Part 1 – Introduction & Interview
[The examiner asks the candidates about him/her home, work and studies and other familiar topics in this part of the test.]
Q. Where do you live now?
A. Well, I live in “Manaus”, which is a city in the North Region of Brazil. Manaus is located in the centre of the world’s largest rainforest, and home to the National Institute of Amazonian Research. This city is around 4,400 square miles and has a population of over 2 million.
Q. Who do you live with?
A. I live with my family including my parents and siblings. I have two sisters and a younger brother who is three years junior to me. Besides, our grandmother also lives with us.
Q. What kind of place do you live in – a house or an apartment?
A. We live in a house which is owned by my dad. Before us, my grandfather, great grandfather and their family used to live there. My father inherited this house from my grandfather who died a couple of years ago. Our house is moderately large and has many rooms, a lawn, a playground and a large cottage.
Q. Do you think it’s better to live in a house or an apartment? Why?
A. I think living in a house is far better and more convenient than living in an apartment. Usually, a house comprises open space, a lawn, many rooms and a garden while an apartment has only a few rooms and no open space at all. Besides, houses give certain freedom of decorating it the way the owner wants but an owner of an apartment often does not have such freedom and choice. I personally prefer living in a house because it offers plenty of fresh air and sunlight while many apartment dwellers do not have this amenity.
Q. Can you briefly describe your neighbourhood for me?
A. Our house is located near ‘Mindu Park’ and thus the entire area is greener than the other parts of the city. Moreover, most of the houses in our neighbourhood are spacious and have a garden in front of them. We have a community centre, a library and a large school in our neighbourhood. Most importantly, people are cordial and friendly and they have a great social relationship. I love my neighbourhood and this is one of the best places to live in, in my opinion.
Q. Do you like it? Why or why not?
A. Of course, I love it. This is a nice and peaceful place to live in. The neighbours are peace-loving and we all have a great community here. I have always lived in this place and this is the area where I want to live in for the rest of my life.
Q. How do people choose their place to live?
A. Ummm…. Actually, it depends on their personal preference, needs and economic condition. Sometimes they just live in the house they inherit and sometimes they relocate. In most of the cases, if people have enough money, they buy or rent a spacious house in a beautiful place. Then relatively low-income group does not have many choices and they just need a space to live in. Wealthy people usually choose posh areas of the city while middle-class and poor people live in areas where rent and prices are cheaper. Finally, some people live in the house they inherit and do not have a choice to move to a different location while others move nearby their workplace or children’s school.
Part 2 – Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card
Describe a gift you have received that was important to you.
You should say:
- who gave it to you and on what occasion
- what it looked like
- how you used it
and explain why it was 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.]
Model Answer 1:
On my 24th birthday, my uncle gave me a laptop as a birthday gift and this was one of the best gifts I have ever received. My uncle, Mr Roger, was a prominent businessman and had a partnership business with my father. I was very fond of him and he usually gives me utilitarian and expensive gifts. On my 24th birthday, he gave me a Dell laptop and indeed it was an important and inspiring gift for me. It was about a year ago and the laptop is still in good shape. I had very basic knowledge in computers and after I got this laptop from my uncle, I learned many things and I am still learning and that is very important for my higher studies as well as my career I presume.
This laptop was a black colour thin laptop with 16-inch display. It was less than a Kilo and I carry it in my bag and often use it in my bed as well as on my study table. I usually spend 2-3 hours daily on my laptop and that is very helpful for me to learn the graphics designing and Auto CAD software I am currently working on. I connect to the internet using this laptop and I can communicate with my friends and relatives easily.
This gift is very important for me. It was a present from a person whom I like very much as well as it gives me the opportunity to communicate and learn new things. In today’s world, the knowledge of computing is really vital and that’s why it is an important gift for me. Moreover, the laptop was quite handy for me. I could search the internet, get help for my studies and learn many new things from my laptop. From the utilitarian point of view, this was a very useful device for many years to me.
Sample Answer 2:
I love reading books. This is really a good habit and I am proud to have it. In fact, it was my grandpa who helped me developing the habit at an early age. With his wonderful gift on my birthday, I was inspired to reading many more books.
My grandpa died a couple of years ago. But he ignited the love for books on me. He presented me with the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes on my 12th birthday. In fact, it was the greatest gift ever I had in my life and it changed my life completely. Before having the present, I was like the other boys of my age, played with my local friends and passed my days with enjoyment. But once I got the Sherlock Holmes collection, my entire world changed. The books attracted me most than any other things.
