Cue Card Sample

IELTS Cue Card # 33 - A positive change in your life

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

Describe a positive change in your life.

You should say:

  • what the change was about
  • when it happened 
  • how it happened 

and describe how it affected you later in life.


Model Answer 1:
No doubt, we all go through some kind of changes in our lives at some points of our life one way or another. While some of those changes may go unnoticed, others can bring some positive changes in our life, and today I would like to talk about one such positive change.

I had developed many hobbies in my life, but “reading” was just not one of them. Of course, I had no problems whatsoever in studying all kinds of academic books in order to pass the tests at schools and colleges, but when it came to studying anything else, like storybooks, novels, or books on science, technologies, improving life skills and knowledge, I would become one of laziest persons on the earth.

My parents even sometimes used to “bribe” to develop my reading habit, but nothing was really able to change my mind. But, suddenly, one day, when I was a final year university student about 6 years ago, one of my favourite teachers asked me to suggest some interesting books to read, while he would be gone for summer holidays, I had no clue what to tell. Understanding my awkward situation, my teacher smiled away while I felt really ‘embarrassed’. After that incident, I decided to buy some books and started reading them one page at a time.

Slowly after that, I actually became “addicted” to reading some specific kinds of books. At one point, I even started to struggle to pay for the books I was buying, because they were just so many!

Anyway, I am so glad that I started reading books as it gave a certain kind of confidence boost by teaching me a lot of unknown and amazing thing about this world. Besides, after developing my reading habit, I gained a great level of understanding and appreciation for different kinds of people from different cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds. Finally, this particular change even helped me in developing my career later on in my life by encouraging me to read many books on “career and skill” development.

Model Answer 2:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about this topic. Here I'll tell you about a positive change in my life. The change that I am going to talk about had a profound impact on me and has helped me become the person I am today.

What the change was about:
The change that I am referring to is my decision to start exercising regularly. For a long time, I had been living a sedentary lifestyle and had become increasingly unhealthy. I knew that I needed to make a change, but I wasn't sure where to start.

When it happened:
I made the decision to start exercising regularly about two years ago. At that time, I was in my early twenties and was starting to feel the negative effects of my unhealthy lifestyle. I knew that I needed to take action to improve my health and well-being.

How it happened:
I started by going for walks and gradually increased the duration and intensity of my workouts. I also started following a healthy diet and started tracking my progress using a fitness app. Initially, it was difficult to stick to my new routine, but I persevered and gradually started to see results.

And explain how it affected you later in life:
Regular exercise has had a profound impact on my life. Not only am I now physically fitter and healthier, but I also have more energy and feel more confident in myself. It has also helped me develop discipline and perseverance, which has been invaluable in other areas of my life. 

I am very grateful for the positive change that I made in my life, and I plan to continue to prioritize my health and well-being in the future.

Model Answer 3:
You have asked me to think back on some change I’ve made in my life, that turned out to be one for the better! I am going to tell you what the change was and when it happened. I’ll give you a bit of detail about how things were different for me after the change and finish by describing what it means for me now, a bit later in life. The funny thing about changes is that you don’t always recognise them at the time. For me, I didn’t know when I started out that the positive change I was making would turn out to be a long term difference in my behaviour. However, it turned out to be just that. It is only looking back now that I can identify there was a definite shift in what I got up to, and I can even pinpoint a definite time, but in the midst of it all, I had no idea where that change would take me.

The change was basically that I decided I needed to get a bit fitter, and the thing that helped me do so was joining up to do Parkrun. However, I’m jumping ahead. Let me explain how it came about… A couple of years ago I started to feel like I was getting old and losing my basic fitness. Although I walked quite a lot (as a form of transport, as well as to enjoy the local countryside) I wasn’t really doing anything else very much that was physical. I was never very good at sports, so I didn’t really know where to begin. However, I’ve always liked being outdoors, so on something of a whim I booked an activity holiday in Northumberland, which is a beautiful rural area in the northeast of England, right by the coast. The holiday was great. We did abseiling; hill walking; body-surfing – all sorts of things. In addition, every morning began with a run along the sands of the seaside. Now I’d never run before – well only if I was trying to catch a bus, but otherwise, not at all. I wasn’t very good at it, and honestly, I didn’t even really enjoy it all that much. However, I did have to concede that it is a great form of exercise. You don’t really need any special equipment (apart from decent trainers); you can do it anywhere and it’s free! What’s more, I found out from some other holidaymakers that in the UK there is a free weekly event held nationwide in parks all over the country. It is called Parkrun, and basically people gather every Saturday morning at 9.00 a.m. to run a fixed course of 5km and get time for doing so. I wasn’t too sure if this would be achievable for me. I’d never run that far before. But I promised myself I would try it ‘just once’ to see if I could.

