[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Topic – Bicycles:
Q. How popular are bicycles in your home town? [Why?]
A. If I talk about the time when I was a child, the bicycle was the primary mean of travelling for people in my hometown. However, this is not the case and motorized vehicles have replaced the bicycle. Around 5-8 percentage of people, these days in my hometown use this environment-friendly vehicle while it was more than 80% in the past.
Q. How often do you ride a bicycle? [Why/Why not?]
A. Honestly speaking, these days I scarcely ride a bicycle and mostly use my car. I used to be very fond of riding a bicycle in my teenage, but after I started working in a different city, I had been forced to buy a car.
Q. Do you think that bicycles are suitable for all ages? [Why/Why not?]
A. Yes, this is a suitable vehicle for all ages. The physical activity that a cyclist does is beneficial for his/her health and this is perhaps the most environmental-friendly ride in the world. There is no age restriction for commuting using a bicycle, I believe.
Q. What are the advantages of a bicycle compared to a car? [Why?]
A. Well, first of all, a bicycle is eco-friendly and does not harm the environment the way motorized vehicles do. Furthermore, it is cheap and does not require a high maintenance cost per month. Moreover, bicycle riding involves physical movement and it helps us maintain good health. Finally, this type of transport does not cause much traffic congestion, unlike motor cars.
[The topic for your talk will be written on a card which the examiner will hand you. Read it carefully and then make some brief notes.]
Describe a person who has done a lot of work to help people.
and explain how you know about this person.
[ You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
[Examiner: All right? Remember you have one to two minutes for this, so don’t worry if I stop you. I’ll tell you when the time is up. Can you start speaking now, please?]
Model Answer 1:
Thank you for choosing this nice cue card topic for me. The country, in which I live, indeed has seen a great number of people who have worked tirelessly to help others. Today, I would like to talk about one such person who essentially has become the epitome of philanthropy and philanthropic activities in my country.
The person, I am talking about, is very popularly known as “Haji Mohammad Mohsin” in my country. Born in the year of 1733 AD, Haji Mohammad Mohsin was one of the greatest Muslim personalities of undivided Bengal in British India. He is known as a great philanthropist and educationist of Bengal. In fact, he is such a popular figure in Bangladesh that whenever somebody does something good to help other people, they start to compare him or her with the “great” Haji Mohammad Mohsin.
Anyway, He was one of the wealthiest men in the area as he possessed huge properties in Hooghly, Nadia in today’s Bengal (a province of India which has a border with Bangladesh) and in Khulna and Jessore in today’s Bangladesh.
I know about this person, primarily from the educational sources, like schools and books. In fact, it was a part of our course curriculum to learn about such great persons of our country. I came to learn about him also through some discussions on our television channels.
This great philanthropist dedicated all the income – yes, all of his income – from his property for charity and social and educational causes. He particularly helped the starved and destitute during the great famine of Bengal in 1776-77 which had saved the lives of thousands of people. Besides, he established many schools and colleges to offer free education for the poor and unprivileged, in addition to building many places for worship. However, the most significant aspect of this great person was that even though, he was one of the wealthiest few persons of undivided India, he earned his living by sewing caps and calligraphy of the holy Quran.
Sample Answer 2:
This is an interesting topic. Many people help others as part of their professional role – perhaps giving advice, teaching students or providing medical treatment. Of course, all of these things are incredibly important, impressive and of course helpful. And today, I’ll tell you about a person I know about who I believe has helped a lot of people.
So the person is known locally as The Mohican Runner, he lives in my home city of Sheffield. To be quite honest, when I first spotted him it was simply because he has a very distinctive look. He is quite lean and athletic and a talented runner, so a fast and furious participant in many local races. However, what makes him stand out is that he has a well sculptured Mohican haircut. It’s a punk style where the sides of his head are shaved, and then he has a distinctive central strip of long hair down the middle.
His arms are heavily inked with various geometric designs, other shapes are marked on his shaved head and legs. If you just saw him, it is possible that you might feel quite intimidated by him at first glance, but once you know his story you will realize you shouldn’t be. Rather you should approach him and congratulate him and shake him by the hand.
