Cue Card Sample

IELTS Cue Card Sample 409 - A gift you bought that took you a long time

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

Describe a gift you bought that took you a long time to find.

You should say:

  • what gift item it was
  • who you bought it for and where you bought it from
  • why it took you so long to find the gift

and explain how he/she felt after receiving this gift.


Model Answer 1:
Buying a perfect gift for someone or for an occasion is always a challenging task. But it becomes even more challenging when the gift is sought for a barely 5 years old who is not too sure about what he really wants as a gift.

Anyway, this 5-year-old little boy was my one and only nephew who was very hard to please. Therefore, I wanted to do my best to find the perfect gift for him so that he would actually like them and use them instead of leaving them in some corner of his room.

So, I and her mother (my elder sister) decided that we would buy a very nice looking tricycle for him on his 5th birthday. The idea of buying a perfect looking tricycle was a good one except, of course, we just didn’t know what size of a tricycle he would prefer. But, an even bigger problem was that there weren’t many tricycle stores in our home town, and therefore, we actually needed to be extra careful in choosing a good quality tricycle.

But, still, we started to check whatever tricycles, we came across, thoroughly in order to make sure that they were the right size. Of course, it was a very time confusing effort, but in the end, we somehow got lucky to find a perfect looking tricycle which was both nice looking and safe for a 5-year-old. By the way, we spent about 6 hours to buy that tricycle because it was the first time ever that we were buying such a gift, and that too for a boy who is never sure about what he really wants for a birthday gift.

Anyway, after receiving the gift, my little nephew seemed to be elated since he started to ride it immediately after receiving it. He also seemed grateful to us for buying such a decorated tricycle for him, after all, since he did give me a small “thank you” to me.


Model Answer 2:
There is a saying when it comes to giving gifts, that it is ‘the thought that counts’. Often when people say this, what they mean is that the gift was really terrible, but the recipient no doubt appreciated the sentiment behind it. The choice of gift was perhaps ill-judged, but very well intended, as such, it should be received with warmth and a show of enthusiasm – even if that enthusiasm is a bit forced! However, I think there is also a more positive interpretation, a really thoughtful gift is much more likely to delight both the giver and the receiver than the most expensive of trophies. I always try really hard to think about what gifts my closest friends and family might really like or want, even if they haven’t perhaps worked it out for themselves. Sometimes it’s really easy to think of something and just go out and buy it, at other times it’s much more of a challenge.

I’m going to tell you about an occasion when I knew exactly what it was I wanted to find as a gift for someone, but it was a real problem to find. I’ll tell you what it was; who I bought it for; where I bought it from and how the gift was received.

There is a bit of a story I’m afraid, so bear with me! I used to live in a little terraced house in a town called Leamington Spa. By chance, I moved into my house just a couple of weeks after my next-door neighbours had also moved in. Fortunately, we got on really, really well together. We used to chat over the garden wall (though I had to stand on tiptoe to do this because I’m quite short); I’d look after their cat when they went on holiday, and we were often in and out of each other’s houses. After a few years, one of them came round to tell me some ‘bad news’ I was terrified about what they might say – was one of them really ill? It turned out that the ‘bad news’ was they had decided to sell up and move away. I was really sad to see them go, but happy they would be moving to a lovely new house which was more suited to their lifestyle. Anyway, it turned out that selling their house was quite traumatic. They found a buyer really quickly, but that person was awkward and petulant and kept insisting on quite unreasonable conditions and threatening to pull out of the sale at the slightest inconvenience. The buyer wouldn’t negotiate on anything, and it all got a bit unpleasant. 

As is often the way, the deal-breaker turned out to be something ridiculously trivial. My neighbours had a really unusual steel soap dish. It had chunky letters spelling out the word ‘soap’ and a similarly chunky tray to put a bar of soap in, and was hung up in their bathroom. It was nice, and it did match the other fixtures and fittings in the room, but it was also most definitely a moveable personal possession that anyone would normally expect to take with them when they moved, and not especially valuable either to be honest. It had been a gift from one of the couple to the other, and had sentimental rather than any great monetary value. However, their house buyer had their eye on it and threatened to walk away from the purchase if it didn’t come with the house. It was unbelievably stupid of the purchaser to insist on such a trivial thing, but it would have been even more stupid for my neighbours to let their house sale fall through because of a soap dish, however, special it might be to them personally. Sadly, they agreed she could have this with the house, and the sale went through.

