Part One – Introduction
[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. How well do you know the people who live next door to you?
A. I am a firm believer in having a good relationship with my neighbours who are living next door to me, and I know them well enough to enjoy a cup of coffee or a drink with them in their living areas while watching a nice comedy movie or game with them once in a while.
Q. How often do you see them? [Why/Why not?]
A. I see my neighbours mostly during the weekends because that’s when we usually meet and talk while washing or cleaning our front yards. Besides, it is during the weekends that we usually hit the outdoors sometimes together in order to get some physical exercises, such as running and stretching, at a local park nearby.
Q. What kinds of problem do people sometimes have with their neighbours?
A. Unfortunately, not all people are considerate enough about their neighbours’ plights and preferences. As a result, people have to deal with common problems like noises at late night, sounds of loud music regularly, vehicles parked on the front lawn and barking of the lousy pet animals, no matter how much disturbing they may sound.
Q. How do you think neighbours can help each other?
A. Neighbors can help each other in many ways, if they are really keen to do so, by visiting each other on a regular basis to check how they are doing during their bad times, watching over each other’s houses when somebody is gone temporarily, and picking up their “deliveries” for them in their absence. Our neighbours become more important than our own relatives over time and they can come to our rescue whenever we are in big or small troubles. Finally, they can share our joys and sorrows as true friends.
Part 2 – Cue Card/Candidate Task 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 time when you were asked to give your opinion in a questionnaire or survey.
You should say:
- what the questionnaire/survey was about
- why you were asked to give your opinion
- what opinion you gave
and explain how you felt about giving your opinion in this questionnaire/survey.
[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.]
The survey I recall very clearly that I participated was the one conducted in our university. I was a student of 7th semester then and I actively participated in University debate team. Our team did well in different contents and then our university administration took this seriously. As part of their initiatives, they conducted a survey to gather information what can be done to make the team even better. As far as I recall, it was Friday evening and after reaching the 6th floor of our university debate team room, I heard that we will have a session in the auditorium. We left the room and went to the auditorium. I was amazed to notice some of the high-level administrative officials in the hall and then learned that they would be discussing the debate team we have.
They congratulated us and promised that they would help the team and the association every way possible so that we can practice and do even better in the future. As part of the discussion, the debate team members, trainers and associated members were asked to take part in a survey. After I got the survey papers and pen, I found that that was a questionnaire of 2 pages and there were approximately 20 questions there. Most of the questions were multiple choices but there were 5-6 questions that asked to write our comments or thoughts. The topic of the survey was (as far as remember): “How initiatives can be taken and what improvements can be done to make our university debate team even better”. As a debate team member and an active debater, I was naturally asked to participate in the survey to express my opinion.
I mostly express what should be done to make the debate team a good one, appreciated the university authority’s help so far and specifically mentioned what are the difficulties we have faced and what are the steps that should be taken to eradicate this issues. I was excited that the upper administration was taking notice on our debate team and when they conducted the survey, I felt really good and kind of honoured to be the part of the team. I have been involved in the debate team for about 2 years and with very little help from the university fund and administration we started doing better and after the session and survey, I felt it was worthy to be the part of the extra curriculum activities.
The overall experience was good and that’s why I still remember this survey; even after I took part in many different marketing and online surveys, this one was special to me.
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion:
Q. What kinds of organizations want to find out about people’s opinions?
Answer: Different governmental organizations, political parties, manufacturing companies and service providers conduct surveys in order to find out about people’s opinions. Companies and service providers want to learn whether their products and services are meeting the demands of their customers while governmental organizations run the surveys in order to find out how they are performing. Political parties conduct surveys in order to find out how their political manifestos are accepted by the common public. Sometimes, even different media outlets, such as TV and newspapers, conduct surveys on behalf of different companies and service providers.
Q. Do you think that questionnaires or surveys are good ways of finding out people’s opinions?
Answer: I don’t really think that the questionnaires or surveys are good ways of finding people’s opinions as it is not always possible to reach the right “segment” of people who are informed enough to answer the surveys and questionnaires properly. Besides, even if we think for a second that while people may be “informed” enough to answer the questions properly, we would never know for sure that they are actually telling the “truth” probably because they feel reluctant to disappoint the survey takers.
Q. What reasons might people have for not wanting to give their opinions?
Answer: There can be various reasons for which people may not want to give their opinions in a questionnaire or survey. However, the main reason, in my opinion, would be picking the wrong time and wrong location. In fact, people wouldn’t exactly feel very thrilled to answer some “random” questions, asked by some completely unknown surveyors, on some random products/services when they are hurrying to go to their works or in the middle of something very urgent. Besides, people, in general, just don’t feel comfortable to disclose their “personal information” to others unless it actually serves their own purposes rather than the purposes of some random companies or organizations.
Questionnaires in school:
Q. Do you think it would be a good idea for schools to ask students their opinions about lessons?
Answer: I think that it would be an excellent idea for schools to ask students about their opinions on “lessons” as long as they only ask them whether or not the students are enjoying their lessons, or whether or not they are benefitting from the lesson plans. However, in my opinion, under no circumstances, the school authorities should ask their students to offer their opinions on what kinds of lessons they should be taught in the classrooms because they simply don’t have the required expertise or qualification to decide on such an important issue.
Q. What would the advantages for schools be if they ask students their opinions?
Answer: There may be some advantages for schools if they ask for some opinions from their students on general issues, such as if they are enjoying their lessons, or if the lessons are benefitting them, as the opinions that would help the school authorities take appropriate measures in order to address the issues properly. Opinions on what kind of extra-curricular activities may benefit students would also help the school authorities in developing the leadership skills for their students in the long run.
Q. Would there be any disadvantages in asking students’ opinions?
Answer: It is okay once in a while, and only once in a while as opposed to on a regular basis, to ask for some opinions from the students on general issues in order to ensure a better learning atmosphere at schools, but such practice is not without its disadvantages as the students may get the impression that they have the “power” to influence the decisions of the school authorities and their lesson plans. And, if such is the case, students wouldn’t really respect the authority of the school teachers that much, which then, in turn, can harm the existing congenial learning atmosphere.