Cue Card Sample

IELTS Cue Card Sample 8 - Your study room

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

Describe your study room.

You should say:

  • how it looks like
  • how much time you spend in this room
  • how an ideal study room should be

and give details of your study room.

Follow-up questions:

• How does a study room help a student?
• Do you like to study? What type of books do you read?
• Which one do you prefer - reading or travelling? Why?

Describe your study room


Model Answer 1:
Describing my study room is easy – but perhaps a little embarrassing for me as it is not very tidy! Thank you for this nice topic.

I am lucky because there is a ‘spare’ room in my flat which I can use as a study space. That’s the good news but the problem is that the room has also ended up being a dumping ground for everything else that doesn’t have a home. It is full of clutter. The room hosts a large double bed, already made up in case of guests, and a wardrobe. Also stored in the room are a Henry Hoover (a type of vacuum cleaner); an ironing board, a clothes rack, and a set of low clothes rails that I use to hang out washing to dry. These items and bits of furniture all added together don’t leave very much space for me to work in. Even so, I have a table in the corner of the room. It is quite light, as it is positioned right underneath a duplex window.

The table is reasonably sized, but I’m afraid it’s also rather cluttered. I have a couple of sets of in-trays on my desk, full of writing paper items (notebooks and reams of A4 paper), together with letters and documents awaiting my attention. There is also a tin full of pens, pencils, highlighters and other odds and ends which take up more space, and an old shoebox full of envelopes and cards that I tend to stock up on in case I need to send a friend a birthday card or quick message. That doesn’t leave any spare room, so my printer is on the floor under the table. I have to crawl on my hands and knees to retrieve papers from it when necessary!

Even though the space isn’t ideal, I do try and discipline myself to go in there every day to do some work free of other distractions. At least a couple of hours a day, but obviously if I have an important deadline then I can spend all day and half the night in there ‘burning the midnight oil’ to use an English expression. I sit on a little swivel office chair which is extremely comfortable.

My ideal study room would be airy, spacious and uncluttered. It would be a dedicated room, rather than a shared space that ends up collecting all the overflow from every other room in the home. I’d have a huge table, with neat piles of documents and space to spread out reference materials if needed. I’d prefer a window I could properly see out of, rather than one in the roof, but I do like the natural light. If money were no object, all my stationery would match, and I’d have a printer that never jammed or ran out of ink. A neat wooden filing cabinet would contain all my paperwork filed away in an orderly fashion. In one corner I’d have a cosy armchair by a window overlooking a beautiful garden. When I needed inspiration I’d be able to sit in it, gazing out of the view and thinking wise thoughts. I’d also like an endlessly refilling pot of hot fresh coffee, though I expect if I did all that caffeine would be very bad for me.

So you can see why I’m a little embarrassed by my study room, I’m ashamed it is such a cluttered area. Even so, when I find I’m really focused on some interesting project I don’t notice my surroundings. Unfortunately, if I don’t really want to face up to the task I’m supposed to be working on then it is very easy to be distracted when I’m so squashed in by the chaos around me. One day I might have to have a serious clear up, though I really don’t know where else I’d put all those things if I do.

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


Model Answer 2:
I am not sure that I really like to talk about my study room, or how it looks like, not because it looks really messy, but because I just don’t know where to start. But, still, I will make a sincere effort to describe my study room as it exists.

My study room is not exactly very big, but it is home to literally dozens of items, apart from books, bookshelves, desk and chairs, computer and other reading materials. I spend at least 6/7 hours of my time in my tiny study room, whether I am studying or not, because this is where I can think and feel like a “free-spirited” person. However, even though, I like my study room in its current “state”, I feel like it doesn’t look like an “ideal study room” to me as it lacks a “purpose”.

Anyway, my ideal study room should be as big as 100 square feet which would be located in one corner of the house, away from all kinds of “human-made” noise. It should also have a couple of windows so that enough fresh air and sunlight can enter the room to get me in the mood to study. It should also have a balcony so that I could sit there and enjoy watching nature a little during a study interval. Finally, I would also like my study room to have a perfect lighting scheme that matches the interior painting nicely.

Anyway, ideal or not, I do like my study room in its current arrangement with all kinds of different books, reading materials and old furniture in it because this is where I can think and feel like a “schismatic” person. Besides, even though, it has a rather small window, it is just enough to carry the pleasing sounds of birds chirping to my ears, in order to cheer me up, when I feel down. Finally, my study room may be old with some cracks in it, but it never fails to give me hope about my life and future whenever I study in it.


Sample Answer 3:
My study and living room is the same one and I spend most of my time in this room if I am not out. I would like to talk about this room and my idea of an ideal study room.