There are six books of Sherlock Holmes in the collection. I loved the printing and illustrations of the books. There were 60 stories altogether in the books including the short stories as well. The hard-covered books won my heart for some reasons. First of all, I was not familiar with such books. In fact, I had never seen such books in my life before. The books looked fantastic and I fell in love with them at the first sight. I was amazed particularly for the book binding. They were very special and the leather cover made them look appealing. Even the books are still the same in shape and the leather remains spotless. I like the stamped front cover image where Sherlock Holmes is smoking a pipe with his usual hat.
I read the books for many times since I received them. But I was careful about the preservation of the books and for my cautious care, the books still look new. While reading the books, I developed a group of book readers. Often, many of them asked me to lend the Sherlock Holmes collection and I had lent them under certain conditions. I told them to be careful about the books while reading. I also told them to take the sole responsibilities if there are any damages found with the books during their reading. They agreed and carefully read the books. I also have read them for many times. Each of the times, every story appeared in a different dimension to me. I think it happened for my growing up with the age. There is no doubt that with the advancement of age, people become matured, it was similar for me. So, the stories were dissimilar to me in different times.
The books are important to me for many reasons. They are extremely entertaining. I become amazed at the observation power of Sherlock Holmes in each of the stories. His skills to solve mysterious cases entertains me greatly. Further, I also get ideas about many unknown factors from the books. Often I try to follow the observation method of Sherlock Holmes in my real-life situations. But the most important thing about the books is that they have taught me to be a book lover. With Sherlock Holmes, I grew up and learnt to love books. As a result, now I have a huge library in my 20s. The library is enriched with a good number of books from local and international writers. In fact, the books are important to me as they have mentored me to read books of varied interests.
Sample Answer 3:
My boyfriend, Bruno, recently has gifted me with a leather handbag and a box of chocolate marking the anniversary of our relationship. Those were really important gifts for me and I was amazed at the gift selection. In fact, he had never been so picky as he was this time. After receiving the gift, I was overwhelmed with joy that how much he cared for me. So, I thanked him a lot for the gifts. This is a nice cue card to answer. And it reminds me of the precious gift indeed.
It was a leather handbag and a moderate box filled with my favourite chocolates. The handbag was bought from a reputed handbag seller shop and was made with the finest leathers. It came with a nice belt to carry on the shoulder and several pockets too. So, I use the bag when I am attending any occasions. And I took the chocolates to my home and shared them with my siblings. They were happy too after having the chocolates. Every person of my family is aware of my relationship with Bruno, and they have accepted the matter positively. But if it was in some other families, I think the issue would not have been so easy to handle.
The gifts were important to me for many reasons. First of all, it was the representation of caring for me from Bruno. I needed a handbag for myself and was planning to get that. Moreover, I love chocolates very much. Bruno got the things that I needed most. But I did not have a single word with him about the necessities. In fact, this is the way of expression of love to the dear ones. I am thankful to Bruno for the gifts and thus the gifts were important to me.
Rounding off questions:
Q. Why do we like receiving gifts?
Answer: Well, receiving gifts help to uplift our mood. It also makes us feel special in most of the cases. Besides, receiving gifts also show how we are cared by the others. Overall, this is a joyous event for us. For all the reasons, we like to get presents.
Q. Can we sometimes hate a gift?
Answer: Uhhh… This is a critical question to answer. In most of the cases, people do not mind receiving gifts unless they are given by someone they really abhor or if the gift is intended for personal benefits. But there might be some occasions or particular types of gifts which may make the receiver feel sorry or may swell up a sense of discomfort or if they remind any unpleasant event, people may not prefer to have a gift.
Part 3 – Two-way discussion:
Let’s consider first of all how people’s values have changed.
Q. Do you enjoy giving and receiving gifts? Why or why not?
Answer: Yes, I do enjoy both receiving and giving gifts. When I receive gifts, I feel happy. It points that the people who send gifts to me are those who actually care for me. And they also provide me with the best things that I can use in my everyday life. So, I am happy with the gifts. And when I send gifts, I try to consider some of the specific issues and try to get the presents which would be preferable to the receivers. Being able to give something offers us a kind of pleasure that is incomparable.
Q. Who usually gives you gifts?
Answer: Usually, I receive gifts from my parents, siblings and obviously from my friends. Besides, when there are any social occasions and I invite my relatives, they also bring some sort of gifts for me. And I love those. I probably have got the highest number of gifts from my father.
