Cue Card Sample

IELTS Cue Card Sample 13 - A subject taught in your school

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

Describe a subject taught in your school.

You should Say:

  • what subject it was and who taught it
  • how the teacher taught it
  • what you learned from the class

and explain how it helped you.

Follow-up Questions:
• Is there any difference between the traditional and modern educational systems?
• What are the pros and cons of the current education system in your country?
• Do you think it is necessary to give comment or criticism to teachers?
• How can a teacher make learning more interesting?
• Are there any subjects that shouldn’t be taught in school? Why?
• How can the school help students overcome a problem with a certain subject?
• Do you think that visiting different websites has benefits for a student? 


Model Answer 1:
As a student of business administration, I had to study all the subjects of business faculty, but one subject, which I found to be unique and interesting during my university, was “Marketing”. But, it became even more interesting when I decided to study the subject with one of the most accomplished academics called Mr Chun Lee.

Mr Chun had a unique way of teaching whether he was teaching the basic principles of marketing, consumer behaviour, principle of retailing, new product management, advertising management, pricing policy, new product development or any other marketing concepts, In fact, Mr Lee would assume that, as surprising as it may sound, all of the students in his marketing class was “expert marketeer” and that his students would teach him how to become an expert marketing professional. Besides, he would advise us to consider “marketing” always as a way to “help” consumers instead of aiming at “profiteering” because such practice would help ensure “goodwill” among the prospective consumers in the long run. However, the best aspect, in my opinion, of the teaching methods of Mr Lee was that he didn’t really have any formal test or examination in order to test how much we had learned in his class, and instead all he had for us was some random “case studies”. So, how much exactly did the class of Mr Lee help me?     

Well, whatever I learned from Mr Lee has helped me a lot in real and professional world as it has taught me the art of “listening” (yes, one has to be a really good “listener” if he/she wants to be an expert “Marketeer”) because listening is probably is the most important part of learning how to be an “effective communicator”. Besides, it has also helped me to become habitually aware of the “trends” in different kinds of industries so that I can adjust and adapt accordingly in order to become a successful professional. Finally, it has also helped me to understand the needs of another human being (a “customer” in marketing “term”), not only in the professional sphere but also in personal space, and thus improving the relationship with others in the real world.


Sample Answer 2:
Thank you very much for this great cue card topic. The subject I would like to talk about is physics and it was taught in our high school as a compulsory subject. We had this subject every year in our high school curriculum and each year a new teacher used to teach us physics. I remember Mr Alex, Burter, John, David and Mrs Jeniffer teaching us physics in different years in my high school. We were lucky to have some great teachers who taught us physics and they had a great way of teaching. Their interesting discussions made the subject worth enjoying.

Our teachers used to tell us fascinating stories first and then relate them to the theory, experiment and mathematics of the textbooks. They often explained the life and dedication of a scientist before they started explaining the intricacies of the topic. Sometimes they used to take us to the physics labs and explain how something works. I have learned numerous aspects of physics - from the simple definition of mass to the complex explanation of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, from those discussions and lectures. My foundation of physics was built at that time and later extended with the help of those teachers.

The subject itself is utterly interesting if someone has passions for it. Physics is a subject that seems difficult at first but one would start loving it if s/he starts to understand the underlying concepts of it. Physics is all around us and the lessons I learned from my school had helped me greatly throughout my academic years. 


Model Answer 3:
English as a subject is taught in almost every school in my country. I have enjoyed learning about the grammatical aspects, vocabulary, phrases and origin of words from the very beginning of my academic life and I still enjoy learning it. I would like to thank you for letting me talk about the subject I always loved in my school.

I have been taught this subject by many teachers in different classes but I remember Ms Elizabeth the most for her amiable personality and exceptional teaching method. I still remember my English teacher in the fifth grade of my elementary school and she was so full of energy. This very teacher was Ms Elizabeth and she was from Australia and as a native English teacher, she did not know our language. I believe this was an advantageous aspect for us as we were forced to communicate with her in English.

