In this article we’ll focus on Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test and provide practice tests.

You’ll discover exactly what happens in Part 3 of the test, have a look at some sample speaking questions and subjects, and learn how to prepare for the IELTS and this part of the test.

So let’s dive in!

Remember to fully study the test and to pratice with exercises on all section of the IELTS.

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Remember to learn in advance the structure of the IELTS Speaking section before taking the test.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: What Exactly Happens In This Section?

In Part 3 of the IELTS speaking section, the examiner is going to ask you additional questions that are directly related to the topic discussed in Part 2 of the speaking test. This section of the test is intended to provide you the chance to talk about abstract issues, ideas and to speculate. Part 3 will take approximately 4-5 minutes to do.

The examiner will ask the candidate around 5 questions or so. Here are some examples:

  • In your opinion, what makes someone a good student?
  • How do teachers teach in your country?
  • How has education changed in your country over the past few decades?
  • How will education change in the near future?
  • Is education only something that occurs in schools?

You may need to give an opinion, compare things from different cultures and times, speculate, talk about the past, talk about people, give a hypothetical response, and provide reasons with examples. All in all, you must answer in a much more detailed manner. Part 3 of the speaking test tends to be the most troublesome for students. This is where you make or break your score.

For more information on the other exercises such as the IELTS Speaking Part 1 or the IELTS Speaking Part 2

What Are the Examiners Looking For in This Part of the Exam?

Once the examiner has stopped you speaking for Part 2, they will move on to Part 3. For example, imagine that Part 2 was talking about your school life, Part 3 could start with a more open question about education and teaching in general. Part 3 is a more open conversation than Parts 1 and 2, and it’s your opportunity to show what you can do!

Always keep in mind the four areas in which the IELTS examiners will assess you:

  • Fluency and coherence
  • Lexical resources
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Pronunciation

What should you pay attention to?

You must go into detail for Part 3. One sentence answers are not good enough for this section. For those of you who were educated in a system where teachers asked questions with specific answers and rarely engaged in classroom discussions, Part 3 can be difficult.

As with Parts 1 and 2, there are no right or wrong answers with Part 3. The examiners are assessing your ability to use the English language; they are not assessing the rightness of your answers. Don’t worry what the examiner will think of your idea. State your idea, and then explain it with details and examples. Don’t be afraid to speculate and analyze.

As we mentioned before, keep in mind how the examiner will assess you. You need to show a range of grammar – don’t only use one tense, but use a variety. The examiner will only know you know that conditionals exist if you use them! Listen carefully to the questions, as often there is a tip about what tense they would like you to use!

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Topics, Questions and Exercises

Before we look at how to prepare for Part 3 of the test, let’s have a look at some typical topics and sample questions!

Childhood and How Things Have Changed

A possible question could be:

“Let’s consider how the past can affect people later on in life.

Is it important to have a good childhood in order to be successful in life?”

Imagine Part 2 was speaking about a childhood memory, this is a good example of the type of follow-up question you could be asked in Part 3. IELTS loves to ask questions about things in the past and compare them with things in the future, as this allows you to show past and future tenses! Make sure you use a good range of tenses when speaking!


If Part 2 asked about a recent news story which surprised you, this could be the type of question which comes up in Part 3. By using vocabulary like ‘fake news’ and giving specific examples, you’re showing that you can express yourself about more complicated subjects. Don’t worry if you make a mistake – the examiner is listening for what you know, so a small mistake with a complicated tense is better than playing it safe!

Typically, the next question after this could be: “Do people still read the news in the same way as they did in the past?”

Holidays and Tourism

Let’s say for Part 2 you spoke about where you typically go on holiday, one way of opening up the subject is to expand the question to people in your country.

For example:

“Let’s discuss popular tourist destinations. Where do people in your country often go on holiday?”

It allows you to speak about general trends and use expressions such as “In my opinion” and “From personal experience” and so on. You should learn several of these expressions so you can speak in a structured and coherent way.

Working Habits

IELTS tests how well you can cope in English in everyday life. As work is a key part of everyday life, it’s a subject which often comes up in all parts of the test.

Again, for this question you need to think about the modern workplace, but also compare it with how the workplace has evolved: Where did your grandparents work? Did they work for several companies or stay with one company for their working life?

Dealing with Problems

Part 2 may ask you to speak about a specific problem you solved. Part 3 could open this question to problems people may face in general.

Another follow-up question could be:

Do you think people should get help with difficult tasks or problems or learn how to do it themselves?

If you’re asked this type of question, you can always first answer with: “That’s an interesting question” before answering. It’s a natural response and it gives you a few extra seconds to organise your thoughts!


Music is a great subject to speak about and an easy one to prepare for. Learn words like band, group, singer, concert… Remember you need variety in your vocabulary! Do not simply respond that a song is good. Explain what it makes you think of and how it makes you feel.

For this subject, let’s look at three possible questions:

exam topic about music

exam question about music

exam exercise about music

As you can see, the first question is testing modal verbs and expressing your opinion. The second question is asking you to compare the present and the past. The third question is also for expressing your opinion. You can also speak about current and future trends. Part 3 is designed to see what you can do in English so make sure you take advantage of it!

With our e-learning platform, you can have access to the sample questions, record your answers and see sample answers. Everything you need to improve!

Now that we’ve seen some typical subjects and sample questions, let’s have a look at how you can prepare for Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking section. What do you need to do to improve your score?

How To Prepare For The IELTS Speaking Part 3?

You must become familiar with a wide variety of topics in order to be able to prepare quickly and speak confidently. Many candidates are baffled by the topic or want some help from the examiner. The examiner is not permitted to offer assistance. It’s a good idea to combine your practice with Part 2 of the speaking test with your practice for Part 3. It gets you used to speaking for the designated time frame, and you get exposure to the relatedness of Parts 2 and 3.

Time + Effort = Success!

Some Basic Considerations

Don’t hesitate or stop while you’re speaking. If you make a mistake, keep talking. Stopping for a lengthy period lowers your score. You have the time to develop your points.

The examiner will stop you when he/she wishes to move on to the next question. You can practice with a friend, as if it was the examiner, it could be a good start.

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