Cue Card Sample

IELTS Cue Card Sample 40 - Describe a shopping center you often go to

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

Describe a shopping center you often go to.

You should say:

  •  where the shopping center is
  •  how often you go there
  •  what it looks like

and explain why you often go to this shopping center.

Follow-up Questions:

  •     Will smaller shops survive in the current business system?
  •     What are the characteristics of shopping malls and smaller shops and their difference?
  •     What is the trend for future shopping centres, in your opinion?
  •     Talk about Internet shopping


Model Answer 1:
This topic is quite difficult for me to speak about. It depends on which bit of the subject is most important. You see, for me, the ‘shopping centre’ implies a big commercial area like a mall with lots of chain stores and possibly out of town. In fact, there is one outside Sheffield - the city where I live – it’s called ‘Meadowhall’ – but people locally refer to it as ‘Meadow-hell’ because it is vast and soulless. Some people love it because there is a huge selection of branded shops, but personally, I hate going there. I don’t really enjoy going shopping for the sake of it, and for me, the centre lacks character. Therefore, if you want me to speak on the topic of a shopping centre that ‘I often go to’ it would never be a large mall or retail centre as such, it would be quite, quite different.

I’m therefore going to tell you about a different sort of shopping centre that I go to often. I will interpret ‘shopping centre’ as the place at which I do most of my shopping, and hope that that will be good enough for you! I will tell you where it is, how often I go there and why. I’ll try to convey something of its characteristics and explain why I end up nipping over there several times a week.

The shopping centre is about 2 miles up the road from where I live. I could walk there, but when I go I’m usually heading there to do a big food shop and other errands, so I tend to take the car, or sometimes I’ll walk up and catch a bus back. The shops are in a sort of village at the edge of the city of Sheffield, it’s called Fulwood. I go at least once a week to do my food shop at the local co-op mini-supermarket store, and I also visit the post office at the same time. However, there are other little shops there too – a newsagent; a florist; a greengrocer who sells high-quality fruit and veg and a really good hardware store for household storage and cleaning items. These are all quite handy, so sometimes I’ll just nip over to buy something specific like new batteries for a clock or bin-bags if I’ve let myself run out – I can be there and back in 20 minutes if I take the car. I probably end up going to the shopping area twice a week on average.

Why do I go? Because it’s near; the shops cater for almost all of my general needs; and because it’s local to me the staff know me. Sometimes they’ll have a chat in the post-office when I go to send a parcel and in the co-op, the woman always gives me a double discount if she can (I have some special loyalty cards but I don’t always remember to have them with me so she gives me the benefit of the doubt). I also think that because most of the people who work in the shops own them (they are all small businesses) you get better service. The proprietors care very much about their customers, and they appreciate you coming back as a regular. It is a much friendlier and more personal experience than I’d get at a big anonymous out of town mall. Also, if I’m honest, because there aren’t that many shops were I go, I probably save quite a bit of money. There is no temptation to impulse buy anything extravagant, or to sit down and have a cup of coffee every few yards either!

Sometimes I need things that I can’t get locally, like clothes or perhaps electrical items, and then I do have to grit my teeth and go into town, or head to the out of town mall -  although I also do some of that kind of shopping on the internet these days. Anything to avoid the retail nightmare of Meadowhall – perhaps I’m just too old for that these days!

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


Model Answer 2:
I like to visit different shopping centres, whenever I get an opportunity unless they are too crowded and too expensive for my liking. Today, I would like to talk about one such shopping centre which I really like to visit often.

The shopping centre, which I like to visit, is located in a commercial location in my hometown. There are a few other shopping centres in my hometown, but this one is different in the sense that it attracts people from all walks of life. Even people from other cities also visit this shopping centre just to take a look at it because of its huge size.

By the way, this shopping centre is made of a 5 storey building which is about 800,000 square feet. This shopping centre literally has all kinds of shops which sell apparel, footwear, home décor, beauty and cosmetic products, home appliances, electronics etc.  Being home to many famous brand shops from around the whole world, this shopping centre also has a huge food court that sells all kinds of food and cuisines to its customers.

