Speaking Part 3 Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

This lesson will help you understand the basics of part 3 of the speaking test.
To see examples of part 1 and part 2, follow the links below.

Speaking Part 1 | Band 9 Example and Collocations with ‘life’ and ‘living’
Speaking Part 2 | How to Get a High Band in Part 2, with Examples

​​Part 3 of the speaking test is 4-5 minutes long. It requires you to talk about ideas related to Part 2. Whereas part 2 is often related to your personal experiences, part 3 is supposed to be more general and more academic. You shouldn’t talk about personal experiences; you should give opinions with supporting ideas. Justify everything that you say – always explain your opinions and make sure the examiner knows why you think how you think.

Below is an example question set for part 3. 

Part 3 Example Question set on the topic of
‘Trying New Activities’

Doing new things
Why do you think people often like doing new things?

What problems can someone have when they try new activities for the first time?

​Do you think it’s best to do new activities on your own or with other people? Why?


Learning new things
What types of things do children learn to do when they are very young? How important are these activities?

Do you think young children and adults learn to do new things in the same ways? How is their style of learning different?

​Many people say that it is more important to be ready to learn new things now than it was in the past. Do you agree or disagree with this? Why?


​Test your knowledge of part 3 of the speaking test with the 10 statements below, then check your answers with our answer guide at the bottom of the lesson.


Exercise 1| True or False

​Are the following statements about part 3 of the speaking test true or false?

Are these statements True or False?

1. Part 3 is the longest part of the speaking test.
True
False
2. The topic of part 2 and part 3 will be similar.
True
False
3. If I don’t like the topic I can ask the examiner to change to another topic area that I am better prepared for.
True
False
4. I can give examples from my personal life to support my opinions.
*Check the answer guide below for clarification
True
False
5. Even if I think I did poorly in part 2 I should still try to do my best in part 3.
True
False
6. I should only use long, complex sentences to answer the examiner in part 3 of the speaking test.
True
False
7. I must speak slowly to avoid making any errors with grammar.
True
False
8. It is important to use topic specific vocabulary.
True
False
9. Keep speaking even if your ideas are irrelevant and not connected to the topic.
True
False
10. I cannot ask the examiner to repeat or clarify the question.
True
False

Not sure about some of the answers? Check the ones that you got wrong with our Answer Guide below.
1. Part 3 is the longest part of the speaking test.

False –  Part 1 and part 3 are the same length.
2. The topic of part 2 and part 3 will be similar.

True – Generally, it starts similar but as the part 3 discussion continues it will move away from the part 2 topic.
3. If I don’t like the topic I can ask the examiner to change to another topic area that I am better prepared for. 

False – You cannot change the topic. This is a good reason why you should read as widely as possible while you prepare for the test so you will be well prepared for the different topics you may be asked about. Try to read 1 English article – from a newspaper, magazine or the internet – a day!
4. I can give examples from my personal life to support my opinions.

True –  You can give examples from your personal life, but this should only be to support your opinions. Generally, it is better to use examples from your wider knowledge, such as from the news, books you have read or general knowledge.
5. Even if I think I did poorly in part 2 I should still try to do my best in part 3. 

True – It is very possible to still achieve a good score even if you think you did badly in a previous part of the test.
6. I should only use long, complex sentences to answer the examiner in part 3 of the speaking test.

False – As in other parts of the test, you should use a wide range of different grammar, including short sentences and longer complex sentences.
7. I must speak slowly to avoid making any errors with grammar.

False – If you speak slowly it will negatively impact your fluency. Don’t worry about making some mistakes, unless you are aiming for a band 9 of course!
8. It is important to use topic specific vocabulary.

True – ​This will help you to achieve a band 7 or higher for vocabulary and is a reason why you must try and learn as much vocabulary as possible before the test.
9. Keep speaking even if your ideas are irrelevant and not connected to the topic.

False – It is not a competition to see how much you can speak. To get a high band, your answers must be logical and relevant.
10. I cannot ask the examiner to repeat or clarify the question.

False – If you miss the question or don’t understand the question, don’t be afraid to ask the examiner to repeat him/herself or to explain the question.


​Exercise 2 | Speaking Practice

Now record yourself answering the example questions from the question set at the start of the lesson (you can use your phone to do this). Listen back to the recording. Think about:
  • Are your answers too short?
  • Are your ideas relevant to the question?
  • Do you use vocabulary connected to the topic?
  • Do you explain your ideas clearly?
  • Do you support your opinion with examples from your background knowledge?

Remember you can always rerecord yourself and see if you can improve on your answers. 

To see and hear some example Speaking Test Part 3 questions, visit our Part 3 Question Types lesson.

For more speaking lessons, visit our Speaking Page.
Or you can hear a complete Speaking Test.

We hope you found this lesson helpful. We will have more Speaking Part 3 lessons soon!