It’s a square-shaped room that has been painted white. It has got 2 doors, 2 windows, one attached bathroom and a north-facing veranda. The bed is placed beside a large window. Warm and fresh air keeps the room healthy. Among other possessions, I’ve got a computer desk, a bed table, a wardrobe, 2 bookshelves, a reading desk, a bed table, and a dressing table. One bookshelf is filled with storybooks and the other one with academic books. I keep my notepads, diary, boxes and other necessary things inside the study desk. I read mostly on my desk. However, I prefer reading novels in bed. My study room has not got plenty of luxurious furniture but I keep my things organised and clean. During the daytime, I keep my windows open and prefer not to turn on the light. My mother sometimes takes the authority to clean the room. I have arranged my storybooks based on the Author's name and the academic books based on Subjects.

My ideal study room would be spacious and neatly furnished. It should be quiet so that I am not distracted by noise. I would not prefer to have so many pieces of furniture as open space would be perfect for someone's study room. It should have a music system in case I need refreshment. All the stationery would be placed in boxes and should be easy to find. I would like to have a large table and a comfortable chair so that I can sit for a long and work painlessly. Finally, it must welcome the natural light and fresh air so that I can feel comfortable being in this room.

My study room, which is ironically also my living room, gives me comfort in terms of quietness. There are several other rooms in our house but my study room is quite soothing to me. I feel more relaxed in my study room than any other room in our house.


Tips for talking about this cue card topic:

While describing your study room you should say if this is a separate room or you use your bedroom for study. If this is a separate room, say if this is a private study room or is it shared by other family members. This cue card usually expects you to be able to talk about the details of your reading room, so give comprehensive details of it including the dimension, colour, size of the room and even the number of windows and doors. Then give details about the furniture and books you have there. Explain why this is an ideal place for study and how often you read there. you will have 1 minute to prepare for the cue card and within this one minute picture an ideal study room using your imagination and take points from those. Then one by one, describe those points.

Following is an example of the points you should take in the preparation phase of one minute:

1. A separate room; lots of books: academic books, storybooks and magazines.
2. Square shaped; have 2 bookshelves and books are categorised.
3. About 400 square foot, white colour, open space, quiet and peaceful.  
4. Furniture: Tables, chairs, laptop, table lamp, couch etc.
5. An ideal room for study: quiet, spacious, lots of fresh air and natural lights.

Now that you have enough points to describe your study room, arrange your sentences and describe them one by one. That will give you enough points for talking about more than 4-5 minutes.

Part 3: Details Discussion:

Q. How does a study room help a student?
The most important aspect of having a separate study room is that it's quiet and personal. It gives a nice environment for studying and preparing for the exam. People can be totally isolated in their study rooms and can concentrate on what they want to do as they aren't distracted by others. A study room is the most suitable places for a student to study. Moreover, they can access the Internet, read or write, allocate their time in study and take rest whenever they want. This is not possible in other places. Therefore, a study room can lead to a more effective and constructive way of studying and offer an even easier way of understanding and assimilating new information and knowledge. Finally, a student can be totally himself whenever he is in his study room without worrying about what others would think about him.

Q. Do you like to study? What type of books do you read?
Possible answer 1:  I love to read books-  be it a reference book, novel, biography or anything else that attracts me. Sometimes reading for an exam is a bit monotonous, but the outcome is great as it enhances my knowledge. Since I have already completed my graduation, I mostly read books that seem interesting to me. This includes fiction, biography, history and reference books. I am an active member of Goodreads - a website of an extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. This website is a great source for picking up books to read. Besides I maintain a technology-related blog and for updating this blog, I need to read different articles and posts online.     

Possible answer 2: The truth is that I don't like the process of studying but the outcome. When the time comes and I really have to study, I'm completely bored and sleepy. But as time goes by, I discover that I am equipped with the rudimentary knowledge that is necessary not only for my studies but also for my future career and life. Now that I've graduated from university, I really enjoy reading books from my last semester and especially those related to businesses. As becoming a business consultant is my dream and I'm very close to achieving that, I am motivated to spend some of my free time reading books about enterprises and gaining significant and useful knowledge.

Q. Which one do you prefer - reading or travelling? Why?
Answer: It's an interesting question and a bit difficult for me to answer as both pastimes are not only entertaining but also important in people's life. Reading can help someone acquire knowledge, enhance skills and competencies and of course stimulate our mind. Books are unparalleled in creating enlightened citizens in society.  

Travelling, on the other hand, broadens our horizons, allows us to make new acquaintances and meet people from around the world. In addition to this, we can become knowledgeable about a country's history, customs and culture by travelling and this results in becoming a more broad-minded and less regressive person. It is indeed a tough call for me to decide my preference between these two! However, if I have to, I would say that travelling is a bit more preferable to reading because it offers me a chance to witness things and events that I never want to miss.

Tips: You can say that you prefer one of the two options or even both. You have to explain the reasons for your choice and it would be good to tell why you don't like the other one.

[Part 3 answers were written by Mary, UK]

If you prepare for this cue card topic, you should also be able to answer the following cue cards:

1. Describe an ideal study room.
2. Describe a room in your house.
3. Describe the room you live in.
4. Describe a room in your house that is special to you.

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