The day after I got back from my holiday I turned up to do the Parkrun at my local park. I can tell you the exact day! It was 24th August 2013 – I know this because the whole point of Parkrun is that if you register (which is free) then the organisation records your time each week and you can access it online afterwards. The first time I went I didn’t even manage to run the whole way round, but I did finish, and I did get a great sense of achievement. Because you know your time, it is quite addictive, you find you do want to go again the next week and see if you can improve!  My local "parkrun" is huge, with well over 500 runners taking part every week – so even though I was pretty slow, I found I wasn’t the slowest.

Since that day over two years ago, I’ve found that I’ve gone to Parkrun almost every week.  I have taken part in some 70 "parkruns" and through doing so made new friends, maintained a certain level of fitness, and even gained the confidence to take part in some longer runs.  I’ve done lots of 10km races now, a few off-road runs – including one over 24km as well as taking part in obstacle races!  I would never have believed that the small change of ‘just going once’ to Parkrun to ‘give it a go’ would lead to me being such an enthusiastic member of Parkrun two years later.  By the way, I haven’t really ever got any faster, but I’m definitely a lot fitter.  Now I can’t imagine a Saturday morning without heading off for a run with my 500 friends at the local park!  That first day I turned up nervously to join in with Parkrun was definitely the beginning of a positive change in my life!

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

Possible Answer 4:
The positive change that I would like to talk about is ‘I started playing outdoor games instead of playing computer games’. After I got my first personal computer when I was only 9 years old or so, I started learning many things. Besides that, I started playing computer games. As computer games are addictive I found that I was playing the games whenever I had spare times. This addiction barred me from playing outdoor games like cricket, football etc.

I found myself very much attracted to computer games and I preferred to play the games at home instead of going to open spaces or fields to participate in outdoor games that involve physical exercises. Not that computer games are all so bad, but playing them all the time someone has got is not a good thing especially for kids. I found that I was spending more times at home than being outside. After my parents noticed that, they discussed with me about that and explained to me the importance of outdoor activities. They gave me strict restriction that I would only be able to play computer games for an hour daily and in the evening I’d have to go outside to play with my friends.

This was obviously a very positive change for me. I’m not against computer games but I feel that if there are more important things to do, then we should not spend time on computer games only.

This change affected me very positively. I became a good cricket player, later on, I started maintaining my times more prudently and I am sure this change has affected me positively in terms of physical and mental health.   

Sample Answer 5:
Changes are inevitable parts of human life. Transformation, changes, hopes and challenges make our life exciting and worth living. Some changes are unexpected while some are long-expected and meant to bring something good for us. Often changes define who we are and put us in situations we either find very challenging or favourable. This cue card topic reminds me of an important part of my life when a change brought something positive in my life.

The change was related to the migration from our hometown to the capital city in our country when I was 14 years old. This was quite a big change for my family, and particularly for me. I had to leave my school, friends, relatives, known places and start living in a place where I had no friends, no one to visit and no known place for playing or outing. Initially, this was quite a frustrating experience for me. After my father got me admitted in a school there, my life became even tougher. However, this did not last for a long.

My new school was quite remarkable and it is still one of the best high schools in our country. I made new friends very quickly and my teachers were very helpful. I made a few friends in school and playmates in my neighbourhood and my parents used to take me outside every weekend.

My transitional period was over and I started feeling totally in peace again. Nevertheless, my result in my new school was not promising at all and my parents were worried about it. Being in a small town, it was not that much hard for me to become the top-scorer in the class. But this was not the case in my new school. While I was the top-scorer in my previous school, I could not secure even the top-ten position in my new school. After the first term exam result,  I started studying harder, visit the library more and read a reference book more than ever. I even shrink my time for playing computer games and took part in outdoor games like football. Ultimately, all those changes and activity helped me study more, learn more and remain healthy. I found that some of the health-related problems that I used to have are no longer bothering me. This inspired me to study even harder and spend as much time as possible to recover my old top-scorer image to my parents.

