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5 tips you need to know to get a high score in IELTS Speaking Part 3

Do you want to know the tips and tricks and strategies that you need to succeed in IELTS Speaking Part 3?

If so, you’re definitely going to want to read this article…and make sure to read until the end. You can also join our IELTS course to improve your skill.

So here we go…

In our first IELTS Speaking module article 5 things you need to know about IELTS Speaking Part 1, we learned how to conquer our fear of big hairy spiders, dangerous snakes and terrifying tokek geckos….and oh yeah…our fear of speaking!

And in our second IELTS Speaking module article 5 strategies you need to perform well in IELTS Speaking Part 2, we discovered the strategies you need to nail IELTS Speaking Part 2. 

Now, we are going to tackle speaking part 3! So buckle up while we take on the final part of this adventure!

What happens in IELTS speaking part 3?

In IELTS speaking part 3, the examiner will ask you 4-8 questions related to your IELTS task 2 topic. Some of these questions are scripted but some are also responses to your previous answers. Part 3 lasts about 4-5 minutes.

Part 3 requires more nuanced answers. The purpose is to see whether you can discuss topics in-depth using sophisticated English.

Whereas parts 1 and 2 are questions about your own experience, part 3 requires you to express more general ideas on abstract topics.

For example, following the sample topic question we gave in 5 strategies you need to perform well in IELTS Speaking Part 2:


Describe a school you went to when you were a child.
You should say
Where the school was
When you went there
What the school and the teachers were like
And explain whether you enjoyed your time there

You will have to talk about the topic for 1-2 minutes.
You have one minute to think about what you are going to say.
You can make some notes to help if you wish.

In Part 3, you might get asked the following questions:

  • What are some popular subjects in your country?
  • Do you think students should be able to choose their own subjects?
  • In your opinion, what will school look like in the future?
  • What is the difference between the way children learn and the way adults learn?
  • How can a teacher make lessons for children more interesting?
  • How important is a university degree in your country?

Now that you have some idea about what IELTS speaking part 3 is like, it’s time to get stuck into the tips and tricks and strategies that you will need to get a high speaking score!

5 steps to IELTS Speaking Part 3

1. ALWAYS give an answer

Part 3 questions can be quite difficult and you might have no idea how to answer one or two of them. Don’t worry, this is normal. Most people face this problem, even native speakers face this problem.

In fact, you might be surprised to know that many people face this exact problem even when they are trying to answer similar questions in Indonesian. Just try yourself…you’ll see what I mean.

But don’t let this stop you. It’s important to at least make an attempt. Instead of just saying “I don’t know” or worse…blankly staring at your examiner (this happens more than you think!) find a work around and say something like “I honestly have no idea how to answer that, but I think that…” or “that’s a really difficult question and I’m not sure where to start but I’ll give it a try…”

You can use this strategy to buy time and gather your thoughts, by saying…“To be honest, I’ve never thought about that, please give me a moment” or “That’s a complicated question, can you give me a sec to think about that?” however, don’t do this too often!

Bottomline, ALWAYS attempt to answer the question. And never blankly stare at the examiner like you’re a zombie! This might freak them out, especially if your eyes start rolling to the back of your head and you begin frothing at the mouth…

2. Ask questions

If you don’t understand a question, it is okay to ask for clarification. You can simply say “I am sorry, I don’t understand. Can you rephrase the question please?”

Helpful hint: ask to rephrase the question instead of repeating the question.

It is much better to ask a question to make sure you understand what exactly is being asked instead of being too shy to ask a question and giving an irrelevant answer.

So, feel free to ask if something is unclear. Don’t forget, this is a speaking exam that tests your conversation skills and asking questions is certainly a part of everyday conversation.  

3. Consider the question from a different perspective

An excellent answer will show that you are able to approach the questions from different perspectives.

For example, check out the following sample question and answer:

Question: “How important is tourism for your country?

Answer: “I think this depends on who you are asking. Tourism is certainly important for the economy. In fact, there are many regions in my country that depend primarily on tourism, such as Bali for example. Tourism is certainly one of the largest contributors to the Bali economy and so this is a positive. However, tourism can also have a negative impact. For example, tourism creates large greenhouse emissions and over-tourism can even be detrimental to the social fabric of society. So, although tourism certainly is important in my country, I think we need to develop strategies to make the tourism industry more eco-friendly.

Here, you can see that economic, environmental and social perspectives are all discussed in a single answer.

4. Become familiar with different question types

There are many different question types in IELTS speaking part 3, so make sure you know what the examiner is looking for. Here are some examples:

  • Opinion: Do you think children should be allowed to have mobile phones?

Tip: You can use phrases such as “in my opinion”; “I believe that” & “as far as I’m concerned”…

  • Hypothetical question: If tourists stopped visiting your country, what effect would it have on the economy?

Tip: You can use conditional clauses such as “it would…”

  • Compare and contrast: What are the advantages of living in a city compared to living in the countryside?

Tip: You can use words such as “unlike”; “whereas”; “in contrast” & “conversely”. If you want to highlight similarities, you can use “similarly”; “comparatively” or “likewise”…

  • Change: How has the use of the internet changed over the last twenty years?

Tip: Be mindful of the tenses you use, especially when contrasting the past and the present

  • Future/prediction: Do you think that artificial intelligence will replace accountants in the future?

Tips: Make sure to use future tenses (simple future, future continuous, future perfect)

  • Benefits: What are the benefits of learning a second language?

Tips: Use sequence words such as “first”; “second”; “finally”; “furthermore”; “in addition”

5. Practice, practice, practice!

Just like with IELTS Speaking Part 1 and Part 2, this is crucial!

Try to speak in English as much as you can, practice with a friend or better yet, join IELC’s VIP Speaking Squad. Google common topics and questions for IELTS speaking part 3 to become familiar with the module.

It is also useful to listen to broadcasts in English such as BBC or CNN broadcasts to learn the correct pronunciation of things and to enrich your vocabulary too!

It’s good to know tips, tricks and strategies. But it’s better to practice them. So please, practice, practice, practice!


We have given you the tips and tricks and strategies that you can use to nail Part 3 of your IELTS speaking score.

If you found this article useful, please share it with other people who will also benefit from reading it (this really helps us).

Of course, it’s normal if you still feel unsure and confused about IELTS. So, if you would like guidance in preparing for your IELTS exam, then please contact us to see how we can help you

Next Steps:

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We will make sure you achieve your target too!

Our experienced teachers will give you the tips, tricks, and strategies you need to succeed in IELTS and guide you along every step of the way until you achieve your dream IELTS target.

So check out our IELTS course to see how we can help you.

We have helped thousands of IELTS test takers achieve their target IELTS scores and we would love to help you achieve your target too!

PS: If you are curious about your IELTS score, contact us about our simulation test complete with feedback for writing and speaking test!


Anthony McCormick,

IELC Managing Director