One of the most common issues in IELTS Speaking is the repetitive answers given by students. Often speaking exams consist of students answering every question with ‘I think’ or ‘it’s very important’. While it isn’t a problem for one or two answers, after 5 or 6 responses with the same beginning, it becomes clear to the examiner that this is your only natural way of responding. Here is a list of different ways that you can respond to questions and this is particularly useful for part 3.

Giving an Opinion
In my opinion
I reckon/I feel/Personally speaking
Well, I would say
As I see it
I think nobody would deny that
I suppose/presume/would say
I strongly believe that

Agreeing with an Opinion
I totally/entirely agree with you on that
I completely agree that
I couldn’t agree more
That’s exactly how I see it
Yes, it’s obvious that
You hit the nail on the head (idiom)

Partially Agreeing
I partially agree with what you are saying
To be honest, I’m not really sure about that
While I agree with you about…..I believe
I agree to a certain extent, however…..
I agree up to a point, but
Well, on the one hand… on the other hand….
That might be true, however
It depends on the situation,

Disagree with an opinion
To be honest, I don’t agree with that
I’m afraid that I see it in another way
I’m afraid I disagree with
I’m totally against that idea
I’m not sure that is the way I feel about that
I’m not sure I can agree with that
Well that’s one way to look at it, however

How important is…….?
It’s an absolute necessity   10/10
It’s absolutely crucial    9/10
It’s a must    9/10
It’s not a matter of life and death   7/10
It’s neither here nor there      5/10
It’s far from being essential   4/10
It’s pretty inconsequential   2/10

Expressing Certainty
I am totally sure that
I am absolutely convinced that
There is no denying that
Nobody could argue with
It is a fact that

Trying to buy time/have time to think
I’m not really sure, but if I had to say
I don’t have much knowledge of this subject but
I have never really thought about this before
Well, let me think/consider about this for a second
I’m really not an expert in…
That’s a tough/difficult/thought provoking question.

To get back to the question/original point
To get back to the main point
Sorry, I went off on a tangent
Where was I?
Oh, I forgot to say
Let me get back to the question
Sorry, I went off on a tangent
What was I saying?

Exercise 1
Practice on your own or with a teacher answering the following questions, while looking at the list of possible 
ways to respond while avoiding I think. Comment below with your responses.


  • Which type of homes are popular in your country?

  • What are the differences between these types of homes?

  • How important is it to buy a house in your country?

    Places to live
  • What makes difficult for people to live in cities?

  • Is it anything to change to make it better for people?

  • Why do people need to create green areas?

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Hyokyung Jung
Hyokyung Jung
3 years ago

It helps me a lot!

5 years ago

Fantastic !!

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