IELTS Cue Card Sample 11 - A newspaper or a magazine

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

Describe a newspaper or a magazine.

You should say:

  • What it is and why you read it
  • What are the benefits of reading a newspaper or a magazine
  • How often you read it and what are the contents of it

and explain why do you like reading this newspaper or magazine.

Follow-up Questions:
• What do you think are the important qualities for a news reporter?
• What's the main difference between newspaper and magazine?
• What’s the function of a report to the society?
• What kinds of books/newspapers/magazines do adolescents read in your country?
• With the popularity of Internet, do you think newspapers and magazines will disappear?

Possible Answer:
I read the newspaper almost every day and sometimes I purchase or borrow magazines to read as well. I'd like to describe a magazine that I usually buy each month and enjoy reading a lot. The name of this magazine is PC World which is a global computer magazine published monthly by IDG in the USA. It offers advice on various aspects of PCs and related items, the Internet, and other personal-technology products and services. In each publication, PC World reviews and tests hardware and software products from a variety of manufacturers, as well as other technology related devices such as still and video cameras, audio devices and televisions.

I have been reading this magazine for the last 6-7 years or so. It is specifically useful for people who love computers, other technology devices; software and IT-related news and updates. I am doing my graduation in Computer Science and Engineering and love to learn about new hardware and software. This is a magazine that offers great hardware & software reviews, tips on advanced computing and many other useful articles.

Reading a newspaper or a magazine is always helpful for learning new information. Newspapers provide contemporary local news, international news, editorials, entertainment, news, sports news and so on. Without reading newspapers or magazines one can't keep himself / herself updated with the latest news and views of the world. I purchase the PC World magazine every month and read it for about 7 days. Sometimes I read older versions as well to find out any particular reviews or articles. This magazine is helpful for basic, moderate and advanced computer users and techno lovers. Someone who has a computer should read it to increase his/ her knowledge of hardware and software. Even it’s helpful for those who are going to buy computers, printers, cameras, scanners, software or other hardware devices. I enjoy reading it a lot.


Describe a newspaper or a magazine

 

Sample Answer 2:
Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite magazines. It’s quite fun to think about it, first I’ll tell you what it is and why I read it. Then I’ll try and persuade you of the benefits of doing so, and a bit about how often I read it and what the contents are. Finally, I’ll explain why I like to read it so much.

The magazine is called ‘Women’s Running’. It’s a monthly publication, dedicated to helping female runners, at every level to improve their running and learn more about the sport.  

For me the benefits of reading this periodical are huge. It has great information about running techniques and nutrition; advertising features on new running related products; helpful articles on topics like ‘how to choose new trainers’ and advice on running events and how to prepare for them. That is great in itself, but even more importantly for me, it contains lots of human interest stories. Real women talking about their experiences of running, why they do it and how they stay motivated, keep positive and enjoy the sport.  

Even though I do like the magazine, it is really expensive, it’s £4 a time, so I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t buy my own copy. Instead, I have a friend who subscribes to it regularly. Every few months she has a big clear out, and she drops off a great big bag of magazines for me to read. I then have a binge of reading about running – which is a bit ironic really, I should be out doing it rather than reading about it! So I don’t read it each month, but every few months I’ll have a whole weekend curled up on the sofa avidly soaking up every article. I read each copy from cover to cover. I like the personal accounts best. Women talking about perhaps overcoming injuries and illness to keep on running; forming friendships and achieving goals they never thought possible. It can be really inspirational! It makes me believe that I too can do more than I think. Once I’ve read all the magazines I keep them for a while to refer back to, but eventually I too need to de-clutter, so I’ll pass them on to another running friend, and so the cycle continues!

Through reading the magazine I’ve started to think of myself more as part of the ‘running community’ whatever that means! I’ve started to realise that not everyone who takes part in running is choosing to do ultra-marathons, we can all run at our own level and still get the fitness and social benefits at whatever level you are at. The main competition is not with other people but with yourself, other runners can support and help you whether that’s with advice on how to up your speed or distances to get a new Personal Best or agreeing to go out with you on a wet and windy night when really the sofa looks a great deal more appealing than a rain soaked pavement in winter!

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

 

Tips for answering this Cue Card Topic:

To answer this cue card, first, decide if you are going to talk about a newspaper or a magazine. If you want to talk about a newspaper, decide which one you would like to talk. For the magazine you should finalise the magazine name also. Deciding a particular newspaper or magazine would help you focus on the features and characteristics of it.  There are some differences between a daily newspaper and a magazine.

