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

One of our listeners shared an experience on her IELTS Speaking exam which threw her off.

She wanted our expert advice about this situation.

One thing about IELTS is no matter how hard you prepare, if you don’t understand what to expect from the Examiner, you can get tripped up.

Listen in today so you can expect this Examiner action and not make the same mistake!

For all the insider strategies you need, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

Zahra’s question

I would like to share something weird that happened during my speaking test.

I just took my IELTS speaking which had been going quite smooth and well.

Though something out of my expectation happened.

I was answering questions in part 3 that in the middle of one them the examiner interrupted me, trying to connect with me more.

That’s where I lost my control over my thoughts and threw a word in my own language- it was equivalent to “it means” in English.

Then, I stopped for a while and got shocked while he was giggling a bit and he tried to make me calm by resuming our conversation.

Now, I am wondering if this issue can affect my score.

Examiner behavior in Speaking Part 3

It is vital that you understand the questioning method for Part 3.

It is quite different than Part 1 and Part 2.

In Part 3, the Examiner asks more impromptu questions that often stem from your previous answers.

They try to build a rapport and have a back-and-forth with you.

  • back-and-forth: discussion

If you aren’t expecting this, you can get thrown off.

Expect the unexpected!

Ideally, you want to know everything you can about the Speaking exam.

  • Listen to our podcast
  • Read forums
  • Speak to others who have taken the exam

However, no matter how well you prepare, something could happen that you don’t expect.

You must be prepared for this, and don’t let it affect your performance.

Be ready with filler phrases, and narrate your thoughts!

Strategies Created By a Former Examiner

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Would this affect your score?

It could!

If this causes you to pause or hesitate, your Fluency score could go down.

If you let this cause you to feel flustered and confused, you could struggle with the following questions.

This is why you need strategies!

You need to practice so that you are ready for anything!

Will saying a word in your first language lower IELTS Speaking scores?

Not necessarily!

If you slip up and say a word in your first language, you can recover!

Oh that’s funny, I said a word in Chinese. It means, “it means!”

Then, finish your answer!

It’s a momentary blip that shouldn’t affect your overall score.

What is vital is that you come back from that and finish strong.

Leave the Examiner with a good impression.


You need to prepare as much as possible for IELTS Speaking.

It’s vital that you understand Examiner procedures and restrictions.

However, you must be ready for anything on test day!

There is a good chance something unexpected will happen during your IELTS Speaking exam.

This is because no matter how well you prepare, something unforeseen could take place.

Strategies for IELTS Speaking and every part of the exam can be found in our study system, 3 Keys IELTS!

Sign up today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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