Cue Card Sample

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

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

Describe 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 with 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) ]


Model Answer 2:
My cousin has been living in another city for a long time now because of his profession. But, of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t keep in touch with each other on telephone or email as often as we can. After all, we are very close to each other since we grew up together.  In fact, I called him only a few days ago to check how his newly-bought car was running.

Talking about a car, I also wanted to buy a used car (yes, I have always had a used car because I can’t really afford a new car like my rich cousin, who likes to change his car every few years) about a couple of years ago since my old car was giving me lots of troubles on the road. So, I called my cousin and explained my situation to him since I thought that he was the best person to offer me some good tips and advice on buying a reliable used car because of his passion about those machines.

Anyway, he asked me about what kind of cars I preferred and what my price range was. After getting the information from me, he just hung up the phone and told me that he was going to call me back a few days later. But, instead of actually calling me after a few days, he came to see me at my home when I was just sitting and relaxing there, and with him was a nice little hatchback which he had purchased for me.

Needless to say, I was very surprised to see my cousin at that time. In fact, it was beyond my belief that he would actually drive about 10 hours, and that too on a very dangerous driving condition since it was raining very heavily on that day, to see me in a car, which he had bought for me. After all, he was a very busy person, who needed to work even on most of the weekends.


Sample Answer 3:
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 close contact with him while my study in Australia. But after I came back to 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 a 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 bid 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 in my family. So, I have to attend different activities to run the family business. We deal with different things. The most profitable business is 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 in the city. I was busy talking with some of the staffs when I met Mr. Johnson. He was shopping at the store. He saw me first and approached 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 as 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 to 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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