[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Food and cooking:
Q. What kinds of food do you like to eat?
Answer: I like any kinds of food as long as they don’t have too much spice and oil in them. However, some of my most favorite food items include chicken sandwiches, beef burgers, pizzas, pasta, freshly-baked French bread and some special kinds of seafood. I also eat a lot of fruit and vegetable salads from time to time when I am not in a mood for any proteins.
Q. What kind of new food would you like to try? [Why?]
Answer: I just love to try any kind of new dishes from time to time whenever I get an opportunity. However, one particular kind of new food/dish, I would like to eat, is called “Paella”, a kind of seafood from “Spain”, because the dish looks just too “yummy” with shrimp, lobster, mussels, cuttlefish, white rice and various herbs in it.
Q. Do you like cooking? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Yes, I just love to cook some of my favorite dishes every once in a while, by having complete control over my mother’s kitchen, as it allows me to relax and have some fun in my own terms while also experimenting on different “cooking combinations” at the same time.
Q. What was the last meal you cooked?
Answer: The last meal, that I cooked, was a special kind of “lamb stew”, made of thinly-sliced lamb, bell pepper/capsicum, mushrooms, tomatoes, ground black pepper, tasting salt, vinegar and, of course, plenty of sliced onions, in order to render the dish a very “savory taste” which is sure to stimulate your taste buds unlike anything else in this world! I enjoyed cooking this item for a few of my friends who visited my home all of a sudden.
Q. Do you prefer home-cooked food or food from restaurants? [Why?]
Answer: I mostly prefer to eat home-cooked food any time of the day over restaurant food primarily because I always have some sorts of doubts, be it fairly or unfairly, in my mind about the freshness and quality of the food made by the restaurants. Besides, dishes from restaurants are expensive and have less food value than home-made food.
[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 an interest or hobby that you enjoy.
You should say:
and explain what benefits you get from this interest or hobby.
[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.]
Model Answer 1:
In the past, I tried a number of hobbies, but I just couldn’t stick with them for too long, probably because of the age factor. But, at this point in my life, I must say that I have found a hobby which I could probably enjoy for the rest of my life without ever getting bored.
The name of this particular hobby is called “internet surfing and collecting information from it”. Yes, you heard it right. My favorite hobby nowadays is surfing the internet. I also think that more and more people should consider surfing the internet as their hobbies because there are just so many interesting things to learn from the world wide web that it is almost impossible to get a better view of the world in which we live without surfing the internet.
At least, I have been doing this for the last three years or so, and I just love it. Besides, what could be a better hobby than learning about the world around us with just a click of a mouse? The best thing about this hobby is that I can enjoy it anytime from the comfort of my home. You want to learn about a unique aspect of a particular culture or tradition? Well, the internet has it whether you want just some written/text information or an actual video of it. You are interested to learn about the recipes of some delicious foods? The internet will provide you with tons of videos on it for you. Like these, there are so many things that we can learn by surfing the internet if you really have the intellectual acumen to put all the information in the proper context. Now, why would I think of going outside to enjoy some hobbies while I can do it right at my home with my family members and the loved ones?
Anyway, this hobby is important for me because it stimulates my mind and brain unlike anything else. Besides, the wealth of information, I receive from the internet, helps me make a lot of informed decision which otherwise wouldn’t be possible that easily.
Sample Answer 2:
Today I am going to talk about a hobby I particularly enjoy when I am at home in the UK. I will tell you what the hobby is; how long I have been doing it; who I do it with and why it is important to me.
My hobby is running! I know I do not really look like a runner, and it is true I am not very fast, but this is still the activity that I like to do in my spare time.
I have not been running for very long. I started running just 18 months ago, as I decided I needed to get fit, and I thought it would be a cheap way to exercise. I did not expect to enjoy myself. Near to where I live, there is a park. It is very beautiful with trees and streams. Each Saturday a large group of about 500 people meet at 9.00 a.m. in the morning and go for a 5 km run together. This event is called Parkrun, and it happens in over 300 different places in the UK each week. I was nervous when I first went but found the group was friendly and encouraging. Now I go every week, and I even have trained for some longer races 10 km and my longest was 20 k.m.!
