IELTS Cue Card Sample 427 - Something you did which was a waste of time

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

Describe something you did which was a waste of time.

You should say:

  • what you did
  • when you did it
  • why you did it

and explain why it was a waste of time.

Model Answer 1:
Oh no!  I’m embarrassed talking about this topic, because I’m so good at time wasting I’ve almost turned it into an art form, and that’s terrible isn’t it. I do my best time wasting when I’ve got something important to do, but which I keep putting off, so I’ll procrastinate by doing lots of things that aren’t really essential, but distract me from what I should be doing. I tell myself I’ll work better on that essay if I just tidy my desk/ have something to eat/ make that phone call first! Does that sound familiar to you? Still, even the sorts of things you do when procrastinating might be useful, that desk could have needed tidying and that phone call did need to be made. The worst sort of time wasting has no side off benefit at all. OK, so I can think of a great example of this! I’ll tell you the what, when and why – I think it will be obvious without explanation that it was indeed, a complete waste of time!

So I was lucky enough to be travelling, and I’d stopped off at a Youth Hostel in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It was humid and hot and I was exhausted. Even so, here I was in an amazing location, and I just didn’t have the energy to go outside. It was off season, and also, for various reasons Zimbabwe has lost some of its appeal to tourists in recent years, so it was very quiet. Lots of the guest houses and attractions were run down and shut, and the place felt a bit on edge. I was alone at the guest house, and decided I’d just relax by watching TV for a bit. Now, there wasn’t much in the way of English language stations, so I ended up stumbling on a Kung Fu film with English sub-titles. It was an old film, and really badly made, what’s more is, I don’t even like Kung Fu films!  Even so, I sat through it for about 2 hours, then just at the critical point where the film plot was coming to its somewhat laboured conclusion, the screen went blank, and then the film restarted right at the beginning! I couldn’t believe it. I’d just sat there for over 2 hours, watching a terrible movie, and I didn’t even get to see the end!

So the ‘what’ was watching not quite all of a terrible made-for-TV martial arts film; the ‘when’ was whilst I should have been exploring an amazing new location on arriving at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; as for the ‘why’? Well, I don’t know really what possessed me! I was tired, and I thought it would be good to relax a bit, but I so regretted it.

I felt so cross with myself afterwards. Life is short, I would probably never be in this part of the world again, I should have gone out exploring and caught up on relaxation and sleep later. It had been cripplingly hot it’s true, but it had also been bright sunshine through the humidity. I should have gone to see the infamous waterfalls that afternoon, the light would have been perfect for creating rainbows. As it was, I went the next morning when it was cooler, but very overcast, not a rainbow in sight. I am still furious with myself for missing that wonder of the world for a bad film.

So do I need to spell out anymore why it was a complete waste of time? I missed the chance to see a spectacular set of waterfalls in what would have been the perfect light for generating the multitude of rainbows for which that stretch of water is particularly famous. Not only did I miss out on this because I was watching a terrible film, it was a terrible film which I didn’t even get to see the end of! Lesson learned. Sometimes however tired you feel, or lacking in energy, if an opportunity comes your way seize it, it might not come round again, and time wasted, isn’t time you will ever get back!

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


Sample Answer 2:
Last year I bought a book on wood crafting as I thought I would learn and make some fabulous designs from simple wood. The idea came from a documentary I watched on TV and I thought buying a book and then trying it at home would be a good way to learn this skill. But to my dismay, that turned out to be a very difficult task for me and I lost my interest in few days. The whole thing was a waste of time in my opinion.

I thought reading this book would actually help me learning how to make simple designs from wood and it must be easy to follow. But to my surprise, the book focused too much on the history of wood crafting rather than presenting how to create one. I must have picked up the wrong book!

Then I watched some videos online and tried to mimic them. It would be probably early March last year when I tried this. I had an exam in July and yet I spent more than 3 weeks trying to learn this skill. I did it out of curiosity than passion and that might have been the main reason I lost my interest quite soon.

I spent many days and more than 400 dollars to arrange everything I required to successfully create a beautiful woodcraft. However, I picked the off-topic book and had not tried very hard. The whole process taught me nothing and cost me a good amount of money. This is why I consider it a complete waste of time, especially, since I did it before an important exam I had. That was very disappointing for me.


Sample Answer 3:
Football matches are always interesting to me, and I never miss any high voltage matches. And I love watching the matches in stadiums. But in last month, I had a different experience. I could not enjoy the football match between FC Barcelona and Inter Milan due to heavy rainfall.

I went to watch the football match between the two teams. Though the match was set to be televised, I preferred to enjoy it at the nearby stadium, Camp Nou, in my city Barcelona. I wanted to enjoy the match as I am a diehard fan of FC Barcelona. Besides, the stadium is only a 10-minute walk from my residence. Considering everything, I decided to move to the stadium. But a sudden shower changed everything, the field got wet. And it was impossible to play on that wet field. Hence, it was a waste of time for me. Neither I could enjoy the match, nor I could complete my official tasks.

The match was set to be held on the evening of December last year, and I cannot remember the date exactly. In the day, I was at my office and booked a ticket for the match. The evening was a bit cold while the weather was a bit cloudy. But it was beyond imagination that there would be any rainfall. The match was set to be held at 6.00pm. But I took an early leave that day and left office about 4.30pm. I reached at the stadium and took some light snacks from the street shops. Finally, I entered the stadium and took my seat. Everything was in order. I grabbed the seat and started waiting for the match. Luckily, my seat was near the ground and the visibility was clear. But after around half an hour, I had to leave the stadium to get protected from rainfall.

Sudden rain is troublesome. Besides, I am a bit more prone to cold. If I get wet in the rain, there were chances that I would catch a cold. So, I had to leave the stadium. Moreover, this was a heavy rain. It started suddenly. Initially, it appeared with drizzling and then cats and dogs. So, it was impossible to stay inside the stadium. Further, my seat was in the front row so that I could enjoy the match clearly. So, there were no sheds above my head. As a result, it was impossible for me to stay there. The most frustrating issue was that the ground was filled with water. The players were unable to start the match on the ground. So, the match was abandoned. Considering all the aspects, I had to leave the stadium and return home.  

To be frank, it was a complete waste of time for me. I had some important tasks to complete and meet the deadlines. But I left them at office for the next day. On the other side, I could not enjoy the match and had to return home without any special achievement. I think the time was not in my favor. I could not complete my necessary assignment; I was unable to enjoy the match of my preferred team and also got a cold for the raindrops on my head. Actually, planning for the match and visiting the stadium was really a waste of time for me.


If you can talk about this cue card, you should be able to answer the following cue card topics as well:

1. Describe something you did and disliked.
2. Talk about something you did which was unfruitful.
3. Describe something you wish you did not do.

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Le Quoc Phong
Too long for two minutes...