If you decide to talk about the magazine focus on following points:

a) What type of magazine it is: weekly, monthly etc.
b) What's it about?: Lifestyle, technology, fun, business travel, fashion etc.
c) For magazine describe the topics and issues it covers. Like a computer related magazine often covers the software and hardware reviews, tips on computing, tutorials, and price list etc. whereas a fashion magazine highlights the current trends in fashion, new arrivals and focus on brands.
d) Why do I read it? Entertainment, tutorials, academic or professional benefits, new recipes etc.
e) Why is this magazine better than similar other magazines? Article presentation, economic, has subscription facility, exclusive etc.

If you talk about a newspaper focus on their news presentation, editorial and overall contribution to help people get unbiased and quality news and articles.
Since, almost all the daily newspapers cover the same type of news i.e. political, sports, editorial, international, business etc. you should focus less on the type of news they present. Rather emphasise what makes it a worth reading newspaper.

 

Part 3: Details Discussion:

Q. What do you think are the important qualities for a news reporter?
Answer: First and foremost, one of the essential characteristics a news reporter should have is passion for his work.  Academic training would be another important aspects to become a great news reporter. Next, if a news reporter has tertiary education, their knowledge will be broader and they will be specialized in the field of the news exclusively. Furthermore, experience in news agency is an important element as this factor is indispensable in every occupation and many times lead to better results. In addition, being objective, curious, passionate to excel, motivated to do something better  for people are some other important qualities of a professional news reporter. Finally, being able to judge information received on different subjects and not misinterpreting facts are two other qualities that every news reporter should have.

Q. What's the main difference between a newspaper and a magazine?
Answer: It's a really difficult question because as readers, people often think that these two are almost the same. But if we examine deeply, we will see that there are some differences indeed. First, newspapers contain short articles on current news and events and they are mostly daily and sometimes weekly publication. Magazines on the other hand, include longer articles on a variety of subjects and are weekly or monthly publication. Apart from these differences, there are some minor differences as well. For instance, magazines are smaller in size than newspapers and usually more expensive. Newspapers contain fresher contents than magazines. In addition, magazines are like a book while a newspaper is much larger in size though there is lesser number of pages than in a magazine. So we could conclude that although these two forms of print media look like the same, there are many differences between them.

Q. What's the function of a report to the society?
Answer: A report is any useful informational made with the specific intention of relaying information or recounting certain events in a widely presentable form. With regards to the function of a report, we could say in brief that it is multifunctional. Initially, it should provide information on what has to be done or needs to be done. Moreover, reports are used for keeping track of information and this action results in making decisions. Hence, they are used in different fields such as the government, business, education, science, and so on and they can be divided into categories with annual, book, demographic, inspection, military and police reports being the most know types.

Q. What kinds of books/newspapers/magazines do adolescents read in your country?
Answer: Puberty is a transitional period of life so most of children's hobbies and pastimes change during this time. As far as my country is concerned, I think that girls at adolescence read gossip and fashion magazines and novels with mainly romantic plot. Regarding boys, they read sports magazines most of the time, but there are some of them who read novels as well. When I was a teenager, my peers used to read Harry Potter books and as far as I can remember they were a mainstream.  

Tip: Adolescents in different countries read different kind of books, newspapers or magazines. Just talk about the most popular types in your country. For example you can say that boys read sports magazines, sci-fi, poetry, mystery and adventure books. With reference to girls, you can mention that they mostly read literature, romance, contemporary and beauty magazines, magazines and books about relationships.
 
Q. With the popularity of Internet, do you think newspapers and magazines will disappear?
Answer: That's a controversial yet important issue to discuss about. Some people believe that magazines and newspapers will continue to be publicized irrespective of Internet's rapid progress. The way we are accustomed to read a hard copy of a newspaper or a magazine will never get lost. The appeal of reading something printed is in our blood and it would not fade away very soon. However, it is undeniable that a large number of people would read it in a computer or a handheld device. There are many really large news and magazine companies that were established many years ago and they employed many workers. If printed newspapers and magazines disappear, all these corporations will automatically go bankrupt and thousands of people will be unemployed. My personal belief is that as the Internet is constantly advancing, the publication of the press will be restricted to some extent and all the major newspaper and magazine companies will have their online versions for readers. I can see for myself that I prefer reading the news online rather than buying newspapers, but that does not mean that I never buy a magazine or a newspaper to read it.
 
[Part 3 answers were written by Mary, UK, Economist with Main Field of Studies in Business Economics]
 
Use the same techniques to answer the following cue cards also:
 
1. Describe a magazine that you read often.
2. Describe the newspaper that you read daily.
3. Describe you favourite magazine.

 
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