IELTS Cue Card Sample 418 - Situation when you were surprised to see a person

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

Talk about a situation when you were surprised to see a person you know.

You should say:

  • who this person was
  • when and where you saw him/ her
  • what you were doing then

and explain why you were surprised to see this person.

Model Answer 1:
This is an easy, peasy topic for me to talk about! I can think of one particular situation that stands out in my memory when I bumped into someone totally unexpectedly, and in the most unlikely of situations. I’m going to enjoy telling you all about it, though I wonder if I’ll be able to convey to you exactly how bizarre it was that we met again in the way that we did.  I’ll explain who I met, when, where, what we were doing, and why it was such a big surprise for both of us.

So the person I met was someone I’d been at school with. Now, for this story to make sense you have to know that I left school about thirty years ago, so I hadn’t seen this friend since the day we finished our exams three decades earlier. We were friendly at school, but not enough to keep in touch after we left, and as so often happens we went our different ways and had no idea at all what had happened to one another in the years that followed.

A few years ago, I moved to Sheffield to take up a new job. I didn’t know the city or anyone in it. After I’d been there a couple of years, I decided I needed to get fit, and so when I heard about a local free 5km running event that took place every Saturday in a park near to where I lived I plucked up the courage to give it a go. Now, this was a really unlikely thing for me to do. I had never run before in my life, and it was not at all my natural habitat. I wasn’t very fast, but I did get round and in a peculiar way I enjoyed it enough that I went back again the following week. To my absolute amazement, it was at this return visit that I spotted a familiar face in the crowd of nearly 500 runners.  Someone I recognised from school! The weird thing was that I didn’t even know she’d also moved to Sheffield (we both went to school just outside London which is 200 miles away), what’s more, neither of us was remotely sporty at school, so seeing her there, so far from where we used to live, doing such an unlikely activity as running and recognising her after thirty years in such a big crowd was extraordinary! Even more amazingly, I just went up to her and said ‘hello Delia’ and she replied ‘hello Lucy’ and we just knew each other straight away.

We were both amazed! We went off to have breakfast together and talked solidly for over three hours. (It was a long breakfast!). It turned out she’d moved to Sheffield straight after doing her A-levels, so had lived here for years and years, and what’s more, her house was just a couple of miles away from the flat I was renting. We seemed to pick up exactly where we’d left off. Better than that really. We now meet up to run and then have breakfast together every week, but we also do other things like go to the cinema or theatre together. I help her on her allotment sometimes and she has been a great friend to me. I feel so lucky that this unlikely and unexpected meeting helped me to reconnect with a good friend from the past. It goes to show it pays to have your eyes peeled and your wits about you when you are out and about – you never know who you might encounter unexpectedly and where it might lead! ‘Surprise’ isn’t quite a big enough word for how I felt spotting her, but I’m so glad I did.

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


Sample Answer 2:
Meeting with people is interesting to me, especially when I meet people who were or are usually close to me. But suddenly meeting with a familiar one in a different place is more interesting and this is surprising as well. I met with Mr. David Johnson, my former teacher in Australia, at a shopping mall here in Tokyo, Japan and for this cue card topic, I would like to share this experience with you.
In fact, I was a student of arts in Australia at the University of South Australia. I went there with a scholarship for higher education. Mr. Johnson was the associate professor of English literature there. I had an intimate contact with him while my study in Australia. But after I came back in Japan, my native land, the communications were a bit slower. Actually, I did not have any communication with the university anymore. So, there was a huge communication gap between me and my university, teachers and other students. I got busy with the family business here and thus I was unable to keep in touch with them anymore.

Mr. Johnson is a great speaker and able to make things clearer in simple ways. He used to teach the novels and poems composed in Middles Age. He is really a man of letters and knows much about his subject. He loves his students as well and keeps close relations with them. It helps him to know more about the students and monitor their activities as well. Mr. Johnson is a smart and witty individual and owns clear idea about the teaching methods. I also maintained a close association with him and received many suggestions from him in my needs. Sudden meet with him at a local shopping mall in Tokyo surprised me greatly. In fact, I had not thought to meet him here. I met him last in Australia while my departure. He came to bade me farewell. But now meeting him in my country created a sense of joy inside me.   

I have to maintain my family business. Actually, I am the only boy of my family. So, I have to attend in different activities to run the family business. We deal with different things. The most profitable business is the clothing. We import different types of attires in Tokyo and sell them in local shopping malls. We also proudly own one of the best chain shops of the city. I was busy in talking with some of the staffs when I met Mr. Johnson. He was shopping at the store. He saw me first and approached to me and I really was glad. I was overwhelmed with joy. I met him last about five years ago when I left my Australian university. I welcomed him warmly to my country and entertained him as much was possible for me right then. I also presented with some of the items which made him happy indeed.

But I was really surprised to see him in Japan. I could not think that he would ever come to my country. He came in Japan to attend a conference and told me that he lost my address. I also informed him about my engagement with the business. I have to travel in different Asian countries for collecting necessary items and products for my shops and selling points. Moreover, I also remain busy in different other issues like resolving problems with staffs, corporate relations and communication with both the clients and suppliers and much more. As a result, I cannot manage time for myself too. So, meeting with familiar people really makes me glad but I was extremely surprised with Mr. Johnson as it was beyond my expectation.

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