Part 3 is the hardest part of the Speaking test. The questions in this section are usually more challenging as they usually mention bigger and more social issues. Therefore, it is likely that sometimes you will encounter questions that you cannot think of an answer immediately.
However, don’t panic! The Speaking exam doesn’t test your knowledge. Instead, only your language abilities are being examined.
When you can’t think of an answer for a particular question, just be honest. Tell the examiner that you honestly don’t know the answer, and don’t forget to explain why. Apart from this, you can also make some predictions or give some general comments about the topic.
When I took my first IELTS test in October 2013, there were two questions that I literally did not have any clue about the answer. This is what I said:
(Q) How are parties today different to parties in the past?
(A) Well, honestly, I’m not really into joining parties and I rarely go to parties, so I can’t think of the difference between parties nowadays and parties in the past (here I was just explaining why I did not know the answer) . But I guess that parties these days are much more entertaining, as people have more fun things to do (After buying some time with the first sentence, I could think of some predictions). For example, my co-workers usually go to a karaoke bar when they have parties, which is really fun, I guess (faking an example is a great way to make your answers longer).
(Q) Can you give me an example of how people living in villages organise parties?
(A) I guess that in different villages or regions, people have different ways of having parties. It really depends on the history and tradition of each village (I was just giving some very general comments as I literally could not think of anything good). Unfortunately, I have never lived in a village so I’m afraid I cannot give you any example (again, I said that I did not have an answer, and I explained why).
Using these tactics, you will be able to easily overcome difficult questions in Speaking Part 3. Remember, just keep calm and say that you don’t know the answer if you can’t think of anything. As long as you can demonstrate fluency and good pronunciation, this should not be a problem.