[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. What types of music do you like to listen to? [Why?]
Answer: I like to listen to any kind of music that is sweet and soothing to my ears. But if you are asking to be precise, I would say that I like soft rock and meditational music a bit more than other types of music because they usually help me set a perfect mood for relaxing. Besides, I like these types of music also because I can enjoy them pretty much in any kind of environment and situation.
Q. At what times of day do you like to listen to music? [Why?]
Answer: I don’t mind listening to music at any time of the day unless I am doing some serious works, but the best time for me is just before going to bed at night. I like it to listen to music at that time as things around us at night become much quieter, and therefore, it becomes easier for me to become more “attuned” with the appeal of the music. Of course, it makes me fall asleep quickly also.
Q. Did you learn to play a musical instrument when you were a child? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Yes, I did learn to play the guitar a little when I was a child because I thought that it was really “cool” to be able to play the guitar. Besides, I also wanted to become a “famous” man by playing the guitar. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t go very far with my “passion” because my parents had rather wanted me to pay more attention to my studies.
Q. Do you think all children should learn to play a musical instrument? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Yes, I do think that all children should learn to play some forms of musical instruments because it helps them become more creative learners. Besides, it also encourages them to become more active listeners, which works wonder in achieving “academic excellence”. Finally, learning to play a musical instrument like the guitar or drum kits allows children to capture fine “motor skills” by moving their hand and wrist muscles.
Describe a shop or a store you often go to.
You should say:
and explain why you go there and like/dislike most about it.
[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:
‘Coffee Time’ is a coffee shop located near my university campus, and it offers the best coffee in the town. It is on the 4th floor of the Grand Royal Plaza building which is just 3 blocks away from my university. Thank you, sir/madam, for this lovely topic.
Students, teachers and office executives who love coffee, milkshake, tea, fast food, and like to play billiards mostly visit this coffee shop. Though this shop has a menu with over 20 items, coffee is their hot selling product. I sometimes drink tea or eat a sandwich, but most of the time I go there to have a refreshing cup of hot coffee. They sell both hot and cold coffee, and as far as I recall, they have more than 20 variations of the coffees they serve.
I would easily attest them as the best coffee maker in the town. I love their coffee and mainly visit this shop for that. The opportunity to play billiards for free seems like a discount to me! Apart from that, they have a great environment and polite and professional staff to serve the customers. I sometimes sit there to chat with my friends or pass an hour, and there is no rush to vacate the seats for a new customer.
I love their music choice, interior design, and friendly attitude. They even offer a complimentary menu to regular customers. The only thing I dislike about them is the time they take to serve an item. It’s like I have to wait around 20-25 minutes every time I order something! The delay, I guess, irritates office executives who are in a hurry! I have notified them about it and their explanation to my complaint was something like – ‘We take time to serve a customer because we value quality and the taste. And to ensure the taste, we give our best effort.’ The response might seem a little lame to others, but I don’t mind waiting for a few extra minutes especially when I have time to kill or have some friends with me to talk to.
Sample Answer 2:
Shopping is one of my least favorite things to do, but unfortunately, life doesn’t exactly care whether I like it or not. So, I have to go to a shop regardless. But, to make my “shopping job” a little less troubling, I have picked up one particular shop – a super shop that is – which I would like to talk about.
As I have mentioned earlier, it is a “super shop” which is only about a few minutes drive from where I live. But, since it is not really located in some popular part of the city, this super shop has remained “obscure” to many city-dwellers for the most part. But, still, this super shop attracts a rather large number of shoppers from all walks of life who almost regularly visit this shop. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to suggest that most of the customers of this particular shop consider it as their “family super shop” because they have built up a special relationship with its staffs. Here it is worth mentioning that it is not exactly a very big shop, probably not more than 1000 square feet, and so even a small gathering of customers in it at any given time would make this super shop look rather crowded.
Anyway, the visitors of this super shop can be anybody, from regular factory workers to top executives of some big companies, who visit it in order to meet their daily shopping needs, be it buying just a loaf of bread or some fruits and vegetables. The super shop also offers other products and merchandises like cosmetics, perfumes, dairy products, toiletries, small kitchen appliances, meat products, fish and different kinds of snacks among other things.
Anyway, I like visiting this shop mainly because it is very close to my home. Great customer services and relatively cheaper prices on many of its products, and the availability of some fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the reasons for which I like to visit this super shop. Finally, I like this shop because it remains clean and tidy most of the times.
Model Answer 3:
The store, named “The Daily Shop”, is located near the place where I live in the city of Samsun in Turkey. This is a large superstore and sells a wide variety of products. The shop has many positive aspects. First of all, it is accessible from any part of the city for its geographical location. Further, the interior decoration of the shop is admirable. This is an interesting cue card topic and I am glad to have it. I will answer the reaming questions and describe the shop in brief. And thank you for the opportunity to let me talk about it.
This store is open to all and they have numerous types of commodities. People often go there to purchase products for their household use. Besides, this a good place to pick a gift item for someone. I guess the number of adult-male customers is higher than females and children on an ordinary day. On a weekend, however, more female customers could be seen. I am not sure why this is the case but I guess female shoppers prefer shopping on weekends rather than weekdays!
The shop mostly sells the daily necessaries like the canned food, toiletries, cosmetics, fruits, groceries, vegetables, dairy products, fish, packaged food, various types of meats like beef, chicken, soft beverages like juice and the list goes on.
