NOTE: The model answers below are a Band 9.0 response, but this is not the only way these questions could have been answered.
“Let’s talk about healthy eating. What kinds of food do you think are healthy? “
Well I think it’s quite important to eat a lot of fresh food. I don’t really like tinned or packet food, and I think fast food is something you should only eat occasionally. Of course it’s important to get a lot of fruit and vegetables in your diet, but so long as it’s in moderation, I think most foods are OK. The problem is when people don’t have a variety and focus mainly on processed items.
“Why do you choose certain types of food?”
Some people are just interested in keeping good health, but there are also people who avoid certain foods for moral or religious reasons. Vegans, for example, have a more limited diet as they avoid eating meats and other foods that they feel should not be eaten, so they are naturally more interested in fruits, vegetables and grains. One the other hand, some people are naturally drawn to less healthy food for various reasons – some people have a craving for certain fatty foods, or foods that have a lot of sugar or salt. This is especially true for younger people, I think.
“Do you think people eat more healthily now than in the past?”
I think that depends on the situation. Most people now have a much better understanding of what should be included in a good diet, but the pace of life is often too busy to allow time to prepare the healthy meals, so fast food or pre packed meals are common, and that is of course affecting people in many ways. Obesity is the most common example, but there are also problems from eating too much salt which is leading to heart related problems in later life, as well as many children having too much sugar and this is affecting their ability to focus in school or in some extreme cases, behave well in public.
“Let’s move on to talk about friends. Do you have a lot of friends?”
Well, I don’t know if it really qualifies as a lot, but there are a group of about 10 or 12 people that I see quite often, go out with and so on. I think it’s more important to have a smaller selection of closer friends rather than a much wider number of people who are more acquaintances than friends. A lot of people of social networking sites like Facebook have hundred of what they call friends, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.
“How much time do you spend with friends?”
That varies depending on what’s happening, I suppose. If there is something going on in town where I live, I’ll see them, but there can easily be a week or more when we don’t meet up. During the longer holidays, we all have our family to see, but we do try and make an effort at least once a month to go out to dinner or maybe go and listen to some live music. Only a few weeks ago, we all went down to the city to see a band that was playing, and although it can be quite expensive to have a night like that, it was well worth it!. Actually, one of my friends plays in a band, so we see him quite often as well, but of course that’s a lot cheaper – we don’t have to buy tickets!
“What qualities do you think are important in good friends?”
Well, I think to describe someone as a good friend, they need to be supportive when you are not having a great day, but will also want to have fun with you. I think it’s very important that there are some shared interests, but a good friend will always encourage you to achieve your goals. I think a good friend also needs to be patient at times – most people have small disagreements now and again, but with people who are patient and kind, it’s a lot easier to move past any arguments quickly.
“Let’s talk about computers. How often do you use a computer? “
I’m not very technically minded, so I only use one for the basics like checking email and using social networking sites. I probably spend about an hour a day using a computer, and that’s enough for me. I know that some people can use a computer all day, and feel that they are missing out if they don’t have access to the internet, but that’s never really bothered me – I’m happy just reading a book or watching the television, and I generally call friends rather than send them messages online.
“How did you learn to use a computer? “
To the limited level that I can use a computer, I just learned that from trial and error, I suppose. They didn’t have computer classes at my school, but I was sent on a computer course for my job about 5 years ago. That didn’t really help my general computer skills though – it was focused specifically on a task I needed to do for the company I was working for at the time.
“Are there things you don’t like about using a computer?”
There are times when people spend too much time online, and if you don’t have some kind of online account you miss a lot these days – invitations to parties, buying tickets for events, all that sort of thing. The main thing I don’t like, though, is that I don’t really know very much about them, so I have to rely on other people helping me when I get into problems with viruses or upgrades or anything like that.
|Describe something you bought which you were not satisfied with
You should say:
You should also explain why you were not happy with it
I don’t really enjoy shopping in the first place, so it’s even more annoying when you do aim to get a specific item and it ends up being something that just isn’t what you had hoped for. In this case, I’m going to talk about a mobile phone I purchased a few years ago. It was quite an expensive model, and I called in to the shop to talk to the sales people there quite a few times before deciding that by their description, it was going to fulfill my needs.
I had to travel into the city to get the model I wanted, and that’s over an hour away from where I live, so it was quite a trip to keep going back and forth researching the phone and then to eventually buy it. It was from one of the import shops that have goods at a cheaper price than the normal retail store. I guess I should have known better, but I bought it there because it was over $100 cheaper than I could get it anywhere else. I suppose it may have been cheaper online, but as I said earlier, I’m not very keen on using a computer and haven’t really got into the habit of using my credit card on a website.
