Part 1 – Introduction & Interview
[This part of the test begins with the examiner introducing himself or herself and checking the candidate’s identification. It then continues as an interview. In the interview, the examiner asks the candidate about his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. What is your full name?
Answer: My name is Maria Baronova. You can, however, call me “Maria”.
Q. Can I see your ID?
Answer: Sure, here you are.
Q. How important are clothes and fashion to you? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Clothes and fashion are very important to me primarily because it makes me look good and feel good about myself. Besides, they are very important to me because, in my culture, people do tend to judge others by the clothes or fashion styles they use, and I always like to be “judged” favourably.
Q. What kind of clothes do you dislike? [Why?]
Answer: I don’t really like any polyester or synthetic clothes mostly because they give me a rash. I don’t like them also because they don’t feel soft and comfortable enough. Besides, I don’t really like to wear very “revealing’ clothes because I find them to be “degrading” for a respectable person, be it a man or a woman.
Q. How different are the clothes you wear now from those you wore 10 years ago?
Answer: The clothes, which we wear today, are certainly more stylish and affordable most of the times than the clothes we used to wear before 10 years. But, when it comes to quality, I think that the clothes today are worse than what we used to wear a decade ago. Personally, I was much younger ten years ago so I wore dresses that were suitable for my age and my parents most of the time chose those dresses for me. However, these days I buy dresses of my choice, and “fashion” and “conform” are two important aspects I look for when buying a new dress for me.
Q. What do you think the clothes we wear say about us?
Answer: What a person chooses to wear tells a great deal about what kinds of values he or she carries as well as what kinds of personality the person has. For example, a suit and tie wearing person tries to tell us that he is probably more successful and motivated than others. On the other hand, a short and tank top wearing person is probably “casual” and likes to go with the “flow”. But I do not decide if someone is really a good human being or not from his or her dresses only.
Part 2 – Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card
[The topic for your talk will be written on a card which the examiner will hand over to you. Read it carefully and then make some brief notes.]
Describe a festival that is important in your country.
You should say:
- when the festival occurs
- what you did during it
- what you like or dislike about it
and explain why this festival is important.
[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?]
Russia is not just a country of “extreme winter and snow”, but it is also a country of many festivals where we love to celebrate different religious, cultural and national events. Today, I would like to talk about one such festival which is called the “Russian Orthodox Easter Week”, “Paskha” in the Russian language, which takes place either in the month of April or May every year.
We celebrate “Russian Orthodox Easter Week” in a special way even though it is celebrated later than the west. During this week, we put on best clothes starting on Saturday night and visit dark churches, which symbolize a gloomy world without any light of faith, together, even though special and traditional religious services take place each night of the week. Then, of course, we also decorate the “Easter eggs” and bake “Easter cakes” in addition to decorating our homes in a very special way. We also visit different cemeteries and graves and take Easter bread and wines there during this week.
Everything has to be liked about our “Russian Orthodox Easter Week”. However, the best thing which I really like about this festival is the decoration of the table with virtually all kinds of food in the world in order to start the “Easter Feast” on the Easter day morning! I also like the Saturday night service just before the Easter day because it lasts for the whole night!
Anyway, this festival is very important, some will say more important than even Christmas, in our religious tradition because it brings all kinds of people together in our country in the mood of celebration wherever they are. In fact, even non-believers enjoy this religious festival because it is really beautiful and offers a very unique experience. Besides, this is the time when we visit our families and friends in order to bless each other which is really uplifting for everybody. Finally, this Easter week is important because it helps us revive spiritually in the spirit of “giving” and “sacrificing”.
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion:
Discussion topic: “Purpose of festivals and celebration”
Q. Why do you think festivals are important events in the working year?
Answer: Festivals are important in the working year because they provide us with the opportunities to recuperate and recover from the burnout of our long and continuous work life. Besides, they also allow us to spend some quality times with our families, which is otherwise not possible to do if we work non-stop. Finally, festivals are also important because they help us revive our “spirituality” (with all due respect to non-believers) within us in order to purify our minds and souls if we really are to live a peaceful and happy life.
Q. Would you agree that the original significance of festivals is often lost today? Is it good or bad, do you think?
Answer: Well, it depends on what kind of festivals we are talking about. If we are talking about some random “festivals”, with no specific messages or meanings behind them, then there is apparently no “significance” to be lost.
However, if we are talking about some religious festivals, aimed at reviving us spiritually, then it is fair to suggest that the original significance is often lost today because we are not amending our mistakes and behaviour while also becoming more and more “materialistic” and “selfish” for our own good. Such a pity!
Q. Do you think that new festivals will be introduced in the future? What kind?
Answer: Well, given how so many people in our world want to “diversify” their “methods of enjoying and having fun” in their lives by creating an invisible boundary of pride and vanity around them, I wouldn’t really be surprised if they come up with some new festivals in the future. But would these “new festivals” bring us together and unite us in some common good causes? Well, I doubt it because they would probably be some “festivals for the privileged only”, carrying some peculiar and disturbing messages behind them in all likelihood, that sure makes other people “uncomfortable” if not outright “rejecting”.
Having said that, I believe, we will have many international days in the future that people all around the world will celebrate.
Discussion topic: “Festivals and the media”
Q. What role does the media play in festivals, do you think?
Answer: I guess that different electronic media and print media play an important role in making certain festivals, if not all, popular among the public mostly because of “commercial” reasons. For example, if certain media presents “new year festival” in a “glamorous” manner, it is doing so because it wants to help some companies promote and sell their products during that festival period. Of course, some media do try to talk about festivals and present them in a “sombre” mood in order to help people understand its “true appeal” from time to time, but that’s just not too common.
Q. Do you think it’s good or bad to watch festivals on TV? [Why?]
Answer: I think it is good, generally speaking, to watch festivals on TV if one wants to learn about them as in how they are celebrated, what time of the year they are celebrated, or for what reasons they are celebrated. And once people manage to find the answers to those questions, they usually learn to appreciate and respect the diversities within different cultures, religions and lifestyles at the same time, which is certainly good for co-existence in an otherwise “divided” world.
Q. How may globalisation affect different festivals around the world?
Answer: Globalisation has significant effects on different festivals around the world because it is helping these festivals become popular around the entire world. As a result, no matter in which part of this world, people are celebrating certain festivals, the rest of the world is also catching up to it and wishing the celebrating people a very happy festival. Besides, because of this globalization, many festivals around the world, for better or worse, don’t necessarily stick to the same age-old and traditional methods of celebration these days.