IELTS Speaking Part 3: What makes a good painting?


What makes a good painting?

Ideas and Vocab

  • the composition of all the parts
  • the painter has a good eye (to know when something is good)
  • perspective and symmetry (sizing and balance of all parts)
  • using a particular style or an unusual technique (skill)
  • the subject (person / landscape / animal etc)
  • the balance of colours and contrasts
  • to bring about an emotional response – it touches people
  • to evoke a memory or idea
  • impact – something you can’t take your eyes off
  • historical background or relevance

Model Answer

From my perspective, I suppose a good painting is one you can’t take your eyes off. For me, it’s either due to the colours and images or because of the emotional reaction I might have to the painting. But I know that for other people, they think a good painting is usually because of the skill involved in painting it or because of the unique creativity of the artist. I guess that a good painting means something different to everybody.

Video Watch

This video shows an art dealer talking about what makes a good painting. It is not a video made for language learners so the English is advanced but hopefully you can still learn a lot from it.


  1. hi liz
    you started to sentence with but in modal answer but i remember that you said you cant use capital letter with but because etc. because you cant start to sentence with this kind of words. I just confused

    • You need to be very very careful when you learn advice. That advice was for IELTS writing, which is formal, and not for IELTS speaking. The IELTS Speaking Test is informal and such rules do not apply. Don’t mix writing rules with speaking rules. I’m glad you posted this message so that others can learn from this as well.

  2. Thanks Liz.
    You have been very helpful.

  3. thanks a lot

  4. Shruthi H R says

    Hi Liz,

    Thank you very much for guiding us for IELTS. I find IELTS easy because of you.

  5. Hello liz,
    How do I watch the video above of the expert talking about Art painting. The link is not working.


  6. Hi Liz,

    Could you please confirm whether we are judged on task achievement in all speaking modules or not?

  7. Hi Liz,

    Questions I had to answer for Part-3

    1. What advices can a professional trainer give to athletes.

    2. Should Professional Sportsman keep personal trainer for guidance.

    3. Apart from advice on training what other advices can Professional trainers give to their clients.

    I want to know how bands are affected if one goes off topic with his answers. Same has happened with me, I am afraid my bands for Speaking would be adversely affected.

    She also wrote “11/4” in her notes. Does that signify I was able to answer 4 Questions out off 11?

    • You are not marked on being on or off topic in IELTS speaking. The marking criteria are not the same for speaking and writing. You are only marked on your language production in IELTS speaking – nothing else influences your score. Ignore any numbers written down by the examiner – they do not relate to your score or the questions.

    • Hi Liz , I’m from Bangladesh.
      Hopefully you are good. I’m regularly getting benefits from your great website & don’t know how much people getting these benefits. I haven’t language how I express my emotions to you.If I get any chance to meet with you ,never miss,just for expressing my grateful to you.please keep continue your services, the world never forget you.God bless you all the best.

  8. Harpreet Singh says

    Dear I saw the video about painting. I want to know that when I hear to him there are lot of worlds which I don’t understand because he is talking in native language. How I can improve this type of conversation.Thanks.

  9. Thank you very very much Liz.

  10. abderrahmane says

    Thanks million !Madam

  11. Hey, mam, I have only 8 days left for speaking what can I do?

  12. Hi Liz please help me … My communication skills are very poor.. what can I do?,

  13. Plz tell me about the organisation of a cue card

  14. Jiji Prakash says

    Dear Liz,
    Your lessons are awesome. Thanks a tonne for the great service.

  15. my tutor told me its better to give partially view ans in every writing task 2 question. I have doubt on it. Can you tell me its good to ans in partially view to get good band score?

    • You do not get a higher band score because you have a partial view. You can get a band score 9 with a one-sided view. Read the question and you decide your own opinion – one sided or partial – it’s your choice and doesn’t affect your score.

  16. Hi Liz

    I have a question in Listening.
    What is the correct way to write name like T-H-O-M-A-S or Thomas in answer sheet ?


    • If the speaking says ” T hyphen H hyphen… ” then you will write a hyphen. Do not write anything that is not given. Unless it is a compound noun which uses a hyphen.

  17. Hello Ma’am,
    I’m Dolly Dhiliwal.
    Wanted to ask you whether we can write all answers in reading and listening answer sheet in capital letters .
    ma’am your lessons are really helpful
    thank you so much .

  18. Hello Liz
    Can v talk about a temple in cuecard of describe any building or Construction or structure
    Ur advice will b really appreciated
    Thanks in advance

    • You can talk about anything you want because your ideas and choices are not marked in IELTS speaking.

      • Thanks a lot liz
        I will speak on golden temple in India if I get that

        • Sounds interesting. When you give your talk, you can add any information you want. Anything! It won’t affect your score. So, write about the layout, colours, uses of the temple, ceremonies, your memories of the temple, your future hopes for the temple, compare it to other temples etc. The more language you add, the better.

