Cue Card Sample

Describe a competition that you took part in - Cue Card # 535

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

Describe a competition (e.g. TV, college/work or sports competition) that you took part in.

You should say:

  • what kind of competition it was and how you found out about it
  • what you had to do
  • what the prizes were

and explain why you chose to take part in this competition.

[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.]


Model Answer 1:
After leaving university about 7 years ago, I didn’t really feel interested in taking part in any kind of sport competition. But all that changed when my current office decided to organize an inter-departmental annual indoor sports competition a year ago and kind of “pushed” me to take part in this competition because there were not enough people to compete in my accounting department, where I work as a senior accountant.

My office organizes this kind of competition pretty much every year, but I always somehow had managed to stay away from this annual interdepartmental competition on the ground that I was and is never a competitive minded person. But, last year, when I was convinced that my participation would mean a lot for my fellow employees, I decided to take part in it. After all, I also told to myself that this was really tough to work round the year without any meaningful break from the monotonous work schedule.

So, anyway, different competitions, like volleyball, sprint, music completion and table tennis, were held marking the event. Needless to say, I took part in table tennis because that I thought was easiest sport which required minimum physical effort. Of course, I could have taken part in the music competition, but I was pretty sure that I would scare a lot more people with my musical voice than actually drawing them close!

By the way, the prizes were attractive, as the company arranged for some attractive looking electronic home appliances for the winners, including a large screen TV set for the first prize winner, an expensive microwave oven for the runners-up and a nice looking toaster for the third position.

Well, I took part in the competition for a couple of reasons. The prime motivation, of course, was to make my fellow employees happy since they couldn’t make a full team without me. I took part in this annual tournament also because I wanted to check if I was still as energetic as my college years.


Model Answer 2: 
I am glad that this topic is only about participating in a competition rather than winning one because if it was about winning, it would be really difficult for me to pick one since I have hardly won any major competition in my life.

However, talking about participating in a competition, I took part in one about 7 years ago from now when I still was a high school student. It was the time of the annual sporting event, and I took part in a friendly volleyball match. I learned about it first from a school friend and then a school notice announced this competition.  

By the way, volleyball was the only sport that I enjoyed playing back then. However, needless to say, I wasn’t very good at playing volleyball even though I enjoyed playing it a lot. So, I started to do a little practising and jogging early in the morning to increase my fitness level. On the sports day, the game started between the two teams which included both the senior and junior students of my school in both the teams. The first 4 sets of the game were drawn, but the final set was really competitive as both teams tried their best to score points. I also tried my best to play as skillfully as I could. Despite our best effort, my opponent team won.

As for the prizes, the winning team members each got a medal, certificate and prize money of about 1000 in our local currency.

I took part in this competition primarily because one of my friends requested me over and over again for that. I did not want to hurt his feelings. Moreover, I thought that participating in it would make me more interested in sports and exercise. Now I feel that it was a great experience even though I was on the losing side. This is because it made me feel competitive. I also felt really good, when my fellow team members were cheering me and encouraging me to play well because it made me really confident about my ability.


Model Answer 3:

In high school, I had the opportunity to participate in a debate competition, which was a memorable experience for me. In this competition, students were invited from different schools in the city, and I found out about it from my school's debating club.

What kind of competition it was and how you found out about it:
It was a debate competition where students from different schools were invited to participate and present their arguments on various topics. The competition had multiple rounds, and teams had to qualify for the next rounds based on their performance. I found out about this competition from my school's debating club, which regularly kept us updated about such events.

What you had to do: 
In the competition, teams were assigned topics, and they had to present their arguments and counter-arguments within a specific time frame. We were given a few minutes to prepare our arguments before presenting them in front of the judges and the audience. We had to make sure that our arguments were logical, convincing, and supported by facts and evidence.

What the prizes were:
The prizes for the competition included trophies, certificates, and cash prizes. The winning team was awarded the championship trophy, and the best speakers were given certificates of excellence. The cash prizes were also significant, which motivated us to perform well in the competition.

And explain why you chose to take part in this competition:
I chose to participate in this competition because I had a keen interest in public speaking and debating. I wanted to improve my debating skills and the competition was an excellent opportunity for me to interact with students from other schools and learn from their perspectives. Additionally, the prizes were also an incentive for me to take part in the competition.


Model Answer 4:

Ooh, it’s quite hard for me to think about an example of a competition I’ve entered as generally speaking I am not a very competitive individual! However, I can think of one competition that I participated in, which I think you will find funny. 

Many years ago, I used to live in a town called Leamington Spa. One of the few independent shops in the town was a large old-fashioned department store which sold quite traditional items. Over time, they decided they needed to extend their product range to attract new customers, so they held a competition in a weekly local newspaper. The competition was very easy to enter, you simply had to complete your name and address on the coupon and post it into the newspaper offices of the Leamington Courier. And this is exactly what I did. 

The prize was to be a traditional dress, as a way of launching their new selection of ladies' costumes.

I never win competitions, or I thought I never did. So I was amazed when a couple of weeks after posting my entry I received a letter telling me that I was one of three lucky winners! I was instructed to come to the store for a fitting and informed that a photographer from the local paper would be on hand to photograph the winners afterwards! 

Why did I choose to take part in this competition? Well, perhaps because it was easy and I had to do virtually nothing to take part in it. Surprisingly enough, I was one of the lucky winners!

