Cue Card Sample

IELTS Cue Card Sample 11 - A newspaper or a magazine

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

Describe a newspaper or a magazine.

You should say:

  • what it is and why you read it
  • what are the benefits of reading a newspaper or a magazine
  • how often you read it and what types of reports it contains

and explain why do you like to read this newspaper or magazine.

Follow-up Questions:
• What do you think are the important qualities for a news reporter?
• What's the main difference between a newspaper and a magazine?
• What’s the function of a report to the society?
• What kinds of books/newspapers/magazines do adolescents read in your country?
• With the popularity of the Internet, do you think newspapers and magazines will disappear?


Model Answer 1:
The history of the newspaper goes back to the 17th century when arguably the very first newspaper called “The Oxford Gazette” was ever printed in its current format in 1665. Since then, centuries have passed, and many earth-shattering events have taken place to change the world, but the appeal of newspapers hasn’t diminished. In fact, they have actually gained more popularity among their readers with their “online edition”, such as “BBC online news”, which I am about to talk now.

I read BBC online news at least once a day as it contains pretty much all kinds of news from all over the world. Whether we are talking about the latest fashion trends and style or some of the oldest handicraft items in some unknown part of the world, BBC online news has it all. The news portal doesn’t shy away from talking about controversial political, cultural, spiritual, social and economic issues either which are shaping up our world and opinion on a continuous basis one way or another. It also publishes news on all kinds of sports and international travel activities in as much details as possible. One of the main benefits of reading BBC online is that it gets updated every hour, if not every minute, to bring us the latest news. Besides, we don’t really have to pay any extra money to read them except only the charge for using the internet. Another benefit of reading an online newspaper is that they are more “interactive” as they let their readers publish their views online without any major delay.  

Anyway, I like to read BBC online news mainly because it is widely “trusted” all over the world. In fact, it goes to great length to display pictures and videos of news subjects and events in order to prove their authenticity, which may not be found in some other newspapers. Besides, I also like the fact that it has two editions of the website: a UK edition, which gives prominence to UK stories, and an international edition, which prioritises international news for its international readers like me.

Sample Answer 2:
I read newspapers almost daily and sometimes I purchase or borrow magazines to enjoy its articles. I'd like to describe a magazine that I usually buy each month and enjoy reading a lot. The name of this magazine is PC World - which is a global computer magazine published monthly by IDG in the USA. It offers articles on various aspects of personal computers, electronic gadgets, the internet and technology. In each publication, PC World reviews and tests hardware and software products from a variety of manufacturers, as well as other technology-related devices such as still and video cameras, smartphones, audio devices and televisions.

I have been reading this magazine for the last 6-7 years or so. It is specifically useful for people who love computers, software and technology related news and updates. I am doing my graduation in Computer Science and Engineering and love to learn about new hardware and software. This is a magazine that offers great hardware & software reviews, tips on advanced computing and many other useful articles.

Reading a newspaper or a magazine is always beneficial for learning new things. Newspapers provide contemporary local news, international news, editorials, entertainment, sports news and so on. Without reading newspapers or magazines one can't keep himself/herself updated with the latest news and views of the world. I purchase the PC World magazine every month and read it for about 7 days. Sometimes I read older issues as well to find out a particular review or an interesting article. This magazine is helpful for basic, moderate and advanced computer users and techno-lovers. Someone who has a computer should read it to increase his/her knowledge of hardware and software. Even it’s helpful for those who are going to buy computers, printers, cameras, scanners, software and other hardware devices. I enjoy reading it a lot.

Describe a newspaper or a magazine


Model Answer 3:
Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite magazines. It’s quite fun to think about it. The magazine is called ‘Women’s Running’. It’s a monthly publication, dedicated to helping female runners, at every level to improve their running and learn more about the sport.  

For me the benefits of reading this periodical are huge. It has great information about running techniques and nutrition; advertising features on new running-related products; helpful articles on topics like ‘how to choose new trainers’ and advice on running events and how to prepare for them. That is great in itself, but even more importantly for me, it contains lots of interesting stories - real women talking about their experiences of running, why they do it and how they stay motivated, keep positive and enjoy the sport.  

Even though I do like this magazine, it is really expensive, so I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t always buy my own copy. Instead, I have a friend who subscribes to it regularly. Every few months she has a big clear out, and she drops off a great big bag of magazines for me to read. I then have a binge of reading about running – which is a bit ironic really, I should be out doing it rather than reading about it! So I don’t read it each month, but every few months I’ll have a whole weekend curled up on the sofa avidly soaking up every article. I read each copy from cover to cover. I like the 'personal accounts' best. Women talking about perhaps overcoming injuries and illness to keep on running; forming friendships and achieving goals they never thought possible. It can be really inspirational! It makes me believe that I too can do more than I think. Once I’ve read all the magazines I keep them for a while to refer back to, but eventually, I too need to de-clutter, so I’ll pass them on to another running friend, and so the cycle continues!

