IELTS Cue Card Sample 427 - Something you did which was a waste of time

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

Describe something you did which was a waste of time.

You should say:

  • what you did
  • when you did it
  • why you did it

and explain why it was a waste of time.

Model Answer 1:
Oh no!  I’m embarrassed talking about this topic, because I’m so good at time wasting I’ve almost turned it into an art form, and that’s terrible isn’t it. I do my best time wasting when I’ve got something important to do, but which I keep putting off, so I’ll procrastinate by doing lots of things that aren’t really essential, but distract me from what I should be doing. I tell myself I’ll work better on that essay if I just tidy my desk/ have something to eat/ make that phone call first! Does that sound familiar to you? Still, even the sorts of things you do when procrastinating might be useful, that desk could have needed tidying and that phone call did need to be made. The worst sort of time wasting has no side off benefit at all. OK, so I can think of a great example of this! I’ll tell you the what, when and why – I think it will be obvious without explanation that it was indeed, a complete waste of time!

So I was lucky enough to be travelling, and I’d stopped off at a Youth Hostel in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It was humid and hot and I was exhausted. Even so, here I was in an amazing location, and I just didn’t have the energy to go outside. It was off season, and also, for various reasons Zimbabwe has lost some of its appeal to tourists in recent years, so it was very quiet. Lots of the guest houses and attractions were run down and shut, and the place felt a bit on edge. I was alone at the guest house, and decided I’d just relax by watching TV for a bit. Now, there wasn’t much in the way of English language stations, so I ended up stumbling on a Kung Fu film with English sub-titles. It was an old film, and really badly made, what’s more is, I don’t even like Kung Fu films!  Even so, I sat through it for about 2 hours, then just at the critical point where the film plot was coming to its somewhat laboured conclusion, the screen went blank, and then the film restarted right at the beginning! I couldn’t believe it. I’d just sat there for over 2 hours, watching a terrible movie, and I didn’t even get to see the end!

So the ‘what’ was watching not quite all of a terrible made-for-TV martial arts film; the ‘when’ was whilst I should have been exploring an amazing new location on arriving at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; as for the ‘why’? Well, I don’t know really what possessed me! I was tired, and I thought it would be good to relax a bit, but I so regretted it.

I felt so cross with myself afterwards. Life is short, I would probably never be in this part of the world again, I should have gone out exploring and caught up on relaxation and sleep later. It had been cripplingly hot it’s true, but it had also been bright sunshine through the humidity. I should have gone to see the infamous waterfalls that afternoon, the light would have been perfect for creating rainbows. As it was, I went the next morning when it was cooler, but very overcast, not a rainbow in sight. I am still furious with myself for missing that wonder of the world for a bad film.

So do I need to spell out anymore why it was a complete waste of time? I missed the chance to see a spectacular set of waterfalls in what would have been the perfect light for generating the multitude of rainbows for which that stretch of water is particularly famous. Not only did I miss out on this because I was watching a terrible film, it was a terrible film which I didn’t even get to see the end of! Lesson learned. Sometimes however tired you feel, or lacking in energy, if an opportunity comes your way seize it, it might not come round again, and time wasted, isn’t time you will ever get back!

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

Sample Answer 2:
Last year I bought a book on wood crafting as I thought I would learn and make some fabulous designs from simple wood. The idea came from a documentary I watched on TV and I thought buying a book and then trying it at home would be a good way to learn this skill. But to my dismay, that turned out to be a very difficult task for me and I lost my interest in few days. The whole thing was a waste of time in my opinion.

I thought reading this book would actually help me learning how to make simple designs from wood and it must be easy to follow. But to my surprise, the book focused too much on the history of wood crafting rather than presenting how to create one. I must have picked up the wrong book!

Then I watched some videos online and tried to mimic them. It would be probably early March last year when I tried this. I had an exam in July and yet I spent more than 3 weeks trying to learn this skill. I did it out of curiosity than passion and that might have been the main reason I lost my interest quite soon.

I spent many days and more than 400 dollars to arrange everything I required to successfully create a beautiful woodcraft. However, I picked the off-topic book and had not tried very hard. The whole process taught me nothing and cost me a good amount of money. This is why I consider it a complete waste of time, especially, since I did it before an important exam I had. That was very disappointing for me.

If you can talk about this cue card, you should be able to answer the following cue card topics as well:

1. Describe something you did and disliked.
2. Talk about something you did which was unfruitful.
3. Describe something you wish you did not do.

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