A cartoon of the earth at night sits on a background of stars to represent how it is important to think in general in IELTS Speaking Part 3.

In Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test, you move from the personal to the general. While Part 1 and Part 2 ask you to answer questions based on your life experiences, in Part 3 you are asked to comment about abstract topics. And for me, this this is the part of the test where the examiner really gets to test your language and academic skills.

A turquoise pause button sits on a bright pink background to symbolise that in the IELTS speaking exam you should try to paraphrase rather than pause.

Imagine this. It’s part two of the speaking test. You have been given a cue card that asks you to describe a memorable journey, and you are talking about a road trip you took with some friends across Europe. 🚗 It’s a good story. You have lots to say, and are about to get to the best part of the story – the bit that describes how you got stopped by the police because you ran over a traffic cone….. 🚓. But then you realise, you don’t know the word for “traffic cone” in English…….

The shadow of two heads a placed on a green background. In one head there is a white spiral, which loops and connected to a scribbled mess inside the head opposite. The picture symbolises how an IELTS test-taker might not understand the functions they are asked to discuss in the in the speaking exam.

In are recent post, I spoke about how important it was in Speaking Part 3 to speak in GENERAL. However, even more important than this is making sure that you directly answer the examiners question. But, what if you can’t work out what the examiner is asking you to talk about?! Or, more importantly, what if you can’t recognise the type of language they are asking you to produce? Well, my top-tip for this is DON’T WAIT FOR WORDS THAT SHOW FUNCTIONS!