NOTE: The model answers below are a Band 9.0 response, but this is not the only way these questions could have been answered.
“Do you work or are you studying?”
Well, I’m actually a trained physiotherapist, but at the moment, I’m studying. I have taken a few weeks off my normal job to prepare for this IELTS test, but then as soon as I get the result I need I’ll be going back to work.
“Do you enjoy your job?”
Oh yes, very much. I only graduated 2 years ago, but since then I have been working in a hospital in the city. I think it’s a fascinating job – you get to meet so many different people and it’s great to be able to help them with their health. Of course, there are times when it can be very hard work, but it’s so rewarding, and it suits me much better than an office job! I’d like to continue in my current occupation, but I would like to move to the UK to work, mostly because I think there are more opportunities there.
“What do you find difficult about your job?”
Well, of course in my job I find there a lot of people that often need quite a lot of help, but often there isn’t enough funding, so it can be very difficult when we cannot treat people as well as we could have if money was no problem. The of course there are some people who find a lot of the things we are trying to help them with can be very painful, so they can become quite depressed and it can be hard work both for the physiotherapist and the client.
“Let’s move on now to talk about food. What is your favourite kind of food?”
Hmm… Well, I like most things. I really enjoy pizza, but also more traditional foods. In my country we have dish called pierogi, which is kind of a baked dumpling. You can fill it with almost anything, but I really like it when it has mashed potato and beef, as well as some cabbage. It’s delicious! If I’m not really in the mood for cooking though, I eat a lot of fruit. The one thing I’m not very keen on, though, is spinach. I really don’t like the taste!
“Do you cook much yourself?”
No, not really. I’m not a very good cook and I don’t enjoy cooking, so I often have takeaway foods for the convenience. When I go back to visit my family, we often all help in the kitchen which is OK because it’s quite a sociable thing to do, but I wouldn’t really bother for myself. I do cook very simple things for breakfast – just something basic like an omelette or something on toast.
“Do you prefer home cooked meals or eating out?”
That depends on what kind of food. If it’s more traditional, then I would definitely prefer a home cooked meal. My mum makes a lot of excellent dishes, and I really like the roast dinners she makes. However, if it’s something with a more international flavour, like a curry, I would prefer to eat out – home cooked curries never quite taste the same to me!
“Do you prefer to write letters or send emails?”
That depends on whom I am writing to. If it’s to a close friend or family member, I would choose to write a letter. I think it’s much more personal. Having said that, though, I don’t always have the time, and then there’s the added work of getting a stamp and then dropping the letter into a post box, so I often don’t bother and end up sending a quick email instead. If it’s for work or something more formal, I would always send an email because it’s really useful to be able to keep a record of what I have sent.
“How often do you send letters or emails?”
Well, as I mentioned, I don’t often send letters, but I send emails every day, especially when I’m at work. I suppose on a busy day I could send up to 40 emails to different people, and then I also spend some time chatting to friends on the internet as well. I’m not a very quick typist, so it can take some time for me to send a message, but I like that it checks my spelling for me!
“Do you prefer to receive letters or emails?”
Well, if it’s from a friend then I like to receive letters, but I don’t really mind. It’s nice to receive message from people and it doesn’t really matter what form it’s in. To be honest, though, I would prefer to speak to people on the phone – for me, it’s a much better way to communicate because a lot of what people mean comes through in how they say things, and you don’t always get that feeling when you are writing.
|Talk about an achievement you are proud of
You should say:
You should also say why you are proud of this achievement.
I think the achievement that I’m probably the most proud of is actually one that many people have also achieved, but it was reaching the summit of Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan. I think it stands at nearly 4000 metres high, and was one of the most challenging physical activities I have ever done. I was visiting a friend who was working in Japan and he had always wanted to climb the mountain so I thought I would go with him, although at the time I had no idea it would be so hard.
