IELTS Cue Card Sample 134 - Describe a situation when you were late

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

Describe a situation when you were late.

You should say:

  • when it was
  • why you were late
  • how you felt about being late

and explain how you managed the situation.


Model Answer 1:
I may not be the most punctual person in this world, but I always try to be on time when I have an appointment to meet with somebody. But, unfortunately, we don’t always control the situations or things around us, and as such, we become late despite our best effort and intention, just as it happened last year ago when I was late to attend the marriage ceremony of my dear niece.

As I have already mentioned earlier that I always try to be on time, so, it was quite natural for me to take all the precautions to arrive at the marriage ceremony of my niece well in advance of the schedule.

By the way, my niece lived in a small city which was about a couple of hundred kilometres from where I used to live. And, unfortunately, there was no flight from my home town to her small city, and I couldn’t take an aerial route to travel to her. Instead, I chose an express (or ‘fast”) train. But, after travelling for about an hour, I noticed that the train was travelling at almost half of its regular speed, apparently, because some kind of emergency repairing works with the train lines was going on ahead of us. Initially, I thought that it wouldn’t take much longer to fix it, but as another half an hour passed, I started to worry about arriving on schedule. Needless to say, I felt very frustrated as I could very well sense that I wouldn’t be able to arrive at the wedding ceremony of my beloved niece on time.

Anyway, even though, I felt very frustrated and helpless in that situation, I knew that it was not going to help me. So, I immediately decided to call my niece and explained her the situation and told her to go ahead with the ceremony without me while also telling her that my love and prayer would always be with her. And that I would meet her at the happiest moment of her life as soon as I arrive in her city.


Model Answer 2: 
The city I live in has a severe traffic jam problem and due to that, we often get late to reach our destination. One such event when I was late in an important exam was a frustrating experience for me. It was 2 years ago when I was a student at the university. I had an exam at 8.30 am which I thought would be at 9.30 am. I did this mistake because I noted the time wrongly in my notebook. I prepared for the exam well and left home at 8.15 am as my usual journey to my university takes around 40 minutes. According to the schedule, I should have reached at least 30 minutes before the exam time.

I already had the wrong idea about the exam timing and I found that it was raining outside and there were only a few transportations available on the road. I had to wait at the bus stoppage for more than 30 minutes before I actually got into a bus. To my surprise, the traffic on the road was very bad. The buses were moving very slowly because of the unavoidable traffic jam. I was hoping desperately to reach the university on time. But that was not my day! I reached the exam hall at 10.15 am and I was shocked to learn that the exam would end only in 15 minutes. I was so worried and anxious that I could not think clearly what to do.

I felt helpless at that time and was asked the teacher what can I do now. He asked me to come after the exam ends. I followed him as soon as he left the exam room. I noticed that some of my classmates were also looking at me with surprise and were probably thinking about how careless I was to miss such an important exam.

After I reach the class exam coordinator’s room, he took me to our advising tutor and asked me to give a good reason why I was late for the exam. I told everything that has happened and the coordinator arranged an exam in his room. As a penalty, he deducted 20 minutes from the exam time and asked me to finish the exam and leave the answer sheet to him. I was kind of worried and felt a bit relieved also. As my preparation was good, I had been able to answer all the questions in due time. Thus the situation was handled and I was not in big trouble for the late I made unintentionally.


Similar Cue Card Topics

Your ability to talk about this Cue Card Topic would enable you to talk about the following Cue Card Topics as well:

  1. Describe a situation when you were late for an important appointment
  2. Describe an awkward experience you have
  3. Describe a time when you were embarrassed
  4. Describe a traffic jam that made you late for office/college
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