IELTS Cue Card # 49 - Describe a time when you were asked to give your opinion

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

Describe a time when you were asked to give your opinion in a questionnaire or survey.

You should say:

  • what the questionnaire/survey was about
  • why you were asked to give your opinions
  • what opinions you gave

and explain how you felt about giving your opinions in this questionnaire/survey.


Model Answer 1:

I find most survey questions to be interesting because of the way they are worded. But, when it actually comes to give my opinion on them, I always try to stay away from them for some obvious reasons. But, today, I would like to about an occasion when I felt that letting my opinion to be heard was important.

The survey, I took part in, involved collecting opinions on whether public smoking should have been criminalized or not, and one could just say either “yes” or “no” when giving his or opinion on this issue.

Anyway, I found the survey, organized by a famous national NGO of my country, to be an important one because I also considered public smoking to be a serious problem for the city in which I was living in back then. In fact, in its introduction of the survey, the NGO concluded with various statistics that almost 80% of the adult males in my home city were a smoker. The NGO also mentioned how smoking had led to a gradual increase in the number of people who were becoming affected by respiratory problems one way or another.

Even more dangerous was the fact that many high school going students were becoming addicted to smoking when attending their schools. So, all in all, it was a dangerous trend for the people of my home city as far as their health was concerned. By the way, I was asked to take part in the survey, primarily because I fell in the category of non-smoking people who had graduated from a university, and my response in the survey was that I wanted public smoking to be criminalized.

Anyway, I felt really great about giving my opinion in the survey as it would help my city to raise some kind of awareness against public smoking. I also felt glad that this survey would go a long way to saving our city government in its health costs which could then be used to address other problems in my city. So, all in all, it was a great feeling for me.


Sample Answer 2:

The survey I recall very clearly that I participated in was the one conducted in our university. I was a student of 7th semester then and I actively participated in University debate team. Our team did well in different contents and then our university administration took this seriously. As part of their initiatives, they conducted a survey to gather information what can be done to make the team even better. As far as I recall, it was Friday evening and after reaching the 6th floor of our university debate team room, I heard that we will have a session in the auditorium. We left the room and went to the auditorium. I was amazed to notice some of the high-level administrative officials in the hall and then learned that they would be discussing the debate team we have.

They congratulated us and promised that they would help the team and the association every way possible so that we can practice and do even better in the future. As part of the discussion, the debate team members, trainers and associated members were asked to take part in a survey. After I got the survey papers and pen, I found that that was a questionnaire of 2 pages and there were approximately 20 questions there. Most of the questions were multiple choices but there were 5-6 questions that asked to write our comments or thoughts. The topic of the survey was (as far as remember): "How initiatives can be taken and what improvements can be done to make our university debate team even better". As a debate team member and an active debater, I was naturally asked to participate in the survey to express my opinion.

I mostly express what should be done to make the debate team a good one, appreciated the university authority's help so far and specifically mentioned what are the difficulties we have faced and what are the steps that should be taken to eradicate this issues. I was excited that the upper administration was taking notice on our debate team and when they conducted the survey, I felt really good and kind of honoured to be the part of the team. I have been involved in the debate team for about 2 years and with very little help from the university fund and administration we started doing better and after the session and survey, I felt it was worthy to be the part of the extra curriculum activities.

The overall experience was good and that's why I still remember this survey; even after I took part in many different marketing and online surveys, this one was special to me.


Tips for answering this Cue Card Question: 

People are usually asked to give their opinions in a questionnaire or survey when they are a part of a team and the authority feels that the team members' opinions are needed to bring positive change. Also a marketing executive or marketing representative can ask you to volunteer in their survey to give your opinion on their products or survey. The government runs some survey among people to know the overall opinion of the countrymen. Sometimes you would be asked to give your opinion by a radio, television channel about an issue or on their program quality. You should be able to talk about one such survey or questionnaire you were asked or requested to take part. The questionnaire can be both in written and verbal form.

For this cue card, first say a survey you have taken part and mention when it was, what was the survey, who conducted it and whether you have given written answer to the questionnaire or verbally. Some surveys ask people to give survey takers identity while some conduct it anonymously. Mention what type of survey you took.

You should try to talk about a survey that has some value like a survey conducted by the local authority to make the area a better place rather than the random marketing surveys.

For the second question "why you were asked to give your opinions" say why the survey conductor asked you to participate in it. If it was a marketing survey say that you were randomly picked. If this is a survey conducted by the local administration, say they conducted the survey among the local people and you were one of them. Being a part of a team sometimes may require you to take part of the survey and if you talk about such a survey, mention that you were asked to take part of this survey because of your involvement in the team.

For the question "what opinions you gave", you do not need to talk about the questions asked in the survey and the exact answers you gave. Try to give an overview of the things which were asked and a summary of the opinion and answer you gave.

If the survey was an important one for the team authority, mention that you felt really proud to be able to let the authority know your thinking. If this was a marketing survey, mention that you felt well to let them know your idea about their products or services. If this was your first survey mention that you were very excited to be able to gain a new experience as you have never taken part in such a survey. Give some reason why the survey was important and finally say that it was important for you to give your thinking and you felt really good for being able to do so.

Part 3 – Two-way discussion:

Q. What kinds of organisations want to find out about people’s opinions?
Q. Do you think that questionnaires or surveys are good ways of finding out people’s opinions?
Q. What reasons might people have for not wanting to give their opinions?
Q. Do you think it would be a good idea for schools to ask students their opinions about lessons?
Q. What would the advantages for schools be if they asked students their opinions?
Q. Would there be any disadvantages in asking students’ opinions?

Answers to these Part-three questions could be found at Speaking Test 85: Part 3

If you can answer this cue card topic, you should be able to answer the following cue card topics as well: 
1. Talk about something interesting you did recently. 
2. Describe an interesting experience of your life. 
3. Describe something unusual you did recently. 
4. Describe your experience of a survey you took part in. 
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