Part 1: Introduction and 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.]
Q. Let’s talk about your home town or village. What kind of place is it?
Answer: I come from “Wengen”, which is a beautiful Swiss town located at the foothills of Jungfrau Mountain. Breathtaking views, amazing food, warm locals, and access to some of the most stunning natural wonders make it one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. It’s known for its timber chalets and belle époque hotels.
Q. What’s the most interesting part of this town/village?
Answer: “Wengen” is a Swiss Alpine town in the Bernese Oberland region and it is 4,180 ft above sea level. Whenever you are there, you will feel like the mountains are calling you for an adventure and the magnificent view of our town is something you will thoroughly enjoy. Perhaps “Jungfraujoch”, which lies in the heart of the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the highest place in Europe is the most interesting part of our town. Besides, Wengen hosts the internationally well-known Lauberhorn ski races, and it is on the route of the Jungfrau Marathon.
Q. What kind of jobs do people in the village/town do?
Answer: We have many farmers and hotel owners in our town along with residents who own many other small businesses and stores. Some others work as bankers, journalists and teachers. Many professionals, who no longer live here, work in different other professions in large cities.
Q. Would you say it’s a good place to live?
Answer: Yes, our town is an ideal place to live in for its fresh environment, spectacular views, friendly neighbourhood, necessary amenities and perfect social harmony. I have been living there for more than 20 years and I am happy to be a resident of this beautiful town.
Part 2: Individual long turn (Cue Card/Candidate Task Card)
Examiner: Alright? 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.
Describe a thing you possess which is important to you.
You should say:
- what it is
- what you can do with it
- how you use it
and explain why it is important to you.
[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: Can you start speaking now, please?
Model Answer 1:
Today I am going to tell you about an item I possess which is important to me. I will tell you what it is, what it can do, how I use it and why it is important to me.
The item that is important to me is my laptop! I am not very knowledgeable about technology, so I can’t tell you anything about its specifications. However, I can tell you that it is very light and easy to carry around. It has both a keyboard and a touch-screen and since starting my travels it has become my best friend!
My laptop has all the Microsoft office packages like Word and PowerPoint, it also has a big memory and can give me access to Skype and the Internet. I use my laptop every day for work. It helps me professionally in my job as an English teacher because I can use it to devise lesson plans, carry out research on new topics, and keep up to date with news and issues of relevance to my area of work. I also use my laptop every day for personal things. I can contact my friends by email; chat to others using Skype – if there is a strong enough wi-fi connection – and I can save all my photos of this beautiful country that I am working in at the moment Vietnam, safely on my computer.
I am from England, before I came to Vietnam my employer said it would be really helpful if I could bring a laptop with me. I was worried – ‘what if it gets broken’ or ‘what if it gets stolen’ I thought. Now I am here I am so happy I brought it with me. It helps me professionally to do my job well, and it helps me personally as I can communicate with friends, family and colleagues all over the world.
Did you know that when I was in my twenties computers and the internet did not even exist? I would never have imagined that thirty years later this gadget ‘a laptop’ has become so important to me. I wonder what gadgets will be invented in the next thirty years!
Sample Answer 2:
Everything has its own importance based on necessity or frequent usage. I also have a laptop of my own and I had bought with my expenses when I was a student. The laptop has been serving me for three consecutive years. And I hope it will last long.
I bought the laptop in 2014. But it was hard for me to manage the entire amount for the laptop. Hence, I had to save money from my regular expense. Life in Australia is tough if you do not have the minimum support from your family. In fact, I had to go against my family and started earning to support my own expenses including the educational costs in Australia. I felt the necessity for a laptop and it was impossible to seek financial help from my family. So, I arranged to purchase the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook for me. This is a great machine so far.
This is a very speedy laptop and I am greatly happy with its performance. I can do a good number of tasks with this laptop. It comes with a Core 15 processor and has 128GB SSD. The integrated graphics of this device is also very effective for me. The laptop has an 8GB RAM. On the other side, the majority of the laptops of that age had only 4GB RAM. As a result, this is a very fast laptop I have ever used. But the most important thing to me was the completion of the basic necessary tasks for me. I need to prepare presentations on the laptop and present them before the class. Besides, completing the assignments with the word processor was the other important task I had to do. I enjoyed watching movies on this laptop. I was happy with the 1080p touch display. In fact, it was a new experience to me.
