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Speaking more formally in Part 3 of the IELTS test


As you probably know, there are three parts in the IELTS speaking test. In Part One, the examiner will ask you questions about yourself. In Part Two, you will have one minute to prepare and then need to talk for two minutes based on a topic card (also called a ‘cue card’). In Part Three, the examiner will ask you extended questions related to topic in Part Two.

Speaking more formally in Part 3

It is very important to keep in mind that the examiner is looking for you to adjust the level of formality as you progress through the test. Here’s a brief summary:

Part One: informal, friendly – consider this to be like two friends chatting over lunch.

Part Two: semi formal, informational – consider this to be like you making a presentation to colleagues you work with.

Part Three: formal, academic – consider this to be like a job interview, where you are using your most formal language, sentence construction and grammar.

Here are some expressions that would fit in each of the three sections:

Part One:

Yeah, I love travelling – don’t get much time for it though, what with having to work all week and then take the kids out at the weekend.

I don’t take a lot of photos, but I do check out what my friends put on Facebook. Most of them are pretty bad though – none of us are very good at it!

Part Two (the topic card was about a friend you know well):

I’ve known him for about 5 years now, and although I didn’t imagine we’d become friends at the time, we’ve actually become quite close. I enjoy his company because we have very similar tastes in movies and music, so it can be a lot of fun going out at the weekend with him.

Part Three:

Many companies are interested in promoting their products, and with the increasing use of technology and social media, this means that the audience has in many respects become much wider than traditional forms such as television or radio. Having said that, a significant percentage of advertising budgets are still directed at these areas.

You should be able to see from the examples above that the language has become more formal at each step of the speaking test.


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