Speaking Test: Advice for Part 3

IELTS Speaking Advice

Part 1 – Warm-up interview

Part 2 – Solo-talk

Part 3 – More difficult questions


“Okay, now I’d like to ask you some more general questions related to your topic.”


When the examiner says this, it means that Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking Test has begun.

Part 3 is the most challenging and the most important part of your speaking test. Don’t worry; in this lesson I will help you to prepare for it by looking at what type of questions you’re likely to face and giving you some advice.

Let’s go.


Speaking Part 3 – More Difficult Questions (5 minutes)


Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking Test is a five minute interview where the examiner asks you more difficult, abstract questions. The overall topic of your Part 3 questions will be related to your Part 2 solo topic. Basically, the examiner wants to see if you can express and support opinions on more complicated topics.

Again, you can find plenty of example speaking tests in the Cambridge English IELTS with answers 1-11 books [link]. The tests in this book are exactly like the real test.


Speaking Part 3 Example Questions:

  • Your questions in Part 3 will be related to your topic from Part 2.

"What kinds of organizations want to find out about people’s opinions?”

“Do you think that questionnaires or surveys are good ways of finding out people’s opinions?”

“What reasons might people have for not wanting to give their opinions?”

“Why do you think people go to restaurants when they want to celebrate something?”

“Which are more popular in your country: fast food restaurants, or traditional restaurants? Why do you think that is?”

“Do you think there will be greater choice of foods available in shops in the future, or will there be less choice?”

“What effects has modern technology had on the way food is produced?”

“How important is it for a country to be able to grow all the food it needs, without importing any from other countries?”


Some Advice for Speaking Part 3 Questions:


  • Listen closely so that you understand the question, and make sure your answers are on topic!
  • If the questions here start getting difficult, THAT’S GOOD! The examiner is trying to push you to the limit of your ability. So don’t worry if it seems hard, it’s supposed to be.
  • It’s very important to develop your answers here, and give reasons for your opinions. In other words, the examiner loves to hear thoughtful replies from you. Here is a great example answer:

Examiner: “What effects has modern technology had on the way food is produced?”

You: “(pause to think) … well, I think a lot of the food we eat today is processed a lot. (pause to think)…What I mean is that we have the technology now to add a lot of things to the food to make it last longer, or taste a certain way. As a result, shopping and storing food is a lot more convenient, but it might have some negative consequences for health.

In this case, you gave your opinion on the topic, clarified it, and then talked a little bit about the negative and positive consequences of this. An excellent and very fluent/coherent reply!

  • Check out How to Write Complex Sentences for help with connecting your ideas together. This is a writing post, but it applies equally to speaking as well.
  • Don’t worry about being perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, including native speakers. Just focus on communicating your ideas.
    • Making mistakes is normal.
    • Pausing to think about your answers is normal.
    • If you need to ask for repetition or clarification, that’s okay; it won’t lower your score.
  • DON’T try to prepare answers in advance, and DON’T try to use super complicated words or grammar! Again, just speak to the examiner like you would your friend… be simple and relax, and you will get your best score.
  • “What if I don’t know anything about my topic? What if I say something stupid or controversial that the examiner disagrees with?”

Remember that this is not a knowledge test. The most important thing is to express yourself well and develop your ideas. Having a lot of knowledge on a topic – or agreeing with the examiner – is not important!

Here is a great example answer on the test:

Examiner: “How important is it for a country to be able to grow all the food it needs, without importing any from other countries?"

You: “Actually, I’m not sure about the answer to this question. I guess growing your own food could be cheaper, but on the other hand, if a country is unable to grow certain foods then I don’t see why it would be a problem to depend on an outside source.”

Here, you didn’t know anything about this topic, but you were still able to give a great answer by being honest, and speculating a little bit about the topic.


Good luck in your practice!