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Describe Something That Surprised You: IELTS Cue Card

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Updated on Jun 04, 2024, 05:47

An IELTS Speaking cue card is a prompt used in the Speaking test where you are asked to speak about a specific topic for 1-2 minutes. These cue cards are essential to the test and are designed to assess your ability to speak fluently and coherently in English.
 

The topic we'll explore is “Describe something that surprised you”. Surprises can have a profound impact, leaving lasting impressions and often inspiring us in unexpected ways. 
 

On this page, we'll delve into sample answers for this topic to help you prepare effectively.

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1. Describe Something That Surprised You: How to Answer?

When the cue card section starts, the examiner will hand you a card with a topic and some guiding points. You’ll have one minute to prepare your response and then speak for up to two minutes.

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2. Describe Something That Surprised You: 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.

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3. Describe Something That Surprised You: Follow-Up Questions

In the IELTS Speaking Test, after you finish speaking about your cue card topic, the examiner will ask follow-up questions. This part of the test helps the examiner assess your ability to discuss the topic in more depth, providing detailed answers and expanding on your initial response.

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1.

Describe Something That Surprised You: How to Answer?

When the cue card section starts, the examiner will hand you a card with a topic and some guiding points. You’ll have one minute to prepare your response and then speak for up to two minutes.

 

Cue Card/Topic: Describe Something That Surprised You You should say
  • What was the surprise?
  • When did it happen?
  • How you found about it?
  • How did you feel about it?

 

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The best way to answer a cue card is to break it down into smaller pieces: introduction, describing your experience, key highlights, and conclusion. Here’s how you can approach the topic "Describe Something That Surprised You”:

 

Introduction:

 

  • Briefly introduce the surprising event.
  • Mention why it stands out in your memory.
  • Set the scene to give context to your surprise.

 

Describing Your Experience:

 

  • Explain the situation in detail.
  • Describe your initial thoughts and feelings.
  • Provide any relevant background information.

 

Key Highlights:

 

  • Highlight the most surprising aspects.
  • Discuss any unexpected outcomes.
  • Mention any significant reactions from others involved.

 

Conclusion:

 

  • Summarise how the event affected you.
  • Reflect on what you learned from the surprise.
  • End with a final thought on why this event remains memorable.

 

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

 

Also read: IELTS Speaking Questions with Answers 2024 

 

Pace Up Your IELTS Preparation With Our Expert Masterclass!

2.

Describe Something That Surprised You: 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.

 

Sample Answer 1
Sample Answer 2
Sample Answer 3

Introduction ( Covers: What surprised you?)

 

  • One event that genuinely surprised me was my best friend's surprise birthday party. I never expected such a grand celebration.
  • It stands out in my memory because it was completely unexpected and wonderfully executed.
  • I want to share this experience because it made me feel exceptionally valued and loved by my friends.

 

Describing Your Experience/Opinion/Interest  ( Covers: When did it happen?)

 

  • On the day of my birthday, I thought I was going for a casual dinner with just one friend. Little did I know, something extraordinary was planned.
  • As we arrived at the venue, I was blindfolded, which piqued my curiosity and excitement. When the blindfold was removed, I found myself surrounded by all my close friends and family.
  • I felt a rush of emotions – surprise, joy, and a bit of disbelief. It was hard to believe they had managed to keep it a secret.

 

Key Highlights ( Covers: How you found about it?)

 

  • The venue was beautifully decorated with balloons, banners, and my favourite flowers. It was clear a lot of thought had gone into the preparations.
  • One of the most surprising moments was a video montage of birthday messages from friends who couldn't attend. It was incredibly touching.
  • Another highlight was the cake, which was custom-made to reflect my hobbies and interests. It showed how well my friends knew me and cared about my happiness.

 

Conclusion (Covers: How did you feel about it?)

 

  • This surprise party profoundly impacted me, reinforcing the strong bonds that I share with my friends and family.
  • I learnt that people often appreciate and value you more than you realise, and such surprises can strengthen relationships.
  • This event remains one of my most cherished memories, reminding me of the love and friendship I am fortunate to have.
3.

Describe Something That Surprised You: Follow-Up Questions

In the IELTS Speaking Test, after you finish speaking about your cue card topic, the examiner will ask follow-up questions. This part of the test helps the examiner assess your ability to discuss the topic in more depth, providing detailed answers and expanding on your initial response. 

 

You should expect to answer questions related to your personal experiences, opinions, or general ideas about the topic.


 

Follow-Up Question 1

Question 1. Do you like surprises?

 

Ans 1: Yes, I immensely enjoy surprises. They add excitement to life and make mundane routines more enjoyable. Whether it's a small, unexpected gesture or a major event, surprises have a way of lifting my spirits and creating memorable moments.

 

Ans 2: While I appreciate the sentiment behind surprises, I must admit that I prefer knowing what to expect most of the time. It helps me prepare mentally and emotionally for any situation, but occasional surprises can definitely spice things up.

Follow-Up Question 2

Question 2. What do you think is the most surprising thing about you?

 

Ans 1: Perhaps the most surprising thing about me is my ability to adapt to new environments quickly. I find myself comfortable and capable in diverse settings, which often surprises people who initially perceive me as reserved or introverted.

 

Ans 2: I believe the most surprising thing about me is my passion for extreme sports. Despite my calm demeanour, I thoroughly enjoy adrenaline-fueled activities like skydiving and bungee jumping, which tend to catch others off guard.

Follow-Up Question 3

Question 3. What has been the biggest surprise in your life?

 

Ans 1: The biggest surprise in my life was when I received an unexpected job offer from my dream company. It came at a time when I least expected it and completely changed the course of my career.

 

Ans 2: One of the biggest surprises in my life was discovering a hidden talent for painting during a spontaneous art class. It was a pleasant shock to realise that I possessed artistic skills I never knew existed.

Follow-Up Question 4

Question 4. Do you think surprises are always positive, or can they sometimes have negative consequences?

 

Ans 1: While surprises often bring joy and excitement, they can also be overwhelming or unsettling, depending on the circumstances. For instance, receiving unexpected news, whether good or bad, can evoke a range of emotions and require time to process. Ultimately, it's how we respond to surprises that determines their impact on us.

 

Ans 2: Surprises are not always inherently positive and can sometimes have negative consequences. While pleasant surprises may bring joy and excitement, unexpected challenges or setbacks can lead to stress and discomfort. For instance, a surprise test at school may cause anxiety for unprepared students. However, surprises can also provide valuable learning experiences and opportunities for personal growth, encouraging resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity.

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FAQs

Q. How do I frame my answer in 1 minute?

Ans. To frame your answer in one minute, start by quickly brainstorming key points related to the cue card topic. Organise your thoughts into an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Focus on clear and concise language, and prioritise relevant details that support your main points.

Q. How many hours is the IELTS speaking test?

Ans. The IELTS speaking test typically lasts around 11-14 minutes in total. This includes a brief introduction by the examiner, the cue card task (Part 2), a discussion (Part 3), and a conclusion.

Q. How to find resources for practising cue-card topics?

Ans. You can find resources for practising cue-card topics online through reputable IELTS preparation websites, books, and sample tests. Additionally, consider joining speaking clubs or finding a language exchange partner to practice speaking and discussing various topics.