I had to remain very cautious about the use of this machine. The price was comparatively more than my budget and I had to cut many of my costs to afford the laptop. So, it was not possible for me to use the laptop randomly. I only used it when I needed it most. In a day, I used it for three to four hours. And by this time, I completed all of my necessary tasks. I had some other mates and friends in the university. They also had laptops but the way they used was different than me. They took almost no care for their devices and hence the laptops suffered different damages. Besides, some of them kept the machine open for hours. In fact, they did not switch off the laptops even in a week. As a result, they did not get the optimum performance from the laptop. But my experience is the opposite. I am having a better performance even after passing a notable moment with the laptop.
The laptop is important to me for various reasons. First of all, I needed it badly to complete my presentations at the university class. Besides, completing the assignments was the other important reason to have the laptop. This is not the age to submit assignments by hand writing. Often I had to download e-books for my academic studies and communicate with my university professors using e-mail. I was not addicted to social networking and still, I do escape from the time killing activities. But my academic and other needs were essential to me and thus the laptop is important.
Examiner: Thank you. Would it be easy to replace this, I mean your laptop?
Answer: I think I would not like to replace my laptop in the near future as I have purchased it only a few months ago. I will consider replacing it when it gets old and more powerful laptops become available in the market. For the time being, I would stick to this one, I guess. However, it would be quite impossible for me to do without a laptop as it has many practical utilities for me.
Examiner: Which one do you use more frequently – your mobile or your laptop?
Answer: I use my mobile phone more frequently primarily because I can carry it wherever I go. I have a smartphone and it is quite handy for me. However, the laptop is more important in terms of its utilisation for more serious work.
Part 3 – Details Discussion
Examiner: In your country, what kind of possessions do you think give status to people?
Answer: Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘the car’. A great number of people in my country like to have elegant and expensive cars to show their status, and their places in society. Apart from that, a gorgeous house in a posh area, some kind of fame, designer clothes and prestigious jobs are often status symbols for people in Switzerland.
Examiner: Is this a new development?
Answer: I believe it isn’t a new development as status symbols and people’s perceptions about them have remained almost the same for the last few decades in my country. At least this is what I have experienced! People in the past also considered luxury cars, designer clothes, nice houses in posh areas, prestigious jobs and fame as their status symbols as people do these days.
Examiner: What do you think of this way of thinking that ‘I need to have a car or certain clothes to show my status’?
Answer: I think ‘talent’, ‘creativity’ and ‘educational qualification’ should be the symbol of aristocracy and status. However, status is a strange thing as it has to be accepted by others, and it seems like we are more interested in assessing someone’s earthly possessions to be more important than his inner beauty and talent. I am sure someday people would start giving more emphasis to something we become, not something we spend money on to own.
Examiner: And do you think this will change? In the future, will cars and designer clothes be status symbols in the same way?
Answer: I’m sure someday people would start realising that we boast about things we have not achieved, rather have purchased with money that anyone with money can do. They would keep asking why we do not consider someone’s talent, educational qualification, moral values, knowledge and honesty as the most important aspects of gaining status in the society. Only after this radical social change, people would no longer count branded cars and designer clothes to be important for having status in society. Perhaps this day will come in the distant future and we won’t be here to witness it!
Examiner: Why people spend so much money on branded cars and designer clothes? Would you do the same? Why/why not?
Answer: Thank you for this great question. In most of the cases, people seek for luxury cars or want to have designer clothes because they have a huge amount of money they can spend, and they feel a false sense of satisfaction when they spend money on luxury brands. I am not against buying quality products from brands but I am against spending a fortune to own a car or spending thousands of dollars to have a dress.
As a consumer, I like to buy products from brands as they ensure better quality and after-sale service. Electronics and home appliance are some products which I prefer to be branded than non-branded. However, I will never understand how one of my rich friends can spend two thousand dollars on a single bottle of perfume. This is just outrageous in my opinion. I believe that we should be frugal and better at money management as we never know what financial disaster our lavish consumerism habits might bring for us in the future.
Examiner: How do you compare the type of things young generation want to possess differ from that of elderly people? Why is so?
Answer: Well, young people love to have electronic gadgets, designer clothes, computers, cars and many other luxury items they see their friends have. Life is a mystery to them and they want to reveal it randomly by possessing luxury items, which is a wrong approach in my opinion. They also like to take part in risky yet adventurous activities and that’s why they need different gadgets and tools. Finally, they want to have as many things as they can to show their importance to others.
But this scenario with elderly people is often different. They do not want to possess all the silly things that young people possess. Life has a different meaning to them and they are not often up to owning materialistic possessions. They love to spend time with their family and friends and wish for economic freedom for basic and important needs.