I have made lots of friends through running. However, the best surprise was that when I went to my local Parkrun, I met someone I had not seen for over 30 years! We had been at school together but did not keep in touch. We had both moved to the new city of Sheffield and did not realise we lived so close to each other. Now I run with this friend every week, and we go for breakfast each Saturday after our run.
Running is important to me because it keeps me fit, has helped me make new friends, and it has shown me that I am not too old to try new things! I hope you all find activities that you enjoy doing in your spare time!
[ Written by – Lucy Marris | Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]
Model Answer 3:
Blogging is the interest or hobby that I really enjoy and have been doing it very passionately for the last 2-3 years. A blog is basically the short form of ‘weblog’ and it lets the blogger write on topics he/she likes. It is very similar to a website and the blog posts I write is open for anyone to read using the internet. This blog is not being collaborated with anyone at the moment. Currently, I am updating it alone but I have a plan to share this with some of my friends who also has interests in writing and blogging.
The blog I am maintaining has lots of importance both for me and for the intended readers. For me, the blog helps me improving my writing skill as it requires lots of content writing, helps me exploring of relevant topics that improve my knowledge and to upload the images I take with my camera. Sometimes I write on how-to and tutorials which are helpful for people looking for it. Sometimes I write on books I read, movies I watch or about new things I learn and that helps me observing those in a different perspective. People can comment on the articles I add and thus I have got many others in my blog who shares similar interests that I have. Thus the importance of my blog immense to me and I maintain my blog with utmost passion and fervor.
For writing blog posts I need to explore different topics and thus this habit helps me increase my knowledge on different topics.
Model Answer 4:
Today I am going to talk about an activity that I do in my spare time. I will explain what the hobby is; how long I have been doing it; who I do it with and why it is important to me.
I don’t think you will be able to guess what my hobby is because it is quite unusual! In my free time, I work at an Alpaca Farm! An alpaca is an animal that is kept for its fleece, they look a little bit like sheep but with a very long neck! They are related to camels and llamas which you may recognize more easily. They usually live in South America, but there is an Alpaca Farm near to me in Sheffield and I work there at weekends. Although it is called an Alpaca Farm, in fact, there are lots of different animals there: horses; goats; sheep; some ducks and hens and even some llamas.
Working with the alpacas and the other animals on the farm means I have to get there early in the morning. I help to feed the animals and clean up after them. Sometimes I have to drive a tractor to take hay and water out to the horses. Often there are visitors to the farm and I will give them a guided tour and introduce them to all the different animals. At some times of the year, I help with special jobs to care for them, such as giving injections to protect them from illnesses or trimming their toenails if they get too long. My favorite time of year to help is in the spring when baby Alpacas are born. New-born alpacas have to stand up very quickly and within hours are drinking milk from their mothers and running around – it is amazing to watch.
I work on the farm with the farm manager. He is a very kind and funny man. Although we might not seem to have much in common on the surface, we get on really well together. We laugh and talk all the time whilst we are getting the jobs done.
Although my hobby is unusual it is very important to me. My full-time job is in indoors in an office and a lot of the time I am sitting down, so at weekends I like to get outside into the countryside and do some physical work that is completely different. I love animals, the fresh air and the exercise. I also really enjoy talking with the farm manager as he can tell great stories. In the winter though it can be very cold, and trudging through 3 foot of snow to feed the animals is really exhausting. On those days I am glad that working with the Alpacas is just a hobby, I can spend the rest of the week in the warm!
[Written by – Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam)]
Tips for answering this cue card topic:
For this cue card try to talk about a hobby that you have and which is usually interesting. First, say the hobby you have, and then give a brief description of this hobby. If this is an uncommon hobby, give a little background of this hobby and then say what it involves. For the second question, you can either say that you have this hobby from a very long time (from your childhood) or you can say you have recently adopted this hobby. Some hobbies are related to childhood and some hobbies form when people get adults. Mention when you adopted this hobby and give a very brief description of how you started it. If this is a hobby that you solely do alone, mention that you do it alone and sometimes you share it with others if they are interested in. But if this hobby involves other persons, mention the persons who are involved in it and how they participated in it. The final question expects you to be able to describe the importance of the hobby you are talking about. Some of the common importance of a particular hobby can be defined as follows:
1. I enjoy doing it and this is something I cherish.
2. This is an educative hobby and because of this hobby, I have learned many things that were quite impossible to learn in other ways.