  19. Ankit Patel says

    Hi Liz,
    Can you please give me some last movement tips for IELTS Writing Task 2. I am expecting some important tips which readily impress the examiner.

  20. Hi Liz first of all thank you for all your support through your knowledge to us. And I have done my ielts exam very well your lesson helped me a lot and I completeld my speaking session in part 3 they have asked me, is driving essential for all job holders? do sports men need to know driving? which is the better age to learn driving wether teenage or old age? And should government encourage drivers to use public transport?
    What should government do reduced congestion of traffic?
    These are some of the questions they asked me hope they are useful to you .

  21. Hey liz. Can u help me in speaking …i have minor problems with it

  22. Hi Liz!
    I have my speaking exam on 17th August and all my teachers have the same problem with my speaking- fast execution. I really want to know whether fast execution would affect my band score or not because I am really not able to slow down my speaking pace.

    Thank you!

    • If the examiner has a problem to understand you, it will affect your score. The marking criterion for pronunciation is whether or not you are clear and easy to understand. Do you think you are easy to understand?

      • I think there’s no problem with my pronunciation, the teachers are able to understand what I say. But I am afraid the examiner might think I don’t have control over my voice.

        • If the examiner can understand and your speed doesn’t impede your intonation, it’ll be ok. But if you are worried, practice slowing down. You can learn to slow down – it’s a matter of practice and determination.

  23. Ravinder Singh says

    Hi you can give me reading tips because my reading is very week.

  24. Hi Liz,
    Are there any other ways to say ‘waste of time’ and ‘waste of money’?
    Thank you Liz

    • waste of time = it isn’t worth the time / waste of money = not cost effective (this is for formal / serious topics)

  25. May I know Ur email id
    So that I can send my writing task 2
    I can rectify my mistakes in that

  26. Sundas rafique says

    Hi liz.
    Your page is really helpfull.thanks for that,can you plz tell me about model answers essay ,where they are on your site?i couldnt find them .

  27. Nirav Patel says

    Hello Liz,
    Thanks for making such wonderful videos and putting them online which are pretty much helpful to people like me.
    I want to ask you if I decide to write all answers in capital in reading module and if there is a question type of heading from ( i to viii).

    What should I write in answers – I , II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII
    OR i,ii,iii,iv,v,vi,vii,viii.?

    It is confusing me since long.
    I would be greatful if you solve my Query.

    And thank you again for such a noble cause.

    • I would write them as you see then on the question paper. It doesn’t matter if you use capital letters or not.

  28. Dear Liz,
    I was looking out for you. You weren’t active on the site, so I thought I would get some help from a local English teacher, but it wasn’t so fruitful. I have speaking test on Monday. I m scared. And the LRW test on 16th February. I need the quick word list for commonly asked topics in writing tasks 1 & 2. Please help me. I m not able to get all the word list at once from your site, its tedious to collect each one from the each topic. If you could give a word or pdf document having all the word list, so I can take a print out of that document and I can go through it quickly. Mail me at
    Thanking you in anticipation.

  29. I have problem in specking like i fell i do not speck confidently and fell nervous and during specking i have content in my mind but but feel confusing when make sentence…and i could not catch world during my listning test…plz help me me

  30. Shaheryar Kunwar says

    Hi Miss Liz,
    I am preparing for my IELTS (Academic) test. I Visited your Blog . it is very much helpful. I have difficulty in writing task1. if you could guide me how to mention the changes in graphs , tables , and pie charts.if you could give me list of words to describe the changes in writing tasks 1.
    I am waiting for your fastest reply..
    Thank you

  31. Arathy nibu says

    Hai liz ..the lessons are very helpful thank you so much

  32. omg, Liz, I am really surprised when I just visit here. You have helped a lot of students to establish fundamental skills of IELTS, as well as for me. I am going to study all your lectures on this site, and I am definitely sure that I can improve all section of IELTS. Thank you.

  33. Thank you Liz god bless you

  34. Thanks Liz for your helpful lessons.

  35. Thank you lots for all these information. You are really helping us all. God bless you.

  36. Thanks for you , you are respectable human

  37. I want to tell you Liz that I love you so much your site helped me alot you are so precious

  38. thank you very much for your helpful teaching ,it,s simple and clear , I strongly believe that you are the most faithful and caring teacher to her job .

  39. Dear Liz !
    In the beginning, I would like to thank you for your great service and helping us in the relevant field of IELTS and owe us great knowledge , secondly I have really big trouble in reading even I have followed everything but i have not got any positive effect in my life , if there is any strong skill to improve my reading accordingly please do not forget to inform me .
    Khalid Ahmady

  40. Hi Liz,
    I appreciate your great effort, I have diffculties in listening part , my problom is thar I can catch words but I lose marks due to spelling mistake, So, is there any list of common words that are repeated in the listening part so I can practice and memmoris them?

