Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today we talk about a student’s experience in IELTS Speaking Part 3 with an examiner who interrupted her and through her off with her performance.

What should you do if you face this kind of situation?

Find out today.

Today let’s start with a question from a listener:

“What do you think would be the answer of this: “What do you think elder people need to remember?” This was a Speaking Part 3 question. This question seemed so general that I begged the pardon just to get a clue about what to say. Since previous questions were related to childhood memories, I started to speak and I started to say the following: “I think older people need to remember good memories” and she cut me off right there saying, “no, not the old people,” sort of scolding me, so I changed direction and I said, “They need to remember their responsibilities and duties.” So she corrected me again saying, “Don’t you think they need to remember their glasses, car keys, cell phone?” Oh my god, how culd I figure that out? In my last speaking I had an 8 but this time I just didn’t know how to make this one happy. Her gestures for this questino were not satisfied. I had a wonderful Part 1 and 2 though.”

It is not okay that the examiner took such a narrow perspective and cut this student off in the middle of her answer.

The examiner is supposed to keep an open mind and accept different interpretations of the question for broad questions.

Was the examiner supposed to interject like this and guide the student?


The only time that the examiner should do that is if you are completely off topic and it’s obvious that you did not understand the question.

However, that was not the case here.

The examiner here is not doing her job correctly.

Also, the way that the examiner corrected the student again means that she is giving the student the answer.

The examiner should never do that.

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What could you say in this situation:

  • “I am sorry. I apologize. I misunderstood. Could you rephrase that?”

Be communicative if you aren’t able to understand the question.

Don’t be too proud or too intimidated to communicate and apologize.

What should you do if this happens to you?

You could mention the experience to the administrator to see if they would be willing to check out the recording.

We don’t recommend asking for a remark.

It’s expensive and you have to get all of your scores remarked, not just one section.

Keep in mind, this examiner is not mad at the student. She is mad at the day.

The good news is, this student is in our course so she understood what the examiner wants and had a great Speaking Part 1 and Speaking Part 3.

What questions do you have about today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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