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FAQs for Phase Three of the Speaking Test Print E-mail
IELTS - IELTS Speaking Test

Aim: The aim of this section is to answer frequently asked questions about Phase Three of the speaking test.

What is it?

Phase Three is also called the "extended discourse" phase, which basically means that you have the opportunity to talk about things in detail.

How long does it last?

It should last between 4 and 5 minutes.

How do I know when it's started?

The examiner will ask you a question requiring a short answer at the end of your Phase Two presentation to stop you and then (s)he will explain that in Phase Three you will be asked some more general questions related to the topic in Phase Two.

What are the topics about?

The topic you are asked questions about will be related to the topic in Phase Two.

How are Phase Two and Phase Three different?

In Phase Three you are asked questions by the examiner to prompt what you say. The topic is normally expanded from Phase Two. For example, if you are asked to describe your favourite meal in Phase Two, the topic might move on to popular food in your country in Phase Three.

Is Phase Three the most difficult part of the speaking test?

No, it isn't. Many candidates think it is because you are expected to give detailed answers to detailed questions. However, this doesn't mean it is any more difficult than Phases One and Two. What it does mean is that you have the opportunity to use a lot of English language in your answers. Phase Three is designed to "stretch" your language - to push you to show your full ability. That doesn't necessarily mean it's more difficult.

What kinds of questions does the examiner ask?

For Phase Three the examiner will have a set of question cues that (s)he can use to make questions. The examiner will grade the questions according to your performance in Phases One and Two so that you can understand what the questions mean, but also that you find them challenging.

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