Cue Card Sample

Describe something that surprised you - Cue Card # 825

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 something that surprised you.

You should say:

  • what surprised you
  • when it happened
  • how you found about it

and explain why it surprised you so much.

[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:
Life is full of many surprises except that we don’t always care to recognize them just as such. I have also been surprised many times in my life, only to forget about them shortly thereafter, but the story, I am about to share here, will probably keep surprising me for a long, long time.

My father is a rather “reserved” person, meaning he doesn’t really like to talk much unless it is absolutely necessary. In fact, I have seen my father not having any normal and pleasant conversation with his wife, children, and even his elderly parents for days in a row unless the talks were about picking up some kind of trash or laundry. To my father, his work and office were his life- or at least this is what I assumed!

So, I wasn’t really surprised to learn that my father had decided to leave for a foreign country to avail of a very lucrative job offer about a few years ago. Initially, I didn’t really make much of this news, but when I was told that we probably wouldn’t be able to see him for at least the next 2 years or so, I was a bit saddened. I am sure that my father also knew how I really felt, but I guess he just chose to ignore it, apparently because he was determined to have the job - well, again this is what I thought.

But, on the other hand, I was determined to stop him from leaving his country. So, I just told him that he might not have missed me or his other family members, but I would miss him a lot if he were actually to leave his country. As soon as I said that, my father sat in his room and told me to leave his room in an emotional voice.

Later, I thought that he was mad at me, but to my utmost and pleasant surprise, he just told me that he was not leaving! In fact, I couldn’t quite believe that he would value the opinion of a “little guy” like me!  Besides, I didn’t also expect my father to show his “emotion” like that! The whole affair was one of the most surprising events in my life so far.

Model Answer 2:

Surprises can be thrilling, and they can also be shocking. A few years ago, I had experienced a surprising event that left me bewildered that I still remember vividly. Here, I'll describe what it was and how it had taken me by surprise.

What surprised you:
I am an avid fan of football and follow the English Premier League religiously. I have supported Manchester United for as long as I can remember. It was during the 2015-16 season when Leicester City, who were at the bottom of the table in the previous season, had emerged as the new champions. This had surprised me beyond belief.

When it happened:
It was the final day of the 2015-16 season. I had tuned in to watch Manchester United's match, and I had my eyes glued to the television screen. The commentators had mentioned that Leicester City had already won the title, and I was surprised as I had expected Tottenham Hotspur to win it. Tottenham were the only challengers to Leicester City at that point in time, and it was surprising to see them lose their nerve in the final few matches.

How you found about it:
I had found out about Leicester City's success through the live telecast of Manchester United's match. The commentators were discussing the outcome of the other matches, and I had overheard them say that Leicester City had already won the title. I was shocked and had to double-check the standings to ensure that what I had heard was true.

And explain why it surprised you so much:
The reason why this event surprised me so much was that it was something that nobody had expected. Leicester City had been written off by many at the start of the season, and their success was a testament to their hard work and dedication. They had played with heart and had defied the odds to become champions. It was a true underdog story, and I was surprised to see them succeed where many others had failed.

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