I appreciate their efforts to ensure the quality of each product. I frequently visit the shop as it is adjacent to my residence. So, while returning from my office, I go there to buy something I need at home. And I sometimes visit this store to check their latest collection of toiletries and perfumes. I also like the way they serve the clients.
Cue Card Topic: Describe a shop or store you often go to.
1. I often visit the phone-accessories selling shops at a local shopping mall here in Thailand. These shops sell different types of mobile accessories like mobile covers, tempered glass protectors, batteries, keypad etc. Whenever I need to buy an accessory for my mobile phone, I visit there.
2. My mom has diabetes and she often gets hyper. So I need to visit the drugstore located at the end of my street where I live in Paris. I need to buy medicines for her. The most irritating thing is that she often skips the medicines and that is quite unexpected.
3. I need groceries every day and that’s why I often visit the grocer’s shop near my home. The shop is on the ground floor of the apartment block I live in Indonesia. It has become helpful for me and I often use my debit card to purchase groceries from there.
4. The urban planning subject that I am studying requires completing numerous projects and I often need to visit the DIY stores for that. I am a student at a local university in Malaysia and frequently visit the ‘Help Yourself DIY’ store located near my university.
5. Reading books is a pleasant hobby for me. I also like to add new books to my personal library. So, I frequently buy books from a local bookstore named – ‘The Book Lovers’. It sells various types of books and reading materials.
6. Wearing new dresses is my passion and I like to follow trendy fashions. Every month I get some new clothes. So, I have to visit clothing stores frequently. But I prefer to have my clothes from street shops in Shanghai. The prices are affordable and they have a great variation and rich collection.
7. My baby boy is only one-and-a-half-year-old. I frequently buy different types of toys for the baby. Hence, I need to go to toy shops regularly. I visit the toy store on Broadway in New York City at least once a week.
8. Visiting the newspaper stand daily has become a habit for me. I collect my newspaper from the seller every morning as my home is located at the end of Hang Dong, a street in Hanoi in Vietnam. Delivery service is unavailable there and I visit the newspaper stand to get my copy.
Your preparation for the cue card topic – “Describe a shop or store you often go to” would help you talk about the following topics as well:
1. Describe a shop or store near your home.
2. Describe a small shop that you frequently go to.
3. Describe your favourite shop.
4. Describe a shop or market that has a large number of customers.
5. Describe a shop that sells expensive products.
6. Describe a shop or store that sells antique items.
7. Describe a shop from where you purchase gift items.
8. Describe a shop or market that has recently opened in your locality.
Q. What types of local business are there in your neighborhood? Are there any restaurants, shops or dentists for example?
Answer: There are pretty much all types of businesses in my neighborhood. In fact, I wouldn’t really need to walk more than five minutes in most cases in order to find and buy what I need for my daily life. Fine restaurants (serving both local and international cuisines), shopping centres, doctors, flower shops, bakery shops, gas stations, retail food chain stores, shoe stores and anything in between. It is a crowded neighborhood, where I live, and therefore, it is fair to assume that local businesses really thrive here.
Q. Do you think local businesses are important for a neighborhood? In what way?
Answer: Yes, I do think that local businesses are essential for a neighborhood primarily because they contribute to the local economy to a great extent. Besides, they also create employment opportunities where local people, who otherwise wouldn’t be employable by the larger corporations, can work and earn their livings. Finally, they also bring innovation to the local communities, by creating unique business opportunities, in order to meet the “unique” needs of the locals.
Q. How do large shopping malls and commercial centres affect small local businesses? Why do you think that is?
Answer: It is a growing concern in the business world where large shopping malls and commercial centres are negatively impacting the local businesses by outcompeting them primarily because they manage to offer a better shopping experience to their customers by housing all kinds of businesses and stores under the same roof. Of course, things at those places can be a bit more expensive, but since customers, these days, are more after convenience and saving time, they don’t really mind paying a bit extra for their purchases. Honestly speaking, I also wouldn’t want to visit store after store in the rains or heat to find what I need when I am getting everything at the same place.
People and business:
Q. Why do some people want to start their own business?
Answer: For some people, starting their own businesses is probably a better choice because it allows them the freedom to do things and earn their livings at their own pace and according to their own terms and conditions. Besides, I think that some people are just too independent-minded to work for others and follow their “orders”. Then, of course, there is another group of people who are overly “ambitious” and “calculating”, because of their rare talents, who see the world of financial opportunities in a certain kind of business that they want to start.
Q. Are there any disadvantages to running a business? Which is the most serious?
Answer: I would say there are many obstacles of owning and running a business which may include working longer hours, facing stiff competition from the rivals, dealing with frequent employee turnover problems, and facing the threats of legal issues from customers and government authorities. However, the most serious problem of owning and running a business is that a business owner can be completely financially ruined if he or she fails to run and manage the business in a profitable manner, which can be absolutely devastating for the business owner and his/her entire family.
Q. What are the most important qualities that a good business person needs? Why is that?
Answer: One has to have a number of great human qualities to become a good business person such as he/she has to have a cool and calm head over his/her shoulder so that he/she can face the daily challenges of running a business successfully. A businessman would also need to be very polite, well-mannered, considerate and patient so that he/she can treat his or her customers with utmost respect even if they are unruly and foul-mouthed. Finally, a person needs to be visionary, hardworking, dedicated and progressive-minded in order to become a good and successful businessman.
From a broader point of view, we expect a business owner to be completely honest and fair. He or she should always abide by the laws and serve his/her customer with the best possible service and intention.