Part One – Introduction
[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. How often do you watch television? [Why/Why not?]
A. I don’t really watch television that often unless I want to know about some specific news or incidents, mainly because I have to stay occupied with my office works and other things most of the times, which are more important to me and my family than watching the television. Since I like to spend time with my family by having conversations with them or doing some fun stuff together, I do not get much time to watch television.
Q. Which television channel do you usually watch? [Why?]
A. I like to watch mostly educational channels, whenever I get a chance, such as “Discovery” and “National Geographic” primarily because they seem to provide some authentic and interesting information on the subjects and things, such as space science, that arouse my curiosity.
Q. Do you enjoy the advertisements on television? [Why/Why not?]
A. No, I don’t really enjoy watching advertisements on television mainly because they seem to create some kind of “illusion” in the minds of their viewers about the products in order to “force” the viewers to buy them. Besides, I don’t enjoy the advertisements because they also seem to be the “waste of time” and distraction from my attention to an interesting programme.
Q. Do you think most programmes on television are good? [Why/Why not?]
A. No, I don’t really think that most programs on television are good mainly because they are used as some kind of “propaganda” most of the times in order to “brainwash” their viewers. Needless to say, these kinds of programmes create more division among people than uniting them for a common good cause. However, there are obviously really interesting, educative and entertaining programmes that we love to watch.
Part 2 – Cue Card
[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 friend of your family you remember from your childhood.
You should say:
- who the person was
- how your family knew this person
- how often this person visited your family
and explain why you remember this person.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
Sample Answer 1:
Hmm, an interesting question. When I was growing up various friends of the family came and went, local shop-keepers were friendly but perhaps not truly ‘friends’ in the real sense of the word; neighbours were good fun but then moved away. The person I can think was around throughout my childhood, albeit intermittently. I’m going to try and explain to you who this person was as well as how it was we came to know them. The question about how often they visited our house is a bit tricky, but doesn’t make them less of a friend, and finally, I’ll explain why it is this person made such a strong impression on me I remember them still.
When I was growing up, I lived in a fairly suburban area. Once a year, for two weeks of the summer holidays, we’d all pile into the family car and drive for what seemed to me like an eternity to the English countryside of the far north – Northumberland. We always stayed in the same holiday cottage which was self-catering. It was on a mixed sheep/ cattle and arable farm, and our cottage was attached to the shepherd’s permanent home. He lived there with his wife and kept chickens at the end of his garden. The person who I want to tell you about is the shepherd. His name was Ronnie Shipley and to me, as a child, he was a magical figure.
Because we holidayed there every year throughout my childhood, he got to know me and my whole family really well. His own children had long ago grown up and left home, and I think he liked having enthusiastic youngsters around who idolised him and were interested in his work. He would take us with him to feed the hens, show us where we could find the secretive diamond-backed adders in his garden. These are beautiful snakes, and the only venomous ones in the UK, but they are incredibly timid and difficult to spot. He would let us ‘help’ with the sheep, (I don’t think we were very helpful at all) but we swung on gates and cheerfully ran around herding them. He had a sheepdog that actually did all the work, but when I was very little I was none the wiser. When we were older he plonked us on to the back of the old farm pony and let us ride around the farm. On one memorable occasion, he even sat me on the back of a wonderfully tame but enormous Hereford bull. They are actually incredibly docile cattle, but I was still very impressed that I was able to do this.
Because he lived in Northumberland, and we lived down in the south of England just outside London hundreds of miles away, in fact, he never did visit our house. That seems a shame now I look back, but he loved his home in the north, and couldn’t see the point in visiting anywhere else. Also, I now realise that he was actually pretty old even then, way past usual retirement years, but carrying on doing the job he loved for as long as he could. I think a long journey by train would have been quite difficult for him.
As to why I remember this person, well he was such a wonderful magical figure from my childhood. It was as if he inhabited a parallel universe. He taught me to appreciate the countryside and the great outdoors. He was patient and kind with his time. I remember him pointing out stars in the night sky – things that I could never see at home because of the light pollution from the urban area I lived in. He also looked very distinctive. He had a weather-beaten wrinkled face from working outdoors year-round for decades. He wore a flat cap and an old weathered tweed jacket, and always carried a shepherd’s stick with him (which he’d made himself) and was accompanied by a collie dog to help him in his work. He must have taken a bit of a shine to our family, as he always welcomed us with warmth and genuine affection. We’d pop round for endless tea and coffee and shriek delightedly at the discoveries he revealed. In return, sometimes he’d come with us when we went off on a family outing to the seaside or some special place, trips out both he and his wife Annie much enjoyed.
Now I’m long grown up and those holidays are a distant memory. Ronnie himself died years ago. However, I still have two sticks which he made just for me. One is a thumb stick – a very distinctive walking stick that you cut to the right length according to your own height and then walk with your thumb resting in the crook of a V formed where the stick has naturally divided. Mine was specially picked out by him for me. The other is a more traditional British shepherd’s crook. It is a hazel stick, with a sheep’s horn on the end. On the horn, he has carved my initials ‘L.M.’ together with the date 1978, so I know that I was 13 years old when he gave it to me. What a special treasure that is.