I will never forget how influential a teacher she was and how her teaching methods have helped us learn the language. She often told us stories and inspired us to write our own narratives. This has greatly helped us develop our writing skills. She did not force us to memorise as many vocabularies and grammatical rules as possible. Rather she prepared study materials so that we could enjoy our lessons and learn from it by actively participating in interesting activities. While we were afraid to talk to most other teachers in our school, we were very attached to her and she had has a great influence on us as a teacher. Due to the lack of speaking and listening lessons, I had trouble in those areas but once Ms Elizeth emerged as my teacher, I improved considerably.

I remember myself as a very attentive pupil in school, so I learned fast and was one of the favourite students of Ms Elizabeth. I firmly recall how she built my love for the language and I owe her a lot for that. I feel extremely lucky to have had an amazing teacher who introduced us to the English culture while teaching us the language.

English is the most powerful and most widely accepted international language and I have been tremendously benefitted from it. My higher study at an international university was possible due to my knowledge of English. Without knowing it, I would never have been in this stage of life. I have many good friends who are not from my country. Without knowing English, this would not have been possible as well. English itself is full of fascination and adventure if one has a passion for it. English is a basic living necessity these days, especially when we are away from our country, and is used all around the world. The skills that I have acquired from my school had helped me greatly throughout my life and it is still helping.


Tips for answering this cue card topic:

You should pick a real academic subject like Math, English, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Biology or any subject you like to answer this cue card topic. Then quickly make some notes including the following:

1. In which class it was it taught to you?
2. Do not pick a subject taught at your college or university level as the cue card is asking you to talk about a subject taught in your school.
3. Try to remember a teacher's name. You can mention multiple teachers' name as the same subject in school is taught by different teachers in different years.
4. Give short details about the subject. For example, the Geography would discuss the Earth, the other planet in the solar system, atmosphere, and climate changes etc.
5. Next, describe how the teacher taught the subject and what things you learned from the class.
6. Mention some interesting things you learned from the class and how the teacher made things easier for you to understand the topics discussed.
7. Describe how interested you were about the subject and the class.
8. Relate how this subject has later helped you/ influenced you in your education and learning process.
9. Finally, give a conclusion by mentioning how beneficial the subject is for students in general.

If you pick Math, try to focus on the following issues:
1. The teacher was very good at explaining the intricacies of the subject.
2. You learned many theories and formulas of math from the class.
3. This teacher explained how the math would be helpful for you for the rest of your life.
4. You learned the importance of math for higher studies.
5. The teacher not only explained the math from the academic book but also picked interesting and thought-provoking mathematical problems and their solutions from other sources.

If you prefer to talk about Literature, say:
1. The teacher helped you enjoy the literature as a subject.
2. S/he told stories of classic literature that you still remember.
3. S/he was a gifted storyteller and she had been successful in growing your interest in literature.
4. You became a good reader because of the teacher.

Similarly, you can talk about any subject that was interesting to you. You should talk about the subject itself for about 2 minutes, 1 minute about the teacher and his/her way of teaching and for the rest of the time, say how benefitted you had been from those classes.

Part 3 – Two-way discussion:

Q: Is there any difference between the traditional and modern education systems?
Answer: I can't really know for sure because I have graduated from school many years ago, but I would try to answer this question from what I have heard and learnt about it. In the traditional system, teachers are present in a classroom and have an active role during the class because they do everything on their own. More precisely, verbal communication, interaction and the usage of blackboard are the main elements of this type of system. Books, pens, pencils, lectures, question-answer, written exam and grading are the main ingredients of the traditional education system.

On the contrary, in the modern education system, a teacher's role is restricted as technology does many things instead. With the use of computers and virtual classrooms, the method of teaching has changed to a great extent. Projectors, online classes, assignments, online learning system, online exams and assessments are the main ingredients of the modern education system.

I believe that with both of these systems, students will be able to reap benefits as long as they are willing to study in collaboration with their teachers and academic activities.

Q: What are the pros and cons of the current education system in your country?
Answer: This is an important issue to talk about and I can't be accurate as I am not fully aware of the way schools function these days, but I will answer from my experience so far.