Because The Mohican Runner runs and lives locally, I saw him around a lot. He, like me, is a regular attendee at my local Saturday morning 5 km parkrun. (Though unlike me he always finishes near the front!) About a year ago, I found out that he was setting himself some running challenges to raise money for some children’s charities. This caught my attention. Not content with seeking sponsorship for doing a single event, The Mohican Runner set himself the challenge of running a half-marathon every month for 13 months, the following year it was to run a race every weekend for a year. The challenges are in themselves impressive, but also not the point. It turns out that what drove this fundraising addiction was his own personal experience. He was himself the victim of really horrific physical child abuse when he was growing up. He was isolated, bullied and vulnerable. He was only able to escape his situation when certain charities got involved and intervened and he was then removed from his family. His story was so extreme it was used as the basis of a UK-wide funding appeal for a national charity.
His fundraising achievements are extraordinary, his story and efforts have raised somewhere around £1.3 million, which is an amazing sum of money. However, I believe it isn’t just that he has helped people through fundraising. I believe by being courageous enough to tell his story he reminds everyone of how important it is to be alert to the often hidden problem of child abuse. I think what he does is helpful beyond measure because even without the fundraising, he is giving a voice to a section of society that is often completely powerless and without a voice to represent them at all. There are few things more powerful than hearing someone talk from personal experience. I think it must take extraordinary courage to tell and retell a painful story that I’m sure you would much prefer to be able to forget.
So to conclude, I think the Mohican Runner has done an enormous amount to help people, in particular children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse who perhaps we would rather pretend weren’t there because their plight is hidden and it seems so impossible to comprehend and hard to help. He has helped by raising money; he has helped by making his own story public and he has helped by being a role model. He should be recognized for what he has done for others. If you ever come to Sheffield do look out for him, you’ll spot him sooner or later I’m sure, he’s hard to miss, and he’s seemingly ‘always’ out and about, clocking up the miles, putting in the training and powering on for his favored charities.
[ Written by – Lucy Marris (2016): Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]
Sample Answer 3:
After being matured I came to know about lots of people who spent their entire life for humanity. Among them, the contributions of Mother Teresa undoubtedly are more than any other one.
In her life, Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She had spent her entire life to caring for the poor and destitute. She passed a notable part of her life in India and was moved by the pathetic condition of the people living in the streets. So, she established some of the shelter homes for them in different parts of India. She is also the founder of Missionaries of Charity, and this is a Roman Catholic religious group that helps the people in distress with all sorts of facilities including the arrangement of their medical treatment, rehabilitation etc. for free of cost.
Mother Teresa was born on August 26 in 1910 in Skopje which is now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. She was named as Agnes which resembled the little flower. Her father was a politician and she was the youngest of all the children. Her parents had met from two separate villages. Unfortunately, she lost her father at the age of eight. In her early childhood, she preferred to listen to stories of missionaries, their activities to reduce the grief of the people in different parts of the world. When she turned 12, she decided to devote her life to the humankind and when she was 18, she left home to join Sisters of Loreto. She had never met her family members again in her life after she left the home.
Mother Teresa did a lot of humanitarian works in her life. She learnt different languages to communicate directly with people in the Indian sub-continent. She played the role of a teacher in schools to teach students about numerous issues. She turned into a nun in 1931, and selected a name which she had to alter the spelling for another nun had the same name with the same spelling. She served for around 20 years at Loreto convent school in Calcutta. But the poorness, ill conditions and deaths of the poor people disturbed her seriously. So, she planned to help the distressed. Accordingly, she arranged for opening some shelters in Calcutta to help them. Nirmala Hriday is one of her shelters where the poverty-stricken, ill-fated people can have their treatments for some specific diseases and it is for free.
She is a motherly figure in the world and has been admired even after her death. She is mostly famous for her charitable works and Missionaries of Charities which comes in helping of the destitute across the world. In her lifetime, she was awarded numerous prizes and in 1979 she won the Noble Prize in Peace. But some of her activities were under criticism like the hospitals she ran received a huge amount of donations but on the contrary, the service quality did not improve at all and there were shortages of medical care. Her life has been the subject of literature, documentaries and films. She has been portrayed as an affectionate character who served humanity with great care and love. She really was an admirable woman of the world.
More Ideas to talk about this Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card topic:
Topic: Describe a person who has done a lot of work to help people.
