IELTS Cue Card Sample 17 - Describe a party

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

Describe a party that you have attended.

  • what party it was
  • where the party was held
  • who attended the party

and describe what you did in that party.

Follow-up Questions:
What are the differences between serious party and friendly party?
Why are some people late for parties intentionally?
Why do some people like the party while others hate it?
What would you do if the guests feel bored?
Will there be more and more people to attend parties?

Possible Answer 1:
Today I’m going to tell you about a particular party I went to earlier in the year, I’ll tell you where it was, and who went and what I got up to whilst I was there!

In honesty, I can be a bit grumpy about going to parties!  I never know what to wear as I don’t really like dressing up.  I feel self-conscious in dresses and too much of a scruff if I don’t make an effort.  I worry about whether I’ll know anyone, and I dread sit-down meals because I’m a vegetarian and I always seem to be a problem.  This being so when a close friend of mine announced she would have a big celebration for her fiftieth birthday, my heart sank a bit.  Of course, I put on a smile, and said ‘that’s great!’ but I wasn’t really looking forward to it.   I knew that it was important to her, though, so I was determined to make a real effort, and of course, I agreed I would go.

Well, I should have had more faith.  The party was great.  It was held in a beautifully converted barn in a rural location on the edges of Sheffield in England.  The venue had a wooden polished floor and was very simply decorated with some tastefully positioned fairy lights and candles.  The candles were, in fact, artificial for safety reasons, but they looked very realistic.  There was low-level music playing and lots of places to sit and chat or mingle with other guests.  If I remember correctly, there were white tablecloths over the tables and some simple but lovely floral decorations.  The food was provided by a friend of the Birthday Girl, who specialises in fast street food.  You could queue up for a delicious meal presented in a wrap from a very jolly woman serving from an open-sided vehicle parked in the cobbled courtyard outside.  In a separate annexed room inside was a table almost collapsing under the weight of delicious home-made cakes and puddings on one side, and glorious British cheeses on the other.  There was also a small bar serving drinks, for which my host picked up the bill at the end, it was really beautifully done – very tasteful, calm and joyful too.

My friend, whose birthday it was, has a really wide network of friends.  She decided to invite anyone and everyone from her social circle.  So there were old school friends; people she knew from her voluntary activities with scouts; fellow runners – she is very active in a number of running clubs.  Former work colleagues; people she’d come to know just from waiting with other parents at the school gates when her children were little; fellow entrepreneurs (she runs her own small business) as well as neighbours and acquaintances from every area of her life.

Before I went I was worried about whether I’d know anyone else there.  I hadn’t been living in the area for all that long before being invited, and so I was a bit hesitant about what to expect.  I should have remembered what a good judge of character my fantastically friendly friend is!  What did I do at the party?  Apart from eating my body weight in delicious food… I met and talked to many interesting people that I might otherwise never have come across!  This included the self-employed interior designer; marathon runners; a former Bluebell girl (that’s a famous Parisian dance troupe); artists; writers; an organ transplant coordinator; medical doctors; IT workers; academics and students.  It was a remarkable cross-section of fascinating folk.  I had a really wonderful time.

What’s more, I discovered that actually, I did know quite a few people there after all.  It was great fun trying to discover how we all came to be there and what connected each of us to the –‘hostess with the mostest’ to coin the old phrase!  I am almost won over.  Next time she offers to host a party, I might even find myself looking forward to it, you never know.

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


Possible Answer 2:
The party I'd like to describe is the New Year eve party that I attended 2 years back. Our University friends invited me to join the party and I had to contribute some amount for that. The party held at a 3-star hotel where the teachers, students and their relatives attended.

On the New Year eve, one of my friends gave me a call and then I picked up a taxi to reach the hotel. The name of the hotel was (..say a name you prefer...) and it was a beautiful hotel in our city. After I reach the hotel I found that it has been gorgeously decorated with lights. Our party was on the 2nd floor and I found most of my friends and some of the teachers already enjoying the party. 

A local music band was singing and people were wearing mostly party dresses. We enjoyed the party a lot and ate several local and foreign dishes. We started counting down the time at 11:59 pm and when the clock ticked at 12:00, we started shouting with the New Year wishes. We stayed at the party till 2.00 am and all those time we enjoyed our time every way possible.

Tips for answering this cue card topic:

You are free to talk about any party you like to talk about for this cue card as it has not specifically mentioned any particular party like New York party, School party, Birthday party etc.

Following are some of the points you can pick for answering this cue card:

1. Types of party: Birthday of a friend or a family member (you can also talk about your birthday party), New Year party, a family party, reunion party, a small party arranged by your friends, A party celebrated because one of your great achievements, a business party you threw for a business success or you attended a business party that was thrown by your business partner, a party arranged by your office/ university etc.

