Cue Card Sample

Very difficult task that you succeeded in doing as part of your work or studies - Cue Card # 815

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

[The topic for your talk will be written on a card which the examiner will hand over to you. Read it carefully and then make some brief notes.]

Describe a very difficult task that you succeeded in doing as part of your work or studies.

You should say:

  • what task you did
  • why this task was very difficult
  • how you worked on this task

and explain how you felt when you had successfully completed this task.

[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.]

[Examiner: All right? Remember you have one to two minutes for this, so don't worry if I stop you. I'll tell you when the time is up. Can you start speaking now, please?]


Model Answer 1:

Introduction & What task you did:
Thank you very much for this topic. Umm, one of the most difficult tasks I have ever completed was a research project that I had to complete as part of my undergraduate degree. The project was to investigate a topic related to my major and write a lengthy research paper on it.

Why this task was very difficult:
The task was very difficult because it required a lot of time and effort to collect the necessary data, analyze the information, and write a comprehensive paper on the topic. Moreover, it was my first research project of such magnitude, and I had no prior experience in doing research of this kind.

How you worked on this project:
To complete this task, I had to break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks and set specific goals for each stage. I spent several weeks collecting data from various sources such as books, academic journals, and online resources. I also had to learn how to use statistical software to analyze the data I collected.

And explain how you felt when you had successfully completed this task:
Despite the difficulties, I felt motivated to complete the task as I was genuinely interested in the topic I had chosen. Moreover, I received support from my supervisor who provided me with guidance and feedback throughout the process. Finally, after several weeks' of hard work and dedication, I was able to complete the research project and submit it on time. I felt a great sense of achievement and pride when I received an excellent grade for the project.

Model Answer 2:
Being a senior staff at work certainly has its rewards just as its pain, and I figured it out when I was assigned to mentoring a group of very talented but unruly interns at my office recently. In fact, up until that point, I just didn’t know that managing some young and talented students would prove out to be such a difficult task.

So, again, the task was to manage a group of university students who wanted to do an internship in “Financial Management” at our company head office. By the way, it was a regular yearly thing at my company except, of course, only this time around, I was the person who was assigned to mentor them.

By the way, I didn’t have any experience in running and managing such an internship programme before. But, I thought that since there already were some guidelines, I would be able to pull it off, only to find out later that learning something in theory and applying them practically were completely two different things. Anyway, after starting the programme, I found the students to be very casual at their jobs, and they were more interested in talking about their personal matters with each other instead of actually focusing on their tasks at hand. At one point, they even started to “cheat” in their jobs. So, I decided to become a “tough” boss and told them that I was going to ask each of them about the assignments, they had finished, at the end of every day. At the same time, I also announced some kind of “surprise” rewards to the most productive interns at the end of every week. Luckily, after that, I noticed some improvement in their performance and professionalism.

Anyway, after completing the internship programme successfully, I felt like I had finally managed to climb Mount Everest! However, the best thing about running that internship programme was that I also learned a lot of new things about the level of my skills and expertise just like the young interns. All in all, it was a very good and rewarding experience for me.

Model Answer 3:
Thank you for this nice topic. Today, I would like to discuss how I improved my grade during my final university years by taking it as a challenge. It was a very difficult task but I cracked it anyway!

By the way, my major was accounting, and I really liked studying it, but for some “mysterious” reasons, I felt like I was actually forgetting or messing up many of the basic things that I already had known. For a while, I even started to blame some of my teachers, thinking that they weren’t just good enough to teach a difficult subject like accounting. It was very foolish of me!

But, all that suddenly changed when one of my senior brothers (who already had finished his graduation from the university by then) told me where I was going wrong after advising me to take it as a “challenge”. He even told me when was best the time to study, and what and what not to eat before studying. He even told me not to worry about my grade for a while. Instead, all I needed to do was to relax as much as I could and study with a positive frame of my mind for as long as I could. I followed his advice strictly and it was not easy to break the habit. But I was determined enough to achieve success.

Needless to say, all that efforts of mine had finally paid off as I could see a significant improvement in my grade in the very next semester. But, to achieve this improvement, I had to give up on many things which I really liked. For example, I stopped watching TV and going to the movies. I even stopped eating some of my favourite foods to keep my body and brain fully synchronized with my study efforts. So, things for me weren’t very easy at all for a while.

But, I forgot all those difficult things, and felt really great and proud of my achievement, as I was finally able to improve my GPA from a GPA of 2.9 to a GPA of 3.6. Besides, it was during this trying period that I realized that one can’t only depend on his/her sheer luck, as I was doing, but also needed some discipline efforts to succeed in life.


Part 3 - Details discussion:

Discussion topic: "Difficult jobs"

Q.  What are the most difficult jobs that people do?
Q.  Why do you think some people choose to do difficult jobs?
Q.  Do you agree or disagree that all jobs are difficult sometimes?

Discussion topic: "Personal and career success"

Q.  How important is it for everyone to have a goal in their personal life?
Q.  Is it always necessary to work hard in order to achieve career success?
Q.  Do you think that successful people are always happy people?

The answer to those Part 3 Questions - Speaking Sample 112 - Part 3: Details Discussion


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