Cue Card Sample

Describe a time when you needed to use imagination - Cue Card # 603

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

Describe a time when you needed to use your imagination.

You should say:

  • what the situation was
  • why you needed to use your imagination
  • what the difficulties were about it

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.]


Model Answer 1:

We all use imagination, consciously or unconsciously, as it allows us to experience a whole new world in our minds, speaking “philosophically” of course. But, sometimes, imagination is also needed to avoid some “awkward” situations.

My 5-year-old nephew was notorious for making “impossible” demands from time to time when he was not in a good mood. So, when my sister left the town for a few days (in order to take care of some important business) and asked me to look after their child, I immediately knew that I was in for some “big” troubles! And, it didn’t take too long to prove myself right as soon as I failed to feed into his demand of buying him “chocolate ice cream” (prohibited by their parents on some medical grounds).

But, my nephew wasn’t just willing to let go of his “demand” for his favourite snack unless I was “preparing” (not “buying”) him something more unique in their kitchen which, in this particular situation, would be “chocolate mixed apple pie”. Of course, the problem was I didn’t have any idea about preparing “chocolate mixed apple pie” nor could I find any particular “recipe” for this unique “dessert”. Suddenly, I thought that it perhaps would be better if I could somehow convince my “stubborn” nephew to unearth some of his cooking skills and get him to cook the “unique” dessert for himself while I would just work as an assistant to him. And guess what, the idea worked like “magic” as he immediately agreed to take my “bait” and forgot about preparing the very dessert altogether!   

Anyway, I felt really relieved after seeing my plan had a great calming effect on my nephew. After all, I didn’t want my nephew to think of me as a rude or “unloving” uncle as I was not willing to buy his favourite snack. Besides, I also felt really happy about my plan as it allowed me to share some fun and quality time with my nephew in a kitchen which otherwise perhaps wouldn’t be possible.


Model Answer 2:

Thank you for this topic. This topic reminds me of an event when I had to use my imagination. Here I will share the story with you.

During a group project in my university days, I had to rely heavily on my imagination. It was a literature assignment that required us to create a short story inspired by a famous novel we had studied in class. The task was to write a modern-day adaptation of the classic tale, incorporating elements of the original storyline while infusing it with our own creative twists.

As we brainstormed ideas and outlined the plot, I realized that I needed to tap into my imagination to breathe life into the characters and settings of our story. Unlike academic essays or research papers, which often rely on facts and evidence, this project demanded a different approach—one that required us to envision new worlds and scenarios from scratch.

One of the difficulties I encountered was striking the right balance between staying true to the essence of the original novel and infusing our adaptation with fresh perspectives and contemporary themes. It was a delicate dance of homage and innovation, and finding the perfect blend of tradition and originality proved to be quite challenging.

Despite the difficulties, I found the process of using my imagination both exhilarating and rewarding. It allowed me to explore new realms of creativity and express myself in ways that I hadn't before. As I delved deeper into the story, I felt a sense of freedom and liberation, knowing that the only limits were those of my own imagination.

In the end, our collaborative efforts paid off, and we produced a compelling and imaginative adaptation that garnered praise from our peers and teachers. The experience taught me the power of imagination as a tool for creative expression and problem-solving, and it instilled in me a newfound appreciation for the boundless possibilities that lie within the realm of the mind. I was never a very “imaginative” person in the past, be it in making up a story or making up an excuse. But, all that changed one day during my school years when I was suddenly named to take part in a debate, on a subject which I had no prior knowledge about, instead of another person due to her illness.


Sample Answer 3:

The topic, we were supposed to debate on, was whether the developed countries of the world only should be paying for the greenhouse effects and environmental pollution thereafter, caused by their industrial emissions, or not. Of course, the problem was that I had no concrete idea about environmental pollution, and as such, I just didn’t know who should have been blamed for damages. But, I needed to deliver my debate on whether I knew about the topics or not.

So, I started to imagine (more like delivering my “common sense”) about the possible extreme natural phenomena of my country, like drought, longer summers and shorter winters. Then I also started to imagine about the things which were being done by the developed countries, like the USA, Canada and Japan, but not by poor countries, and thus offering a list of possible reasons for which developed countries should have paid for the environmental damages.

Anyway, I felt like I was stranded in the middle of nowhere with no compass to provide me with any direction as I never cared to learn about any kind of environmental pollution and damages, be them natural or man-made. I also felt like if my team were to lose the debate, it would probably be because of me. However, on the bright side, I also felt like I could at least use my common sense to help my fellow debating partners. In fact, it was very comforting for me as my school authority thought of depending on me to take part in the debate. We lost the debate, of course, but I personally didn’t lose because I stood up for the challenge during the crisis of my team.


Model Answer 4:

I would like to thank you before I describe a situation when my imagination saved my day. This is a great topic to talk about, and it reminds me of the famous Einstein quotation "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution".

