IELTS Cue Card # 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 one of the most punctual persons 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 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. But luck was not in my favour on that day!

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, so I couldn’t take an aerial route to travel to her. Instead, I chose an express 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.

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 the situation to her. I 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 sometimes has severe traffic congestion which is very frustrating. Due to this, we often are late to reach our destinations. One such event that I can recall now is when I was late for an important exam. It happened 2 years ago when I was a student at the university.

I had an exam at 8:30 am which I mistakenly thought would begin at 9:30 am. I did this blunder because I wrote the exam schedule incorrectly in my notebook. I prepared for the exam well and was expecting A+. On the exam day, I 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 when the exam begins. But it was not what happened!

As soon as I left home, rain began to pour mercilessly 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 on 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 it was not my day! I reached the exam hall at around 10:15 am, and I was shocked to learn that the exam would end in 15 minutes. I was so worried and anxious that I could not think clearly about what I should do.

I felt helpless at that time, and I asked the teacher what could I do then. He advised me to meet him after the exam. I followed him as soon as he left the exam room. I noticed that some of my classmates were also looking at me with astonishment. They were probably thinking about how careless I was to miss such an important exam.

After I reached the teacher's room, he took me to our adviser tutor and asked me to give a good reason why I was late for the exam. I told them everything that has happened and the coordinator arranged an exam for me in his room. As a penalty, he deducted 10 minutes from the exam time and asked me to finish the exam and leave the answer sheet to him. I was kind of worried about the whole thing. But I felt a bit relieved also because I was allowed to take the test. As my preparation was good, I had been able to answer all the questions in due time.


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 the office/class.
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