Welcome, learners!
So, you’ve made it through the first two parts of the IELTS Speaking test! Congratulations!
Now you’re staring down the final challenge: Part 3. This part often seems daunting – it’s where your ability to discuss abstract ideas and issues comes into play. 

But don’t worry! With the right approach, you can turn this into an exciting opportunity to showcase your English fluency!

Remember, IELTS Speaking Part 3 is not just about testing your language skills; it’s about examining how well you can analyze, discuss, and speculate on a variety of topics. It’s the part where you can really shine by demonstrating your critical thinking and fluency.

In this article, we’re going to dive into some invaluable tips and tricks that will help you navigate Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test with confidence and ease. Whether it’s structuring your responses effectively or using the right kind of language, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s not wait any longer and jump right into it!

1. Listen for keywords

You know that feeling when you’re listening but not really ‘listening’?

Well, it’s time to kick that habit, especially when it comes to IELTS Speaking Part 3. The key here is active listening. This doesn’t just mean hearing the words; it means tuning in with all your senses and giving your full attention to what the examiner is saying.

Why is this important? Because the questions are packed with clues – yes, we’re talking about keywords. These are the main words in a question that guide you towards understanding exactly what’s being asked. Typically, these keywords include the subject of the question and action verbs that hint at the type of response needed.

Pay close attention to the nouns (like ‘technology’, ‘education’) and verbs (like ‘impact’) in the questions. These are often the heart and soul of what you’re being asked. For instance, in a question like, “What impact does technology have on education?”, the keywords ‘impact’, ‘technology’, and ‘education’ are your main focus. They’re your friends guiding you through the answer.

But wait, there’s more! Sometimes, the overall context of the conversation or the flow of previous questions can give you a heads-up on what these keywords might be. If you’ve been talking about environmental issues and suddenly there’s a question about ‘industries’, it’s a good bet that the question is angled towards the environmental impact of these industries.

In essence, active listening in IELTS Speaking Part 3 is your secret weapon. It’s about catching these keywords and letting them lead your response!

2. Ask for clarification if needed

There you are, in the midst of IELTS Speaking Part 3, and suddenly you’re hit with a question that feels like a curveball. Don’t panic! Here’s a golden rule – if you’re not sure, just ask! It’s absolutely fine to ask the examiner to repeat or clarify a question. This isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a smart strategy to ensure you’re on the right track!

Simply asking, “Could you please repeat the question?” or “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, could you say that again?” does wonders. It shows the examiner that you’re not just there to answer questions, but to answer them correctly.

And what if it’s just a specific part that’s got you puzzled? No problem. Ask for clarification on that bit, like “Could you please clarify what you mean by [specific term/phrase]?”

But, and this is a big but, don’t make it a habit. If you’re asking for every question to be repeated or clarified, it might look like you’re struggling with understanding or listening, and we don’t want that, do we? So, while it’s a great tool, use it sparingly!

3. Avoid yes/no answers

IELTS Speaking Part 3 is your stage to demonstrate how well you can express yourself in English. And trust me, one-word answers won’t spotlight your language skills!

Let’s say you’re asked about your favorite book. Don’t just drop the title and stop there. Dive deeper! Talk about why it’s your favorite – is it the riveting plot, the complex characters, or the way it transported you to another world? Share how it resonated with you, maybe compare it to your life, or discuss the emotions it stirred.

Apply this approach to any topic. If it’s about education, don’t just say whether you liked your school. Explore it further – maybe discuss what you admired about the educational system, or contrast it with another system. It’s all about adding color and context to your answers!

When you give reasons for your opinions or explanations for your statements, you’re not just answering questions; you’re showcasing your ability to think critically and articulate complex ideas.

But remember, while it’s important to be descriptive, sticking to the point is crucial. Don’t wander off into unrelated territories – stay focused on the question at hand!

4. Stay on topic

Remember when we talked a bit about expanding your answers in Tip #3? Well, there’s a flip side to that coin – staying on topic. It’s a balancing act: being detailed yet not veering off course!

The first step in this balancing act is understanding the question’s core, which loops us back to the importance of identifying keywords and not hesitating to ask for clarification.

It’s easy, especially when you’re keen to show off your English skills, to wander off into the wilderness of your thoughts. But beware, fascinating as it may be, if it’s off-topic, it’s not doing you any favors. The trick is to consistently refer back to the question in your mind, using it as a guiding star to keep your responses aligned and relevant.

Considering that Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking Test often delves into more abstract and complex topics, building on what you discussed in Part 2, it’s crucial to be mindful of this progression and ensure that your answers adapt accordingly, without straying from the main path.

5. Embrace a positive mindset 

I know, what a cliche, right?

But actually, how you approach this test mentally can genuinely make a world of difference! Stepping into the speaking section with a positive mindset isn’t just feel-good advice; it’s a strategy that can significantly elevate your performance!

Believe in your ability to excel. This belief isn’t just motivational talk; it’s a confidence booster that can directly impact how fluently and coherently you speak. Remember, in an oral exam, it’s not just about getting every word right; it’s about keeping the conversation flowing, even if you trip up here and there.

Consider this: speaking confidently, even with a few errors, often leaves a better impression than speaking very little due to fear of mistakes. It shows your resilience and ability to communicate effectively, which is exactly what the test is gauging!

Your body language also contributes significantly to how your language skills are perceived. Maintaining good posture, smiling, and speaking with a clear, steady voice are as important as the words you choose. These non-verbal cues are silent yet powerful communicators of your confidence.

And what about those inevitable mistakes? Don’t let them throw you off balance. A quick correction and moving on is the best approach. This demonstrates your adaptability and comfort with the language, qualities that are highly valued in effective communication!

