Cue Card Sample

An important choice you had to make in your life - Cue Card # 822

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 an important choice you had to make in your life.

You should say:

  • when you had to make this choice
  • what you had to choose between
  • whether you made a good choice

and explain how you felt when you were making this choice.

[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:
Up until my university graduation years, about 5/6 years ago, I was a rather physically weak person for my age, and I desperately wanted to change that. But, just when I was planning to join a local sports club or a gym to have some physical activities, I was offered a very lucrative internship position at a very prestigious accounting firm in my country. So, it was time for me to make a choice.  Today, I will tell you how I actually went about making that choice, and how I felt about it.

Oh, the choice was obvious for me since I really wanted to get in physically good shape. So, I went ahead and joined a famous gym in my town. But, making that decision for me wasn’t exactly that easy since I needed to prepare my mind and body for a completely different kind of challenge. After all, all those years, running up to my graduation, I was only busy studying, doing home works and preparing for examinations.

Of course, my parents had advised me back then to get involved in some kind of physical and extra-curricular activities, but I guess that I was just too lazy at that time to follow through with their good advice. Besides, my regular routines also got messed up initially as I was trying to keep up with the routine fitness work and sweating at the exercise club. My routine and tough physical activities had gone like this for almost 6 months under the strict supervision of a gym instructor. By the way, initially, I was a bit sceptical about denying that lucrative internship position, but then, later on, I felt so glad that I actually made that decision in favour of joining a gym.

But, in the end, the result was stunning as I happily noticed that there was some remarkable improvement in my body shape. I didn’t just feel great about my appearance and all those muscles, but I also felt really great and confident, mentally. In fact, I felt like I was up for any kind of personal and professional challenge.

Sample Answer 2:

It is undeniable that life is full of choices, some of which can have significant consequences in our future while some of which might not. Today, I would like to talk about one such important choice that I had to make in my life.

When you had to make this choice: 
It was about five years ago when I had just graduated from college. I was trying to figure out my career path and had to make a decision that would impact my future.

What you had to choose between: 
The choice was between continuing my studies and pursuing a master's degree or finding a job and starting my professional career.

Whether you made a good choice:
I decided to pursue a master's degree in my field of study as I believed it would help me gain more knowledge and make me more employable. Looking back, I am happy that I made that choice as it has opened up many opportunities for me.

And explain how you felt when you were making this choice: 
I remember feeling very anxious and confused when making this choice. On the one hand, I wanted to start earning and be independent, but on the other hand, I knew that continuing my studies would help me achieve my long-term goals. I spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of each option, and it was a tough decision to make. However, I am glad that I made the choice that I did, as it has helped me in my personal and professional life.


Sample Answer 3:
Whether we like it or not, we all have to make some important decisions and choices at some points in our lives because they allow us the opportunities not only to grow as a “person” but also to adapt and adjust our “life strategies” with the demand of time. Today, I would like to talk about one such important choice I had to make about five years ago or so.

It was the year 2018 when I had to make this decision, and I was around 23 years old back then. 

The decision was about whether to quit my job or not, and then go back to university again in order to obtain an advanced degree, such as an MBA, in “International Business”. And, the reason, for which I wanted to obtain an advanced degree, was that I wanted to build my career as a university teacher instead of pursuing a career in the corporate world. I had to choose between my job and pursuing an advanced degree.

I think that I made the right decision. But, it was not a very easy decision to make for me at that time as I didn’t only have enough funds to pay for my educational expenses, but also I wasn’t confident enough about good academic performance, after a significant time of study break. Not knowing for sure what to do, I sought some important advice from one of my high school teachers, who was very much like a “mentor” to me, and he told me that I should have gone back to university again. So, I went back to the university again, and in hindsight 20/20, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made so far.

It was indeed a very important choice to make because it allowed me to find out my true potential, both on the intellectual level and professional level, in the subsequent years. In fact, I did get an invitation to work as a teacher at a local university after finishing my advanced degree. Besides, this particular decision made me more confident about my life and future than ever before which was more of an important “gift” for me in itself than prospective career opportunities.

Model Answer 4:
I’m not always good at making decisions. I worry about making the wrong choices and often seek advice from friends to help me think through the consequences of picking one option over another. Some decisions are easy to make – perhaps because all the possible options are good ones (like choosing a favourite pudding) others seem to have no good options only ‘least bad’ ones, those are the hardest to make. The important decision I can think of, and which I’m going to talk about today, worked out in the end, but it was terrifying to have to make at the time.