1. Raising consciousness is a great job but it needs special efforts. Benjamin Franklin is one of those leading personalities who had devoted his entire life to helping people in terms of raising their awareness through writing. He was born in the USA in a large but poor family. He was a prolific writer than any other of his professions. His writing helped to raise a sense of awareness and the humour also attracted attention from a large part of the society. Recently, I have read an article authored by him and realized that he was a great man with a modern thought even in his days.
2. South Africa is indebted to Nelson Mandela for his outstanding role to emancipate people from the mental and physical domination of different issues. He was born in South Africa and had to lead a struggling life. He struggled against racism. He wanted to bring a balance in society. He never desired that the blacks or the whites would be dominated by each other. Rather he dreamt of a society that will bring harmony and peace. I had no idea that he was such a great man until I read an article in a newspaper in my school days. Earlier, I thought that he might be a local leader but his biography changed my idea about him completely.
3. The theory of relativity is probably the greatest achievement in physics and has helped greatly to improve this branch of science. Albert Einstein is the founder of this theory. He was born in Germany and later received US citizenship. He helped to expand some of the branches of science. In fact, the Quantum Theory and theoretical physics are the greatest contributions of this scientist. I came to know about him during my physics class at my school. The teacher was describing him and asked us all to collect a few more insight into this great personality to present in the next class.
4. Disability is a great issue of concern in the present perspective and Helen Keller is a pioneer in this case. She was born in Alabama but her childhood illness caused the greatest damage to her life – she became deaf and blind. She initiated movements to raise social awareness among the mass people. And she is most famous for her charity works for the blind people. I came to know about her from a friend of mine who works at an international organization named after Helen Keller. It was a great event for me to know about this philanthropist woman despite her handicaps.
5. Among the Greek philosophers, Socrates is most celebrated for his outstanding way of expressing the truth. He was born in Greece and mostly known for his ethics. He wanted to share his knowledge with his students and fellow people. But he had to sacrifice his life as the rulers of that time did not want him to express the truths. Being a student of history at a local university in Indonesia, I came to know about him. In fact, I had to prepare an assignment on him which made me aware of his contributions to the Greek society and the consequences of his life.
Helping other people in the community:
Q. What are some of the ways people can help others in the community? Which is most important?
A. I believe “being friendly and having a helpful mentality” is something every community member expects from others. An ideal community member should stand beside other members when needed and abide by the rules. Sometimes, people in a community face obstacles and natural calamities and a good member would always extend his/her helping hands for others. Being part of activities like cleaning the streets, charity programmes, voluntary works is another great way to show support for the community.
I believe abiding by the rules and having respects towards other community members are the most important qualities.
Q. Why do you think some people like to help other people?
A. I think this is in their DNA; I mean some people are helpful from their childhood and they keep helping others throughout their life. Apart from that, people sometimes become philanthropic from their life experience and vow to help others in whatever way possible. These are good people who set examples for others.
Q. Some people say that people help others in the community more now than they did in the past. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
A. I do believe the sense of community is stronger among people these days than it was in the past. By saying so, I do not imply that people in the past were less helpful, but the concept of community has grown stronger and people meet others, discuss personal issues with community members more openly these days and as a result, the relationship of people has become stronger.
Q. What types of services, such as libraries or health centres, are available to the people who live in your area? Do you think there are enough of them?
A. Well, the community I come from has numerous facilities for its members. We have two large public libraries, one free medical checkup centre, three sports centres, a fair-price shop, cleaning service, complaint board, evening school and many such mentionable good services including the necessary community amenities like a playground, park, convention hall and so on.
I believe those facilities need more expansion as the number of community members has increased significantly these days than in the past.
Q. Which groups of people generally need the most support in a community? Why?
A. People who are economically less fortunate need more community services. Besides, elder people, women and children often need various supports from the community they live in.
I believe people with less per capita income often find their life challenging and cannot support important things in their life. For instance, some people near my town cannot afford warm dresses during the winter and they need help from other community members. Children and women are often subject to domestic violence or discrimination and they need to turn to the community for help. Elder people need companions, caregivers and some facilities for them and they need support from the community as well.
Q. Who do you think should pay for the services that are available to the people in a community? Should it be the government or individual people?
A. I think community members should bear the maximum ratio of the expenses as it is almost impossible for the government to provide the fund for each community for everything they need. However, the government must contribute to good causes and community services for the overall benefits of less fortunate members of a community. For instance, a government can allocate budget to run evening schools and free medical centres and this can be a great way to show support for the citizens.