NOTE -The following contains questions from Part 3 of the Speaking section of a recent IELTS exam. Each question contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. The simple ones show you how to give an answer when you are not confident in your speaking ability or you don’t know much about the topic. The advanced answers are at a Band 9 level and are to give advanced speakers some ideas about what to say.
QUESTION ONE – Is it important to be a good listener?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Yes, I think that’s important. Listening well means that you will get all the necessary information, so you will know what to do or won’t make a mistake. Also, if you don’t listen then people might think you’re selfish – you only care about yourself.”
TIP – If you’re not confident in speaking, try to paraphrase the question in a simple way that shows your view. You can just say “Yes” or “I agree”. Try to give some simple clear reasons for your view and make sure you link your ideas (even with simple words like “Also…”)
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Yes, I totally agree – I think being a good listener is an essential skill. Being a good listener means that people will value your opinions more because they will go to you then they have a problem because they know you’ll pay attention to it. I guess good listeners also make fewer mistakes because they get the key information and can act on it.”
TIP – For a higher marker, try to use synonyms for some of the keywords in the question. In this example, “important” has been changed to “essential”.
QUESTION TWO – What is the best way to remember the main idea of a discussion?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I think the best way to remember the main idea of a talk is to listen carefully. By that I mean, try to pay attention to the main things the speaker says like, “The key point is…” or “The main thing to remember is…” I think that will help you to remember the most important things.”
TIP – Explain your main ideas with phrases like “What I mean by that is…” or “By that I mean…”
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “During a discussion, the speaker or speakers often mark the key points with certain phrases, such as “What we need to remember is…” or “The key point here is…” By focussing on these markers, we can force ourselves to concentrate more. Also, it can be useful to try and put the main ideas in our own words, which can make it easier to remember them.
QUESTION THREE – What professions require experience in public speaking?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I think jobs where you have to work with a large number of people require good public speaking skills. For example, if you are a manager of a company, you might have to speak to all your employees. Another one is politicians because they have to be able to communicate with the public and often get them to vote for them.”
TIP – When you have to list some things (e.g. “professions” “sports” etc.) try to add a little information for each one. For example, instead of just saying “managers, politicians,…” give some simple reasons.
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “There are a range of occupations that require some level of public speaking ability. Managers need to speak to their employees and even an ordinary office worker might need to make a presentation to a group of people. Not to mention, people like celebrities and politicians who are in the public eye and often have to undergo media-training in order to speak well in public.”
TIP – Use wide range of suitable linking vocabulary e.g. “Not to mention…” If you can use some idioms and advanced language like “in the public eye” or “undergo media-training”, then that’s great too.
QUESTION FOUR – Is confidence the most important trait for public speaking?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I don’t know if it’s the most important, but I think having confidence is one of the most important. Many people are nervous when they have to speak in front of a large group of people and they might forget what they were going to say. If you’re confident, you can just relax and say what you were going to say.”
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I definitely agree that being confident in your public speaking skills is important, especially as public speaking is many people’s number one fear. However, I don’t think it guarantees that you will be a good speaker. There’s a ton of other stuff that is just as important, such as speaking to the crowd – I mean using language that is relevant to the audience you’re speaking to or that they will understand – and also organising your speech in a clear way is certainly important.
TIP – Try to explain your main ideas in a clear way e.g. what do you mean by “speaking to the crowd”? Remember also that Part 3 is more academic but you can also use some everyday spoken language e.g. “There’s a ton of other stuff…”
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