Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn: IELTS Cue Card

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Updated on Jul 04, 2024, 10:19

An IELTS Speaking cue card is a task designed to assess your ability to speak fluently and coherently on a given topic. In the Speaking test, cue cards prompt you to talk about personal experiences, opinions, or descriptions within a structured timeframe.


Today, we will discuss a topic: "Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn".  You might talk about when you learned it, why it was important to acquire this skill, how you tackled the learning process, and how you felt when you finally mastered it.


On this page, we'll explore different sample answers that illustrate various skills individuals find difficult to learn.

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1. Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn: How to Answer?

The best way to answer a cue card is to break it down into smaller pieces: introduction, describing your experience, key highlights, and conclusion.  To structure your response effectively, you can explore various tips and tricks for the IELTS speaking test.


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2. Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn: Sample Answers

Sample answers are crucial for IELTS preparation, particularly for topics like ‘Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn.’ They provide practical examples of structuring responses within time limits, articulating thoughts clearly, and concluding effectively. 

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3. Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn: Follow-Up Questions

After discussing your favourite book in Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test, you'll enter Part 3, where the examiner will ask you further questions related to the topic. 

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Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn: How to Answer?

When the cue card section starts, the examiner will hand you a card with a topic and some guiding points. This card will contain the topic written on it, along with some prompts to guide your response. You will have 1 minute to prepare your response and then speak for up to two minutes.


Cue Card/Topic: Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn
You should say:
  • When did you learn it?
  • Why did you learn it?
  • How did you learn it?
  • How did you feel when you learned it?



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Here’s how you can approach the topic "Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn”:




  • Introduce the skill you found challenging to learn and its relevance to your personal or professional life.
  • Briefly mention when and why you decided to learn this particular skill.
  • Set the context by explaining how this skill became important for achieving your goals or overcoming a specific challenge.


Describing Your Experience:


  • Explain your initial interest or motivation behind acquiring this skill.
  • Describe the initial difficulties or challenges you faced during the learning process.
  • Share why mastering this skill was essential or beneficial to you personally or academically.


Key Highlights:


  • Detail the specific methods, strategies, or resources you used to learn the skill.
  • Discuss any setbacks or obstacles encountered and how you overcame them.
  • Highlight any significant milestones, breakthroughs, or improvements achieved while learning the skill.




  • Reflect on how mastering this skill has impacted your personal growth or professional development.
  • Summarise the overall learning experience and what you gained from it.
  • End with a brief statement about how this skill continues to benefit you in your current endeavours.


By following this structure, you can ensure your response is clear, organised, and within the two-minute limit.


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Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn: Sample Answers

Now that you know how to answer the topic, we have provided sample answers for your reference. You should also note that you should curate answers to these questions wisely under these 4 categories mentioned above.


Refer to this List of Vocabulary Words to achieve a higher score in the IELTS speaking test.

Sample Answer 1
Sample Answer 2
Sample Answer 3

Introduction ( Covers: When did you learn it?)


  • I had to learn the skill of swimming when I was around ten years old. 
  • It was during summer vacation when my friends and I planned to visit a local swimming pool frequently.


Describing Your Experience/Opinion/Interest  ( Covers: Why did you learn it?)


  • At first, I was scared of water and hesitated to go inside. 
  • However, my friends were already swimming confidently, and I didn't want to be left out. 
  • Moreover, my parents insisted that learning to swim is essential for safety.


Key Highlights ( Covers: How did you learn it?)


  • To overcome my fear, I started with basic lessons at the pool. 
  • The swimming coach was very patient and encouraging. 
  • He taught me techniques like floating and kicking, gradually building up to strokes. 
  • I practised regularly, initially in the shallow end, and then progressed to deeper areas as I gained confidence.


Conclusion (Covers: How did you feel when you learned it?)


  • When I finally managed to swim across the pool without support, I felt incredibly proud of myself. 
  • It was a huge achievement, considering how scared I initially was. 
  • Learning to swim not only boosted my confidence but also made summer vacations much more enjoyable.



Describe A Skill That Was Difficult For You To Learn: Follow-Up Questions

After completing the cue card round in the IELTS Speaking test, you will face a series of follow-up questions. These questions are designed to assess your ability to discuss a topic in more depth and to see how well you can express your opinions and ideas.

Follow-Up Question 1

Question 1. What skills do students need to master?


Answer 1: Students today need a blend of traditional skills like critical thinking and problem-solving alongside modern skills such as digital literacy and adaptability. These skills prepare them for a competitive global environment.



Answer 2: Skills like communication, teamwork, and creativity are crucial. They help students not only excel academically but also succeed in their careers by navigating complex challenges.

Follow-Up Question 2

Question 2:   Is it hard for old people to learn new skills?


Answer 1: Learning new skills can be more challenging for older individuals due to established habits and slower cognitive adaptation. However, with patience and determination, many older people can successfully learn new skills.


Answer 2: While older adults may find it initially challenging, their life experience often brings resilience and a strong work ethic, which can aid in overcoming obstacles to learning new skills.

Follow-Up Question 3

Question 3: Is a good teacher very important for students' learning experience? Why?


Answer 1: Absolutely, a good teacher plays a pivotal role in students' learning journeys. They inspire, clarify doubts, and provide valuable guidance that boosts students' confidence and understanding.


Answer 2: Yes, a good teacher not only imparts knowledge but also motivates students to strive for excellence. Their mentorship creates a positive learning environment where students feel supported and encouraged.

Follow-Up Question 4

Question 4: Is it hard for students to learn new skills?


Answer 1: Learning new skills can be challenging depending on the complexity and the individual's prior experience. However, with consistent practice and effective guidance, students can overcome difficulties and succeed.



Answer 2: Initially, learning new skills may seem daunting, but as students persevere and receive constructive feedback, they gradually build proficiency. It's a rewarding journey that enhances their personal growth.

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Q. Can I exceed the time limit during the speaking test?

Ans. No, you should not exceed the time limit. The examiner will manage the time and may stop you if you go over. Focus on delivering concise and relevant answers within the given time frame to ensure you cover all necessary points effectively.

Q. What is the difference between IELTS speaking parts 2 and 3?

Ans. Part 2 involves a long turn where you speak on a cue card topic for 1-2 minutes. Part 3 is a two-way discussion where the examiner asks follow-up questions related to the Part 2 topic, allowing for more in-depth conversation. Part 3 tests your ability to discuss and elaborate on ideas.

Q. What are the common cue cards in IELTS?

Ans. Common cue cards include topics like describing a memorable journey, a favourite book, a person who influenced you, an important event, or a place you want to visit. These topics cover a range of personal experiences and opinions, helping you to demonstrate your speaking skills comprehensively.