It’s funny, I was incredibly fond of Mr Shipley as I was growing up, but I took his attention and generosity a bit for granted, I think that’s easy to do when you are small. Now I’m older and wiser (hopefully) I think he is even more remarkable. We were just one of many families he must have met over the years and yet he always made us feel special. He was a remarkable man, and a great friend to all our family. I feel really blessed to have met him, and his legacy endures in very real ways. There is even a gooseberry bush in the garden of my parent’s house that is from a cutting he gave to them decades ago. I wonder if he had any idea how special he was, and how much his friendship meant to us all. I think above all else he gave us his time, and shared his stories, for me that was the best gift ever, as with it, he stimulated my imagination and gave me happy memories, those can endure almost forever!
Sample Answer 2:
I was so lucky to have my aunt Sally with me during my childhood, and she still continues her bond with my family. In fact, she is my mom’s best friend, our neighbour – lives at the opposite door of our apartment in Canada.
Aunt Sally is a professional accountant and works as the Chief Accountant with an international organisation. She is my mom’s friend since their school days and they have been continuing the relationship even in their middle age. They are like twin sisters and love to share everything together. They share a very strong and enviable bond among them. Often they used to go for the outing together and also had their necessary things done together. I like aunt Sally much because she loves me like her own daughter. Even in these days, she helps me solving my accounting problems of my college.
My mother met aunt Sally in her school. Both of them were at their elementary level. In fact, my grandpa admitted my mom to the local school for kids where all the kids had their elementary education. Gradually, the relationship between them started and they shared their home works, assignments etc. When they matured, the friendship between mom and aunt Sally deepened. The residence of aunt Sally was far from my grandpa’s house, and then both the families decided to make it closer to each other. It created the relationship between the two families and still, it is going on today. Both the families now have turned like a single family. Accordingly, I got familiar with aunt Sally after being matured.
Aunt Sally frequently visited our house. Since she is our neighbour, there are no specific schedules for her visit. It has happened that she comes to visit my mom even in the late hours of the night which made us surprised and shocked as well lest we are to listen to any bad news at that late night. On the other side, my mom was also similar to her. She also used to visit aunt Sally’s home frequently. As a result, the friendship has turned matured which is rare at this present age. Presently, the visiting has become limited. She is now unable to manage time much to visit my mom for her occupational engagement. So, now she comes at least twice in a week to visit my mom and us.
I remember aunt Sally for some specific reasons. The first and the most important thing about her is that she is exceptionally smart and brilliant. She is able to solve even the toughest mathematical problems within a short time. She looks pretty with her bluish eyes and curly hair even in her 40s. She is also an amicable person who loves to chat with people. She loves kids and spends time with them. When I was a kid, she took much care for me with my mom. Both of them have endured lots of troubles for me in my early days as I was a naughty girl. Now I actually have less time to socialize with other people for my academic studies. But still, I seek help from aunt Sally if I am in troubles and she also manages time to spare with me.
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion:
Q. What do you think makes someone a good friend to a whole family?
A. Becoming a friend to a singular individual is relatively easy, but becoming a good friend to the whole family of that individual is rather difficult as it involves understanding each and every member of that family differently. Anyway, one can be a good friend to a whole family if he/she is passionate about standing by them and helping them during the time of their needs, such as sickness and stress, no matter how difficult they may be. Besides, he/she has to be really respectful to the beliefs and views of that family, no matter how different they are from his/her own views and opinions if he/she wants to become a good friend of them.
Q. Do you think we meet different kinds of friends at different stages of our lives? In what ways are these types of friend different?
A. Yes, I do think that we tend to meet different kinds of friends with different kinds of personalities and traits at different stages of our lives. For example, when we are children, our friends are usually ‘care-free” with no particular roles and responsibilities to worry about in general. When we become young adults and ready to begin our careers, we meet friends who are more serious about their lives and career than any other things in life. Then, as we grow older and become parents, we tend to become more friendly with those people who are usually family-oriented and serious about raising their children. We change with our age and our expectations from our friends may vary as we grow and it is quite natural that we meet different types of friends in different stages of our life.
Q. How easy is it to make friends with people from a different age group?
A. In my opinion, it is not really easy to make friends with people from a different age group as it involves keeping up with different kinds of personalities and priorities most of the time, if not always. For example, a mature and family person in his mid 40’s will find it really difficult to keep up with the more upbeat and “adventurous” personalities of a young adult, in his mid 20’s, who is living his “dream life”. So, again, it would require a lot of compromising and understanding if anyone wants to befriend somebody from different age categories.
Influence of friends:
Q. Do you think it is possible to be friends with others if you never meet them in person? Is this real friendship?
A. It all depends on how someone defines “real friendship”. But, in my humble opinion, it is not really possible to become a real friend with someone if I never meet him or her in person. Of course, it helps just to talk to someone in order to find out if we share the same interests, but without the opportunity to actually carry forward the friendship in real life situations, I don’t really see how a ‘meaningful friendship’ is born and grow over time.
Q. What kind of influence can friends have on our lives?
A. Friends can have a tremendous influence on our lives by shaping our views and opinions of this world and the things around us more often than not. In fact, sometimes, things like what we eat, what movies we watch, what type of music we listen to, how we like to dress, or what kinds of lifestyles we choose to live are determined one way or another by our friends. Therefore, it is absolutely important that we choose our friends carefully as they not only help us build our lives, but also destroy them.
Q. How important would you say it is to have friends from different cultures?
A. I would say that it is very important to have friends from different cultures and backgrounds as they would help us open our eyes and minds to many of the diversities of our world. And, the more respect and appreciation we have for people of different cultures and backgrounds, the easier will it become for us to free this world from prejudice, hatred and animosities that have only divided us more and more for centuries.