IELTS Cue Card Sample 423 - Talk about an event when you had to wait

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Talk about an event when you had to wait.

You should say:

  • what it was
  • how long you waited
  • why you had to wait

and explain how you felt about it.

Sample Answer:
I really hate waiting for things. Once I’ve decided on a course of action that I want to do, I like to do it immediately. I am impatient. Sometimes, though, things are completely outside of your control, and like it or not, the waiting goes on and on as if forever!

I can think of one example of waiting that seemed to last an eternity. I’m going to tell you what it was, how long I had to wait and why – I think you can probably guess already how I felt about it, but I’ll explain that as well anyway.

The situation was I was in a job where I really wanted to obtain an extra qualification in recognition of the work I was doing. The award was a Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy, and it is a very useful qualification for teaching in Higher Education in the UK. This was an award you could gain by submitting evidence of your capabilities through testimonials from others, examples of reflections on your work, and proof of attending various professional development courses. However, there was a problem. No-one else in my job role had ever done this qualification before, and although I thought it would be appropriate and possible, I had no way of knowing if the panel who would assess my portfolio would feel the same way. I was a bit sneaky, because I didn’t think my manager would support me in making the application, so I decided to do it all in my own time, and in my own way. The way it worked, was once you had submitted your portfolio of evidence, a panel of senior academic colleagues would meet to discuss it, and then they would agree whether or not you adequately met the required standard. The panel, though, met very infrequently. Only every two months, and not at all during the summer. A key part of the application was a reference from a senior colleague in support of my request for recognition.  I worked really hard to gather the evidence, I read widely to provide lots of references in support of my submission. I got testimonials from others, and advice from friends working at different institutions who had already obtained the qualification. Finally, though, I had done everything I could, I just needed a referee, and I didn’t want to use my manager. It was a problem.  

Eventually, I plucked up the courage to ask a very senior colleague who I greatly respected. I was delighted that he enthusiastically agreed to provide the necessary reference in support of my submission. However, he was very busy, and although he promised to do it, he wasn’t able to provide it in time for me to get my application in for the last panel before the summer. This meant I had to wait three months after completing my portfolio before the panel met to agree my fate. I knew I’d worked as hard as I could, but I also knew I was an unusual case, so I had no idea at all what the panel would decide. It was a very long summer. I had to wait nearly three months for when the next panel met before I knew my fate! I was nervous, and anxious too. Some days I felt really confident that of course, I would pass, I’d worked so hard and researched so thoroughly.  On other days I wished I hadn’t ever embarked on the process. How could I possibly gain the qualification when no-one else in my job role had done so before -mind you, no-one had tried before either, so there was always that glimmer of hope to keep me going.

Then, one day in the autumn, a rather dull looking email pinged into my inbox at work. Congratulations, you have been awarded the FHEA! That was it, I’d done it! I couldn’t believe it. After months of waiting, and anxious anticipation, that was that! I hadn’t even known the panel would be meeting so it was a real surprise. I was so delighted that my hard work had paid off. Once I got the award, I explained to my manager, and he was understanding about it. Part of my reticence was that I thought if I’d tried and failed it would have been embarrassing. Of course, now I passed, everything was well with the world!

So the waiting was horrible, but it was worth it in the end. I was glad I’d taken the risk and held out to the end, but I hope I’m never again kept in suspense for an exam result for quite so long in the future!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]

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