    Thanks ,

  41. LE THI HONG PHUC says

    Hi Teacher

    You are really an IELST expert. I wish i can be studied with you on someday.

    Joanna from Vietnam

  42. Hi Liz!
    Thank you for providing online lectures. They are really helpful. I am appearing IELTS Academic examination in Islamabad on 23rd January and i am finding difficulty in reading, especially, TFNG & YNNG. At times, i achieve 35 out of 40 and it often drops directly to 27-28. I have watched your lectures and also practicing basics on reading at your blog. Kindly guide me accordingly to perform for earning acceptable scores.
    Thank You

  43. filmon zerai says

    First of all, I would like to appreciate your direction and proper guidance on IELTS preparation…..
    Mom, I have no problem with listening,writing and speaking, but the minor difficulty is in reading, how can I speed up and answer the required questions.
    I will be waiting for you…….
    Yours faithfully……..
    (with the best of luck in 2016)

  44. olfatkhedr says

    Hi Liz
    thanks for your efforts I wanna know how to handle with the paper of IELTS exam

  45. Hi liz .. Thanks for being so helpful .. I have a confusion regarding preparing my self to ielts general test .. Should I prepare all four categories in parellel or it would be better to take them in a certain sequence ?? .. Thanks again .. Have a good day

    • You prepare as you want. Some students find it boring to prepare only listening for one week. But others find it is better to concentrate on just one. You must decide what works for you.
      All the best

  46. Moises L. Serrano says

    Hi Liz,
    I find difficulties answering the cause and effects type of question in reading, is it possible in General Training as part of the exam?

    • There are no cause effect questions in IELTS reading or writing. I’m not really sure what you mean. Try writing your question more clearly.

  47. Hello Liz, I have followed you for a long time and just had my speaking test yesterday. I think I did well in part one and part two, but in part three it’s about how can artists make themselves famous and questions like that, I only used some simple words and made some grammar mistakes, would that stop me from getting a high score?

    Thanks for reply:)

    • Your score is given from the language you used throughout your whole test, not just in one part. Also, I find that students are not the best judges of what is considered higher level English and what is considered lower level. Wait until your results and relax for a while. Let me know how you get on.
      All the best

  48. Hi Liz, can you advise me how to improve vocabulary, as I am very shy and my pronunciations are poor. I love you web-site.

  49. Hey Liz, I found your website is very informative and comprehensive. Thank you for put up the great effort and your time into this.
    I have question, can a photograph considered as art? I feel lot more easier to talk about anything that has to do with photography

    • The good thing about IELTS speaking is that you don’t get marked on your ideas or how you tackle the question. You only get marked on your English language. This means you have a lot of freedom to answer questions the way you want. So, if you consider photography to be art, you can say this and talk about photography. This is also the technique you use in part 2. Look at the topic, follow it but also adapt it to suit you.
      All the best

  50. This is the best site I have seen so far. ALL FOR FREE at that! I cannot thank you enough. 🙂 Tomorrow’s my speaking exam. Hopefully, I remember your tips and ace the exam.

  51. muhammad salman qureshi says

    can u will check my essay? if i write, because i took IELTS exam 3 times but not got the score above 6.

  52. George Berry says

    I am surprised nobody noticed the bad grammar in the title of this article thus far.

  53. Please send me 9 band complex sentence structure

    • Please see my band 9 model essays in the writing task 2 section. Or see all model answers in the speaking section – they are all band 9.

  54. Noha Faisal says

    This is the best website i have ever seen that is teaching everything , every idea that pops up in my mind i find it here with all description and also for FREE ! .. it is really an amazing one , thanks for this remarkable effort .

    Regards ,

    Noha .

  55. Rashmi Bisl says

    Hi Liz,

    Your tutorial videos and the study material available on your website are excellent. Thank you!

    Rashmi Bisl

  56. Begin again says

    Your lessons are extraordinary they not only strengthen the inner ability to read and write, but also leads you to the right pathway for overcoming our difficulties in learning language test. I’m glad to find you as my virtual teacher your simply remarkable. 🙂

    Thanks once again.

  57. saniya khan says

    Hi Liz ,
    can you tell me what can I answer for “what measures can govt take to reduce traffic (apart from infrastructure)?”

    Thank You.

    • The government can improve public transport to encourage people to use it rather than using their own vehicles. They can also make a no traffic zone.
      All the best

  58. Hello Liz ,
    Really you are doing an extraordinary job for IELTS learners.Its very interesting to learn new vocabulary through your website.Thankyou very much.

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