Last but not least, preparation is the bedrock of confidence. This means practicing speaking on diverse topics, getting cozy with the test format, and strengthening areas where you feel shaky. The more prepared you are, the higher your confidence soars!

6. Relate questions to personal experiences

One of the most effective strategies in IELTS Speaking Part 3 is to infuse your answers with slices of your own life. When you draw on personal experiences, your answers transform from generic responses to stories that captivate and resonate. Think of it as giving your answers a personal signature – it not only adds authenticity but also makes them more compelling!

Let’s say the topic at hand is about travel and its impact. Rather than sticking to generic responses, why not share a memorable trip you had and how it broadened your perspective? These personal insights do more than just answer the question; they provide a window into your world, showcasing how you interact with and interpret the topic at hand.

Using personal anecdotes is a brilliant way to demonstrate your language proficiency in a real-world context. It allows you to flex a diverse range of vocabulary and expressions, painting a vivid picture of your experiences. This not only makes your answer more interesting but also shows your skill in using English to describe and reflect on life experiences.

Linking your personal experiences to the question helps illuminate your thought process, revealing how you connect abstract concepts to concrete, real-life situations. This skill is particularly prized in Part 3 of the IELTS, where you’re often navigating more complex and theoretical topics!

If you find yourself at a loss for personal experiences directly related to the question, don’t fret! You can craft hypothetical situations, or maybe draw from the experiences of your friends, family, or scenarios from books or media. The key is to keep these stories grounded and realistic. Remember, the examiners are interested in how you articulate and structure ideas, whether they are drawn from real life or your imagination.

7. Structure your answers clearly

In the IELTS Speaking Part 3, the way you organize your thoughts can be just as important as the thoughts themselves! This means structuring your answers with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.

Kick off your answer with an introductory remark that outlines what you’re going to talk about. This is like opening the door to your thoughts. Then, move into the body of your response with examples, explanations, or arguments that flesh out your initial statement. Here, you’re taking the listener on a journey through your perspective.

Using phrases like “Initially,” “on the other hand,” or “to sum up,” works like signposts, indicating where you are in your response and guiding the examiner along with you. This makes your answer easier to follow and understand.

For more complex or multi-faceted questions, it’s wise to break down your response into sections. Say you’re asked to weigh the pros and cons of a topic. Approach it by dedicating one part of your answer to the advantages and another to the disadvantages. This clear partitioning can help in delivering a comprehensive and balanced response.

While diving deep into details is good, it’s equally important to be succinct and direct. Steer clear of meandering off-topic or repeating the same point in different words. Employ linking words like “thus,” “nonetheless,” “in addition,” and “consequently” to seamlessly connect your ideas, making your response flow like a smooth narrative.

8. Use modals

In the IELTS Speaking Test, the subtle art of using modals – those handy auxiliary verbs like ‘can’, ‘could’, ‘may’, ‘might’, ‘should’, and others – can really elevate your speech. Modals add shades of meaning to your sentences, expressing things like certainty, ability, permission, and obligation. Their correct usage is a sign of your ability to capture nuances in English.

  • Expressing ability: When you want to talk about what you or others can do, use ‘can’ or ‘could’. For example, “I can play the guitar,” shows a clear ability.
  • Talking about possibility: To speculate about what might or might not happen, ‘might’ or ‘may’ are your go-to modals. Saying “Renewable energy might dominate future energy markets,” opens a window into a possible future scenario.
  • Indicating permission: ‘May’ or ‘can’ come in handy when discussing what is or isn’t allowed. For instance, “You can start your driving lessons at 18 in my country,” is about permission regarding age and driving.
  • Conveying obligation or advice: ‘Should’ is perfect for giving advice or talking about obligations. A sentence like “People should drink enough water daily,” is giving health advice.

The key to using modals effectively is to align them with the context of the question. For hypothetical or uncertain situations, ‘might’ or ‘could’ are excellent choices. When offering advice or suggesting a course of action, ‘should’ fits well.

To get a good grip on modals, make them a part of your regular speaking practice. Experiment with them in different contexts and notice how they change the meaning of your sentences. Understanding and using modals correctly can add a layer of sophistication to your speech, showing the examiner the breadth of your language skills.

9. Diversify your opinion phrases

In the IELTS Speaking Test, the way you express your opinions can make a big difference. Instead of falling into the ‘I think’ trap repeatedly, spice up your speech with a variety of opinion expressions. This doesn’t just add flavor to your answers; it also showcases your command over the language.

Let’s explore some alternatives:

  • Expanding perspectives: Try “In my opinion,” for a classic start. For instance, “In my opinion, arts education is as important as science.”
  • Subtle insights: “It seems to me” is great for gently presenting your views. Like, “It seems to me that urban areas face more social challenges.”
  • Personal viewpoint: “From my perspective,” offers a personal angle, as in, “From my perspective, daily exercise can improve mental health.”
  • Strong beliefs: When you’re quite certain, “I believe” is powerful. For example, “I believe that renewable energy is the key to sustainable development.”
  • Individual consideration: Use “As far as I’m concerned” for a personal stance, such as, “As far as I’m concerned, digital literacy is essential in today’s world.”

These varied expressions not only show different ways to state your opinion but also convey varying levels of certainty. “I believe” typically reflects a stronger conviction than “It seems to me.”

In your preparation for the test, weave these expressions into your practice sessions. Use them in different contexts to get comfortable with their nuances. This practice will not only serve you well in the test but also enrich your overall communication skills.


As you prepare for your test, keep these tips in mind. Practice them, make them a part of your speaking repertoire, and most importantly, believe in your ability to excel. The IELTS Speaking Test is not just an assessment of your current language abilities; it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your potential and commitment to effective communication.

So, go forth with confidence, knowing that you are well-equipped to turn every question into an opportunity to shine!

Best of luck in your IELTS Speaking Test!

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