IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|16. What is a masterpiece?



Read the task in the green box, make brief notes and speak on the topic for about 1-2 minutes

Describe an object you find particularly beautiful (e.g. a painting, sculpture, piece of jewellery/furniture, etc.).

You should say:

  • where the artwork is;
  • how it was made;
  • what it shows / looks like

and explain why you find it particularly beautiful.

Look at the Speaking Part 3 question, read Lee and Majut’s answers and do the test below

Exam information
11-14 min. 3 parts

oral interview: an examiner + a candidate

speaking test is recorded

Part 1Introduction and interview 4-5 minutes

Part 2 – Long turn – 3-4 minutes including the preparation time

Part 2 is the individual long turn. The examiner gives the test takers a task card which asks the test takers to talk about a particular topic, includes points to cover in their talk and instructs the test takers to explain one aspect of the topic. Test takers are given one minute to prepare their talk. The examiner asks the test takers to talk for 1 to 2 minutes, stops the test takers after 2 minutes, and asks one or two questions on the same topic.

Part 3 – Discussion 4-5 minutes

In Part 3, the examiner puts a range of questions connected with the topic of Part 2; the candidates express their opinions. This is the most challenging part, because the test takers need to demonstrate their ability to discuss general, abstract and academic topics.

Making notes during the preparation time helps the test takers think of appropriate things to say, structure their talk, and keep talking for 2 minutes.

This part of the test focuses on the ability to express and justify opinions and to analyse, discuss and speculate about issues.

🔗More information

Speaking Part 3

1 How popular is art as a school subject?

2 …

Well, in my primary school, children loved it − I loved making things, for example − and in my secondary school, students hated it − we couldn’t see the point when we had so many other things to do.

On the whole, I think most children enjoy art, although they do seem to go off it a bit when they get older. I guess that’s to be expected.

Answer these Part 3 questions

Speaking Part 3

1. How popular is art as a school subject?

2. What can young children learn from doing art at school?

3. Why do you think secondary schools give arts subjects a low priority?


Find and correct mistakes in each of these sentences. Rewrite the sentences

We have a number of ways of talking in general, or making general points that may not be true for every case. These may also soften your tone and distance you from the argument. (This is considered a good academic style.)

We can use:

  • attitude adverbials, e.g. on the whole, in general, broadly speaking, generally speaking, generally, by and large, as a rule, in most cases, on average:
    By and large, artists don’t make much money from their art.
    As a rule, art is a greater part of the curriculum in primary school than in secondary schools.
  • verbs and phrases, e.g. tend, seem, appear, have a tendency, be liable, are likely to:
    Small children tend to be more creative than adults.
    Art works have a tendency to increase in price when the artist dies.
    Children are liable to get frustrated when they can’t express their feelings.

Listen to three students giving the same answer to a question. As you listen, decide which speaker − 1, 2 or 3 − is easiest to understand. Why?

Speech rate and chunking

The speech is naturally divided into meaningful groups of words called chunks and pauses between them.

If we pause in the middle of a natural chunk, people will find us difficult to understand, so we tend to pause between chunks, either to choose what we want to say next or to breathe. Speaking too quickly or too slowly is often the result of poor chunking.


Speaker 1

I think attitudes to art have changed a lot since my parents were at school. Thirty years ago, schools taught a whole range of arts and crafts subjects, but nowadays there doesn’t seem to be much choice.

Speaker 2

I think attitudes to art have changed a lot since my parents were at school. Thirty years ago, schools taught a whole range of arts and crafts subjects, but nowadays there doesn’t seem to be much choice.

Speaker 3

I think attitudes to art have changed a lot since my parents were at school. Thirty years ago, schools taught a whole range of arts and crafts subjects, but nowadays there doesn’t seem to be much choice.

