IELTS Speaking Part 3 tips: How to engage in a discussion?

Moving on from personal information and stories, Part 3 in the IELTS Speaking test focuses on discussing contentious or sensitive topics. Candidates require not only a comprehensive general knowledge about the world, society, and human behavior but also an academic structure for putting the thoughts into words.

In other words, once the question is asked to you during the test, discrete thoughts may appear in your mind, but rather than spewing them casually, you should practice answering in a neat format. This is because organizing ideas into logical sentences and arranging sentences into a profound articulation make it easier for the examiner to understand your viewpoint and evaluate your response.

dalai lama (left) talking with barack obama (right)

Many of the concepts which are used in Speaking Part 1 are also useful in Speaking Part 3. For a recap of those lessons, click here ». Read IELTS Speaking Part 3 tips and strategies below.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 tips: Fluency and coherence

While coherence is the arrangement of thoughts into logical structures, fluency is the ability to speak those thoughts without hesitation or repetition.

Of course, only practice and familiarity with the topic can guarantee proper fluency. Nevertheless, you can practice using the format below to achieve fluency and coherence.

Buying time

What happens sometimes when you start talking about something is that you start your response but get stuck after a couple of words or phrases. This may be due to lack of vocabulary, grammatical structure, or even ideas to finish off what you have started. However, there is a hack. Did you know that you can ask for some thinking time before you start talking?

You can say:

  • That’s a quite difficult question. Can I get a moment to think?
  • That’s a really interesting question. Let me consider…
  • I hadn’t thought about this before. Let me see…

These phrases can be used to delay answering for about 5 seconds within which time you should form a coherent response in your head. Collect your thoughts and answer immediately.

Caution: Use these phrases to ask for preparation time only once or twice throughout the entire Speaking test. As there is a time limit on the test, using these frequently will eat up the valuable time which could instead be utilized for demonstrating your speaking skills. However, it is better to think before talking than getting stuck in the middle of your answer.

Introducing opinion

In place of just speaking your mind, try to put your sentences in order. Try to use the following phrases to introduce your viewpoints:

  • In my opinion
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • As a matter of fact
  • Frankly speaking
  • If you ask me
  • For a start
  • In my view
  • I believe that
  • Personally

Adding more ideas

Once you start with your opinion, you may want to add more information on the topic. So, finish you first sentence and then continue by using:

  • Likewise
  • Furthermore
  • Similarly
  • Moreover
  • At the same time
  • Besides
  • In the same way
  • By the same token
  • Next

You can keep on adding more point by using the discourse markers above. Generally, one answer requires two or three points.

Finishing off

Since it is an academic discourse, try to end your answer to each question formally.

  • Subsequently
  • Accordingly
  • As a result
  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • On that account
  • Consequently
  • So
  • Hence
  • For that reason
  • As a consequence
  • In this way

IELTS Speaking Part 3 sample answers

Do you think children should learn art at school?

I believe that knowledge of art and its appreciation leads to the emotional development of children because art captures the subjective truth of the society. At the same time, as art stimulates both psychological and physical senses, it helps to make children more creative. As a result, art lessons related to painting, music, sculpture, et cetera should be compulsorily taught in schools.

What jobs require staff to wear uniforms?

In my opinion, jobs related to emergency relief such as police officers, firefighters, doctors, and nurses usually have staff in uniforms in order to distinguish them easily in times of need. In the same way, jobholders in technical or sensitive fields such as miners, construction workers, scientists in a lab, and pilots have uniforms so that ordinary people don’t get access to risky areas. Besides, waiters in a restaurant, ushers in an event, and salesmen in retail stores may also have to wear uniforms because it makes it easy for customers to identify them. So, different jobs have uniform for various purposes.

What is a balanced diet?

As far as I know, meals consisting of adequate amounts of nutrients such as vitamin, protein, carbohydrates, and minerals required for a healthy life are called balanced diets. Moreover, for balanced diets, we should alternate what we consume and incorporate a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy into our daily food. Accordingly, I like to include multiple servings of yogurt, seasonal fruits, green vegetables, chicken, and legumes in my daily diet.

Do you think all information in the internet is true?

That’s a really interesting question. Let me consider…

Personally, I find the internet is littered with fake information and clickbait titles. For a start, whenever I needed some help to do my assignments in college, I had to spend hours sifting countless of useless links Google Search brought up before I found something useful. Similarly, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are also rife with fake news. For that reason, I would recommend people check multiple sources before accepting whatever they find online as truths.

apps on a mobile screen

IELTS Speaking Part 3 tips: Lexical resource

To secure a high score in the category of Lexical Resource (or vocabulary) in the Speaking test, you have to use a vast range of words and phrases in your responses. Ideally, these have to be technical or uncommon words used precisely with an awareness of colocation.


Learning to substitute the words from the questions when answering is the first step towards securing high marks for vocabulary. For this reason, paraphrasing, or rewording, is important.

For paraphrasing, you can replace the words in the question with synonyms or idioms. Below are some sample IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions and answers:

What makes a good doctor?

As far as I am concerned, medical practitioners need to have an intense awareness of details, a calming personality, and the ability to assure patients for them to be considered great.

Should children be allowed to use the internet unsupervised?

From my point of view, kids should only surf the world wide web under observation and guidance of parents or teachers.

How do most people get their news in your country?

I think that Facebook has become the number one source of latest information in my nation. Beyond that, a huge section of the population also watches daily national and international updates on television.

How can people protect the environment?

Firstly, with the purpose of preserving the natural surroundings, proper waste disposal system has to be implemented. Also, limiting the encroachment of humans into the habitats of flora and fauna can also go a long way towards safeguarding the ecosystem.

