IELTS Cue Card Sample 56 - Describe a stressful day at school/ university/ work

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

Describe a stressful day at school/ university/ work.

You should say:

  • how the day started
  • how things went wrong
  • who the people involved were

and explain why it was stressful.

Model Answer:
There are many stressful days I remember from University as well as from work and out of those, I would like to talk about a stressful day at my work. It was a project deadline that we were supposed to deliver before the Christmas holiday. It was due at 15th December 2-3 years back and we were in a good ground to deliver the task to the client. It was a major client of our company and the project was a crucial one for the client as well.

We were 8 people involved in this project and on 12th December we revised the project and found that we need to review only before sending the final version of the software application. Next two days were days off and all of a sudden I got a call from my office that something went wrong regarding the project and the software was not running as expected. I came to office at around 9.00 am on Saturday and found other members had already come or on their way to my office.

Initially, we thought that there would be few bugs on our code and that should not take more than 2-3 hours for us to fix them. But to our surprise, we found that the code is a mess and nothing is in order. We started revising the code and found that some of the files had been overridden by newer files which were completely empty. We felt like the sky had just fallen down on our heads and we are in the middle of a deserted area. We all looked at the project manager who was busy talking to the product owner and could guess the hot conversation.

I found some of my files were missing from the project and the backup system was not working. We spent 2-3 hours discussing the situation and tried to find out what should we do. The project manager explained we have no other choice but to work on the missing files all again to make it work.

I was very tired and was getting calls from home to attend a family occasion. I felt really helpless and could not be sure if I should leave for few hours to attend the family occasion or not. I explained the project manager that I have to attend the occasion and then I will get back to the office. He agreed and I ran for home. From there we went to a relative's house and again I came back to the office in the afternoon. I found that things were as they were before I left office and everybody became worried about the project.
We worked till 11.30 pm and then decide to let the client know the real situation. We emailed the owner and then emailed to the client that, we would need few more days to finish the project. On that day when I returned home at around 12:45 am, I felt very stressed and tired. I wished the next day would be different.

We had to work quite hard for the next few days to make things right. And most surprisingly we had been able to deliver the project to the client on 20th December. Though it made some trouble to the client, he was so understanding and cooperative that he did not complain about it and appreciated us for the hard work.   

Tips for Answering this Cue card Sample:

If you are a student, then talk about a stressful day at your university. On the contrary, if you are a business person or a service holder, talk about a stressful day at your office or at your workplace/ business place.

Following are some of the hints to describe a stressful day:

1. The day started badly: You were late to reach the university/ office/ workplace.
2. Your car stopped all of a sudden and you had to spend more than an hour to reach to the nearby mechanic shop.
3. The traffic police asked for your driving papers and you could not found it.
4. One of your family members was sick and yet you had to leave home for class/ work.
5. You had a minor accident on your way.
6. You were late for an exam/ meeting or an important schedule.
7. One of your co-workers did not show up who was very important for that day's task.
8. You had a quarrel with your colleague or classmates.
9. You had a deadline and you had to work very hard for the whole day. That was mentally as well as physically stressful.
10. You had to finish a task and hand over it to the teacher/ client but you and your team members could not quite finish it.
11. You worked till late night.
12. There were some hot arguments with your teacher/ classmates/ captains/ clients.
13. You were ill and the stress was too hard for you to bear.

A stressful day is usually a day they would start badly and to meet a particular deadline, you would have to push your limit. You would be mentally and physically exhausted and you would work for a long time. So try to describe a day from the beginning until the end and mention some of the points mentioned above to describe you are mentioning it as a stressful day. Not necessarily a single event makes a day stressful, rather the day might become stressful because of the series of events.

Some similar Cue Card topics:

1. Describe a day that was very exhaustive for you.
2. Talk about a bad traffic experience you have.
3. Talk about an event when you were late.
4. Describe a day when you were very tired.

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