The choice was whether or not I should relocate to a different part of the country to take up a new job. I had to make this choice about 6 years ago. I had been self-employed for a while, but then there was a downturn in the economy and I stopped getting enough work to support myself. I applied for a job in Sheffield, which was a city I didn’t know at all, and when I had first an interview, and then a job offer, I was faced with a big decision. Should I leave my home and friends to start a new life in Sheffield for a promising job at a prestigious university; or should I stay where I was in my lovely house and familiar surroundings, and hope the work might pick up again in the future?

I thought a lot about the pros and cons. However, ultimately it came down to income. I couldn’t live in fresh air, and this was a well-paid job. I also thought if I turned the work down, and then didn’t manage to pick up new contracts I’d always wonder ‘What if?’ or 'How might things have been different if I’d just been brave enough to ‘give it a go!’ I accepted the job and started to pack.

The result of the decision? Well, I moved to a new city and took a new job. It was hard at first, there was a lot to learn and sometimes it was lonely too. However, I’ve never regretted it. Sheffield is a lovely city near the beautiful countryside. I think this city must be one of the friendliest ones in the UK, people were incredibly welcoming to me as a newcomer. I think the move revitalised me and took me on a great new adventure, sometimes you do just have to take a bit of a risk in life to progress, this bit of risk-taking worked for me.

I think it was a big decision, but I made a good choice. Of course, it was an important one as it changed everything for me, from where I lived and worked, to who my friends are. Honestly, I think perhaps with decisions it matters less what you decide, and more than once you have made a decision you make the best of it, wherever it may take you. Sometimes the journey is speedy and smooth, and sometimes it is rocky along the way, but whatever path we choose, it is what makes us the people we are – for better or worse!

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


Sample Answer 5:
I've made many decisions in my life, and frankly speaking, I have made those decisions sometimes alone and sometimes discussing them with my parents and others. The particular decision that seems very important to me was the time when I decided to major in "Literature" rather than in Engineering in my college.

My mother wanted me to get admitted to an Engineering college and do my graduation majoring in Engineering while my fascination was studying Literature. I made this decision when I was 18 years old, just after finishing my A-level exams. My father did not force me to do anything; instead, he told me to do what I thought was best for me. My relatives thought that I was a fool and too immature to make a big decision for myself.

But after considering several issues and perspectives, I decided to get myself admitted to a college that offers graduation in literature. I'm happy that I made this decision. Now looking back at that time, I believe that I made the right choice. I'm yet to finish my graduation, but throughout the last 3 years, I have enjoyed studying literature, and I am doing quite well academically.

Making this choice was not easy, and I had to go through a tough and turbulent time. I had to fight with my inner self and then convince my mother. There were always risks of picking the wrong option and ruining it all. I still remember the dubious feelings I had at that time. Sometimes it seemed to me that I should abandon my passion and yield to my parent's decision, and then again, I strongly felt for my own choice and passion. Since I made my own choice at that time, a strong urge and force worked on me that I have to do really well, and I am happy that I took this decision and doing excellent so far.

Round-Off Questions:

Q. How do parents' decisions affect their children's life?
Answer: Parents' decisions can have a significant impact on their children's lives, as they shape their upbringing, education, and opportunities. For example, decisions related to education, health, and financial stability can all affect a child's future prospects and quality of life. Additionally, parenting style and values can influence a child's personality, behaviour, and socialization. Therefore, parents need to make responsible and informed decisions that prioritise their children's well-being and development.

Q. What important things do you consider while making a big decision?
Answer: While making a big decision, I consider several important factors, such as the potential consequences of the decision, the risks and benefits involved, and the long-term impact on my personal and professional goals. I also consider the opinions and feedback of trusted friends or family members, and seek out relevant information or expert advice to inform my decision. It's important to take time to carefully weigh all options, consider different perspectives, and evaluate the potential outcomes before making a final decision.

Part 3 - Details Discussion:

Discussion topic: Important choices

Q.  What are the typical choices people make at different stages of their lives?
Q.  Should important choices be made by parents rather than by young adults?
Q.  Why do some people like to discuss choices with other people?

Discussion topics: Choices in everyday life

Q.  What kind of choices do people have to make in their everyday life?
Q.  Why do some people choose to do the same things every day? Are there any disadvantages in this?
Q.  Do you think that people today have more choices to make than in the past?

Please browse to IELTS Speaking Test Sample 95 - Part 3 section for the answer to these questions

If you can talk about this cue card topic, you would also be able to describe:

1. Describe something you did and felt good about.
2. Describe something you did for others.
3. Describe a choice you made in your life.
4. Describe a decision you took that later affected your life.
5. Describe an incidence when you got confused.
6. Describe a tough choice you had to make in your life.

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