Having a water fountain on each of its floors, the shopping centre also has a large playground for children of young ages. Having an attractive architectural design, with an oval shape, this shopping centre has plenty of empty space around it to ensure enough parking facilities. Built with reinforced concrete and steel, along with expensive, beautiful glass windows and perfect lighting scheme, this shopping centre could easily be one of the most attractive landmarks of my hometown, especially, during the night time. However, as much as I like this shopping centre, I am not really able to visit it more than once or twice in a month because of my busy life schedule.

Anyway, I visit this shopping centre, mainly because I can do a quick price comparison there, by going to different stores, before buying anything. I like to visit this shop also because they have all kinds of products under one roof. Finally, I come to this shopping centre because I can enjoy some great food at its food court with my friends.


Sample Answer 3:
The shopping centre that I often go to and would like to talk about is (...tell a shopping centre's name from your city....). This is the largest shopping centre of the city and is probably the most popular one. This shopping centre is in the middle of the city and is 20 stories. You can find almost everything in this shopping centre and the reasonable prices and quality of the products have made it a popular shopping mall where people from all classes come to shop. You name it and you can find it here; from grocery shop to 3D cinema, the food-court to the playground, gym and thousands of shopping shops are there. The market authority imposes a strict rule about the quality and price and that's why you can find products at a reasonable price here. The neat and clean environment, the rigid security, the arranged shops and shopping convenience are the main reasons I visit this shopping mall very often. There is a dedicated floor only for social gathering and there you can sit and talk to your friends as long as you like.

I go there almost 2-3 times a month. If there are more shopping to do, or if it is before any major festival, I go there more than 2-3 times. I go there not only for shopping but also sometimes for social gathering, party, to have lunch or dinner or to watch a movie.

There are many positive reasons why this shopping centre is popular among the visitors and shoppers including security, reasonable price, shopping convenience, the position of the shopping centre, and convenience of parking, open space and neat environments. The interior and exterior of the shopping mall are very attractive. In front of the building, you will find a large open space, more like a big park or a garden. You can sit there for a long and no one is going to ask you to go away!


Tips for Answering this Cue Card Topic: 

This cue card should be an easy one for you to talk about as you already know some shopping centres. Just visualise a shopping centre you often go and tell the location of this shopping centre, how you go to this shopping centre, what you do there, what type of stores are available there and what products could be found there. You should also give details of this shopping centre like the type of building it is situated it, how many floors are there, what type of famous brand shops are there, the type of people go there, and why you go there. 
Before you start talking about this cue card topic, take some notes on the above points and start talking. Taking notes on cue card topic and questions in the given one minute is important and you should take notes and write down the points before you start talking about it. The notes help you focus on these points and would help you talk about the topic without pause and mumbling. 

For this cue card take the following notes and then start talking about this topic in details: 

Name of the Shopping centre: Example: City Shopping Center. 

Where it is: Example: It is in the centre of the city and beside the auditorium. 

How often I go there: I go to this shopping centre at least 2 times a month. Sometimes I go there more often if I need to buy necessary things more often. Besides, I sometimes meet my friend at the food court of this shopping mall. 

Why I go there: The Shopping mall is situated in a convenient location and I can reach there easily. This shopping centre has more than 500 stores and I can get almost everything I need to purchase from there. The prices are reasonable and good quality products could be found there. As a modern shopping centre, it offers a comfortable and safe shopping experience and that's why I mostly go there. Finally, the food court is a good place for having foods and spending times with friends. I often go there to meet my friends as it is a convenient meeting location for us.

Characteristics: It is a modern shopping centre with tight security. The possibility of vandalism and bad occurrence is very low. The shops are arranged conveniently and the shopping centre offers a good shopping environment. 

How I go there: I usually go there in my personal car/ I go there by public bus and it takes only 2 minutes to reach there. 

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

1. Describe a place where you often go.
2. Describe one of your favourite places where you meet your friends.
3. Talk about a public place where you often go.
4. Describe a public place in your city/ hometown.
5. Describe your favourite dining place.
6. Talk about a popular place in your city.
7. Describe a place where you often gather with your friends.
8. Talk about a building or architecture.
9. Talk about a shopping mall you often go shopping.
10. Describe a popular place near your home.

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