Common Mistake in Speaking Part 3

Below is a sample answer for a speaking part 3 question. Can you spot the mistake? This isn’t a mistake with grammar or vocabulary, it’s a mistake with technique.

Q. Do you think people do as much exercise today as they did in the past?

A. No, I don’t think so. My grandmother used to do exercise every single day when she was younger. Every morning she used to wake up early and go to the park to exercise with the other people before work. Unlike her, I only do exercise once a week because I have to start work really early and don’t get back home until after dark so I don’t have any time for exercise except on my day off which is just once a week.

Did you spot the mistake? Answer

This is a part 3 question about other people, so it is important to show the examiner that you can talk about people in general rather than your family or yourself as you did in part 1 and probably part 2. Below is a model answer with improved technique:

No, I don’t think so. Decades ago, people in my country used to do exercise every single day. They would get up early before work and go to the park to exercise. While some just did general exercises, like stretching and flexing, others would play sport or dance. Nowadays, on the other hand, people don’t really have the time. The majority of people have to commute to work early in the morning and don’t get home  until after dark which leaves very little time to do any form of exercise.


Error Correction for Speaking Part 1


  1. Usman Nawaz Ahmad says

    Hello Elizabeth,
    I wanted to ask you regarding your e-book, can it be used to prepare ideas for speaking part 2 and 3?

    • Speaking part 2 is mainly about your own past – your own memories. It is not usually about other people’s opinions or world issues. For speaking part 3, the e-book will help if you get one of the common topics. Speaking part 3 is about world issues and broader ideas so the e-book is fine for that. It also contains useful vocabulary exercises which are good for speaking part 3 as well. You can find a sample chapter on this page:

  2. Hello Liz,

    Firstly thank you for existing. I wouldn’t be able to thank you enough for the exceptional job you are doing at replying to each and every comment on your blog. I would really appreciate if you could give me a short reply for my elaborated questions.

    I just finished my speaking test today, Was given a wide range of topics. I was fine with every topic however towards the end of part 2 ( que card) , by that time I am sure I’ve spoke for about a good 1 min 30 sec and eventually ended the topic. But the examiner has asked if there was anything else? I’m worried if this is normal to ask or if my answer was short and the examiner wanted me to speak more.

    In part 3 , towards the end I was a little confused by the question and I requested for a repetition, However I couldn’t still figure out the exact answer the examiner was expecting. I fumbled a little and eventually the time ran out. I am confident that rest was completely fine, How much marks can be cut off for around 3-5 mistakes or misinterpretation of the question?

    • In part 2, you have 2 mins. This is a rule. It also means that if you finish early, it is normal for the examiner to encourage you to keep speaking. It’s an option, not an obligation. In no part of the test are there exact answers. Ideas and general content are not marked in IELTS speaking. Questions are just a chance to showcase English, not to present ideas. You are also not marked on your understanding of questions either. It sounds like your test was fine and your score will now be based on the level of English you presented. Good luck with your results 🙂

  3. Good Evn Liz. My question bothers on what d examiners reaction might be if I say dat I’m not conversant with a topic or never had an experience. Will the topic be changed to a more familiar one?

    • Your topic will not be changed. I suggest you start preparing topics. Even if you are not familiar with photography, you should be able to talk about your views, your opinions, your past experiences – IELTS speaking is not about knowledge – it’s about opinions and your own experiences.

  4. Hi Liz! Thank you so mush for such a useful website! I would like to ask you about one thing…I’ve just passed my speaking test and while answering part 3 questions I forget to consider both sides and said arguments supporting only my point of view…although the examiner then helped me and asked the question about other side, which I answered properly. But I was supposed to say about other side by myself, without addition question, wasn’t I? Please, tell me, do you think it’s going to lower my band significantly, even if I gave long fluent answers in all parts and gave a full 2-min speech for part 2? Looking forward to see yoo answer cause now feeling pretty nervous because of it 🙁 Thank you so much!

    • Your score is based on fluency, grammar, vocab and pron. This means NOTHING ELSE matters. You are not marked on answering the questions in full.

  5. Hi Liz,
    I just wanted to know if we should be formal during the speaking test, or is it okay to be informal (like conversation-like)? also, is using hand gestures a problem during the speaking test, because I tend to do it accidentally….

  6. Kyrollos Hana says

    Thank you so much Liz for all your efforts but I guess there is a minor mistake at the end of the first sentence ” To do exercise every single.” ?. Shouldn’t it be ” To do exercise every single day.” ?

  7. Harjeet Singh says

    Can i get cue cards from here? mam pls

  8. Hi liz

    Can i take my mom or dad name as a best friend in speaking test

  9. Yeasin Arafat says

    I have been flowing u before 2 months, you don’t solution speaking side 1-10 crambradge practice text book??????

  10. Hi Liz,
    I have my Speaking module on coming Friday. I speak fluent English, however, I mess up with the tenses.
    If I give coherent, clear and fluent answers yet mix up the tenses, does it really bring down my band significantly?

    Thank You.

  11. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for valuable and in depth tips on each of the topics.
    I took test last week in Australia. Reading, Listening were fine. But in writing, I spent more time on Task 1(letter) and got into time pressure for Task2 (topic was “some people has opinion that while visiting foreign countries travelers should pick local culture, language etc – agree or disagree”).

    In speaking test, second part got a rather unexpected topic i.e. snacks. Questions were, 1) what kind of snacks you like ? 2) whether snacks were changed over the years ?, 3) what will be your criteria to choose snacks ? etc. In part 3, discussion topic was whether current education is doing enough for the industry ? Having some graduate hire from the same University in my office, I spoke my heart out with more details and where we need go for this country. After the test when examiner was opening the door and show me the exit that time he said that it was very interesting discussion to start the day. Not sure what will be score !!

    • Time management is one of the biggest problems that students have in IELTS writing and reading. This is mainly because they have not trained themselves to write within the time frame at home. The comments the examiner gave you at the end of the test are very encouraging. It shows that you could express your views well and the examiner enjoyed the conversation. Hopefully your results will be strong for speaking. Here’s a link to page with model answers for the topic of snacks:
      All the best

  12. Kha Tran Van says

    Hi Mrs.

    Im Kha, I’m from Viet Nam.

    Thank you for teaching online, i have learnt from you alot!!!

    i’m going to get band 5.5 in ielts test, it should be on October.

    Could you give me some advice for this level. what should i prepare, and completely.

    Thank you very much!

  13. hello mam i would like to ask about the general things which i have to keep in mind while giving my speaking test . that is on 22nd june

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