IELTS Cue Card Sample 36 - Describe a bad weather experience you have had

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

Describe a bad weather experience you have had.

You should say:

  • what sort of bad weather it was
  • when it happened
  • where you were when it happened

and explain how it affected you.

Follow-up Questions:

  • What are the main seasons in your country?
  • What environmental changes have you noticed in your country?
  • What should we do to protect the environmental pollutions?

Model Answer 1:
Well, I am from England, and in England, we love to talk about the weather! It changes all the time, and so it’s actually quite hard to think of one specific example of bad weather that I have experienced there. Even so, I can recall one particularly extraordinary day, when bad weather brought my city of Sheffield to a standstill. I am going to tell you what the weather was like, where I was when it happened and how it affected me I still shiver as I recall it!

The bad weather was snow. It does snow in parts of the United Kingdom every year, and where I live in Sheffield we do always get some snow in the winter months, especially on the higher ground. I quite like snow, it can be cold and a bit inconvenient if you get a heavy snowfall, as then public transport stops and everything grinds to a halt. However, it is also really beautiful how a snowfall can turn everything white. It is fun to build snowmen, make snow angel shapes in the newly fallen snow, to go sledging in the hills and even to have a sneaky snowball fight if you are brave enough to find someone to take on. So on the whole, I like snow, I enjoy the novelty of it, and as long as you are dressed appropriately (hat, gloves, scarf, waterproof trousers and thick winter coat) it isn’t too bad. The day I’m thinking of, though was rather different.

I woke up on a December morning about four years ago and the first thing I noticed was that it was really really quiet. It is hard to describe if you have never experienced it, but after a thick snowfall, everything sounds different. The sounds that you normally hear are changed by the muffling effect of the snow, but also there was no sound of traffic. The snow had fallen so deeply, that cars were stuck in driveways and buses in their depots, the only way to get about that day would be on foot. I was lucky because I only lived about two miles from work, so I could still get in. I pulled on my wellington boots, and waterproof clothes and headed off into town. I quickly discovered that this was not like any normal snowfall. The snow had fallen feet deep onto the ice, it was really treacherous even trying to walk in these conditions. Where I live in Sheffield, it is incredibly hilly. Snow ploughs had cleared the major roads, but this had exposed dangerous thick black ice underneath which was impossible to walk across. The combination of ice and steep slopes meant that I was sliding around everywhere and so was everyone else. Although at first, it was quite comical, watching people skidding about and falling over, after a while I started to be quite anxious, it was dangerous, you couldn’t even stand upright. I got to one road crossing at the top of a hill, and the road was so slippery the only way to get over it was to literally crawl across on my hands and knees. The other side of the road a complete stranger was lying down and reaching out to pull people across safely. It was so bizarre, I have never seen anything like it before or since. The roads were thick ice, but the pavements were piled high with drifts of snow up to three feet deep, I thought I’d never make it to the office that day let alone home again by nightfall!

My normal walk to work would have taken me perhaps 30 minutes, but on this day it took over three times that long as I had to negotiate the tricky roads and paths. When I got there, I found only a couple of other people had made it in as well. Most people had looked out of their windows and decided it was far too dangerous to attempt the journey. I think they were right! My manager had made it in, but he quickly decided it was silly to stay, we all still had to get home safely somehow, and it was still snowing outside. I was working at a university at the time, and for the first time in its history it was declared closed, it was ridiculous to expect staff and students to make the trek in – I should have stayed in bed! We stayed at work long enough to phone people to cancel appointments and confirm we were shut, and then I had the same long trek home in the snow again. I was exhausted by the time I got back!

It was quite an experience, it made me appreciate how much we should respect the elements. I felt safe at first because it was an urban environment, and usually, we don’t get much disruption due to bad weather there, but really the snow and ice made it unnavigable for the next few days. I suppose in countries where they always get a lot of snow and ice they are better prepared for it when it comes. We were certainly taken by surprise. That was my most memorable bad weather adventure. It was fun in a way, but I wouldn’t welcome that every year, plus it was freezing. It’s hard to keep smiling when you are so cold!I still love the snow – but I respect it a lot more than I used to.

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

 

Possible answer 2:
The experience I would like to talk about took place 4-5 years back and I was a college student at that time. One day I heard that my uncle is sick and my parents asked me to give him a visit. Since my college was closed at that time, I decided to go to my uncle's house. The journey towards my uncle's house took me 7-8 hours and I had to take a bus, then a boat and finally, walk for 2 kilometres to reach the house.

The place was in a remote urban area and there was no direct bus or train communication there. However, the journey I took to reach there was enjoyable and I had good times at my uncle's house. I was glad to see him getting well and spent some quality time with my cousins. After 2-3 days I said goodbye to my uncle, aunt and cousins and took my journey toward my home. They were convincing me to stay a few days more but I could not as my classes were due to start.

