know?

First of all, lets clarify some important points about the third part of the IELTS speaking test. Are the following statements true or false?

True of False?

1. The topic of the questions in part 3 of the speaking test is one that has not been discussed in previous parts of the speaking test.
2. The questions in part 3 are usually about more abstract and complex topics than those in part 1 of the speaking test.
3. If I don’t understand a question, I can ask for clarification.
4. I should talk about myself and give examples from my personal life.
5. I should explain my opinions and expand my answers.
6. If I don’t know about a topic, I will get a bad score.

Open to see answer explanations

1

The topic of part 3 of the speaking test is always directly related to the topic of part 2.

2

The questions are about more general topics that you may have little experience of in your day to day life and so you will have to think of ideas on the spot (spontaneously).

3

Do not be afraid to ask for clarification. The examiner will be happy to help you by rephrasing the question.

4

While part 1 of the speaking test requires you to talk about your personal experiences, part 3 requires you to speak more generally. Examiners prefer if you support the opinions you give from information that you have read or that is common knowledge, rather than examples from your personal experience.  

5

Coherent answers which are well reasoned, supported and explored are necessary for a good task achievement score.

6

This is not necessarily true although it will obviously be easier for you if you do know something about the topic. If you don’t know about the topic you will have to hypothesize (think about) and come up with ideas on the spot and this can be difficult.
To prepare, look through example part 3 questions and think about how you would answer them. It is also good to read newspaper articles so you have good general knowledge to help you answer these kinds of questions.


Exercise 2 | Different Question Types

​Match the following part 3 questions with the type of answer required. One type of answer does not need to be used.

1. How has the internet changed the way people communicate?
a) Predictions about what may happen
b) Describing changes over time
c) Suggestions for students wanting to carry out research
d) Comparing and contrasting
e) Reasons for a state or situation
f) Discussion of benefits and drawbacks
2. What are the differences and similarities of doing research in a library and doing research online?
a) Predictions about what may happen
b) Describing changes over time
c) Suggestions for students wanting to carry out research
d) Comparing and contrasting
e) Reasons for a state or situation
f) Discussion of benefits and drawbacks
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages for students of using the internet to do research?
a) Predictions about what may happen
b) Describing changes over time
c) Suggestions for students wanting to carry out research
d) Comparing and contrasting
e) Reasons for a state or situation
f) Discussion of benefits and drawbacks
4. Why do some older people struggle to learn IT skills?
a) Predictions about what may happen
b) Describing changes over time
c) Suggestions for students wanting to carry out research
d) Comparing and contrasting
e) Reasons for a state or situation
f) Discussion of benefits and drawbacks
5. How is communication technology likely to change in the future?
a) Predictions about what may happen
b) Describing changes over time
c) Suggestions for students wanting to carry out research
d) Comparing and contrasting
e) Reasons for a state or situation
f) Discussion of benefits and drawbacks


Exercise 3 | Important Language

​Complete the chart below with the grammatical structures or phrases which can be used to talk about each function. Select the word/phrase, then select the box that it belongs in.
rise   ·  as + adjective as   ·  fall   ·  fewer   ·  some people predict that…   ·  caused by   ·  certainly   ·  advantages   ·  since   ·  the + superlative adjective   ·  cons   ·  to become   ·  perhaps   ·  might   ·  as a result   ·  however  
Click or touch a word above

Making predictions

will
may, , could
it is forecast that…, , it is likely that…
definitely,
possibly,


Describing changes over time

increase,
decrease,
the general trend has been that…
to alter,
Note: Present perfect simple and continuous for unfinished actions


Comparing and contrasting

bigger than – comparative adjective + than
the biggest –
as big as –
less,
whereas,
…compared to…


Giving reasons for a state or situation

due to,
,so
because, , as
Note: Present simple for giving facts


Discussing benefits and drawbacks

pros, , positives
negatives, , disadvantages


Exercise 4 | Test your Knowledge

Complete the answers to the IELTS speaking test part 3 questions by selecting the appropriate word or phrase to fill each gap, then listen to check your answers. 
could   ·  Some people predict that   ·  will   ·  disadvantage   ·  alter   ·  however   ·  has been an increasing trend   ·  thus   ·  easier   ·  globe   ·  altered   ·  quickly   ·  forecast   ·  advantages   ·  fast   ·  likely  
Click or touch a word above
Examiner: How has the internet changed the way people communicate?
Candidate: Well, that’s a good question. It is clear that the internet has had a major impact on the way we communicate. It has the way people maintain friendships as it is now much to stay in contact with people that we don’t see on a regular basis. I think there for people to have more friends than they did before the introduction of digital communication. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram make it much simpler for us to stay up to date with people on the far side of the .
Examiner: What are the advantages and disadvantages for students of using the internet to do research?
Candidate: Firstly, I will start with the of using the internet for research purposes. There are many. A strong example is that it is a and efficient way to find out information. There are many sites which act as online encyclopedias allowing students to very discover general information about any given topic without needing to even leave the house. However, there is a major to these types of sites, namely, that they are open to the public to modify and the information cannot be trusted one hundred percent. Anyone with any kind of agenda can the information and so students must double check what they discover online in published and peer reviewed literature.
Examiner: How is communication technology likely to change in the future?
Candidate: there will be dire consequences of advances in digital communication technology. In particular, some people, famous scientists amongst them, that AI will be developed which will become sentient and try to destroy humanity, like in the terminator or matrix movies, this seems a bit far-fetched to me. I think we are to see digital technology really making the world a better place. I think it is highly likely that we will see everyone in the world connected and this be extremely democratic, as long as no corporations or nations monopolise control, as it allow everyone a voice and everyone will have equal access to information and the opportunities that this provides.

​Listen to the conversation below to check your answers. Copy the stressed sounds and rhythm of the candidate to improve your pronunciation.

Speaking Part3 Question Types.mp3
File Size: 1204 kb
File Type: mp3

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Exercise 5 | Vocabulary

The following vocabulary was used by the candidate answering the questions above. Match the vocabulary item with its meaning.

1. Platforms –
2. Peer reviewed –
3. Dire consequences –
4. Far-fetched –
5. Monopolise –

Remember that completing these exercises won’t help you improve unless you practice the language frequently. Make sure you take time to use what you have learned today in your writing and speaking. 
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