It was approximately a year ago, and I had to step out of my comfort zone to do well at the global Innovation Solution Competition. Initially, it was a group content, but as we progressed to the semi-final round, we had to prove our individual approaches to real-life problems that the authorities decided for us. 

This annual contest is open to all undergraduates around the world, and we had to contest with more than 30 teams at the initial selection round. Being able to reach the semi-final round was both inspiring and challenging. Therefore, when I was given a problem to solve all by myself, I completely relied on my imagination, and winning the tournament as the third-best team in the global competition in Australia was deliriously felicitous and extraordinarily exciting. My task was to propose a feasible solution to the global waste management problem. As soon as I looked at the topic and realised that I had only 2 hours to finish my article of 600 words, I knew that I would have to be extremely imaginative yet creative to propose a great solution.  

The Innovation Solution Competition recognises individuals and teams who propose practical solutions to pressing global problems to promote creativity and awareness. This competition aims to bring university students from around the globe together, and expect them to show their creative thinking to propose solutions to problems the world is facing. Thus it was not a simple competition where I could have done well by proposing something ordinary. This was highly challenging as the other competitors were already working on their own to secure their position in the next round. On top of that, the problem I was given was something new to me.

I had to buckle down and brainstorm ideas for the challenge until I came up with something I was personally convinced about. The clock was ticking and I was lost in my thoughts for the first couple of minutes. I knew I had to come up with something that would fit in the global context. Fortunately, a convincing idea emerged that I proposed in my article, and the next day, I was both happy and perplexed to become the runner-up at this stage. In the final round, we were announced as the third-best team in the global competition, and I was very proud of myself and our team for the fabulous achievement.


Model Answer 5:

Well, that's a pretty interesting topic to talk about. An instance where my imagination played a pivotal role occurred during a camping trip with my friends last summer, and here I will share the story with you. 

As we settled around the campfire under the starry night sky, one of my friends suggested that we take turns sharing spooky stories to add an extra thrill to our outdoor adventure. With the crackling fire casting eerie shadows on the trees and the night air filled with anticipation, I knew it was the perfect setting to unleash my imagination.

The challenge was to come up with a tale that would captivate my audience and send shivers down their spines. Drawing inspiration from local legends and folklore, I crafted a spine-chilling narrative about a ghostly figure that haunted the nearby woods. With each word, I painted vivid images of misty forests, echoing whispers, and mysterious disappearances, allowing my imagination to transport us to a realm where reality blurred with the supernatural. The difficulty lay in striking the right balance between suspense and believability, ensuring that my story was captivating without veering into the realm of incredulity. 

Despite the challenges, I relished the opportunity to let my imagination run wild and weave a tale that kept my friends on the edge of their seats. As I watched their wide-eyed expressions and listened to their nervous laughter, I felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that I had succeeded in creating an unforgettable experience that would linger in their memories long after the flames of the campfire had died down.

In retrospect, the experience taught me the power of imagination to entertain, engage, and inspire, even in the most unlikely of settings. It reinforced the importance of embracing creativity and spontaneity, reminding me that sometimes, the most memorable moments are born out of the depths of our imagination.

Model Answer 6:

Thank you a lot for allowing me the time to talk about a time when I had to be inventive to accomplish something. I will tell you when it was, why I was in a situation to use my imagination, what hurdles I faced and my overall impressions of the whole event.

To commence with, it happened approximately a year ago when my family shifted to a new apartment. My previous room was comparatively smaller than the one I got at that new flat, and I had only a small number of furniture back then. The new room, on the contrary, was large and I had to plan to decorate it carefully. I wanted to give my room a delightful ambience and to do so, I had to face a big challenge. While I was in the planning phase, my elder sister had already tidied up her room in an adorable fashion. This made my challenges even more complicated.

I had some savings of my own, and with it, I bought two oil paintings, a large rag, a new sofa set, decorative wall stickers and some pot plants. Then I was confronted with the real challenge of placing them in the perfect position. My imagination was already at work and it took me two days to finish decorating my room. I must have been very creative as my father, who scarcely appreciates, remarked very emphatically. I felt quite relieved and exhilarated at the same time for this achievement. My imagination, choice and creativity to prepare my room, in a way, inspired me to plan everything beforehand from that event.

I am sure my elder sister had never agreed but with the pot plants, oil paintings, decorative wall stickers and stylish sofa, my room looked better than that of her! I felt a sense of accomplishment and great pleasure.


Sample Answer 7:

I studied history at the University of Guilan and completed my graduation from that very university in 2022. In my early years, I often found myself in a position in which I struggled to complete the whole syllabus before the exam. Thus I was often forced to use my imagination during the written tests! If I look back to these days, I feel kind of proud of my ability to score well with my capacity to imagine the scenario and then pen down the answers. But, I soon changed my habit to secure better grades.

