THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE YOU SPEAK
(1) You may notice that Part 3 speaking questions are similar to Task 2 writing prompts. Part 3 is more academic than the first two parts, so try to organise your body like a Task 2 essay body paragraph (i.e. a clear main idea, clear explanation, maybe an example).
(2) Aim to give an answer that is 4-5 sentences. Make sure you link your sentences with suitable vocabulary (e.g. “One thing to remember is…” “On the other hand…” “However..” “If…then..but if…then…”
(3) Build your vocabulary. Part 3 often requires a good vocabulary to be able to give clear answers of a good length.
(4) Try to answer the question with a simple topic sentence. For example, if the question asks you to give your opinion, you can just say – “I definitely think that’s true…” “Well, it depends…” “For sure…” “Of course…” “Actually, I’m not too sure about that…” etc.
NOTE – The following questions are based on the report of a candidate who has take a recent IELTS exam. Each question contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Both answers have useful linking vocabulary included in italics and advanced/topic-specific vocabulary included in bold. The advanced versions are written at a Band 9.0 level.
QUESTION ONE – Do you think education plays a role in people’s health?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Sure, I think that’s right. If someone has a good education they can know what is healthy and what is not. For example, most of us learn that too much sugar is bad for us, so we shouldn’t eat too much of it. Although, many smart people aren’t very healthy – like – there are some doctors who smoke. I guess being educated can help to be healthy, although not always.”
COMMENTS – Remember that Part 3 is academic, but it is also less formal than writing. You want to aim to speak naturally, so you can introduce examples with simple words like “like” (example above) and “of course” or “yeah” (example below).
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I definitely think that’s generally true. People who live in lower socio-economic areas usually have higher rates of obesity and other health problems, and – of course – these areas normally have a lower level of education. Unhealthy food is often heavily advertised as an everyday food option, and if you aren’t aware of the dangers of consuming it, you will suffer the health consequences. So, yeah, education can play a big role in our health.”
QUESTION TWO – Do you think teachers encourage students to be healthy?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Um, I’m not sure. Teachers have a big influence on their students’ lives because they spend so much time with them. But not all teachers are healthy, so I guess it depends on each teacher. If a teacher is healthy, then they might make their students want to be healthy, but if they’re unhealthy, they might set a bad example for their students.”
COMMENTS – You are not expected to be an expert on all topics. If you’re not sure about an answer, then say that and give any ideas that you have in a clear, well-organised way.
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I think it depends on the individual teacher. Teachers can certainly have a powerful influence on a student’s life, but this cuts both ways. If the teacher is outgoing and positive about good health, then this might make a strong impression on their students and encourage them to take care of themselves better. Of course, if the teacher is out of shape or chain-smokes, then this will have the opposite effect.”
QUESTION THREE – Do employers look after the health of their employees?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Um, I’m not really sure because I’ve never had a full-time job. I think it depends if the employer cares about their employees or not. Some bosses expect their workers to come into work everyday, even if they are feeling sick. On the other hand, many companies provide their employees with several days off per year if they are sick. So, really, I think it depends.”
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “It’s hard to say what’s true for every employer. I think some bosses couldn’t care less about their workers health, while others provide generous sick leave in their employment contracts as well as offering health insurance. Although, this is sometimes required by law, so I don’t know if they do it out of the goodness of their hearts of only because they are forced to.”
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