IELTS Cue Card Sample 507 - Describe a night when you could not sleep

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

Describe a night when you could not sleep at all.

You should say:

  • when it happened
  • where you were then
  • why you could not sleep that night

and explain how you felt about it.

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


Sample Answer 1:
I often go to bed after midnight and a sleepless night is not a rare experience for me. Remaining awake to prepare for an approaching exam is the most common reason I spent many sleepless nights. However, for this cue card topic, I would like to talk about a night I spent at a hospital and could not sleep even for a minute.

It was 2016, probably the mid-July, and all of a sudden my grandfather got severely ill. The doctor who came to our house to check my grandfather advised us to take him to the city hospital. We called for an ambulance and took my grandpa to the hospital. My parents, two cousins, my eldest uncle and my youngest aunt were in the hospital that night. They were all very worried and my aunt was sobbing ceaselessly. We were all concerned about the well-being of my grandpa. The doctor told us that it was wise of us to bring the patient to the hospital without any delay as it could have been disastrous otherwise. He also informed us that a panel of doctors who were observing my grandpa's medical history had decided to operate him that night. He also assured us that it was a minor operation and we had nothing to worry about as the best doctor in the town happened to be there that night. In spite of the doctor's assurance, we were very anxious.

At around 11.00 pm the doctor operated my grandpa and he was unconscious. I stayed at the hospital until the next noon and could not sleep at all.

Frankly speaking, I did not want to sleep at all and the experience did not bother me. A hospital is not a place where a patient's relatives and family members can sleep. I prayed to the Almighty to help my grandpa get well soon. At around 4.30 in the morning, a nurse came to us and gave us the good news; my grandpa was conscious at that time and he wanted to see us. That was a great relief and we thanked the nurse who gave us this news.

It was a sleepless night but I did not feel dizzy or sleepy at all. My brain must have been busy thinking about the sickness and wellbeing of my grandfather and the expresso coffee also released some of my tiredness. I slept the next day at around 3.30 pm and my grandfather was out of the danger then. Interestingly I slept almost 14 consecutive hours the next day as I can recall. 


Sample Answer 2:
Waking up all of a sudden at night or sleeping only for a couple of hours is really an irritating experience. But in some cases, people are to pass sleepless nights due to some unavoidable reasons. Last month, I had to pass a sleepless night too because of an important exam the next day. I would like to thank you for the chance to talk about it.

I am an undergrad student at Hopkinson's University and my major is History. A couple of months ago I took my third-semester final examination and it was an important exam. Moreover, a course titled 'Ancient history and its impact on the modern era' was a bit difficult for me. In fact, it was one of the toughest courses in the entire semester. I was not prepared well for the subject. Accordingly, I felt the necessity to revise the syllabus the night before the exam.

I live in the university dormitory and my other roommates are from my class. Hence, the situation was the same for all of us as we had the same exam the next day. But it was worse for me! Fortunately, my roommates helped me greatly that night by sharing their class notes and idea. If I had been in any other place other than my dormitory, it would have been impossible for me to properly prepare for the course. I did not sleep at all that night and it was not a big issue as I had two other roommates who were also sleepless.

My preparation for the exam was not sufficient and that is why I had to take the challenge to utilise the remaining night and prepare for the exam. It is often a trend that many students follow. Though I am not one of them, this time it was different. I spent the night mostly by revising the syllabus and drinking coffee.  

It was an arduous task for me to complete the syllabus in one night. There were lots of texts and most of them dealt with complex ancient historical events. However, my roommates helped me to a great extent. With their support and with the cost of a sleepless night, I took the exam. The grading is yet to be published but I am hoping for a good grade.

This sleepless night was a lesson for me. I had to spend the sleepless night only for my negligence. If I were sincere enough with the course, I could have done better in the test. 


More Ideas to talk about this Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card topic:

Topic: Describe a night when you could not sleep at all.

1.  Usually, I do not like to watch horror movies but last weekend, I watched a really scary one and had to pass a sleepless night. I went to visit my maternal uncle in Seattle and met my cousins. They were fond of horror movies and compelled me to watch one. The name of the movie was 'Annabelle' and the impact of watching this movie was disastrous. I could not sleep the whole night. Whenever I closed my eyes, I felt like someone was near me. The experience was not entertaining at all. Literally, I slept when the night was over.

2.  I had to pass a sleepless night a couple of weeks ago when I went to my village in Uttar Pradesh. I went there to meet my parents and other family members. But I did not know that a musical event was arranged in our village at that very night. Some of the local musicians performed in the event, so I had to sacrifice my rest for that night and enjoy the concert to the last minute.

3.  I am unable to stay awake late at night but recently I had to remain awake for the whole night. It was the annual sports competition at my university here in Greece and I was assigned to complete some tasks before the event. But owing to sickness, I could not complete them in due time and had to work hard to complete them before the event day. So, I could not sleep that night. It was an irritating experience for me.

4.  Last September, I passed a sleepless night. In fact, I was at my friend’s place to celebrate a bachelor party. We had a plan that will not sleep at that night and enjoy our time to the fullest. Everything went well and we had tons of fun. The barbeque party was outstanding. But there was no liquor for us and we just drank soft beverages during the party. I felt glad indeed. Actually, it was a great gathering for us and we felt like as if we went back to our childhood days.

5.  I never prefer to pass sleepless night but this time I had to change my decision. I was in the middle of a cabin on a train. It was an official journey to the northwest part of Germany. I had another partner with whom I played cards for the rest of the night. In fact, I do not sleep well at an unknown place and it was out of the question that I would sleep in a fast pacing train. It was an interesting journey and thanks to the friend who did not sleep to play cards with me.

If you know how to answer this cue card topic, you should be able to answer the following topics as well:

1. Describe something unusual you have done recently.
2. Describe a time when you were worried.
3. Describe a time when someone accompanied you.
4. Talk about a sleepless night you have spent.
5. Describe a night you did not want to sleep.

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