Sunday, 18 August 2013

Pick An Opinion! (Speaking Part 3)

Many students spend a lot of time worrying about Speaking Part 2 because they are required to speak for nearly 2 minutes. Even though the long turn can be tricky, you should not forget about Speaking Part 3, in which you must discuss deeper issues such as politics, culture, economics, and the environment. 

Below you will find typical Part 3 questions and some excellent answers to each one, reflecting different opinions. Notice that the answers are not long, but they do contain complex grammar structures and precise vocabulary. Also, pay attention to introduction and transition phrases such as:

  • In my opinion / It is my view that
  • For the most part / Mainly
  • At this point / These days
  • In recent years / Recently
  • In many cases / In many ways
  • I'm not sure about / I don't have a strong opinion about
  • I believe that / I think that
  • Obviously / Definitely / Without question

Read the Part 3 Speaking sample questions below and pick the opinion that most reflects your own views. Then, practice reading the questions and answers with a partner or a friend. Below you will find questions which you can try answering by yourself. Feel free to use transition phrases and vocabulary from the examples.

1.    The gap between the rich and the poor is growing in many countries. To what extent do you think this is true in your country?
a.       In my country, there is not a large gap between the rich and the poor. Most people have a reasonable standard of living. Of course, some people are very rich but in many cases I believe it’s because of their own hard work.
b.      This is definitely true in my country. It’s shameful that some people live luxurious lifestyles while others are starving. I definitely think some action should be taken to remedy this problem.
c.       To be honest, I haven’t heard a lot about this issue in my country. Perhaps that means it isn’t a serious issue.

2.    What sort of influence do you think celebrities have on young people these days?
a.       In my opinion, celebrities have a mostly negative effect on children. For instance, many young girls look up to singers who behave badly or take drugs or behave in an overly sexual manner. I really think it’s a shame.
b.      That’s definitely a tricky issue. Some celebrities behave badly while others do noble and charitable things, so I think it really depends on which celebrities you want to talk about.
c.       While some famous people behave badly, I believe that most of them are talented and hard working. They can serve as role models for children and motivate them to work hard.

3.    How are the eating habits in your country now different from those of the past?
a.       I don’t think the eating habits in my country have changed significantly in recent years. Sure, there are some types of international and fast food available, but I think most people still eat in traditional ways.
b.      The eating habits in my country have really worsened in the past few decades. Whereas in the past people would eat moderate amounts of home-cooked food, they now tend to overeat and make unhealthy choices like take out and fast food. It’s had a negative effect on people’s health, for sure.
c.       You know, I think that the eating habits in my country were worsening for many decades, but recently there has been a shift in attitude. I think that people have begun to be more health conscious and make healthier food choices. For instance, people have started to purchase more organic food and avoid fast food.

4.     What effect do you think technology has had on employment in your country?
a.       That’s an interesting question! Of course technology has dramatically affected the way people work and the types of jobs people do. Overall, I believe that this has benefited people and made jobs more comfortable and less dangerous.
b.      Although technology has made many jobs more efficient, it has had a negative effect on some people. For instance, some older people or uneducated people are having problems finding work now. If they can’t afford to learn how to use computers and other electronics, they might have big problems.
c.       For the most part, technology has made jobs easier but that’s not necessarily a good thing. These days, jobs in my country have become very boring and repetitive. People don’t get much physical activity and they often feel dissatisfied with their lives.

5.    In your opinion, what is the relationship between a region’s climate (weather) and its culture? Explain.
a.       That’s a tough question! Certainly, the climate of an area can shape the personalities of people who live in that area. For instance, people who live in warmer climates tend to be more open and friendly than people who live in colder climates.
b.      I’m not sure there’s a strong relationship between climate and the personality of local people. Humans tend to shape their environment to suit their needs, so it’s possible to find all different types of people living in all different types of regions.
c.       There is definitely a strong relationship between environment and culture. A long time ago, people used to worship gods that were related to the land and the weather. Even though we don’t do this today, we can still feel the influence of our surroundings on our local culture.

6.    What should the government do to protect the environment? What should individuals do?
a.       I think it is mostly the responsibility of the government to enforce environmental laws. People are creatures of habit and they are not likely to behave in environmentally-friendly ways unless the government forces them to do so.
b.      Obviously, it is the responsibility of both the government and the people to take care of the environment. The government should pass some laws to protect the environment, but each person ought to participate in small ways such as recycling or riding a bicycle instead of driving a car.
c.       At this point, I’m not certain there’s anything that governments or individuals can do to help the environment. I think that too much damage has already been done and there’s no way to avoid the serious consequences of that. So I think people should just do whatever they want!

Now You Try!

Plan a short answer ( 2 – 3 Sentences) for each of the following Speaking Part 3 questions. Remember to explore the idea fully and use academic vocabulary whenever possible. Feel free to use transition phrases and expressions from the answers above!

1.      What are the benefits of learning a musical instrument at an early age?

2.      What is the most effective way to keep up with current events?

3.      Describe some of the effects of tourism on local communities. Is it generally positive or negative?

4.      Do you think that the skills you need for employment are different from the skills that your parents needed? Explain.

5.      What do you think about government censorship? Do you think the government should restrict what kind of news people receive?

6.      Do you think that men and women generally like different kinds of books and films? Please explain.

7.      Why are festivals and holidays important to people?

8.      How has communication changed in the past 50 years? Are the changes positive or negative?

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