To learn more about the process of paraphrase, click here »

Build up your vocabulary

scrabble letters spelling carpe diem

Using just a few basic words to formulate your thoughts in the IELTS Speaking test is not enough to ensure a good score. You have to learn to use context-specific words with precise meaning if you wish to succeed in the test.

For an instance, let take the noun “question“.

According to Google Search, the words inquiry, query, interrogation, examination, and quiz are synonyms of the word.

Though you can substitute the word question with these synonyms, it is better to use them in appropriate contexts rather than randomly.

The question raised by Shelby regarding the town’s development is a legitimate one.

The company has started an inquiry into the reasons for customer dissatisfaction.

Our spokesperson Elizabeth will handle all the queries from the journalists in the press conference.

Despite a long interrogation of the suspect, the chief inspector could not elicit a confession.

Alfie has failed the final examination of this semester in his college.

Linda won the quiz contest held in the school last week.

You can see in the above examples how the words which all have similar meanings have been used in the contexts which are the most appropriate.

Below is a list of words which are all synonyms of the word “job“. Fill in the blanks with the most suitable word.

employment, task, occupation, office, mission

1. Charlie is on the way to his _______________ located across the river.

2. I have asked Lizzie to complete the _______________ of painting the fence in the backyard.

3. The soldiers were on a _______________ to cut off water and power supply into the village where rebels had been hiding.

4. The financial crisis has resulted in falling _______________ rates across the country.

5. Being a teacher is a difficult _______________.

Click to reveal answers »

1. office, 2. task, 3. mission, 4. employment, 5. occupation

On a final note, there are about 170,000 words currently used in English. It is virtually impossible to learn all of them. And even if you learn some of them, the questions in the Speaking test may not present the opportunity to use them. So, which words to learn is always a difficult question.

I recommend an IELTS candidate should at least know the meanings of words which reputed English-language newspapers use on a daily basis. It is because media generally chooses to use words which can convey precise information to an educated readership. If you want to go beyond that, you should start learning words used in undergraduate and postgraduate textbooks.

Vocabulary resources around the website:

IELTS Speaking Part 3 tips: Complex sentences

It is absolutely essential to use a wide range of complex sentences in your Speaking test in order to secure good marks. Although complex sentences should be used in Part 1 and Part 2 of the Speaking test as well, examiners really pay attention whether you use them in Part 3.

black board with mathematical formula

First and foremost, complex sentences do not mean sentences which are complicated and difficult to comprehend. Actually in English grammar, a complex sentence is a type of sentence which has some specific features like discussed below.

Here is a sentence:

The internet provides information.

The sentence has one subject (The internet), one verb (provides), and one object (information). Similar sentences with just one verb are referred to as simple sentences.

Here are two simple sentences:

The internet provides information. It can help students in their assignments.

There are various ways of combining two related simple sentences into one. One method is to use a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

The following sentence combines the two sentences from earlier into one long sentence:

The internet provides information, so it can help students in their assignments.

When two simple sentences are connected using a conjunction, we get a compound sentence.

However, we can combine simple sentences by another method. Consider the next example:

Since the internet provides information, it can help students in their assignments.

This is a complex sentence. In this example, the word “Since” initiates the sentence so as to avoid having to use a conjunction in the middle. The two parts of the sentences are separated by a comma. The part before the comma highlights an advantage of using computers and the part after the comma provides a practical application. Also notice that if we divide the sentence into two parts by putting a full-stop (or period) instead of the comma, we get this:

Since the internet provides information. It can help students in their assignments.

The first sentence is incomplete. It is dependent upon the second part so as to complete the meaning. Such clauses (phrases) are called dependent clauses.

Whereas, the second sentence is a complete sentence. It does not depend upon the first to get its meaning. It can stand alone as a grammatically correct sentence. Such clauses are called independent clauses.

Therefore, a complex sentence is a sentence with a dependent clause and an independent clause. If both the clauses in the sentence are independent, then such a sentence would be a compound sentence. One part should be dependent and the other independent for a complex sentence.

Examples of complex sentences

If the government lowers the rate of income tax, people would have more disposable income.

Unless there is regular inspection of food production in factories, food manufacturers might get away with adulteration.

Instead of introducing new social welfare programs, the country should focus on investing on infrastructures.

Although modern medicine has a cure for many diseases, lack of healthcare services in some regions of the word results in unnecessary deaths.

Even though science cannot definitely confirm the existence of a god, many scientists are religious.

In addition to being safer, trains are better for the environment than buses.

Apart from physical infirmity, the aged may also suffer from emotional frailty.

Due to the increase in the rate of suicide among teenagers, the Department of Education is going to conduct awareness programs in schools starting this term.

In order to make young people take more responsibilities in their lives, a sense of purpose has to be instilled in them.

Whenever there is any type of natural calamity, controlling panic and hysteria becomes crucial.

As a result of online classes, the students were able to study during the lockdown period.

During the time of my grandparents, people generally used to get married in early teenage years.

In all the examples above, the first part of the sentences before the comma are dependent clauses. They need the second part to realize their meaning.

In all the examples above, the dependent clauses appear in the beginning of the sentences while the independent clauses are at the end. This has been done to make it easier to visualize complex sentences. You can reverse this order and still form complex sentences. For example, People generally used to get married in early teenage years during the time of my grandparents.

You may be using complex sentences in your speech already without even realizing it. But I do not believe one can utter a wide range of complex sentences without practice. Follow the sentence structures of the examples above to create your own sentences.

Next lesson:

IELTS Speaking Part 3 question types

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