2.  Where it was held: It would depend on who threw the party. If this party was arranged by you or your family, say that it held on your house. Alternatively, the party can hold at a restaurant, hotel or party centre. University or office parties usually held on their premises. Finally, the party can help on your friend, relative or business partner’s house or guest house.

3.  Who attended there: For family party mostly your family members, close friends and relatives would be joining. If this is an office or business party, your colleagues or associates would be there. For university party or parties thrown by your friends, you will mostly have your friends and classmates and sometimes teachers as well. If the party is thrown by a friend or their family, then there would be some of your friends you know and others you won’t know.

4.  Some of the common features of the party: You gather and meet with lots of others people, you talk to them, you have foods, drinks and other food items as part of the party, depending on the party there would be music, dancing and other activities, you enjoy the party or the party was boring for you, you meet new people and talk to them on different topics, you usually stay long in the party.

Part 3: Details Discussion:

Q. What are the differences between a serious party and a friendly party?
Answer: I think that there are many differences between these two kinds of party. In the former, the attire is often more elegant with guests wearing costumes and ties, while in the latter this doesn't always happen and they wear more casual clothes, such as jeans, t-shirts and so on. In addition, serious parties are often more of professional type, whilst with friendly parties, this isn't always the case. For example, a serious party includes a party with a person's colleagues, employer and boss and in case of the second some peers, fellow students or relatives enjoy the party. Moreover, it could be argued that serious parties are mostly held in restaurants or bars and most of the time are expensive, while friendly parties in houses or cafeterias and are cost-saving.

Q. Why are some people late for parties intentionally?
Answer: This is a really interesting question and to be honest I have never thought about it. I can't find a logical explanation why someone will do something like that and I would describe it as a really immature and unscrupulous action. But, unfortunately, there are many who belong to this category and some of them are friends of mine as well. A reason that comes to my mind is that someone doesn't want to go to a party but they are forced to do so. Indeed, there are many occasions and especially related to workplace or parties thrown by relatives where people are sometimes forced to be present. In this case, the only solution is going many hours after the commencement of the party. This is the only reason I can think of and partly justify this action.

Tip: If you are one of them just say the reason you are doing this and give the best explanation you can in order to convince the examiner that your action is justifiable.

Q. Why do some people like the party while others hate it?
Answer: I don't really know for sure, but I would say that it's a matter of individual character and preference. There are certain people who are introvert and like to keep a low profile who don't like places and events which are crowded. Furthermore, if parties are held in houses, the mess is unavoidable and oftentimes the damages are irreparable, so for the host, it could be said that is a traumatic experience.

Moving to those who love parties, it could be argued that it's a way in which people come together and have some fun. It's arguably true that due to the excessive working hours and the busy lifestyle, people have drifted apart and become alienated. Parties are great opportunities for reunions and substantial conversations. A further reason which is a little ludicrous is because of the tasteful and delectable food. I can say about some of my friends that - the first thing that comes to their mind when they hear that they are invited to parties is 'food' and they are instantly inundated with positive feelings.

Q. What would you do if the guests feel bored?
Answer: The first thing I would do if my guests are bored in a party that I have hosted is to turn on the music or change my playlist. There are some people who don't like the conventional and rife types of music and prefer something else. If music couldn't help, I would ask them what they want to do to have fun and adjust to their desires and preferences, if possible. Furthermore, if nothing of the above could produce a positive result and make their mood change, I would play a game to attract their interest or tell some stories from our different experiences and stages of life, which would definitely lead to lots of laughter and joy. I would finally arrange some indoor games and would declare some prizes for the winners to warm up the guests.

Tip: Some other options to cheer up the bored guests in a party could be- changing food and drinks, sugar and coffee sometimes make someone recharged, introducing each other so that they can talk, giving them space and autonomy is useful as well, because they are free to do whatever they want without restrictions.

Q. Will there be more and more people to attend parties?
Answer: Yes I think so. I truly believe that the number of party lovers will increase in the future. The opportunities to gather together with friends and relatives are shrinking in modern days and people would not want to miss parties where they can meet people, relatives and enjoy their time. Parties would be a way of relaxing and taking breaks for many busy employees and the increasing number of party attendees these days gives hints that in the future it will further increase.

[Part 3 question answers are written by - Mary, Economist & Business Consultant, UK]

If you can answer this cue card you should be able to answer the following cue cards also:

1.  Describe a birthday party you attended.
2.  Describe a birthday celebration you did recently.
3.  Talk about a party you attended and did not like.
4.  Describe a family event you remember.
5.  Describe a wedding party you attended.
6.  Describe an occasion where you met new people.
7.  Describe an event from your university.
8.  Describe a celebration you attended.
9.  Describe a party that you threw for your friends.
10. Describe a party that you enjoyed.

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