Part 1 – Introduction & Interview
[In this part of the test, the examiner asks the candidates about him/her home, work and studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. What is your full name?
A. Good morning Sir/Madam. My full name is “Dung Hoa”.
Q. How may I address you?
A. Well, you may call me simply “Hoa” if it’s okay with you. It is my surname and my family and friends also call me ‘Hoa’.
Q. Where do you live?
A. I live in “Phan Thiet”, which is the capital of “Binh Thuan” province in south-eastern Vietnam.
Q. How long have you been living there?
A. I have been living in “Phan Thiet” since my birth. I am now 24 and I have been living there as long as I can remember.
Q. What are some good things about your hometown?
A. “Phan Thiet”- one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam, is a great place to live in. This picturesque town attracts many international tourists each year, and beautiful beaches of the area are breathtakingly beautiful and so refreshing. Traditionally, fishing and manufacturing of fish sauce have been the main source of Phan Thiet’s economy and we have plenty of fresh fish. We live close to nature and citizens in this town are amicable and generous.
Let’s move on to talk about “weather“:
Q. What is the climate like in your country?
A. Vietnam has a rather mixed climate system, to say the least, with the tropical climate in the north and subtropical in the centre and south. It is influenced by the monsoons with temperatures varying from anywhere between 5 degree Celsius to 35 degree Celsius, depending on the locations and times of the year.
Q. Does the weather affect people’s lives in your country?
A. Yes, the weather does affect people’s lives in my country since, as many people say, Vietnam has a rather extreme weather condition which can be lukewarm to extremely warm and from moderately cold to icy cold without any warning. Heat rash or minor skin problem is a regular phenomenon during the summertime while we expect to get flu and colds as soon as the temperature drops below 27 degree Celsius. Moreover, many people in my country are farmers who plan their crop cultivation and harvest based on the weather condition of the season and not to mention people’s daily life that can be affected by sudden rain.
Q. What’s your favourite kind of weather?
A. My favourite kind of weather should offer “moderate” temperature which is neither too cold nor too hot. I also prefer a rather dry weather condition with no or very little moisture in the air, as well as a bright and sunny sky over my head.
Q. Is there any type of weather you don’t really like?
A. Yes, there is indeed a type of weather which I don’t really like which is “extremely hot” weather. I don’t like “extreme cold” weather either, but if given a choice, I would rather deal with “extreme cold” but not “extreme hot”. I don’t like wet weather condition at all either.
Part 2 – Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card
Describe a recent happy event you have had.
You should say:
- what the event was
- what you did
- why you enjoyed it
and explain how it was a happy event for 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.]
I have been accepted at the ‘University of Economics and Business’ as a business major student last January, and that’s the most recent happy event of my life. In fact, being granted for admission to this university is tough as so many students compete for a limited number of seats each year. As one of the best universities in the whole country, it offers excellent education and study environment and my family expected me to study there. I am happy that I could fulfil their dream, and my hard work for the admission test was finally paid off!
I relished the event because I had been able to fulfil my parents’ dream. They always wanted me to get admitted to one of the best public universities in my country and when I did it, I was delighted. Though my previous academic results were not outstanding, I did quite good in the written test and also crossed the oral tests. Some of my college friends also applied for that university but only two of us were finally selected.
It was exciting because I was not expecting to be accepted at this university. It was all of a sudden when I got a response from the university that I have been selected for the viva and there are chances to get admission in my desired course. My parents and relatives were happier than me. And I was relieved because education in a private university is quite expensive in our country, especially for a middle-class family like ours. So, the event turned happiest for me as I was able to make my parents happy and proud.
Q. What moments do you believe make people happy?
Answer: Happiness is a state of mind and the reasons for being happy vary from person to person. In general, when we get or achieve something we want or wish for, we become happy. Most of the time, good news, pleasant weather, any kind of achievement by us or by the person we care for, merry festivals and things that we love to see cheer up us and make us happy.
Alternative Answer: It all depends on which culture, tradition or geographical location one belongs to, but, universally speaking, moments such as getting a good job, meeting families and dear ones, wedding hours, winning a competition, winning a lottery, receiving a perfect gift and the birth of a new child make people happy. Sometimes, moments like getting a promotion at jobs, getting unexpected raises and bonuses at jobs, enjoying great meals with friends and families, and academic success of our children and loved ones also make us happy.
