[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. Did you go to the secondary/high school near to where you lived? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Yes, I did go to a school close to where I lived, even though it was not a very good school, primarily because, it helped me save a lot of time and energy. Besides, my parents didn’t want me to go to a school, far from my home, because it would have created a sense of “insecurity” in the mind of my parents since I was their only child.
Q. What did you like about your secondary/high school? [Why?]
Answer: I think that I spent some of my best years at my high school because I made so many friends there, and I gained so many life-changing experiences. Besides, it was really close to my home which saved me a lot of time and energy. I also can’t forget about the beautiful lake with crystal clear water in it next to my high school which just made me feel very close to “Mother Nature”.
Q. Tell me about anything you didn’t like at your school.
Answer: There were a number of things about my high school which I didn’t like. For example, it was a really old school, comprising of mostly old building structures, with rustic exteriors and many cracks on them. Besides, as I come to remember it, the school didn’t have enough staffs either to run and manage its day to day affairs in an efficient manner.
Q. How do you think your school could be improved? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Well, things have improved significantly since I left this high school a decade ago. It has now a few new buildings and they look really good. Moreover, the stuff problem should be gone by now. Well, I still feel that the school authority should introduce more extracurricular activities to students as I often felt the need for it. I also believe that such activities are an important part of education and should be encouraged by the school.
[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 something you don’t have now but would really like to own in the future.
You should say:
and explain why you would like to own 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:
I wish that I had a lot of money so that I would be able to buy a lot of “special” things, but unfortunately, I don’t really see that happening soon. But, I guess that I could still talk about at least one “special” thing, which I would really want to buy in the future.
I am talking about buying a computer desk. In fact, I have been planning to buy a perfect computer desk for quite sometimes, but I am not buying “perfect” looking computer desk just yet because my family is about to remodel my room, along with the rest of the house, and I want to make sure that my computer desk matches the interior design and painting of my room.
So, as soon as my room gets a new model and painting after a couple of months, I will go ahead and buy my computer desk, which I want to use, mainly, to keep my desktop computer. My computer desk should be about five feet wide, two and a half feet deep, and the knee space under the desk should about 2 feet high. Having a perfect L-shape design, the computer desk should preferably be made of solid wood and should also have a nice “Carolina oak” finish. Of course, I wouldn’t mind any other “finish”, but it has to be very “unique” and appealing. Finally, it should also feature a sliding drawer for keyboard storage and two drawers for additional storage on each surface of the “specially designed” computer desk.
Anyway, I want to buy this particular piece of furniture, primarily because my old computer desk is getting “old and obsolete”. Besides, my old computer desk is not spacious enough for my rather large desktop computer. On top of that, I am planning to buy this beautiful piece of new furniture also because I want to be able to give my “newly-remodeled” room a new look. Finally, and most importantly, I also want to buy this special computer desk because I want to be able to feel comfortable physically in an “ergonomic” way while working on it.
Sample Answer 2:
So, I’ve been asked to talk about ‘something special that I’d like to buy in the future’, it’s quite tricky to know how to respond to this topic. Should I pick something that I’d love to buy, but isn’t realistic (like a rainbow); something that I’d love to buy as a gift for someone else (treat my mum to afternoon tea at a posh hotel) or something practical for me (I could really do with a new pair of winter shoes)? In fact, I’m going to go with the first thing that popped into my head when you told me the theme – I’m going to talk about something that I would really really like to buy, but haven’t quite got around to yet.
I’m going to tell you what it is, what is like, when I intend to buy it and why it is I’d like this particular item so much.
The special thing I have in mind is a photo book. You can get them on the internet I think. You select a range of digital photos that are special or meaningful to you and then arrange them electronically with captions and dates and so on. Then there are specialist companies that will put them together in a traditionally bound physical book.
The idea is quite a simple one, but genius. In this age of digital cameras, it’s easy to take lots and lots of photographs, some are good, some are funny, and some are indifferent. Many are bizarre; others are hilarious; and some are just terrible, but all of them are quite literally snapshots of memories. However, because now photographs are everywhere, I think we take them a bit for granted and don’t appreciate them as much as we should. The really great photographs get lost in the multitude of average or terrible ones. There are so many files of photos on my computer, that I can’t even remember what they contain, let alone where the most important ones are stored anymore. So what I’d love to do, is take the time to pick out a selection that is really important to me, and have them brought together in an album that I can treasure and look back on, and share with others. Honestly, nobody really wants to look at 1000 pictures of your holiday/ family/ pet, but they might like to look at half a dozen of each that had been carefully chosen to tell a particular story, and it’s fun to share such memories.
