IELTS Cue Card Sample 423 - Talk about an event when you had to wait

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

Talk about an event when you had to wait.

You should say:

  • what it was
  • how long you waited
  • why you had to wait

and explain how you felt about it.

Sample Answer 1:
I really hate waiting for things. Once I’ve decided on a course of action that I want to do, I like to do it immediately. I am impatient. Sometimes, though, things are completely outside of your control, and like it or not, the waiting goes on and on as if forever!

I can think of one example of waiting that seemed to last an eternity. I’m going to tell you what it was, how long I had to wait and why – I think you can probably guess already how I felt about it, but I’ll explain that as well anyway.

The situation was I was in a job where I really wanted to obtain an extra qualification in recognition of the work I was doing. The award was a Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy, and it is a very useful qualification for teaching in Higher Education in the UK. This was an award you could gain by submitting evidence of your capabilities through testimonials from others, examples of reflections on your work, and proof of attending various professional development courses. However, there was a problem. No-one else in my job role had ever done this qualification before, and although I thought it would be appropriate and possible, I had no way of knowing if the panel who would assess my portfolio would feel the same way. I was a bit sneaky, because I didn’t think my manager would support me in making the application, so I decided to do it all in my own time, and in my own way. The way it worked, was once you had submitted your portfolio of evidence, a panel of senior academic colleagues would meet to discuss it, and then they would agree whether or not you adequately met the required standard. The panel, though, met very infrequently. Only every two months, and not at all during the summer. A key part of the application was a reference from a senior colleague in support of my request for recognition.  I worked really hard to gather the evidence, I read widely to provide lots of references in support of my submission. I got testimonials from others, and advice from friends working at different institutions who had already obtained the qualification. Finally, though, I had done everything I could, I just needed a referee, and I didn’t want to use my manager. It was a problem.  

Eventually, I plucked up the courage to ask a very senior colleague who I greatly respected. I was delighted that he enthusiastically agreed to provide the necessary reference in support of my submission. However, he was very busy, and although he promised to do it, he wasn’t able to provide it in time for me to get my application in for the last panel before the summer. This meant I had to wait three months after completing my portfolio before the panel met to agree my fate. I knew I’d worked as hard as I could, but I also knew I was an unusual case, so I had no idea at all what the panel would decide. It was a very long summer. I had to wait nearly three months for when the next panel met before I knew my fate! I was nervous, and anxious too. Some days I felt really confident that of course, I would pass, I’d worked so hard and researched so thoroughly.  On other days I wished I hadn’t ever embarked on the process. How could I possibly gain the qualification when no-one else in my job role had done so before -mind you, no-one had tried before either, so there was always that glimmer of hope to keep me going.

Then, one day in the autumn, a rather dull looking email pinged into my inbox at work. Congratulations, you have been awarded the FHEA! That was it, I’d done it! I couldn’t believe it. After months of waiting, and anxious anticipation, that was that! I hadn’t even known the panel would be meeting so it was a real surprise. I was so delighted that my hard work had paid off. Once I got the award, I explained to my manager, and he was understanding about it. Part of my reticence was that I thought if I’d tried and failed it would have been embarrassing. Of course, now I passed, everything was well with the world!

So the waiting was horrible, but it was worth it in the end. I was glad I’d taken the risk and held out to the end, but I hope I’m never again kept in suspense for an exam result for quite so long in the future!

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


Sample Answer 2:
I planned for a trip to Greece from New York to celebrate the last Christmas with my family but it was not a pleasant tour for me for different reasons. However, as it was just before the Christmas eve and I was so eager to meet my parents and siblings, I enjoyed my stay there a lot. However, during the tour, I had to wait for a very long and it was a frustrating experience for me. The bad tour began with a delayed flight. I had to wait for over three hours in the airport. The delay happened for the bad weather. I am happy to have the opportunity to describe the event.

In fact, the trip was a very bad one as everything happened in the wrong manner. I failed to manage a ticket to Greece in the beginning. Besides, there was a rush in the streets and many other issues marking the Christmas. So, I made late to reach the airport on the scheduled day. Unfortunately, the flight was delayed. So, I had to wait for the flight inside at the John F. Kennedy International Airport building. Further, everything appeared disorganised to me. People were scattered and gossiping here and there while I was sitting lonely at a corner and was expecting to have the tour end.

I had to wait for over three hours. The flight bound to Greece arrived at 9.45 pm while it was supposed to arrive at 5.30 pm. Besides, I made late to reach the airport. Hence, I thought that I might miss the flight and mentally got prepared for the situation. But I felt irritated after a certain period of time. I was worried about the issue whether I would be able to move to Greece to celebrate the Christmas with my parents and family. So, it appeared to me that nothing worked fine. The soft drink vending machine stopped working suddenly after I inserted a coin - a bad sign! People were chatting loudly that caused a headache for me. Besides, I had to stand during the time I waited. I could not manage a seat inside the waiting lounge. It was filled with the crowd. In fact, the delay was not only with me, some other airliners also experienced the situation at that time.       

I am a student here in New York while my family lives in Greece. So, usually, I do not miss the chances to visit my family. Accordingly, I planned a week before of Christmas to celebrate the event in Greece. I informed my parents as well about my arrival. I booked a ticket from American Airlines. It is really hard to manage tickets during this seasons. It happens as everyone rush to make some trips in the holidays and they are not alone. They plan to visit with groups. They book tickets in advance, and thus it is really difficult for an ordinary passenger like me to manage a ticket. Luckily, I managed one after lots of troubles and requests to the booking agents. But finally, I had to wait for long hours at the airport building only for the bad weather.

The feelings were really irritating. I do not love waiting for something. I think nobody loves to wait. But we all have to wait whether we want or not. Time appears to be slower at that moment. So, it is really boring to pass the hours. Considering all the aspects, I cannot say that this was a great trip for me. But the later phase was smooth after I landed in Athens. My family members and parents arrived to take me home as I am their only son in the family. In opposite, the experience at the JFK Airport was really horrible.


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