IELTS Speaking Tips: Two Way Discussion

This is the third article about the IELTS speaking Exam. You can also get tips and sample answers for IELTS Part 1: The Interview and Part 2: The Long Turn. I hope that you will absorb the advice here first, but check out the next blog if you are desperate to see and hear the Part 3: sample questions and answers.

IELTS Speaking Exam Summary – PART 3: Two-Way Discussion

Time: About 4 – 5 minutes What happens: The examiner will speak with you about the same subject that you spoke about in Part 2; The Long Turn. You will be asked questions about your personal experience or opinions related to the topic.


Each of the four categories (below) gets equal scores in the IELTS speaking exam, so you must work on all of them. Don’t just concentrate on grammar like a lot of students tend to do! It’s possible to score 0 (non-user of English) up to 9 (Expert user, almost like a native) for each individual category. Then, your total score is divided by 4 to give you an overall speaking result. Example: Category Scores: Fluency – 6, Lexical – 8, Grammar – 7, Pronunciation – 8 Total: 6 + 8 + 7 + 7 = 28 IELTS Speaking Band Score: 28/4 = 7

TIPS for improving your score in each IELTS Speaking category

1) Fluency & Coherence:

  • Talk without long pauses (very short pauses are not a problem)
  • Don’t speak too quickly or too slowly. A nice even speed is best
  • Use linkers & connecting words (however, because, in fact, therefore, this means that etc)
  • Use expressions (Some people feel…but I believe that…, I don’t think much of, It all depends. On the one hand, on the other hand)
  • Support your ideas with examples

2) Lexical Resource:

  • Show your knowledge of English vocabulary by using a range of words
  • Use synonyms, instead of repeating the same word over and over again

1)    advantages and disadvantages – pros and cons, benefits, fors and againsts, good and bad points, bonuses and drawbacks etc 2)    ways – measures, steps, solutions, courses of action, steps, initiatives 3)    difficult – hard, complicated, tough, complex, not simple, not straightforward 4)    I think – in my opinion, for me, I imagine that, I believe that, from my point of view, if you ask me, in my mind   3) Grammatical Range & Accuracy: – Use a variety of sentence structures a.     Present – I really like…, I go out every Friday night b.     Past – I went on holiday last year to…, I used to…, c.     Perfect – I’ve lived there since…, I’ve been studying for…, d.     Future – I will, I’m going to, I’m moving to …. next year, e.     Conditionals – Unless I fail I will…, When I pass I will…, If I knew that… I’d…, If I had studied… I would have…, f.      Comparisons – It’s much bigger than…, She’s far more intelligent than…, I’m not as… as, It’s getting more and more difficult to…, The more money you earn the more selfish you become – Don’t worry too much about mistakes. If you can self correct immediately and quickly, then do it. However, the main thing that the examiner is looking for is a variety of structures (above) and noting if your grammar mistakes interfere with communication or create misunderstandings.   4) Pronunciation: Again  (like grammar) the examiner is judging you on how much your pronunciation makes it difficult to understand you. Pracitse your pronunciation by listening to native speakers (like the free mp3s on this site) and then record yourself saying the same sentences. Be aware of how a native speaker uses different speech rythyms to you and try to copy that. I know it’s horrible listening to a recording of yourself, but you have to do it if you want to improve your pronunciation.

TIPS for IELTS Speaking: Two Way Discussion

  • Try not to be nervous or terrified. Examiners will be nice to you – it’s their job. Be positive. You have prepared well (you are reading this blog as part of your preparation, aren’t you?) and you are going to use this opportunity to show how good you are at English.
  • If you can self-correct an obvious mistake immediately, then do it. But don’t try to go back to an earlier error. Think about fluency. It’s your job (and the examiner’s) to keep the conversation moving forward – not to go backwards.
  • Try to make points that are true, based on your opinion or real-life experience. Things that you invent sound invented. Also, if you tell an anecdote, it comes more easily to you and you can concentrate on your English…not on making up a story!
  • Go into greater depth. Explain your opinion. Give reasons. Speculate about the future.
  • Of course, like in all the parts of the IELTS speaking, never respond with just a yes/no answer.
  • If the examiner changes direction regarding the subject of the conversation, go with it. Don’t try to stay on the same topic. Follow their lead.
  • Concentrate on this part of the exam that you are doing now! Don’t think about things that happened before (in the listening, reading or writing). You can’t change the past!

IELTS Part 3: Two Way Discussion – Example Questions and Sample Answers I think that you have had to absorb a LOT of information already today! However, if you can take some more…Check out the numerous sample questions and a complete Two Way discussion audio in this next blog…. IELTS Part 3: Two Way Discussion Sample Answer

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