In the meantime, I’d been trying really hard to think of a suitable house-warming present for my dear friends to wish them well in their new home but it was tricky. To be blunt, they were a lot wealthier than me and in any case already had most things they needed following a recent wedding and the associated gifts from well-wishers. I couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money, but I wanted to choose something that I knew they would like and would be really thoughtful. I decided I would try and find them an identical soap dish!

It took me a long time, a couple of months. I searched the internet and eBay for second-hand items (the dish wasn’t manufactured anymore and in any case was not a mass-produced product in the first place). I scoured second-hand shops and looked everywhere. I almost gave up hope. However, one day, I couldn’t believe it! There it was, on eBay! An identical product, in near-new condition, just sitting there waiting for me. I snapped it up immediately with a ‘buy now’ price rather than risking losing out in a bidding war. It really wasn’t very much, it was an unlikely item to desperately want after all! I was so delighted when it arrived through the post and it was indeed exactly as advertised! I couldn’t wait to give it to my old neighbours for their new house!

I rushed round one evening to their new home when they would both be there, and presented it to them carefully gift wrapped. I think they were a bit nervous about opening it because I was so obviously confident they would like it, a lot. They were worried about how to disguise their reactions if they didn’t. It might be hard to pretend. I wasn’t worried though, I just knew it was the perfect gift! I asked them to try and guess what it might be, but they had no idea. Eventually, they ripped off the wrapping paper and… were absolutely delighted! It wasn’t just that they had their soap dish back, it was that they were really touched I’d worked so hard to find it for them, and persevered long after they’d given up any hope of replacing their original one for themselves.

It is said that it is better to give than receive, I think sometimes it is! My neighbours absolutely loved the present, but I was bursting with pleasure too. I knew I’d got it right, and that they would treasure this unlikely gift too. It was indeed a gift that took me a long, long time to find, but it was very well worth the effort! Since then, they have moved house again – this time, they took ‘my’ soap dish with them! I still smile at the memory, certainly, on this occasion, it really was the thought that counted most!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris (2016):  Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam)]


Sample Answer 3: 
Finding books is not really a difficult task but it really takes the time to get the right book. The same thing happened with me in last Monday. I was tired of searching a book in the local market and finally found that after five hours of continuous search.

In fact, I wanted to provide the book as a gift to my geography teacher in college. He is really fond of books. I trickily brought out the information which types of books he liked. And then started my mission. But unfortunately, it was hard for me to get the desired book. The book is not available in the local book shops of Mumbai. So, I had to travel to different city markets to get the book. I was astonished that the local libraries do have such a pretty book in their collection. But the shop where I found the book was a small one and did not have many decorations.   

I bought the book for Mr Nripendra Bhowmick. He is the geography teacher in our class. But he does not behave as a teacher rather a very intimate friend for each of the students. He loves to discuss numerous topics and provides the right knowledge to his students. He is a graduate from Cambridge University and thus he is a bit altered than the other teachers. His method of teaching is interesting and he loves to teach independently. He does not follow any strict structure to provide lectures in the class. Besides, he is never irritated with any queries from the students’ side while some other teachers turn angry when they are interrupted in the middle of the lecture. Marking his birthday, everyone planned to give him gifts and thus I decided to present him the book he likes most.    

I bought the book from a book store located in, L T Road, Borivali West in Mumbai. In fact, this is the only shop that collects the books of foreign writers. But there are some differences with the books that are found here. Printing is a great issue to consider before buying a book. Not all the booksellers sell the original print. Rather they sell the photocopied books with an attractive binding and cover. It happens as the original books are a bit expensive. So, the majority of the book readers get the replica. But the shop sells the original books and with superior printing quality. I was lucky to have the store and purchased the book.     

When I presented the book, Mr Bhowmick unwrapped it and was glad to have it. In fact, he was highly glad that he gave me a great hug. Besides, he declared that it was the very best gift he has got so far. He had been looking for the book for the last couple of months but did not get it in the local shops. I also did not disclose how I managed the book or how hard I had to struggle to discover it. He was highly excited and thanked me a lot for this priceless gift. I was glad to see his reactions. Moreover, he was amazed at the information that how I knew about the book he had been looking for so long. I smiled gently and reacted as it was coincident.

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