Cue Card Sample

When you tried to do something but weren’t successful - Cue Card # 796

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

Describe a time when you tried to do something but weren’t very successful.

You should say:

  • when it was
  • what you tried to do
  • why you were not successful in doing it

and explain how you felt about it.

[Instruction: 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:

Well, the truth is, success never comes easy, at least, for some people – people who are not always as gifted and smart as successful people are. But, still, we try as best as we can to test our limits, just like I did about a decade ago when I tried to learn karate.

Now, I can’t exactly remember what motivated me to become a “karate champion” back then, but I am assuming that I started to develop a liking for this thing because of watching too many karate and kung fu movies. After all, back then, I was a young, university-going student, and I had a lot of energy to spend (or “waste”, depending on how one looks at it). So, moving the story forward, one day, I asked my parents to give me some money so that I could get enrolled at a karate school in my home town. Initially, my parents were a bit hesitant to give me the money, but they eventually gave in to my insistence and enthusiasm to learn karate.

Thankfully, I got my wish and started to attend karate school every day for the first few weeks. I even learned quite a few basics of karate, but as the practice got a bit more intense, and it demanded more physical involvement, and time from my end, apparently because the instructors there wanted to teach me more advanced things, I started to get disillusioned about my ability, or lack thereof, to become even a simple “karate” learner, let alone a karate expert. So, in the end, I eventually stopped going to the karate school after attending it just for one month.

So, anyway, as I left the karate school, I felt really disappointed about it, to say the least. Besides, I also felt a bit embarrassed about my physical ability which, I thought, was quite good up until that point. Of course, my only consolation was that I did learn quite a few basic things about karate!

Sample Answer 2:

In life, we often encounter failures and setbacks that can be discouraging. However, they can also be a good source of lessons for us. Today, I will describe a time when I tried to do something but was not successful, and thank you for letting me talk about such an event.

When it was:
It was a couple of years ago when I tried to learn how to play the guitar. I was really excited about it and had saved up some money to buy a new guitar.

What you tried to do:
I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, so I bought a beginner's guitar and started watching tutorials online. I spent hours practising every day, and I was very determined to become a good guitar player.

Why you were not successful in doing it:
Despite my efforts, I was not very successful in learning how to play the guitar. I found it very difficult to coordinate my fingers to play the chords, and I was not able to get the sound that I wanted. I tried different techniques, watched more tutorials, and even took some lessons, but I still could not get the hang of it.

And explain how you felt about it:
To be frank and honest, I felt disappointed and frustrated that I was not able to learn how to play the guitar. It was something that I really wanted to do, and I had put a lot of time and effort into it. However, I also realized that it was okay to fail and that it was not the end of the world. I learned that it is important to keep trying and not give up on something just because it is difficult. I decided to take a break from the guitar and focus on other hobbies that I was better at.

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