During the semester final in my second year, I completely relied on my imagination and memory to answer one of the questions related to the Ottoman Empire. I would like to talk about this event and this is a lovely topic for me.

I often skimmed textbooks before an exam and could write the answers. Besides, my regular attendance to the class and ability to recall teachers' lectures saved me many times. However, a very hard question related to the Ottoman Empire baffled me on an exam and I had to rely on my imagination to answer it.

Dealing with this was not easy, especially in an exam room. Firstly, I had little idea about what I should be writing and the time was ticking. I had some knowledge about the Ottoman Empire and I used it to expand the stories and I explained the event in my very own way! It might sound absurd but I got a good mark on this test!

This particular event was a lesson for me. Though I felt proud to be able to answer questions without memorising them, I felt I ought to be more careful to get better grades. And properly studying before the exam was the only solution to it. I did not abandon my creative writing approach but became more serious about studying after this experience.


Model Answer 8:

This is quite an interesting topic for me and I would like to profoundly thank you for allowing me to describe an event when my imagination saved my day.

It was roughly two years ago when the quote by the great scientist Albert Einstein -  “Imagination is more important than knowledge", was proven correct once again in my life. I was in a job interview and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company asked me a very tricky question. If I recall everything precisely, it was my second job interview after my graduation and I was terribly apprehensive to face interviews at that time. The question the COO asked was nothing I was prepared for. He asked me whether I did my homework about their company and products, and as soon as I said ’yes’, his next question came to me as a shock. He told me to describe a few negative aspects of this company or the things they are doing incorrectly. He also asked me to propose a solution to the problem.

I was silent for around 5-10 seconds and noticed that every one of the interview panels was looking at me very sternly. And that made the whole situation more challenging for me. I took another 10 seconds to start talking and I decided to express my true feelings about the downside of their company. I had to be very imaginative and creative, and I decided to express some faulty ways they were operating their business. Talking about the poor customer management system they have had and how their competitors had gained more market share over the past few years was not easy. And I did not tell everything from my knowledge, rather I let my imagination take control. Proposing the solution to this problem was not easier either but when I let my imagination dictate me, I noticed some interests in the eyes of the interviewers.

This all happened in the blink of an eye, or maybe this is what I felt. The interviewers' eye contact with each other persuaded me that I was on the right track. The interview lasted for another twenty minutes or so and I left the room with a great deal of confidence. I felt positive and confident, thanks to my timely imaginative power.

Before I end my answer to this topic, I would like to inform you that I actually was offered the position in this company, and I still work for them.


More Ideas to talk about this Cue Card topic:

Cue Card Topic: Describe a time when you needed to use your imagination.

1. Last semester, I had a project to complete some artwork for children as a teacher in an elementary school. I needed to use my thought in that case. I imagined deeply and made some fine works for children. Finally, the project was approved.

2. A few days, ago I told a bedtime story to my niece completely from my imagination. I made up the story and interestingly my niece was very absorbed in the tale! I told her about the adventures of some brave kids and at last, she was asleep!

3. I work for a multinational company in Paris. Last week I needed to make a presentation in my office. I had to devise some potential perspectives and how they would be while preparing the presentation. With my imagination, I completed the presentation and it was highly appreciated.

4. Writing is hard if the writer lacks imagination. I wrote a short story about the socio-economic status of poor people living in Athens in 1900. I imagined how they led their lives and dealt with many other issues. It ended up to become a good piece of writing.

5. Before starting a garden project in front of my residence, located in Shinjuku, Japan, I had to use my imagination and apply my creativity. In fact, I did not have a large space in front of my one-storied residence as I actually needed for the garden. So, I was required to imagine everything - how the garden would look like, how I would water the plants and where to put which plants and pots. Finally, I have been able to build a nice garden and I am very proud of it.

6. Working as a graphic designer requires creativity, imagination and experience. Recently, I had to take advantage of my imagination power before starting a new project. It was about designing a television show background for a children’s event. I am glad that my design was approved.

7. I do not have sharp imagination power but I needed to apply it anyway last month while describing my plans for the next projects to my superior authority. In fact, I was not ready and instantly generated them with my imagination.

8. Blessed are those who have extraordinary creative skills. But I also need to demonstrate the skill (though I do not have much) while answering a critical question. I was asked to set a strategy to increase sales for a software company. Seems like my idea was not as bad as I thought it was! Others appreciated what I presented to them.

9. Taking part in an art competition is tough. I understood that when I took part in such a competition that was held at my college in Mumbai, India. A topic was given and the contestants had to create a painting based on the theme. I used my imagination to paint it. Though my painting did not receive any prize, I was proud to be able to finish it.

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

1. Describe a time when one of your ideas was appreciated.
2. Describe a situation when someone gave a great idea.
3. Describe a creative idea that you used once.
4. Describe something unusual you did recently.

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