Cue Card Sample

IELTS Cue Card Sample 353 - Describe a book or movie that had a major influence on you

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

Describe a book or movie that had a major influence on you.

You should say:

  • what is it and who wrote/produced it
  • how you learned about it
  • what's the main story of the book/ movie

and how it had a major influence on you.

Model Answer 1:
So, today I’m going to talk about a book that has had a major influence on me. I will first tell you the name of the book, then I’ll tell you how I heard about it. Next, I’ll outline the main story and finally I will explain why it plays an important role in my life.

The book is called ‘Tracks’, and it is by an Australian woman called Robyn Davidson. It’s quite old now, I think it was written in about 1980, but it has recently been made into a film, so perhaps you will have heard of it.

I was introduced to the book by an Australian friend.  She was travelling in England when I met her, and we were both working at the same place. I said how brave she was going round the world, and how much I’d like to do it but I didn’t have the skills and courage to do the same.  She insisted that bravery doesn’t really come into it, sometimes you just have to go. When she left to continue on her travels she gave me a copy of this book, with an inscription that was taken from its last chapter which basically says, the hardest part of any endeavour (or journey) is taking the first step, making the decision to go, and after that it’s easy!

The book is a true account of a young woman who decides to cross the Great Australian Desert on her own by camel! That is some 1700 miles of Australian outback, from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean.  What I found remarkable about the tale, is that the woman who does this is herself not that well equipped.  She makes lots of mistakes, things go wrong, she loses confidence at times, and it is by no means easy.  At the start of the journey she’d never met a camel, let alone knew about how to work with them!  However, she overcame all these obstacles through tenacity and creativity and achieved her goal.  It was precisely because she was apparently so unsuited to the endeavour that I found it really inspirational to read.  Sometimes you read tales of adventurers and the people who do great thing seem to be super-human, incredibly resourceful, strong or wealthy and you end up thinking ‘that’s amazing, but I could never do that’. With Robyn’s tale, it is different. You think ‘well if she can I could too.  It won’t be easy, but it isn’t necessarily impossible either’.

So why is the book so important to me?  Because it gave me a nudge to do something I’d been wanting to do for a very long time.  To travel.  The story inspired me, but also the confidence that my friend had in me that I could do it too helped me to eventually take the decision to go off exploring the world.  Perhaps not anything quite so remarkable as crossing a desert on my own apart from a few camels, but my own adventures nevertheless.  Since then I’ve found out for myself that it is indeed true, the hardest bit about any adventure is making the decision to take the first step.  I wouldn’t say that after that it is necessarily easy, but I would say if you keep going forward you won’t want to look back!

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


Sample Answer 2:  (A Book)
I am greatly influenced by the novel – The Alchemist. This is one of the bestsellers and I like the novel for a good many reasons. The book is about finding one’s destiny. I am extremely glad to get the opportunity on discussing the novel I like most.

The novel was composed in the Portuguese language by the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. It was composed in 1987 and was published in the next year. The entire book is about the firm determination which gets natural help. The novel shows how the universe helps someone in reaching the destiny. But by the same time, there should be a firm intention towards success. The novel was written within a very short time – two weeks only. The writer had completed his work so speedily that it amazes me greatly. He told about the writing speed that the plot was in his soul and thus he was able to complete it within this short time.    

I love to read books of various tastes. Some of my family members term me as book worm because of my book reading nature. I first came to know about the book from an uncle (my dad’s friend) who came to our house and had some conversations with me. He told me about the book and advised me to read it. He also told me that the novel will enrich my mind from diversified perspectives. After his directives, I collected the book. But it was really difficult to get the book in the local book shops of Paris where I live in. So, I had to wait for a few days before having the book. One of the book sellers, from whom I regularly collect books, took my order and asked me to wait for somedays till he manages the book. Finally, I got the book after about one month after I placed the order.   

