IELTS Cue Card Sample 500 - Describe an exam that was very hard for you.

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

Describe an exam that was very hard for you.

You should say:

  • what exam it was
  • when you took this exam
  • why you took this exam

and explain why this was hard for you.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Sample Answer 1:
Well, this is an interesting topic to talk about. This topic reminds me the admission test in Saint Paul college that I took in 1999. It was one of the toughest exams I have ever encountered in my life and performed very poorly. I did so bad that I was afraid to see the result and in fact, I did not see my admission result at all as I knew how poorly I had performed!

It is quite common in the colleges in our country to arrange the admission test each year to select the students they would allow for admission. I took part in the entrance exam in top five colleges in our country and Saint Paul college was one of them. This college was far away from my house and due to a bad traffic, I was 15 minutes late on the exam day. Being late on the exam day was a disaster for me and the college authority was reluctant to let me sit for the exam. Half an hour was already gone and I was feeling an immense pressure at that time. As soon as I opened the question paper, I was far more daunted and got stiffed as most of the questions seemed unfamiliar to me.

The college exam authority has changed their question pattern and has focused more on history and writing skill than mathematics and other science subjects! This was even a bigger disaster for me. I could not answer most of the questions and wanted to get out of the exam hall as soon as possible. It was a suffocating and perplexing experience for me. After I left the college perimeter, I felt relieved and that proves that I was quite appalled and dismayed in the exam hall.

As I recall, I did not even go to see my result as I knew I would perform very poorly. Later on, I got admitted to the Prime Science College.  The exam I had in the Saint Paul's entrance exam was unforgettable and one of the hardest in my whole life. The bad traffic, arguments with the exam authority, different question pattern and my anxiety and tension made it even harder!


Sample Answer 2:
Before my admission to the MA at the Columbia University in New York, I had to appear for a GRE test. I had to pass some busy moments and thus was unable to prepare for the test. So, it turned out to be a difficult test for me. I would like to thank you for this topic and the time to let me talk about it.

Generally, the GRE test is taken before the admission at most of the USA universities. The GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination and this test is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test is easy when you have the right preparation but without any preparations, this is really a difficult one. Particularly, the analytical writing and critical thinking sections are troublesome for the newbies. It is really hard to answer questions when they are from any different field of study and this is the way to justify the fitness of any candidate for a postgraduate program at any USA university.    

I got admitted to the MA in last summer semester. I had to take the test in the middle of May last year. In fact, the classes of the university began in the second week of August. So, I was in a hurry to get admitted here. Usually, people take a good preparation for attending a GRE test. They take lessons from experts or get admitted to any private GRE training centre. There they take preparation for a certain period and thus secure a better score. They take preparation on the analytical, verbal and quantitative reasoning and practice a lot. So, when they are done with the coaching and some mock tests, they are confident to pass the test. They have undertaken all the necessary preparations to battle with the GRE test.    

I had to take the test as the university authority had made it mandatory for each of the postgraduate students to attend the test and secure a certain amount of grades to get admitted to the university. In my discipline, the university had the demand to score at least 157 average on verbal and 156 on average on the quantitative part. Without having the scores, the university authority would not allow the students to submit their admission form for the postgraduate degrees. Besides, it would also bring the inner potentials of me. Further, I also thought that attending the test would also be helpful for me in some other aspects like it would help me to analyse my skills and abilities on analytical issues. Considering all the issues, I took the test.   

But it was a hard one for me. First of all, I was not prepared for the sudden test. In fact, I had no idea that I would have to attend the test. As far as I knew, the test was for the foreign students in the USA but later I came to know that it was applicable to the native students as well. Actually, it was the university authority who decided for the test. They wanted that they should have the best students and thus initiated the test. The students or test-takers who get a good score in this test are usually of high intelligence. So, the university preferred the best pieces for the postgraduate sessions. Though I secured more than minimum average, it was really hard for me. Firstly, I did not have any preparation thinking that I would not have to appear for the test. Besides, everything around me was jeopardised. My dad was sick while the younger sister gave birth to a baby boy. And it was me who had to take care of all the things. Accordingly, it was hard for me to attend the test without any preparations.

Topic: Describe an exam that was very hard for you.

1. Recently I went to attend a recruitment test here in Berlin. The exam was difficult for me. I took the exam in the first hour of the day. It was a special one for me because I was going to appear in the very first recruitment exam in my life. The exam was hard as I did not have an idea about the questions and they would come in this way. Besides, I also had no preparations for such a competitive exam.

2. The multiple choice exam was very tough for me. I attended the exam on last week in my college. The exam was held in the afternoon. The questions were extremely hard. The teachers wanted to bring out everything from the students, and students like me had no idea what they were talking about. So, I could not answer them properly. As a result, the exam was unsatisfactory and carried poor grade for me.

3. My participation on the essay exam in the class was hard. The exam took place in the second period in the college. It was a compulsory exam for all the students in the class. So, I had to take part there. The exam was hard because I did not have the necessary preparation about the essay theme. And the teacher randomly gave the essay topic to students. Therefore, I could not answer well in the exam.

4. Attending an academic viva is easier if you have the preparation and it hard for a student like me. The viva took place at 10.00 am on the college campus in Toronto, Canada.  I had to take part there because without participating the viva, I would be unable to move for the next semester. The viva was hard. The teachers asked some undesirable question that I was not prepared for. In fact, I did not the slightest knowledge about the questions they wanted me to answer. So, it was hard indeed for me.

5. I attended an improvement test in my office as I applied for a promotion. The exam was held on the last weekend. I participated there to prove my quality and capacity for a senior position in line with some other participants. The exam was hard for me. In fact, the authority wanted to bring out the essence from the candidates applying for a higher position. Besides, the majority of the questions were strategic and required real-life skills or experiences to answer. So, it was tough for me to manage every answer.

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