IELTS Cue Card Sample 21 - Describe a friend from your childhood

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

Describe a friend from your childhood.

You should say:

  • how you met him/her
  • how long you are friends & what you did together
  • What made you like him/ her

and explain your friendship.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Rounding off questions:

  • Why childhood is important for us?
  • What changes have you gone through from your childhood?
  • What are the differences between childhood friends and college friends?

Sample Answer 1:
I am going to tell you about my first ‘best friend’ from childhood.  I’ll explain how we met, how long we were friends, what we got up to and why I liked her so much, and I’ll try and explain our friendship so you can understand why we were so close.

I first met my friend Tracey when I went to junior school.  We were sat next to each other in class, I don’t think we chose to do that particularly, we probably just sat where we were told to on our first day of the school year, but we got on straight away and were firm friends from the age of about 8 until we left school to go to senior school aged about eleven.  We happened to go to different schools at that point, and sadly our friendship drifted apart, when we were younger though, we were inseparable.

Tracey and I had similar interests.  We liked being outside, we liked horses (although neither of us went riding or had access to ponies back then), we enjoyed doing craft type activities (although she was really talented creating amazing pictures and artwork, whilst I just got stuck at the stage of colouring in!)  My main memory is of us heading off together on our bikes for hours and hours at a time.  She lived quite near a large park, so I used to cycle to her house, and then we’d go to the park together with a picnic lunch and spend all day playing games together.  I’m embarrassed now to think how we galloped around pretending to be horses or whatever the game of the day was, but it was fun at the time.  We used to try hula hooping and skipping too, seeing who could hold up a hoop for the longest of skip without stopping using a rope.  I have a feeling she was more accomplished than me at both these activities too.  Sometimes we would try to find and catch grasshoppers (we always let them go) or we would just laze in the sun until it was time to go home.  It was very different then. There were no mobile phones, and people were much more relaxed about letting their children go off and play all day, I’m not sure if you could still do that. Still, we were very happy, and used to come back to her house tired and hot and sunburnt, and if we were lucky her mum would give us lemonade to drink and sometimes cheese salad rolls for tea.  Happy memories indeed!

In terms of why we liked each other, well we just did!  We enjoyed doing the same things, we could talk about anything to each other – complaining about school work or annoying parents and other such troublesome worries of the time.  She had pet rabbits, and I had pet guinea pigs, so looking after our pets was a shared interest too.  It probably helped that we lived quite close to each other and both had bikes too.  We also both had a vivid imagination, it meant we could have remarkable adventures together pretending to inhabit whole new worlds that we had invented for ourselves.

We kept in touch for a while, but both eventually moved on.  I think she went on to become an artist of some renown, which was not surprising given her early talent for art.  Whatever she does and wherever she ended up I hope she is happy and successful too, and I will always remember her as a brilliant companion from when I was young, I wonder if she remembers me too.

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

Model Answer 2:
Childhood has its speciality and magic and sometimes childhood friends are unforgettable. One such friend I recall was Masud who I still remember. Our friendship lasted only for a year and after that, he moved to a different city with his parents. I met him at our first day in school. I was late for school due to a bad traffic and when I reached my classroom, I thought that all of the seats have been occupied and I was desperately looking for a place to sit. The class teacher asked my name and announced to make a seat for me. I found that one of the boys was asking me to go over there and sit beside him. This very boy was Masud and I was grateful to him.

In the tiffin time, I shared my foods with him and talked about lots of things. From that next day, we started sitting next to each other and our friendship began to flourish. I found that he collects stamps as a hobby and I was excited to find this common hobby between us. We were very close friends and after one year I heard that he would be moving to a new city as his father has been transferred there. I did not know his postal address and as a consequence, I could not communicate him. We did not meet each other after that but he was such a good and close friend that I still miss him sometimes.