When do I intend to do this? Well, interestingly, I have a ‘to-do’ list on my desk. One of the items that have been on it for some years is ‘sort through my photos’. I never get around to it. Maybe now I’ve been made to reflect on it, I should prioritise this task. Just because it has never felt urgent (that is, something I need to do immediately) this activity never makes it to the top of my list. However, it is important, I need to make time for it. Maybe next week – I should give myself a deadline!
I hope you can see already why I’d like to buy this so much. But if I need to explain more, it is because I think by making a selection of really important pictures, I can pick out special memories. By putting these together in a physical book I think they will endure longer and be valued more than if they are lost in the millions and millions of images that fill the internet. Even today, I have on my shelves books that are over a hundred years old, they have pages that have slightly yellowed with age, but are perfectly useable and readable. On the other hand, I have a pile of floppy discs, I have no idea what is on them anymore, and I no longer have a computer that I could read them on, effectively, those contents are lost forever. Despite how clever we are in this digital age, I have a suspicion that it is our books that will outlast us all, not pixels in cyberspace! What do you think?
[ Written by – Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]
Model Answer 3:
I have a personal list (wish list you can say) that has many things that I want to buy in future. One such special thing that I want to buy in the near future is a personal car. I mostly use public transportation to move from one place to another and to visit my hometown which is very inconvenient. Owning a car would be a great advantage for me as I would be able to freely move and visit my hometown more frequently.
The car I want to buy is the Fusion Hybrid car by Ford. This is a stylish looking car which is also fuel-efficient. My preference would be a white colour car. I intend to buy it after 2-3 years as it would allow me to save the money and apply for the car loan I need to purchase it.
There are so many advantages of owning a car especially in the city I live in. Maintaining perfect timing is pretty tough if you travel on a public bus. You would need to wait for the bus, stay in the long queue for a long. And the frequency of the public buses and the number of people do not allow one to maintain the timing one needs to keep. If I own my own car I’d be able to avoid the usual bad traffic and take the alternatives roads. Travelling on a public bus is inconvenient and you do not have any privacy in it. With my own car, I’d be able to go to my hometown and visit my parents more frequently than I do now.
Model Answer 4:
I know exactly what the special thing is that I want to buy in the future. In fact, I’d like to buy it right now, as soon as I’ve finished talking to you today! I’m going to tell you what it is, what it is like, when I’ll buy it and explain why it is I want to get it so urgently and so much!
The item is a spider catcher. Have you ever hear of them? They are a bit tricky to describe, but basically, it’s a simple gadget that allows you to pick up a spider without hurting or touching it, so you can release it unharmed elsewhere. There are different designs, but the one I like the look of has a long handle with a trigger mechanism at one end which operates some soft gentle bristles at the other. If you believe the adverts, it works by surrounding the spider with bristles that close around it, forming a harmless trap, which allows you to pick up and release the spider without squashing it. To operate it you simply squeeze the lever to open the bristles, position the open bristles over the spider, then release the lever so they gently close around it. You can then pick up the spider and release it somewhere else – a long way away – by once again squeezing the lever to reopen the trap. Apparently, it doesn’t harm the creature, it also promises ‘no mess, safe and easy to use’.
So that’s what it is called and how it is supposed to work. I’d like to buy it soon. Why? Because I have a completely irrational fear of spiders! It is very specific though, I don’t think I have true arachnophobia, I’m fine with even very large spiders if they are outside, but there is a certain form of house spider we have here in the UK which always makes me jump. They are quite large, they can grow to about 12 – 14 centimetres in size, and the males become active in houses around autumn (October time). At this time of year, they leave their webs in search of a female and will move inside to the drier environment of a house after a summer living outside or in sheds. They prowl about looking for female mates. They move very erratically, and quite high up on their legs, plus they have a tendency to loiter in corners or shoot across the floor, where if the light hits them they cast a ridiculously disproportionate shadow. They can’t hurt you, and they are only looking for love, but my how they frighten me if I just catch sight of one unexpectedly. The reason I want to buy a spider catcher soon is that I have just this morning seen an ENORMOUS spider prowling about my living room. I really don’t like sharing my flat with him, even though he means me no harm. Once you have seen one spider there will be more, the next few weeks will bring many such monster spiders into my home, and I want to be prepared!