Q. What moments are happy for elderly people in general?
Answer: It appears that when elderly people come in touch with their young generation or come to know about their success, they become happy. From my personal experience, I can say that a small gift can also make them happy. In old age, people become more like a child and small things we do for them also excite them.
Alternative Answer: Depending on how one chooses to define “elderly” people, I would dare to suggest that there is virtually no or very little difference between what makes “elderly” people and “young” people happy. Having said that, however, moments like, getting time to spend with grandkids and getting “recognition” for their past efforts and achievements make elderly people happy. Also, moments like visiting “old” friends from old days and getting opportunities to live and hang out with own children and other family members, and when spending an idle time, may make elderly people happy in general.
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion
Q. Are rich people happy? Why?/Why not?
Answer: As I have already said, happiness is a state of mind. Though we can buy things we like with the money we have, money can’t buy happiness and peace for us. Therefore, rich people are not happy just because they have money. To be happy we need a caring family, trustworthy friends, good health, satisfaction, and a positive mindset. I believe that someone can be happy with or without a lot of money if this person is satisfied with whatever he or she has and looks at the world with a positive sense.
Alternative Answer: Yes, with a certain reservation, it can be said that rich people are happy in general even though there aren’t any clear-cut relationship between “being rich” and “being happy” or scientific evidence to suggest so. Besides, suggesting that “rich people are happy” doesn’t also necessarily mean that all rich people are happy because that’s just not always true by any stretch of the imagination. So, anyway, why are rich people happy? Well, they are happy because they usually have enough means and power to get the things, which give them enough confidence and positive outlook in their lives, which then, in turn, make them felicitous.
Q. Describe some events that are widely celebrated in your country?
Answer: Vietnam has several popular events, but “Tet” (the Vietnamese New Year) undoubtedly is the most popular and important event that is celebrated all over the country with great enthusiasm and joy. Officially, this “national event” lasts for three days when “New Year” and “Christmas” celebrations are rolled into “one”. The second most celebrated Vietnamese event is called “Mid-Autumn” festival when the people in Vietnam honour the “harvest” and “families” in a very graceful manner. Then, of course, there are some others events such as “Hue Arts festival” (to showcase the arts and culture of Vietnam in general), “Hoi An Lantern Festival” (when twinkly lanterns are sent down the river) and “Dalat Flower Festival” among some other widely celebrated events.
Q. It is said that happiness can not be bought with money. Do you agree? Why/ Why not?
Answer: Well, I disagree with the phrase which says that “happiness can not be bought with money” to a certain extent for several reasons, depending on, of course, what one exactly wants to buy, and how one chooses to define “happiness”. Anyway, first, money helps us to buy many of those things that make us content as well helps us keep “going” with our lives in general. Secondly, earning money and having it with us offers us a certain level of mental satisfaction by making us “feel” worthy of something. Finally, money makes us feel happy by solving many of the problems that we face on a daily basis.
Q. Do you think there’s any relationship between a person’s age and their level of happiness?
Answer: Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. But I personally believe that children have so little to worry about their life that they can be happier than adults. Since children feel contentment with their ordinary toys, have many friends, do not have many responsibilities and they are not often touched by the harsh reality and negative side of the world, they are generally filled with innocence and happiness. When we grow up, our responsibilities and negative thoughts grasp us to make us less happy.
Having said that, happiness often comes with maturity for many people as they understand that life is short and there is absolutely no reason to fill it with sadness and negative thoughts. Thus, I would like to conclude that there is no direct correlation with our age with the level of our happiness but we are generally happier in our childhood.
Q. Are the things that make people happy today the same as two decades ago?
Answer: I think the feelings of happiness and basic human traits are the same as they were in the past. So we feel happiness and sadness the same way our ancestors felt them. It is somewhat true that we have become more materialistic and less inclined to our relationship in this modern era, but that does not define us how we really feel as a human race. Rather our collective emotions and feelings as humans remained the same as they were in the past.
Q. To be happy, we have to be satisfied with whatever we have? How far is this true?
Answer: In my humble opinion, it is true to a great extent that we have to be satisfied with whatever we have in order to be happy in our life primarily because we, humans, are rather limited in our capacity by nature, and we just can’t have it all always according to our demand and expectation. So, it is better to be satisfied with whatever we have if we really want to become happy. Besides, happiness is just a “state” of mind, and so, it would be rather easy to be content with whatever we have instead of wasting our time over what we possibly could or couldn’t have in our lives.