Speaking, Part 3: Music



Q. Is music from your country popular elsewhere?

Thanks to the influence of “Hallyu”, or the Korean Wave, the world has become increasingly aware of Korean music. 

Korean pop or K-pop has become a genre in its own right and K-pop stars have a huge global following, especially in South-East Asia. These fans follow their idols on social media, liking and commenting on every video. Some die-hard supporters even learn the language and travel to Seoul to see their favourite artists live in concert. 

A prime example of the popularity of Korean music is the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy. This was a worldwide hit – it went viral on YouTube and was the first video to ever get more than 1 billion views – that in itself is quite an achievement. It’s a real earworm, and as cheesy as it is, it’s really contributed to raising the profile of our music in new markets. 

Even more recently, the boyband BTS topped the US Billboard charts with their album – it’s the first time that a K-pop album has reached the coveted number 1 position and it’s an incredible achievement – so I’d definitely agree that music from my country is popular abroad. 

Q. Recently, many singers and groups have first become famous through television talent shows. What do you think about this?

I think there are both positive and negative sides to this.

Firstly, TV talent shows can allow unsigned singers to show off their talent – someone can rise from obscurity and become an overnight sensation. We usually see the audition performance from a member of the general public and that’s what blows us away – no-one expected Susan Boyle to have the voice she has, for example. Furthermore, these shows usually take place over a number of weeks or months so the viewing public form a bond with the performers and that allows them to build up a fan base – viewers vote for their favourite artist to remain in the competition.

However, there are too many of these shows on TV and it can be hard to tell the difference between them at times. Also, for many, fame does not last long. Contestants of shows like the X-Factor end up disappearing off the face of the earth once they have had their 15 minutes of fame. Even winners get dropped by their record label after their initial shine has worn off – the support shown by viewers on the show doesn’t always translate into sales of songs and albums.

So those are some pros and cons.

Q. Do you think that allowing more buskers in the city is a good idea?

An interesting question: I think it depends.

Street performers can help to add atmosphere to central areas – people might enjoy listening to live performances as they’re out shopping or sitting in pavement cafés. In Edinburgh, for example, during the summer festival period, it’s an opportunity to hear something new, and if you want to give a little money to show your appreciation for the performance you can.

That said, not all buskers are appreciated. For residents living in the city centre the extra noise and crowds that sometimes gather around to watch might not be appreciated.  Also, not everyone has talent or musical ability. They might have a limited repertoire and sing the same songs on repeat or may have unique vocal stylings which might be hard to listen to as they try to hit the high notes!

Maybe quality is more important than quantity on this occasion. 

Have a look at some suggestions for structuring your part 3 answer here.

Speaking, Part 3: What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Tourism?

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of tourism?

Sample answer

That’s an interesting question!

I think there are both advantages and disadvantages.

In terms of advantages, tourism helps to boost the local economy and provides jobs. In Thailand, for example, the tourist industry is incredibly important. Many people are employed in the hospitality sector, working in hotels, restaurants and so on. They can earn a living and provide for their family, and they don’t necessarily need to move away from their hometown.

However, there are drawbacks. In order to accommodate an influx of tourists there can be overdevelopment which impacts on the environment negatively. Land is cleared to construct hotels, with trees being cut down and animals losing their natural habitat.  

So there are pros and cons.

Speaking, Part 3: Do Many Foreign Tourists Come to Your Country?

1. Do many foreign tourists come to your country?

Sample answer

The tourist industry in Korea is booming.

An increasing number of airlines, including low-cost carriers, serve Incheon Airport, making it easier and more affordable than ever before for travellers to get here.

Many visitors from South-East Asia are influenced by the Korean Wave – they watch Korean dramas on TV or are big fans of K-pop and they want to experience the country first hand. They mainly come to stay in the capital Seoul, where they enjoy a range of delicious local dishes and immerse themselves in culture experiences like wearing “hanbok”, which is traditional Korean dress. And of course they shop till they drop in the bustling Myeongdong shopping area and in the tax-free stores.  

Medical tourism is also becoming more popular – cosmetic surgery especially. Foreign patients undergo treatments here not only because of the reputation for excellent doctors and quality aftercare but also because the price can be significantly cheaper than in their own country.

Speaking, Part 3: Moving Abroad

This part 3 question followed our part 2 question about moving to a new city.

Q. Is it necessary to know about a country before moving there?

Sample answer:

Relocating overseas is a major step in one’s life so it’s important to be well-informed before packing up and shipping out.

I think finding out about local laws & customs is essential. What might be common in your home country, such as gestures, might not be in your new home, and you wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Etiquette is important too. In South Korea, for example, there are many rules that should be followed when eating and drinking. Foreigners frequently make many a social faux-pas but locals are very forgiving. I think it’s better to be aware, nonetheless.

Furthermore, there are practical elements that must be considered concerning daily life, for instance the cost of living. Someone moving to Norway might be shocked at the price of alcohol – a pint of beer is over $12 in some places. However, if that’s proportional to the salary you’ll receive locally it may not be seem so expensive. 

So I do think doing some research is needed. 

Speaking: Part 3

In part 3 you’ll have a discussion with the examiner.

The questions you’ll get link to the part 2 topic in some way, but you need to think about society in general, not just about yourself.

In this part of the exam you need to give extended answers. A suggestion is that each answer should be between 6 to 8 sentences in length (around 40 seconds).

Remember, you can’t write anything down in this part of the exam – you need to organise your ideas in your head. This can be difficult after you’ve used so much energy giving answers in part 1 and part 2.

One way to help you give your extended answer is to use the following structure:

  1. Introduction: Introduce your answer (sometimes you can answer/paraphrase the question)
  2. Detail: Give some detail
  3. More detail/An example: My students often find it easier to think of an example than trying to give more detail
  4. End your question: Round off your question – you can paraphrase your introduction

Your introduction could be 1 sentence, your ending could also be 1 sentence. That means you can give 2-3 sentences for both the detail and example.

Tip: Use this structure as you continue to practice for the exam. Write down key words and phrases, but avoid writing full sentences – in the exam you can’t write anything down here anyway!

Bonus tip: This structure is also useful for arranging your ideas in Task 2 of the writing exam.

Let’s take a look at this sample part 3 question:

Q. Is music from your country popular elsewhere?

Imagine that you’re from Korea – here’s an idea of what you could say:

Continue reading “Speaking: Part 3”