We did a lot of interesting and fun stuff together. At school, we played footballs and other games in the interval period. We made kites and flew them together, we went to many places to buy stamps, we went to the library to read books, we went to the river to swim, we climbed in trees, we played crickets, we walked in the streets and told stories to each other and did many other things together.

He was a lively and helpful boy who liked me very much. We had many things in common and we helped each other on our studies. Since I enjoyed participating different activities with him, I liked him as a friend as well. We had a strong bonding and intimate friendship between us. We tried to help each other whenever needed. 

Tips for answering this cue card question:

This topic is very similar to the cue card "Describe a friend who you really like to spend time with", except that you should talk about a friend from your childhood. There is a good possibility that you no longer meet him/her very often but as a childhood friend, you keep in touch.

Following are some points you can mention to answer this cue card topic:

1. You had lots of fun stuff together in childhood and you enjoyed his/ her company.
2. You went school together, you played together and you spend lots of time together.
3. You meet him/her whenever you visit your hometown and you still enjoy his friendship.
4. You two have strong bonding as your friendship go matured over time.
5. You two had lots of common interest and you learned many things from him/her.
6. Describe what you did together in the childhood, how you spent time then and how you two started living in two different places.
7. Not necessarily you two have to live in two different places; you can mention that you two are still close and meet very friendly.
8. Say 1-2 interesting memories you two had together.
9. Talk about some reasons you liked him. 

Rounding off questions/ Follow-up Questions:

Q. Why childhood is important for us?
Answer:
It is an indisputable fact that childhood is the best period in our life. Children are carefree, play all the time and have no concerns. In addition, childish memories are really important and many times determine children's life and personality. It's true that there are many cases when people with an extremely unpleasant childhood tend to be mentally disturbed not only when they reach adulthood but also later in their life. So I would jump to the conclusion that it's imperative that a child is raised in a caring, loving and supportive environment in order to maximise their future well-being and become emotionally- secure adults.

Q. What changes have you gone through from your childhood?
Answer: It's obvious that all of us have undergone changes through the transition from childhood to adulthood. First of all, external appearance has completely changed, as my body has developed and I have grown taller. In addition, I would say that I am able to maintain my composure when difficulties come up and I am more mature than the time when I was little. Furthermore, I am tolerant to diversity and I have learnt to respect other people's preferences, opinions and attitudes. Lastly, my educational level isn't the same as it was in my early years, as I have graduated from university and specialised in a particular field.

Q. What are the differences between childhood friends and college friends?
Answer: That's a really interesting and substantial question. Friends during childhood are just some children who we spent time with and share some common interests. They are more like our playmates than soulmates. On the contrary, college friends are some important people with whom we share a really strong bonding and become close to. Furthermore, most of the time friends from higher educational institutions are like siblings and long-time relationships are built, as they are based on true feeling such as trust, compassion, love and so on. For example, my best friend from university is like a brother to me and also my best man and in this way, we have sealed our relationship while I do not have any childhood friends whom I still communicate.

Part 3 – Detail discussion / Two-way discussion:

Friendship:

Q. What do you think makes someone a good friend to a whole family?
Answer:
  It seems to me that the main element in order for someone to be considered a friend to all members of a family is having common values and interests. If these two characteristics are absent or not compatible, it's really difficult for someone to be accepted as a family friend or to hang out with.

Moreover, if parents see that someone has a good personality and some basic virtues that support the notion of friendship, it is likely that they will like and accept this person to their family.  In my opinion, family friends play an important role as there are many cases when parents consort with some people they consider friends, and many times it is likely that their kids also interact with those people.