Q. Who do you give gifts to?
Answer: Well, I usually give gifts to my parents, teachers, relatives, my friends, and my college mates. When I am invited to any event, I give gifts to the host. I have given the highest number of gifts to my parents and most of them were handmade items.
Q. In your country when do people usually give gifts?
Answer: People usually give gifts marking occasions like birthday, anniversary, graduation day and obviously they exchange gifts on the Christmas day. Apart from that, when someone invites others to visit his house, people usually buy some presents for the host and their children.
Q. What kinds of gifts do they give?
Answer: They exchange gifts which could be used in the daily life. Sometimes, they give gifts which look nice on the showcases. Toys, dresses, perfumes, chocolates, electronic devices, flowers, books and household appliances are the most common gift items in our country.
Q. Do you think gift-giving customs are different now than they were in the past? How?
Answer: Yes, the gift-giving customs have changed. Earlier, people used to visit shops to get the right type of gifts for their receivers. But now they rely on the e-commerce websites to get their gifts. Besides, in the past, people used to give some physical gifts and now they are moving for e-gifts like sending an e-card for someone’s birthday instead of sending some chocolates. Moreover, book as a gift item has lost its appeal and electronic gadgets have emerged as most common gift items these days.
Q. Do you think they will change in the future? How?
Answer: Uhhh… well, the things will change in future too. The emergence of the e-shops has made it easier for people to get or send the gifts on their doorsteps. People will start relying more and more on technology to send gifts on different occasions. Hence, the appeal of receiving or exchanging gifts might have a great fall.
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion:
Q. Why do people give gifts to others in our society?
A. People tend to give gifts to others in our society for several reasons. The first reason is that they want to show to their loved ones that there is someone who really loves them and cares for them. Secondly, gift-giving is the best way to renew or build a stronger relationship among families and friends, especially, when people are not able to meet their loved ones or talk to them on a regular basis. Finally, people tend to give gifts to others because they want to make a certain occasion, such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries, very special for them.
Q. Why do some people like to give hand-made gifts instead of purchasing them from a gift shop?
A. There can be various reasons for which some people like to give hand-made gifts instead of purchasing them from a store. The first reason, of course, is, they are usually more “personalized” with the colours, fragrance or flavours, which people know that their loved ones would appreciate and enjoy. The second reason is that hand-made gifts are usually “one of a kind” with no similarity with other gifts as well as crafted with “special meaning and love”. Finally, hand-made gifts are preferred over purchasing them from a store because some people have great fun and unadulterated pleasure in making those “hand-made” gifts.
Q. How important is gift-giving in a relationship?
A. Gifts have always played an important part in developing a healthy and loving relationship primarily because it is not only a simple gesture of appreciation towards our loved ones and partners, but also giving the right gifts can show just how much we care for, and understand them. Needless to say, all relationships are unique, but no one can deny the fact that the time and efforts, one takes to get to know his/her partner’s preferences and personalities in choosing a special and perfect gift, can have a tremendous impact on creating a stronger bond and deeper connection with each other.
Q. What is more important when it comes to giving a gift, cost or effort?
A. In my humble opinion, when it comes to giving a gift, “effort” is more important than “cost”, primarily because the appeal of one particular “object” or gift, be it costly or inexpensive, doesn’t remain the same to a particular person. But, on the other hand, when we know that there are some sincere efforts or sacrifices, monetary or otherwise, are made in choosing a perfect gift, we naturally become a bit more “emotionally attached” to that particular gift more often than not.
Q. Do people today still give the same kinds of gifts that people used to give many years ago? Why?/Why not?
A. No, I don’t really think that people today still give the same kinds of gifts that people used to give many years ago mainly because people today have more options and ideas in choosing different kinds of gift items than in the past. In fact, gift-giving today has become an industry itself from where people can easily choose their perfect gifts for all kinds of occasions, age categories and traditions. Besides, the time has changed, and so has the “technology” and people’s expectations. So, what people might have preferred in the past, doesn’t necessarily mean that they would prefer the same things today.
Q. What kind of educational gifts, in your opinion, can be given to children?
A. Children love educational gifts which are fun and interactive and which “turn” them “on” to learning. Such educational gifts may include “ABC toys” in order to teach them alphabets. These gifts may also include “picture books” and “nonfiction books”. Then there is also the “block building set for kids” which allows the children to create an infinite number of shapes, patterns, and structures, ensuring hours of pure fun and entertainment. Finally, we can give them “reading board games” which are a fantastic way of integrating reading and spelling skills.