What I really needed when I was looking into getting a new mobile was something that would allow me to check email messages from three different email accounts, and that was much more of a priority than anything else. I really don’t care about ringtones or whether it looks good, so long as it functioned the way I wanted. I was assured by the sales staff that the model I was looking at would be more than capable of achieving what I wanted, but I was very disappointed when I finally bought it to find that it could only be setup with one email address to check, and I had to manually change all of the settings every time I wanted to access another email account. To make matters worse, the phone was not available in my native language, and the English language function was also not available, so I had to work everything out in French, which is not a language I know anything much about!
After persevering with the phone for about a week, I finally decided to take it back and get a refund, or at least exchange it, but was told that as it had been used, they couldn’t take it back!
In the end, I kept it for a few months then gave it to my nephew. I haven’t been back to that shop again, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend them.
“What kind of products are young people most interested in buying?”
Well, I think in some ways it’s the same as it has been for a long time – music and clothes, for example. Of course, younger people also spend a considerable amount of their money on going out with friends. However, there has been a change recently in that younger people are much more aware of technology and are spending a lot in acquiring the latest mobile phones, laptops or tablets, iPods and similar gadgets. This kind of purchase, combined with the modern trend in upgrading items purely for fashion reasons, not for any functional purpose, seems to be resulting in younger people spending a considerably higher amounts of money than five or ten years ago.
“Do you think that consumers are more interested in cost rather than quality when shopping?”
Well, there are certainly situations where price is the most motivating factor for most any shopper, but there are equally cases where people are willing to pay more for a better quality product. Cars are often a good example of this – most people looking to buy a car would not simply purchase the cheapest vehicle they could find, but would instead look at its general condition, thus giving more emphasis to the quality than the price. The same is true of higher end luxury items, I believe. Furniture, for example, when it is bought as a luxury item, is often rated by its quality irrespective of the price – to a degree of course. Having said that, there is a rise in the sale of cheaper pre-packed furniture when it’s needed for functional uses, such as a wardrobe or desk.
“Why are goods from other countries sometimes more popular than locally made goods? “
I think these days the market for most goods is global, and this is because certain countries have the resources to invest in research and development for products, while there are other countries that can provide labour to produce the items. Local goods, often do not benefit from the scale that a global company has, so the demand for goods made nearby has fallen. There is also a belief that countries made in another country are often better, even though this opinion may not have any factual support. For example, there is in many countries a fascination for items for goods from Japan and the USA, so I think that this is another of the reasons why people are not choosing local goods. However, it really depends on what kind of purchase is being made. Foodstuffs, for example, are often much better and are sought after as they are fresher, and haven’t been subject to long distance travel or artificial preserving processes.
“Why do you think online shopping is becoming more common?”
That’s a good question, but it’s not something I know a lot about. One thing I have noticed is that many larger shops and department stores have a website where people can purchase items online, and even have the goods delivered straight to their door. Of course this is saving a considerable amount of time for many busy people – they can know have their weekly food shopping brought to them with only a few clicks of the mouse. Also, there is a much wider understanding and acceptance of online payments these days, where you can pay anything from the power bill through to parking fines all through the computer. However, there are still many people who like to physically go to a shop to purchase items, especially when clothes shopping, as this allows the consumer to see and touch the item beforehand.
“Do you think that buying items that you don’t need is having a negative effect on the environment?”
Oh yes, definitely. We have become a society of people who have no interest in taking good care of items, or upgrading them, when we can simply buy a new one. Of course, the rate that technology is developing does in many ways mean that a new purchase is required in order to remain up-to-date. For example, the use of cameras in phones has improved dramatically over the last 5 years, with many people no longer buying a separate camera at all and achieving the same quality of photograph with a relatively average camera. This means that there are landfills around the world that are filled with old televisions, computers, mobile phones and other old parts. However, there are also places where these items can get recycled, at least partially limiting the damage to the environment.
“How can manufacturers reduce the impact their products have on the environment?”
I think the ability to upgrade an item would be far better than having to simply discard it and buy a newer version. I know this is possible to a degree with computers and laptops, but with many other electrical items, they are not designed in a way that means their component parts can be exchanged. This is even true of cars these days – engines are largely controlled by computer parts which cannot be easily repaired, but instead need to be replaced. Of course this is financially good for the company, who is then able to sell more units, but has an impact on the planet. I think the company that creates these items should be responsible for their disposal, which would perhaps make companies more interested in making longer lasting, more repairable items.