I left my uncle's house at 3:00 pm and the weather was cloudy. The weather was comparatively good even when I got on a big boat to reach the town to pick a bus. But after 30 minutes or so, the sky all of a sudden became intimidating. The lightning and the sound of it gave an impression that a heavy rain is approaching. But instead of the rain, a devastating storm hit in and the boatmen failed to control the navigation of the boat. People became so scared that they started praying to God. I was very frightened as well.
At a point, I started feeling that the boat might sink and I might never reach home alive. The storm showed no signal to calm down and the powerful wind blowing was trying to take away everything from its way. The wind was blowing from every side and we could not see anything nearby or distant.

The boatman yelled and asked us to hold something strongly and get prepared to swim to the nearby land if needed. I knew how to swim but I found 2-3 persons were crying as they did not know how to swim. Their screaming made the situation even worse and I felt a strong urge to stay alive. I am not sure how long this shattering storm lasted but to me, it seemed like the eternity. Later on, I found that the strong lasted for about 40 minutes and the boat has reached to a completely different place. By the time the storm has pacified, we were grateful to be alive. We found 1 woman and a kid have become sick and were vomiting in fear and for the sudden impact of the heavy storm. I reached to a highland and sat in a shop for about 15 minutes to realise what just happened. I have some other bad weather experience but no other one was a life threat as this one was.

After I reached home, I did not tell my parents about it. I told them the truth after 1 week. I will never forget the experience I had on this way back journey from my uncle's house.

 

Tips for answering this Cue Card Topic:

To describe a bad weather experience  you need to talk about both the bad weather and your experience of this bad weather. A bad weather can be a heavy rain, show, storm, stormy wind, flood, heavy tide in a river etc. Do not talk about a natural disaster like earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, accident on the road as they are not usually a bad weather. Note that you must describe how you got stuck on this weather and what happened to you. Do not talk about a bad weather experience you heard from someone as this cue card asks you to talk about your own experience. However, you can say that because of the bad weather you were stuck at home and suffered a lot. But talking about a journey you took and faced a bad weather would be a better answer for this cue card topic.

Following are some of the ideas to help you talk about this cue card:

1. You took a journey and all of a sudden the bad weather appeared.
2. You did not have any option to quickly get to a safe place.
3. The weather so was devastating that it was life threatening.
4. You were stuck in this bad weather for more than 2-3 hours.
5. You were a bit frightened and you found people were afraid as well.
6. When you left home, the weather was perfectly okay but all of a sudden it changed.
7. After the devastating experience ended you were so relieved.
8. This is an experience you will never forget.

 

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

1. Describe a bad experience of your life.
2. Describe a natural disaster you have seen.
3. Describe a bad journey you have had.
4. Talk about one of your memorable events.
5. Describe a storm you have seen.
6. Describe a journey you wish you did not have.
7. Talk about an experience when you felt helpless.
8. Describe one of your frightening experiences.

 

Sample Answer 3:
It was probably July of 2010 and it was a rainy reason when I had to experience a bad weather and the experience was so bad that I still remember it clearly. Our local area was a comparatively low area, and the rainy reason often caused us trouble.

It started with heavy rain and the rain continued without any cease for a week. This causes the roads and fields overflowing by waters. We knew that the rainy season has started. One night we wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and felt that something is wrong. I noticed that the water has reached our house and was approaching to our floor. I was bit afraid and called my mother. Our entire family members wake up and within an hour the water was all around the room.

There was nothing to do and we found that people in our locality have waked up and had been busy to move their furniture to safe places. In the meantime, the water level has reached to well over our floor and most of our furniture was staying in the water.

I was not quite grown up then and I felt a great anxiety because of the sudden hit if the flood. My parents tried to console me and assured me that we will be safe in few hours. But my gut feelings told me that things are not going to be okay. I felt helpless and prayed to God so that he takes away the water from our house. This was the first time when I noticed the devastating form of the flood. As it was the first flood experience in my life, I could not imagine what was happening and how would we get away from it. The night was sleepless and the next morning we took the valuable furniture and other belonging to one of our relative’s house who stayed at the 6th floor of a building. We kept the rest of the furniture in our house in the flood water.

My parents sent me to my grandfather’s house which was in a different city where flood did not hit and after few days they also came there to get rid of the flood. We stayed at our grandfather’s house for about 15 days and returned home after the floor water decreased and went away.

Follow-up Questions:

Q. What are the main seasons in your country?

Q. What environmental changes have you noticed in your country?

Q. What should we do to protect the environmental pollutions?

Part 3: Discussion topics:

Q. What should you do in a bad weather?

Q. What is the relationship between weather and culture?

Q. The climate has changed these 50 years. Have you noticed the changes?

Q. What changes do you predict in the following years?

Q. Are the people interested in gathering the weather information in your place?

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