Through reading the magazine I’ve started to think of myself more as part of the ‘running community’. I’ve started to realise that not everyone who takes part in running is choosing to do ultra-marathons, we can all run at our own level and still get the fitness and social benefits at whatever level we are at. The main competition is not with other people but with yourself, other runners can support and help you whether that’s with advice on how to up your speed or distances to get a new Personal Best or agreeing to go out with you on a wet and windy night when really the sofa looks a great deal more appealing than a rain-soaked pavement in winter!

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


Tips for answering this Cue Card Topic:

To answer this cue card, first, decide if you are going to talk about a newspaper or a magazine. If you want to talk about a newspaper, decide which one you would like to talk about. For the magazine, you should finalise the magazine's name also. Deciding a particular newspaper or magazine would help you focus on the features and characteristics of it. There are some differences between a daily newspaper and a magazine, so chose wisely.

If you decide to talk about the magazine focus on the following points:

A) What type of magazine it is: weekly, monthly etc.
B) What's it about?: Lifestyle, technology, fun, business travel, fashion etc.
C) For magazine describe the topics and issues it covers. Like a tech-magazine often covers the software and hardware reviews, tips on computing, tutorials, and price list, whereas a fashion magazine highlights the current trends in fashion, new arrivals and focus on brands.
D) Why do I read it? Entertainment, tutorials, academic or professional benefits, new recipes etc.
E) Why is this magazine better than similar other magazines? Article presentation, cheap, it has subscription facility, exclusive articles etc.

If you talk about a newspaper focus on their news presentation, editorial and overall contribution to help people get unbiased and quality news and articles. Since, almost all the daily newspapers cover the same type of news i.e. political, sports, editorial, international, business etc. you should focus less on the type of news they present. Rather emphasise what makes it worth reading.

Part 3: Details Discussion:

Q. What do you think are the important qualities for a news reporter?
Answer: First and foremost, one of the essential characteristics of a news reporter is the dedication to his profession. Academic training would be another important aspect to become a great news reporter. Besides, being objective, curious, passionate to excel, motivated to do something better for people are some other important qualities a professional news reporter should have. Finally, being able to judge information received on different subjects and not misinterpreting facts are two other qualities every good news reporter should possess.

Q. What's the main difference between a newspaper and a magazine?
Answer: It's a really difficult question because as readers, people often think that these two are almost the same. But if we examine sincerely, we will notice that there are some differences between these two. First, newspapers contain short articles on current events and they are mostly daily and sometimes weekly publication. Magazines, on the other hand, include longer articles on a variety of subjects and are a weekly or monthly publication. Apart from these differences, there are some minor differences as well. For instance, magazines are smaller in size than newspapers and usually more expensive. Newspapers contain fresher contents than magazines. In addition, magazines are like a book while a newspaper is larger in size, though the number of pages is fewer than a magazine. So we could conclude that although these two forms of print media sometimes seem identical, there are many differences between them.

Q. What's the function of a report to the society?
Answer: A report contains useful information made with a specific intention in mind. With regards to the function of a report, we could say in brief that it is multifunctional. To begin with, it provides information on what has to be done or needs to be done. It points out aspects that deserve attention. Moreover, reports are used for keeping track of information and this action results in making decisions. Hence, they are used in different fields such as the government, business, education, science, and so on. People, who form the society, have the right to know and reports are often investigative to aware them of many issues of the society.

Q. What kinds of books/newspapers/magazines do adolescents read in your country?
Answer: Adolescence time is a transitional period of life so most of the children's hobbies and pastimes change during this time. As far as my country is concerned, I think that girls at adolescence read gossip and fashion magazines and novels with mainly romantic plots. For boys, they read sports magazines most of the time, but there are some of them who read novels as well. When I was a teenager, my peers used to read Harry Potter books and as far as I can remember they were mainstream.  

Tips: Adolescents in different countries read different kinds of books, newspapers or magazines. Just talk about the most popular types in your country. For example, you can say that boys read sports magazines, sci-fi, poetry, mystery, detective and adventure type books. With reference to girls, you can mention that they mostly read literature, romance, contemporary issues and beauty magazines.

Q. With the popularity of the Internet, do you think newspapers and magazines will disappear?
Answer: That's a controversial yet important issue to discuss. Some people believe that magazines and newspapers will continue to be publicized irrespective of the Internet's rapid progress. The way we are accustomed to reading a hard copy of a newspaper or a magazine will never be replaced fully. The appeal of reading something printed is in our blood and it would not fade away very soon.

However, it is undeniable that a large number of people would read them on a computer or a handheld device. My personal belief is that as the Internet is constantly advancing, the publication of the press will be restricted to some extent and all the major newspaper and magazine companies will have their online versions for readers. I can see for myself that many people prefer reading the news online rather than buying newspapers, but that does not mean that they never buy a magazine or a newspaper or will not do so in the future.

[Part 3 answers were written by Mary, UK, Economist with Main Field of Studies in Business Economics]

Use the same techniques to answer the following cue cards also:

1. Describe a magazine that you often read.
2. Describe the newspaper that you read daily.
3. Describe your favourite magazine.
4. Describe a popular newspaper or a magazine in your country.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.48 (30 Votes)

Justin Nguyen
The answers are so academic, not natural in a conversation.
Can you send me a high-grade vocabulary for speaking and writing module of IELTS?