Listen to Naresh answering a question and mark / where he pauses


Examine Naresh

Examine: What can young children learn from doing art at school?
Naresh: Well, I think broadly speaking, they can learn a great deal. The majority of pre-school children, for example, are incredibly creative and experiment with paints and all sorts of other art materials and they just love getting their hands dirty. Older students tend to be less enthusiastic, but many of them still enjoy art and, well, I guess if you don’t try it, you won’t know whether you’re any good at it.

Mark the places where you think Naresh will pause in his answer to this question. Then listen and check your answers



Examiner Naresh

Examiner: Why do you think secondary schools give arts subjects a low priority?
Naresh: Well, generally, there are quite a few reasons. These days, a lot of head teachers seem to be more concerned about exam results than giving the students an all-round education. That’s obviously going to have an influence on how significant art is in the school curriculum. Another possible reason is that many educational institutions don’t tend to have the money to provide all the materials you need for art courses. They seem to be more worried about buying technological equipment these days.

Write your own answer to the question below and mark where you think you will pause. Then read your answer aloud

Speaking Part 3

Should students learn traditional crafts in schools? Why (not)?

Answer the IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3 questions. Make brief notes and speak on the topic for two minutes


Describe a piece of art you like.

You should say:

  • what the work of art is;
  • when you first saw it;
  • what you know about it

and explain why you like it.

  • all-round education
  • a craft
  • to concern
  • a head teacher
  • a low priority
  • as a rule
  • broadly speaking
  • by and large
  • generally speaking
  • I tend to
  • in general
  • on average
  • on the whole
  • to be liable to
  • to have a tendency to

Provide extended answers to the Speaking Part 3 questions in the box

Speaking Part 3

Art and society

  1. In what ways are artists important in society?
  2. What should governments do to support the arts?
  3. Why do styles of art change over time?
  4. What can you learn about a culture from its art?

Art and archaeology

  1. Where do archaeologists often find ancient art?
  2. What can archaeologists learn from ancient art objects?
  3. How can governments protect ancient sites?

Exam tips

Speaking Part 3

1. Listen carefully to the questions and try to give an extended answer that expresses several points or ideas.

2. Talk about the subject in general, not about yourself.

3. Use appropriate words and phrases to put across a general point of view.

If you open the lesson plan you will be able to assign separate pages as homework or all the homework pages at once.

  • Warm-up
  • A beautiful thing
  • Sharing opinion
  • Trends in art
  • Natural chunking
  • Making pauses
  • Art in our lives
  • Homework
  • Homework
  1. 1. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|1. Being a high achiever
  2. 2. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|2. University life
  3. 3. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|3. Getting a qualification
  4. 4. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|4. Career plans
  5. 5. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 1
  6. 6. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|5. Perceiving colours
  7. 7. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|6. The art of colour
  8. 8. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|7. The best colour
  9. 9. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|8. Adding colour
  10. 10. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 2
  11. 11. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|9. In therapy
  12. 12. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|10. Placebo effect
  13. 13. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|11. Changing life expectancy
  14. 14. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|12. Leading a healthy life
  15. 15. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 3
  16. 16. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|13. Works of art
  17. 17. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|14. Aboriginal art
  18. 18. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|15. Being good at arts
  19. 19. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|16. What is a masterpiece?
  20. 20. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 4
  21. 21. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|17. Collecting fossils
  22. 22. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|18. Evolution and survival
  23. 23. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|19. The Earth's interior
  24. 24. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|20. A valuable possession
  25. 25. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 5
  26. 26. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|21. The role of technology
  27. 27. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|22. Film making and technology
  28. 28. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|23. The impact of IT on society
  29. 29. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|24. Number one website
  30. 30. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 6
  31. 31. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|25. Environmental issues
  32. 32. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|26. Wildlife wonders
  33. 33. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|27. Endangered species
  34. 34. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|28. A symbol of a nation
  35. 35. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 7
  36. 36. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|29. Exploring space
  37. 37. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|30. Observing the stars
  38. 38. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|31. Space tourism prospects
  39. 39. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|32. Extraterrestrial phenomena
  40. 40. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 8
  41. 41. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 1
  42. 42. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 2