Catching these spiders is hard. One method I use is to put a glass or jug over the spider, and then slide a piece of paper underneath so you can trap the spider and let it go outside. The problem with this method though is that sometimes the spiders are too big to fit under a glass. Also, they move so fast, they can be gone before you get a chance to catch them, and finally, I don’t really like getting so close to them in the attempt to get them! The spider catcher seems like the perfect solution. I wouldn’t want to harm the spider, it isn’t its fault I’m scared, but I’d prefer not to have them running around all over the place either! That’s why I really, really want a spider catcher of my own. It sounds like the perfect solution for fearful me, facing a potential parade of spiders stomping about when I’m all alone watching a horror film on telly at night as autumn draws in!
[ Written by – Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]
Tips on answering this cue card question:
This cue card should be an easy one for you to talk about as it gives you several options to pick from. You can pick almost anything you want to buy in the future. Just highlight the facts that you want to buy it because:
It would be very helpful for you…
You had a passion for owning that and you want to buy it…
It would be very useful for you and for your family…
It would bring you some opportunities…
It is a luxury item that you wanted to own for a long time… etc.
Some of the things you can mention which you want to buy in the future:
1. Cell phone/ mobile phone
2. A Laptop
3. A personal Car
4. A book by a favorite author
5. An electronic device like the refrigerator, television, washing machine etc.
6. A house/ apartment/ flat
7. A bicycle
8. A household appliance
9. A musical instrument
10. Sports instruments.
11. A share of a company
12. A machinery device for business use
13. A paint or portrait.
14. A rare antique item etc.
If you can answer this cue card, you should also be able to answer the following cue cards also:
1. Describe something you recently bought.
2. Describe something you want to purchase.
3. Talk about a luxury item you want to buy.
4. Talk about a household appliance you want to buy.
5. Describe what you would buy if you have a lot of money.
Q. What types of things do young people in your country most want to own today? Why is this?
Answer: I think that just like any other countries in the world, the young people in my country also like to own houses, cars, TV’s, computers, smartphones and any other assets. They want to own those things primarily because some of them think that they are the absolute “necessities” for their daily lives while others think these possessions would make their lives more comfortable and easy. Some also want to own those things because they think that those possessions would make them look more “valuable” and “important” in the eyes of others.
Q. Why do some people feel they need to own things?
Answer: Some people feel that they need to “own” things because they don’t want to depend on others for the things which they actually require in order to live a respectable life in this world. Some people would also want to own things because those are what their family members and loved ones “need”. Besides, some people also feel that they need to own different things because they have worked really hard, so they just “deserve” those things or assets. Finally, I think that it is just human nature to “own” things, in order to just go on with their daily lives, whether they just “want” them or “need” them.
Q. Do you think that owning lots of things makes people happy? Why?
Answer: No, I don’t really think that owning lots of things makes people happy mainly because “happiness” is only a state of mind, and a person can choose to be happy and satisfied even if he/she doesn’t own anything or own very little. In fact, many events and evidence suggest that it is the intense desires of trying to own a lot of things that make people “unhappy” by adding more and unnecessary pressure as well as stress into their daily lives. Besides, once people do own many things, they then actually become even more stressed and occupied with managing and securing those things, instead of enjoying the regular things in life, as they used to, before owning them.
Q. Do you think television and films can make people want to get new possessions? Why do they have this effect?
Answer: Yes, I do think that televisions and films can “push” people to want to get new possessions in their lives, even if they don’t need them most of the times, primarily because these electronic media present things in a very “glamorous” manner in order to leave some “psychological” impacts in the minds of their viewers. In fact, these electronic media are pretty much “born” to “tickle” the “not-so” desirable tendency of “owning things” in humans by playing with the words and images, as well as by “stretching” the truths which should be stopped immediately, in my opinion.
Q. Are there any benefits to society of people wanting to get new possessions? Why do you think this is?
Answer: There are indeed some benefits to societies in some degrees of people wanting to get new things as they seem to open the doors for innovations and new opportunities in order to carry forward a greater human agenda, which is to create a better world for everybody. But unfortunately, most people are taken for a free ride in the name of it since it is only bringing more and more dissatisfaction and unhappiness among the common people. However, the worst part of this new tendency is that most of the people, who are becoming victims to this “evil” scheme, don’t even realize this which is indeed a shame for the entire human race.
Q. Do you think people will consider that having lots of possessions is a sign of success in the future? Why?
Answer: Yes, I have no doubt in my mind that more and more people will consider having or owning lots of “things” as a sign of “success’ in the future primarily because they are becoming more and more materialistic by every passing day if not every hour. Besides, common human qualities like good moral values, compassion and empathy are becoming more and more scarce every day, courtesy to the ‘curse’ of this modern life, and as a result, they don’t really find any “values” in doing anything else other than just “amassing” their wealth for themselves, by hook or by crook, in order to be successful, as if there is no tomorrow. Such a shame!