My parents took me to places where I have observed so many news things for the first time in my life and those experiences enhanced my way of thinking and I could feel a silent transformation inside me. The school library had a huge collection of books and I read many of the books from my 'to-read' list. I was the third-best scorer in the final exam and over the time I started doing even better.

Why was this change important and how has it affected my later life? Well- I guess I had been able to give you an impression that when I moved to this city, I had to find a way to adapt myself to the changing circumstances and take challenges. The outcome was quite positive and it had taught me to take challenges in my life. These days, whenever I face any new challenge, I remind myself those days and prepare myself for the inevitable. On top of that, this change made me stronger. It was truly a heart-rending even to leave my school, friends and playmates. But finally, I coped with it and learned that we have to go on and grab the opportunities, face the challenges and bring out the best of ourselves to keep pace with the rhythm of the life. Apart from that, being in a new school where I had to face more competition, I studied harder and learned even more. My fresh and inquisitive mind learned so many new things in a large city which would have been quite impossible without moving to this city.

At this stage of my life, I still think about this change and find it fascinating and inspiring, especially, the way I had been able to handle it. It was indeed a very significant change that brought positive outcomes in my life.

Sample Answer 6: 
I have started focusing on me and have started exploring a new me and that is a very positive change for me. For the last 20 years of my life, I was a typical girl who never thought of herself and did her duties and responsibilities for others. 

Time was going on and my life was also going on with time in a very banal way. There was no value of time, life and thought. Only there was a tough routine that I had to follow and dedicate myself for others. I do not have any complaints dedicating me for the benefit of others, but that was so typical that I forgot my own existence and my own dreams.

My dreams were surrounded by someone special. It’s all about someone whom I loved more than my life. But the moment I realised that with whom I nurture all of my dreams, is lost in a very different world where I do not have a special place, I was broken and shaken up. That realisation initially gave me a feeling of being a loser and a helpless one.  It forcefully pulled me at the end of the world and I totally lost my confidence, belief in believing and did not seek any reason to live.

In that regrettable moments, I never stopped thinking and I asked questions to myself even when I was asleep. I was started regaining my confidence after I started realising the fact and reality. I was determined to hit the sky and not to feel like a looser.  I will never forget the great contributions my friends had overcoming this fatal time and they advised me why I have to love myself and explore my own dreams even after someone has shattered my dreams. They helped me to get out of my dilemma. They reminded me who am I, who could I be!

The perception of life, reality and dreams seem like have changed in me and I am happy about the changes. It has helped me find the reality, a new me. Now I love myself even more with my every possibility and dream. Now I am taking a journey to look forward and reach a definite goal I have. I don’t know where it would go but I learnt to walk alone, confidently and I love my own reflection.

Follow-up Questions:

  • What changes do you want to make in your life?
  • Do you believe we can control our own fate? How?
  • What three changes you would want to see in your country?

Q. What changes do you want to make in your life?
Answer: Well, the first change that I would really like to happen is adopting healthier lifestyle and diet habits. Another thing that I want to improve is my money management skills. In the long run, I also want to be rich(!) which I am not now!

Q. Do you believe we can control our own fate? How?
Answer: I believe that our life is bound by luck as well as our actions. In most cases, we can control our fate, and the outcomes of our life mostly depend on what we do. But I have to admit that we often can't control our fate. For instance, we do not decide our parents, genders or even genes. Moreover, sometimes the actions taken by others affect us which we have little control over.

Q. What three changes you would want to see in your country?
Answer: The first change that I would like to see in my country is perfect political stability. It would help progress our country faster. The second expected change would be to adopt more policies so that the country becomes self-reliant on the food it requires. It would reduce our dependency on imports. The third and final change needs to be made in our technology sector to produce an infrastructure to support our own IT needs rather than spending a hefty amount of money on buying different pieces of software from other countries. 

Part 3: Details Discussion: 

Q. Do you think changes are always good? [Why/ Why not?]
Answer: Sometimes, changes can be necessary for our lives, but they just may not always be good unless we are selective about those possible changes. After all, some changes can be very stressful, time-consuming, costly and even destructive, especially, if we are not able to manage them in a wise manner in the long run. Besides, sometimes a change, be it a small one or a big one, doesn't only affect our own lives, but also the people around us – people who are not so receptive to such changes.

