Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

What if you change your mind in the middle of an IELTS Speaking Part 3 answer?

Will it hurt your score?

Today we’ll answer an insightful listener question.

We’ll also share high level phrases to use when you change your mind.

Today’s question

I have a burning question,

What if I contradict myself in part 3?

Or can’t provide enough support for my answers?

Maftuna GulimovaI

Just contradicting yourself in Speaking Part 3 won’t hurt your score.

You can absolutely change your mind while talking.

Sometimes while speaking we realize we don’t actually believe what we just said.

We might speak without thinking.

We might realize we disagree as we consider our statements.

Difficulty of Speaking Part 3

These questions can be very difficult.

You’re not given any time to think and you can’t take notes.

You can’t hesitate or pause and just have to start talking.

They often require a little thought, but you don’t have time for this!

You often need to share solutions or your opinion.

You may need to form your opinion while talking.

To be able to narrate your thoughts out loud shows your fluency.

Not providing enough support

There’s another part to this question that is separate.

If you don’t give enough support for answers, your score WILL go down.

You have to provide details.

You have to answer the question.

Your Fluency score will lower if you repeat yourself or don’t share details.

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Vocabulary for changing your mind

Now that you know you can change your mind during IELTS answers, you need high level vocabulary to do it!

You need to be able to link your thoughts.

When you change your mind, you need natural phrases to inform the Examiner.

You must be able to think on your feet!

You have to be willing to be vulnerable.

Admit mistakes and admit you’re not sure about what you think!

This all shows your fluency.

#1: I take it back!

This is an idiomatic expression.

We are taking back our words just like we’d take back a gift.

Actually, I take that back! Now that I think about it….

#2: Now that I’ve said that…

Narrating your thoughts is vital on IELTS Speaking.

These phrases are perfect for that.

You know, now that I’ve said that, I can’t help but feel like…

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I actually believe…

Sample answers

Jessica and Aubrey provide examples of Part 3 answers using these phrases.

  • What are some traditional  foods people eat in your country?

Aubrey first answers hamburgers and French fries.

She then says:

“Actually, I take that back! Now that I think about it…”

Following this phrase, she shares that she believes traditional holiday foods is a more accurate response.

Jessica then answers about how eating habits have changed.

  • How are the eating habits now in your country different from eating habits in the past?

She first shares that eating habits today are healthier.

You know, now that I’ve said that, I can’t help but feel that is completely wrong.

Then she shares that she knows many people who are eating more junk food than ever before.

Slow down

These phrases need room to breathe.

You also might need time to think of what you really think while saying these.

Listen to the sample answers in the episode and hear how slowly they say these phrases.

Notice the word stress and emphasis.

You can also admit that you don’t have a solid opinion!

I’m honestly not sure if I have a strong opinion on this.


It might not be your first instinct to admit you were wrong.

We don’t always vocalize when we make a mistake.

For this reason, you might not have practiced phrases for this.

Practice answering several Speaking Part 3 questions using these phrases so you’re ready on test day.

For all the strategies you need, sign up for our 3 Keys IELTS online course!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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