We took a bus about half of the way up, so that’s probably why I thought it would be a lot easier than it was. The bus dropped us off at about 10 p.m., with the plan that we would climb overnight and reach the summit in time for sunrise. For the first few hours, it was quite easy going, but by about 2 a.m., the paths became considerably steeper and it was becoming more difficult to breathe – I think the air was starting to get thin.
By about 4 a.m., we had about 2 hours before sunrise and we still had a long way to go, but each step was getting harder and harder, and that’s when my friend decided he couldn’t go any further so he stopped, but I felt that although it was hard I really wanted to reach the top, so I carried on. With about half an hour to go before sunrise I could see the summit, but each step was a challenge, just to keep going. Near the summit there was a particularly difficult section and I fell. Although I didn’t really hurt myself, it knocked my remaining energy out of me and I thought I wasn’t going to make it in time. However, after a few minutes to get my breath back, I decided that having got so close I would finish it. For the last hundred metres, I was actually crawling on my hands and feet and making such slow progress, but just as the first light of sunrise came I was only about 10 metres from the top.
I was really proud of myself because I’m not really very fit at the best of times, but I really wanted to make the summit. I still have the photograph that I took from the summit, looking down on the clouds as the sun rose.
“What are the advantages and disadvantages of encouraging children to be competitive?”
Well, of course it can be difficult with children because it can be very hard to grow up in a highly competitive environment, but I think the most significant advantage is that it prepares them for the realities of life, and that sometimes you will be successful and other times you may not. It teaches them that it is possible to lose gracefully and demonstrates the importance of trying, but it can also teach them to be good winners. Of course, the disadvantages include the fact that some children may feel like they have failed if they aren’t successful in competition.
“Does material wealth equal success?”
I would say that it is often used as an indicator of success because it is quantifiable – that is, we can compare people and see which person has more money, and therefore conclude that the richer person is the more successful. In reality, of course, success comes from many sources, most of which cannot be counted or compared. Happiness, for example, is a far better marker of true success, but as it cannot be exactly ‘measured’ it is often overlooked. For me, success would mean having good friends, a close family and a job that challenges me and that I enjoy – the size of the house I live in or the amount in my bank account are not as relevant. Having said that, however, I would say that money can mean success in business terms – obviously a company that makes no money and is permanently in debt cannot be said to be successful.
“Do you think that society has become too consumerist?”
Hmmm… well, that’s a very general statement and there are definitely some people that do not fit into this description, but I suppose on the whole that’s probably true. Although many countries now try to recycle a lot of waste, we live in a society where goods or not designed to, or even expected to, last very long. Take the average computer, for example – what is new today we can almost guarantee will be obsolete in less than 5 years. People buy mobile phones that last only a year or so before they are outdated and are rejected in favour of the newer model. Even those purchases that are more common and day-to-day show little regard for their impact on the environment. Even if you buy a single hamburger you have a mountain of packaging, paper, bags and napkins that need to be thrown away.
“How is success measured in your culture?”
That’s a difficult question to answer, but I suppose that in many respects it is measured in financial terms, or at least in terms of you possessions such as your car or house. But amongst friends, success is measured differently. Amongst my friends, for example, we would agree that we are successful because we have achieved most of the goals we set ourselves. A happy marriage, a good job and future prospects – these are the things that are generally considered the mark of success. Our wealth is only related to success in that it allows for more choices in life, such as good holidays, a good education for our children and good health care for all of us.
“What kinds of people do you admire?”
Of course there are public figures that have done a lot for society in general – scientists and researchers for example, or even great educators and thinkers like Einstein. Then there are also the more ‘immediate’ role models to be admired such as parents and friends. For me, however, it is people who refuse to give up regardless of the odds. Perhaps a good example of this would be Mark Inglis, a mountain climber and sportsman. Despite losing both legs below to frostbite when on a climbing expedition, he continued to push himself and achieved some extraordinary feats. He is a champion cyclist and skier, and with the help of two prosthetic has continued his climbing career. IN 2006, he actually reached the top of Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. He achieved all these amazing feats and has also toured around different countries inspiring people with disabilities to have high expectations, not to give in. For me, this is the kind of person I can strongly admire.