Q. Do you believe with age, we become more positive about life and tend to change with our surroundings? [Why/ Why not?]
Answer: No, I don't believe that age has much to do with being more positive in life, nor does it affect our abilities in a meaningful way to change with our surroundings. After all, age, more often than not, has a very limited bearing, if any at all, on how a person actually thinks or behaves. And that's exactly what we used to enjoy at the age of 25, we very much enjoy the same thing even when we become 50 years old. Besides, if our age-old life is full of negative and unhappy experiences – experiences with which we grow up – then the chances are that we won’t have much room for very much positivity in life.

Q. What are some of the significant changes that usually occur to people in their lives?
Answer: I believe that each and every change, be it small or big, in our life is significant because they affect our lives in one way or another. Having said that, however, we tend to consider some changes as more “significant” than others, simply because those changes are more noticeable and pronounced in our life. Examples of such significant changes could be anything from getting married and having a baby to changing a job and moving to a newly-bought home.  Some would suggest that giving up a bad habit, like smoking, could also be an example of a significant change.

Q. Is it important for people to make changes according to their surroundings?  [Why/ Why not?]
Answer: Yes, it is mighty important to make changes in life according to our surroundings for a number of reasons. The first reason is that it allows us to discover parts of ourselves that would have remained hidden. Secondly, it also allows us to learn and adapt to a different culture, customs, behaviour and belief systems without which we would probably remain on a perpetual collision course with other people around us. Besides, things don’t always go according to our plans in life, and if that’s the case, then there is no other option for us but to change our plans if we really want to be successful. 

Q. How have young people's expectations from their lives changed over the decade? Is this more positive or negative? [Why?]
Answer: Actually, we can't deny that young people today want much more from their life than what they used to a decade ago or so. For example, they want everything to be fast, thanks to some revolutionary technological changes. They also want to produce and consume more today. Besides, today they are more vocal than before for making this world a more secure place, environmentally, by voicing their concerns about things like climate change. 

In my opinion, these changes are more positive than negative because they are more willing to become the driving force of society for future development.

Q. How have people in your country changed in the last 20 years?
Answer: In the last 20 years, people in my country have changed a lot. These changes can be seen in their thoughts and lifestyles. For example, they are more affluent today and willing to spend more to enjoy their life. Today, they still value family life, but they just don't like to hold on to those traditional beliefs anymore, which they used to treasure just 2 decades ago. Besides, today they are more interested than before in learning about other countries and cultures, which is certainly a good thing, from other parts of the world.

Tips for answering this cue card topic:

Talk about a change which has brought something positive to you. You would need to describe how this change has positively affected your life so talk about something which has, later on, proved to be very helpful for you. You can talk about a decision or action of yours which later on have been proved to be positive. You can also mention about a bad habit you abandoned, a decision you took or the advice you took which brought positive things in your life. This would vary from person to person and the following points are the ideas to talk about for this cue card topic:

  • You quit/abandoned one of your bad habits; like smoking.
  • You started doing exercises and that has made changes in your health.
  • You have decided to study on a subject rather than what your parents wanted you to study.
  • You took a training or diploma course and that has helped you to get a good job.
  • You have started being more social and thus you now have some good friends.
  • You abandoned your grudge or ego against a relative or friend and now you have good relations.
  • You took a part-time job and that helped you.
  • You started doing more outdoor activities than spending times at home.
  • You started learning a language and that has helped you.
  • You started exploring some skills in you and thus have focused on those skill set.
  • Some experience or conversation has changed your perspective on an issue.
  • You have moved into a city from a rural area.
  • You have started helping people after you realised it from one of the incidents in your life.
  • You started helping your family members on their tasks.
  • You became more dedicated to something.
  • You started participating in extracurricular activities like debating, reading, blogging, cycling, swimming etc.


Your preparation for this Cue Card would also help you answer the following cue card topics:

1. Describe a skill you have.
2. Describe a success in your life.
3. Talk about an important event of your life.
4. Describe a change you would like to have in you.
5. Describe something you want to do in the future.
6. Describe a lesson you would participate in the future.
7. Describe a bad habit you had.
8. Describe an activity you want to get involved.
9. Describe a skill you do not have.
10. Talk about something you started doing lately.
11. Describe a change you think was positive in your life.


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