A positive thing is that a combination of traditional and modern education methods are applied in our education system and this undoubtedly leads to better results. To illustrate, students are motivated to study and in this way, they develop their cognitive skills, acquire mental capabilities, assimilate the information provided more easily and they also build a well-rounded personality. Some other positive sides of our education system are that the syllabus is updated, the teachers and well trained, and the schools have a better learning environment these days.

Moving to the downsides, some teachers don't deal with their students as much as it is required and this trend has a detrimental effect on children. Moreover, a better evaluation method is still needed to be implemented.

Q: Do you think it is necessary to give comment or criticism to teachers?
Answer: I strongly believe that criticising teachers isn't the appropriate course of action. The best and most effective method is giving comments and making plausible and constructive conversations about the issues that concern parents and students. Everyone should bears in mind that teaching is not as easy as many think it to be and parents should collaborate and interact with teachers and not assail teachers. Besides, it would be good to consider that from the moment someone chooses to become a teacher, he/she is willing to give his/her best.

Q: How can a teacher make learning more interesting?
Answer: It is really an interesting question that concerns most of the people, including teachers and parents.

Allow me to say that teachers play the most important role in teaching and sharing knowledge among students. For example, when I was in secondary school, the most difficult subject for me was geography because of the overwhelming information about the different countries. My schoolmaster tried to make it more interesting by telling us different things about each country such as their culture, way of living, customs and famous people. In this way, he not only made the subject exciting but also managed to provide us with valuable information. Nowadays technology constitutes an essential part of everyday life, so teachers can take the opportunity to make things exciting and more interesting by connecting students to the documentaries that are relevant to the study. It is undoubtedly an effective way to stimulate students' interest and imagination.

Personally, I think that passion for teaching, a good relationship with students, telling stories that connect to the lessons and use of technology can make learning more interesting, engaging and effective.

Q: Are there any subjects that shouldn’t be taught in school? Why?
Answer: I don't think that this should happen. My personal belief is that everything that is taught in a school is useful and provides important information to students. Of course, there are different types of subjects and among them, some are more educational and useful than others, but I would say it's subjective and depends on a student's personal aims and objectives. For example, I wanted to be an economist since the secondary school and the requisite subjects for this were mathematics, business administration and physics. It was my personal preference but it didn't mean that history, literature and ancient Greek should be withdrawn. So, I don't agree with that and I support that all types of subjects should exist in a school curriculum.

Q: How can the school help students overcome a problem with a certain subject?
Answer: That's an important matter to discuss and it happens to almost everyone throughout their school years. However, there are some strategies that can be implemented to repress this kind of problem. Teacher's attitude is an essential element that helps children change their mindset about a specific subject and see it from a different perspective. Schoolmasters should urge their student to deal with this subject and make them understand it by modern methods rather than the conventional ones. Furthermore, they should encourage and not humiliate them in case children can't demystify the information provided. I believe if teachers and the school authority are sincere about helping students who have problems in specific subjects, this will be resolved with the help of reference books, consultancy and technology like the internet.

Q: Do you think that visiting different websites has benefits for a student?
Answer: Like any other technology, the Internet has both pros and cons for students. However, it is not the problem of the technology itself, rather the one who uses it. So, if students visit websites which are reliable, offers helpful information and study materials, they will definitely reap benefits from this. From different websites, students are able to read a wide variety of topics, but they should make sure that the websites they access are reliable and provide accurate information.

On the contrary, if a student visits websites that are not reliable, not suitable for their age, and offer only entertainment and no education-related materials, then it might be negative for them.

[Part 3 answers are written by Mary, UK, Economist & Business Consultant]

If you can talk about this cue card topic, then you would also be able to answer the following cue card topics with a few minor changes:

1. Describe a teacher from your school.
2. Describe something you learned from your school.
3. Talk about a subject you enjoyed in your school.
4. Describe a subject taught in your school/ college/ university.
5. Talk about your favourite teacher from school.
6. Talk about a teacher you still remember from school.

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