Q. Do you think we meet different kinds of friends at different stages of our lives? In what ways are these types of friend different?
Answer:
  I totally agree with that statement as I believe we have different expectations and requirements for our friends in different stages of our life. When children are in primary schools, they just have one or two friends and this is because at that stage they are not capable of assessing and appreciate the importance of friendship. In the early stages of our life, we require friends who would love to play with us, do things that we like to do. So, these relationships are slack and nothing is invested as far as feelings are concerned. However, we start understanding the significance of this bond in high school as make some friends who have similar interests and can help us in studies. Friends during puberty, on the other hand, are in many cases the most important in someone's life and often these relationships are really strong and based on solid foundation. At that period of life, people's' relationships are true and substantial as real feelings such as love, affection, support and trust are dominant. When we start our career, we will have many friends who are basically colleagues. In the old age, people usually have friends who are more like family members.

So, I would say that friends in the very early ages are just some playmates who kids hang out and spend some time with and the teen to adult stages include very important and worthy people that are much more than friends.

Q. How easy is it to make friends with people from a different age group?
Answer:
It's a controversial issue as some would say it is quite easy to make friends from different age groups while others would deny it.

In my opinion, the most important characteristics in making friends are communication and common views. In this way, people are able to talk about different things, make meaningful conversations and swap ideas. If these elements don't exist, even among the people of same age group, then it's really difficult for someone to make friends. I would say that usually people find it easier to have friends of same age groups, but if effective communication and common views work smoothly between two persons of different age groups, they can become good friends. For example, a friend of mine who is around my age has a close friend of 60. When I found about that I was surprised, but when I saw that they have so much in common and they have great times together, I totally endorsed it. As far as I'm concerned, I don't have friends who are much older than I am but I have younger friends and common interests make us a really tight group.

Influence of friends:

Q. Do you think it is possible to be friends with someone if you never meet them in person?
Answer: It’s an interesting question to answer and I would say that it is possible indeed, but it's not the same as having friends who we meet personally and interact face-to-face. Nowadays, especially due to technological advances, more and more people chat and interact with each other via chatting, calling and social media applications and in this way they develop different kinds of relationships. There are many cases when someone talks with another person on a constant basis and share personal things, experiences and they turn out to call each other 'friend'. But in my opinion, I would say that this person  is more of an e-buddy rather than a real friend. A friend is someone that people can see in the flesh and consort with them regularly.

Q. Is this real friendship?
Answer: As I extensively mentioned earlier, this isn't true friendship, at least in my taste. Many positive sentiments may be created, such as rapport, confidence and happiness, but friendship is much more than only a word and it entails that people have a contact on a regular basis and hang out with each other. E-friendship is a different type of friendship, I would say an impersonal one because friends aren't able to meet each other in person and the only thing they can do is talk by typing keystrokes on the keyboard or make video calls. Such friendship is growing faster due to our reliance on technology, but they are not real friendship, in my opinion. 

Q. What kind of influence can friends have on our lives?
Answer: It is argued that friends are the second most influential persons in someone's life, after the parents. A famous saying ‘A person is known by the company he keeps’ is indeed a reflection that we are greatly influenced by the friends we have. Especially at adolescence, children are impressionable as they form their personality and character and oftentimes they copy their peers. During this time good friends can instil positive attributes and elements in a person while the opposite is also true.

Friends constitute a big part of our life and they play a very important role.  They can contribute to the creation of positive feelings for us such as happiness, self-confidence, esteem and control and can also delude us to have negative feelings and activities. Hence, they can be determinants of someone's character as friendship can play a vital role in a person's beliefs.

Q. How important would you say it is to have friends from different cultures?
Answer: In my opinion, having friends from diverse cultures is extremely important and helpful. Initially, people learn many things about other cultures such as history, customs, values and points, and this way their knowledge in enhanced. Furthermore, it promotes diversity and cultivates tolerance and understanding as well as positive changes in our attitude. For example, by having a friend with completely different culture, people can swap opinions, broaden their horizons and become tolerant about things they have not faced before. To conclude, I reckon that it is essential that people have pals from different countries because as far as I'm concerned, this could only lead to positive outcomes.

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

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

1. Describe one of your long term friends.
2. Talk about a friends you really like.
3. Talk about your best friend.
4. Describe a friend who helped you.
5. Describe a friend from your school.

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