3. I value this hobby and it is something that I enjoy from my heart.
4. The time I spent on this hobby is worthy of it.
5. I have been doing it for a long time and a passion for it has grown inside me.
6. This hobby reminds me of my childhood and I particularly enjoy that.
7. I can share this hobby with others and this is a good way of enhancing relationship and friendship.
8. I learned it from my father and that’s something I really love.
9. I think the time I spend on it is better than playing video games.
10. I love doing it and that’s the most important to me.
The social benefits of hobbies:
Q. Do you think having a hobby is good for people’s social life? In what way?
Answer: Of course, having any kind of hobbies is good for people’s social life as they, more often than not, tend to help us release our negative stress and enjoy our lives more meaningfully. Besides, it also helps us bring positivity in our minds and elevates our confidence levels. And, the more confident and positive we remain in our lives, the easier should it get for us to relate to other people around us. Finally, some hobbies, like playing football or soccer, help create a stronger bond among people by generally bringing them closer to each other.
Q. Are there any negative effects of a person spending too much time on their hobby? What are they?
Answer: Doing too much of anything is never really good either for our own lives as well as the lives of our loved ones. If a person is spending too much time in enjoying his/her hobby, the chances are that he/she is not taking care of other priorities in life effectively, such as going to a job and spending time with family, which may prove out to be crippling economically and socially. Besides, spending too much time enjoying hobbies, which are physically demanding, can “drain” one out of our energy that is necessary to do other important things in life.
Q. Why do you think people need to have an interest or hobby?
Answer: People should have an interest or hobby for various reasons. It helps us relieve our stress by keeping us engaged in something, which we really enjoy doing when we are going through a tough time. Having a hobby is also important if we want to enjoy a better social life and a stronger bond with the people around us, as it helps us approach our lives in a more positive manner. Finally, it also helps us get rid of our boredom in life – boredom, which absorbs our energy and spirit negatively, because of following the same daily, monotonous routine work schedule in our modern lives.
Q. In your country, how much time do people spend on work and how much time on leisure? Is this a good balance, do you think?
Answer: The way I see it, it looks like people in my country spend most of their times in their works while leaving very little or almost no leisure time for them or their families. So, why do they still do it? Well, the answer is, they either don’t understand, for whatever reasons that may be, the benefits of maintaining a balanced work-social life or they are just not able to earn a decent living by working the regular hours only. Whatever is the case, the truth is their lifestyles, unfortunately, is not helping their causes to maintain a good and much-needed balance in their lives.
Q. Would you say the amount of free time has changed much in the last fifty years?
Answer: In my opinion, the amount of free time has certainly changed in the last fifty years or so as we have started to expect more from our lives. However, there is nothing wrong with such high expectation expect, of course, that we are spending more and more time in working and earning our livings while leaving a very little or almost no “free time” for ourselves and our families in the process. So, anyway, I would dare to say, this is probably the “curse” of our modern lifestyle, and it certainly doesn’t look very promising for the overall well-being of our entire human race.
Q. Do you think people will have ‘more’ or ‘less’ free time in the future? Why?
Answer: Well, it all depends on how people would choose to define “free time” in the future. But, if you are asking about the amount of “free time” outside of our “working and egocentric” lives, then the chances are that the answer will be anything but “encouraging” for the future well-being of our entire human race. On the other hand, if you are asking about the amount of “free time” in order to chase after the “materialistic gains” of this world, then you can bet all the money, you have, that there will be more “free time” than one could possibly even imagine! So, once again, it all depends on what kind of outlooks we have in our lives, and how we choose to “swing” with it.