Cue Card Sample

Situation when you did not have enough time - Cue Card # 644

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

Describe a situation when you did not have enough time for something.

You should say:

  • what the situation was
  • when it happened
  • what you were trying to do

  and explain how you handled the situation.

[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:

The feeling that “you are short on time” can be very frustrating, especially, in situations when you are about to finish something important – something which you have prepared for a long time, only, of course, to find out at the end that it wasn’t just enough to get what you wanted. Let me describe such a situation which took place about 2 years ago at my work.

Back then, I had just joined as a junior executive at a local company right after finishing my studies and having spent only about 1 year there, I was in search for a better role and greater challenges. Suddenly, one day, as if God heard my wishes, my senior manager called me and asked me if I was interested in the position of a senior executive in another department.

However, the “catch” was I needed to give a PowerPoint presentation in front of some Senior Managers, and I had only about 20 minutes to impress them. I was also told that it was going to be a tough presentation as the managers had the discretion to ask me any questions while I was standing in front of them and delivering my talks. The presentation was scheduled to be held the following week. So, I started to prepare myself without wasting any time.

Finally, the day arrived, and I was fully ready to stand in front of my managers and deliver, or so at least I thought. I already had prepared the presentation materials as per the instruction, and the first 10 minutes was pretty much a smooth-going.

However, suddenly after that, I was asked to explain a very important aspect of our company strategies which, I thought, I didn’t know very well. I was about to panic, but then I ‘ordered’ myself not to panic at all. I tried my best to explain the strategy in as precise terms as possible without wasting too much time on it as I needed to cover the rest of the presentation materials within the stipulated period of time. As I was nearing the end of the stipulated time, I realized that I just wouldn’t be able to finish my presentation on time.

It was ‘panic time’ again. But then, I told myself not to worry too much about it as there was always a “next time” in life. So, instead of going into details on them, I simply chose to talk about the most important points by remaining very confident.

Finally, I did manage to finish my presentation but, needless to say, I wasn’t exactly very “thrilled and excited” about it since I couldn’t really cover all the presentation materials due to the lack of time. But, I was happy that I made an honest effort by having great confidence in my abilities. And that’s exactly what probably mattered the most in the end, as far as my senior managers were concerned. After a couple of days, I was promoted to a senior executive position in another department.


Model Answer 2:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss a situation when I didn't have enough time for something. Though I can recall several such situations, one is vivid in my memory that occurred during my final year at university when I had to complete a significant project within a tight deadline. Here, I will tell you about the situation in detail.

It was towards the end of the semester when the project requirements were announced, and I realized that I had underestimated the time needed to complete it. The project involved conducting extensive research, analyzing data, and preparing a detailed report—all of which required careful planning and execution.

Despite my initial efforts to manage my time efficiently, unforeseen circumstances, such as unexpected personal commitments and technical difficulties, disrupted my schedule, leaving me with limited time to complete the project. As the deadline approached, I found myself overwhelmed and anxious about meeting the submission deadline.

To handle the situation, I took immediate action by reassessing my priorities and reorganizing my schedule to allocate more time to the project. I broke down the tasks into smaller, manageable steps and created a detailed timeline with specific milestones to track my progress. Additionally, I sought assistance from my classmates and professors, who provided valuable insights and guidance to expedite the process.

Despite the challenges and time constraints, I remained focused and committed to delivering a high-quality project. I worked diligently, often sacrificing leisure time and sleep to meet the deadline. Through perseverance, effective time management, and collaboration, I successfully completed the project just in time for submission.

Looking back, while the experience was stressful and demanding, it taught me valuable lessons in resilience, adaptability, and prioritization.

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