I was amazed to win something, and I did end up with quite a nice new set of dresses for very little effort, but most importantly of all, I had a really hilarious day collecting my prize.

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


Sample Answer 5:

I have attended many competitions in different phases of my life and have won several prizes from those competitions as well. One such contest that I would like to talk about here is a cycling competition that I participated in at my college.

I was perhaps 16 years old back then, and one September evening, I noticed an advertisement in our local newspaper about an inter-college cycling competition that would be held on the next month. The entry fee was $20 and the prizes would be given to the first three cyclists. I had a passion for cycling and that’s why I thought to participate in it.

A couple of days later, I registered my name in the competition and paid $20 as the registration fee. On the day of the competition, I took my bicycle and wore my cycling dress and helmet. I noticed there were around 30 competitors, and I was asked to get to the cycling track and take my position for the competition to begin. The total distance was around 15 miles, and that required some energy and time to complete. 

I tried my best, but still, I was really surprised to win the third prize at the end. I found that some of my classmates were shouting and cheering because I was one of the three prize winners. The winner got $1000, a trophy and a certificate. The boy who stood in the second position won $600, a crest and a certificate. As for me, I got $400 and a certificate.

Looking back at the event, I believe that I took part in this competition because even though I was a passionate cyclist, I never really did try to push myself to the limit by taking part in a cycling competition. At that time I thought that it would be an excellent opportunity to take part in this competition and test my stamina and skill. I also thought about winning in it and getting some prize money!

I felt really happy and proud that I did well in this competition. Actually, I never took my cycling practice seriously, and after I did well in that competition, I started participating in other cycling competitions as well.

Sample Answer 6:
It was an inter-department annual indoor sports competition at my office and a circular was issued for all notifying the issue. I am an accountant and work for a locally reputed manufacturing company in Argentina. The company manufactures plastic materials for daily use. I feel lucky to have this cue card topic and I will explain the matter briefly.

I took part in an indoor game. My office organizes the competition annually to make the employees feel relaxed. In fact, this is really tough to work round the year without any reliable break. So, different competitions were held marking the event. I took part in chess and cards. There were some other competitions like passing the pillow for the female employees. Table tennis was the other important competition that I did not dare to take part in. However, the prizes were attractive. The company arranged for home appliances for the winners - a large screen television set for the first prize winner, a washing machine for the second and a microwave oven for the third position. But all the participants received some other awards for their participation. Actually, the authority did not disappoint anyone of the participants. I won the third prize and another small prize for my participation. It was an enjoyable event indeed.   

I took part in the competition for some reasons. The prime motivation behind participating was to check my skills in indoor games. I was skilled in chess when I was a student but had not been in practice for a long time. The notice for the annual competition brought the chance for me to repair my skills. Moreover, I enjoy playing chess and cards. And participating in the competition was enjoyable too. Considering the reasons, I took part in this competition and won two prizes.


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

Topic: Describe a competition (e.g. TV, college/work or sports competition) that you took part in.

1. Participation in a badminton championship was tough for me. But luckily I have obtained a prize for participation. The competition held by several other competitors and I had to defeat them in matches. I got a smart amount of money as the prize. I participated in competitions because I love to play badminton. But this time I had some difficulties as I did not have enough time to get prepared for the matches.

2. In my school days, I took part in a storytelling competition. I had to submit a story and unluckily, I did not get a prize for my participation. The winners got books of different local Russian writers. I decided to take part there to judge my skills. In fact, I used to tell stories in classes after listening from my grandma. But I did not have ideas that those were not unique and everyone had familiarity with these stories.    

3. Playing chess is difficult and the complexity level rises when the player is a newbie. A similar thing happened to me. I took part in an inter-class chess competition at my college in Melbourne. It was very hard for me to get a prize. The winners were awarded trophies and medals. I took part in the competition because of my friends' encouragement. They actually instigated me and however, it was a tough experience.

4. If you have skills, you can be a winner in table tennis. But if you are a newbie, chances are little to win the game. And it was a failure for me. I was the later one. I lost in the game that took place in my college in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The winners were awarded different types of prizes like certificates and small gifts. Just to check my skills and how my physical fitness is, I enrolled in the competition.

5. I was never fond of basketball and got an altering view about the game after I took part in. In fact, I did not have the slightest idea how to play it and I just enjoyed the matches. But last month, I had to take part in a basketball match as part of my college team. Luckily, my team became the best one in Hokkaido, Japan, for outstanding performance. Just to meet the curiosity and with direct inspiration from my surrounding students and teachers, I took part in the competition.

Part 3 – Two-way discussion/ Detail discussion:

Discussion Topic: Competitions in school.

Q. Why do you think some school teachers use competitions as class activities?
Q. Do you think it is a good thing to give prizes to children who do well at school? Why?
Q. Would you say that schools for young children have become more or less competitive since you were that age? Why?

Discussion Topic: Sporting Competitions.

Q. What are the advantages and disadvantages of intensive training for young sportspeople?
Q. Some people think that competition leads to better performance from sports stars. Others think that it just makes players feel insecure. What is your opinion?
Q. Do you think that it is possible to become too competitive in sport? In what way?

Answers to these Part - 3 questions could be found at IELTS Speaking Test - Sample 90

Similar Cue Card topics:

Your ability to talk about this Cue Card Topic would enable you to talk about the following Cue Card Topics as well:

1) Describe a competition you took part in
2) Describe a competitive exam you took.
3) Describe a game contest you were present
4) Describe a prize you won.

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