The novel revolves around the theme about the destiny. The core theme of the book is about the supports from the universe. When someone tries to get something by heart, the entire universe comes in to help to gain the thing. Finding the destiny becomes easier then. With this novel – The Alchemist, the author wants to prove that someone needs to be true with the determination. The story runs with the events of an Andalusian shepherd and his journey to Egypt. The young boy started for Egypt to find treasure in pyramids. He dreamt about the similar thing for a couple of times and he realised the fact that he needs to move ahead to make his dream come true. Santiago, the young shepherd, believed that he would reach his dream someday and accordingly, he made the plan to visit Egypt. In his way to the destiny, he had met with several people who inspired him to reach his goal. He falls in love and gets a new realisation about life.         

The novel had some major influences on me after I completed reading it. In fact, it may sound weird that I have started believing on personal legend and reached the goals I dreamt for. I wanted to succeed in my academic activities. It was difficult for me to obtain a very good score in the exams. But with the firm determination, I found that everything was easier to me. I got supports from my parents and classmates in the university which I never had before. My way of thinking towards the world changed and I won everything I wanted to win before. I got the idea from the novel and it was a great help for me indeed.


Sample Answer 3: ( A Movie)
Usually watching movies is not in my nature but if there are something special, I do not miss. Accordingly, I enjoyed a movie named – Forrest Gump. This was a 19947 movie and belonged to comedy-drama genre. I enjoyed the movie to the last minute.  

Forrest Gump was all about the life events of a man with the same name. He was a kind hearted man but had a dull intelligence. He was slower than the other people of his time. the movie was directed by Robert Zemeckis. The movie script had been produced by the novel of the same name and it was authored by Winston Groom. But there are some changes in the movie than the novel, and I think the changes were brought to make the movie more attractive than the novel itself. Filming for the movie began in the later part of 1993 and it was done in Georgina, South and North Carolina. It was one of the most commercially successful movies of that time after its release in 1994.

I told before that I am not much interested in watching movies. Sitting motionless appears to be boring to me. So, I am not in favour of watching movies. But this one attracted my attention. I heard the story of the movie from one of my friends at a conversation. He was praising high for the movie and especially its plot. He was describing the events in such a manner that everything was happening before his eyes. His narratives were attractive and inspired me to watch the movie. Later, I searched for the movie on the internet and came to know that it was really a good one to enjoy. Accordingly, I collected the movie and watched it at my home. Initially, the movie was not that much attractive but once I entered into the movie, I started enjoying all the scenes.   

The movie basically tells about the life events of Forrest Gump, which are extraordinary in most of the cases. It starts with the childhood and gradually shows the life events of Gump. Most of the events are shown in flashbacks. The movie begins with the scene which shows Gump sitting at a bus stop and describing the events to a stranger sitting next to him. During the conversations, he remembers the childhood events and gradually described his life. He narrated about his single mother, how was admitted at the school despite his slow intellect, how he was bullied by the others, his escape, his special running skill, his scholarship at the university as a football player, his affair, his joining the army and the other events. The events depicted the moments of the 1950s and afterwards. The meeting with Lieutenant Dan in the army and their joint ventures also appeared in the conversations. The nationwide running was another important factor in the conversation. Finally, it shows that he was waiting for his son at the bus stop who went school for the first time.

I was touched by the lie events of Forest Gump. He actually suffered a lot in his life. Life was filled with thrones for him. But finally, he overcame all the obstacles for his determination and kindness. He never hurt anyone with his activities rather he was attacked and humiliated by everyone in most of the cases. Further, since he had a slow wit, he was unable to take the right decision. His love to Jenny remained the same and he is engaged in taking care of the child they got together. All such issues had some emotional impacts on me which helped me to fall in love with the movie. In fact, this is one of the best movies I have ever seen and enjoyed.


Similar Cue Card Topics

Your ability to talk about this Cue Card would enable you to talk about the following Cue Cards as well:

  1. Describe a book you have recently read.
  2. Describe a book you really liked.
  3. Describe a movie you have recently watched.
  4. Describe your favourite book .
  5. Describe your favourite movie.
  6. Describe a story you learned from a book.
  7. Describe a book you would recommend others to read.
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