NOTE: The model answers below are a Band 9.0 response, but this is not the only way these questions could have been answered.
“What do you do at weekends?”
“Well, with my job I actually work every second weekend, but when I’m not at work I like to relax with friends, maybe go out to dinner or just sit at home and relax with a good book. If the weather is nice I might do a little gardening – I only have a small garden but I don’t really like the work involved, but it is nice to have it looking neat and tidy.”
“Do you have enough time off?”
Well, I guess like most people, I would always like some more days off work, but actually, I think a couple of days is enough to get your energy back to start work again. My working hours change each week, so I don’t really have a fixed pattern, but overall I’m quite happy with the time I have off. Actually, if I had more time off I would be spending less time earning money and more time spending it, so that would probably lead to financial problems!
“What do you do in the evenings?”
Well, most evenings I get home, cook a light meal and eat in front to the television. If there is nothing much on, I might read a book for a few hours, or phone a friend, but most of the time I go to bed quite early anyway. I start work quite early most days, so I’m often in bed by 9 o’clock and asleep not long after that.
“Do you often go to the cinema?”
Well, I used to go quite a lot, but I haven’t been for a long time. I think the last time would have been over a year ago, and I can’t remember what it was that I saw. I think it’s quite expensive these days, especially after you have paid for transport to get there and back, a drink and maybe something to eat. I would prefer to stay at home and watch a DVD with friends. It’s much cheaper and far more comfortable, and you don’t have to worry about people getting in the way or making a noise.
“What kind of films do you enjoy?”
I think I have quite a wide taste in films – I like science fiction, action, thriller, comedy…the only type of film I’m not that interested in is romantic movies. To me, they don’t seem to have enough of a story to keep you interested, and sometimes the actors and actresses can actually be quite annoying to watch. For example, movies with Jennifer Aniston can be quite bad, I think.
“Do you watch a lot of television?”
No, not really. As I mentioned before, I might put the television on when I get home in the evening, but I might also just read a book. There are some good comedies, but there is also a lot on the television that really isn’t worth watching, especially all the reality television shows that are on at the moment. Oh, and I try to watch the news whenever I can, but I’m often back home to late to watch the early news and asleep before the last news, so I might miss it. If I do, then I try to have a quick look on the internet in the morning, just so I know what’s happening in the world.
“What do people do on your country for birthdays?”
Hmm… well, it can differ a little between families, but for us growing up there would always be some presents and a cake, and then in the afternoon, the person whose birthday it was could chose what the family did that afternoon. I remember that I would often choose to go ice skating in the rink in the city. I really enjoyed ice skating then, although it’s been quite a few years since I last went. When we were quite young there would also be a party, with balloons and decorations, and we would invite over friends from school or the local area. As we go older, into our teenage years, our parents used to just give us money and we would go out ourselves for the day.
“What ages are significant in your culture?”
Well, 18 is probably the most important. That was the time when you officially became an adult. For most people, that was also the first time that you had a car of your own and had much more freedom to come and go without being back home at certain times. I suppose the other age that used to be important was 21, but it’s not so important now. I think people used to celebrate that because it was the year that you were given a key to the house so you could be home alone, but that’s all changed now. I had a front door key when I was 15!
“What kind of presents do you give to friends?”
Well, of course that very much depends what they are interested in, but I often buy friends things like a book, a DVD or CD – the kind of thing that I would like to receive myself, I suppose! Some people also put the receipt in with the gift so the person can return it if they don’t like it. Most people don’t spend too much though – after all, it’s supposed to be the thought that counts. As well as the gist, we would normally always give a birthday card as well. Sometimes the card can be almost as expensive as the present!
|Describe a frightening experience you have had.
You should say:
You should also say why you found it frightening.
I think the most frightening experience I have ever had was when I was on holiday in Australia. I was swimming in the sea. It wasn’t very deep, only up to about my waist, but as I saw swimming something touched my foot and when I looked it was bleeding very heavily. I tried to get out of the water as soon as I could, but it took some time because I couldn’t put any pressure on my foot without it bleeding a lot more. At the time I wasn’t really worried about sharks, because I have heard that they can detect the presence of the smallest amount of blood from a long way off.
When I finally got out of the water to have a look, I could see that the sole of my foot had a sharp cut running through it. I managed to get to the medical centre in the small town I was in, but all the way from the beach to the centre my foot was bleeding more and more. When I finally got there, a doctor took a look at the cut and told me that it was probably a stingray, and that I must have kicked it while I was swimming.
Anyway, they cleaned the wound because by then I had a lot of sand in there, and then they put some stitches in to help it heal. I had to use a walking stick for a few days afterwards to make sure the pressure stayed off the stitches, but I still remember the feeling of panic when I was trying to get out of the water. It didn’t take that long to heal, but since then I haven’t been in the sea in Australia! I still keep the walking stick as a reminder of the event though.
“Do you think that people can learn positive lessons from negative experiences?”
Definitely. I think most people have learned something valuable in this way. A child that touches a hot fire, for example, will learn very quickly to take more care around such things. The same lessons can be learned and applied to lots of situations. Richard Branson, for example, is a British entrepreneur who made a fortune then lost it again, only to learn from this bad experience to once again become a millionaire. However, I think in most cases it is important to spend some time reflecting on negative experiences in order to learn something useful. A more personal example with me would be my last IELTS test. I didn’t achieve the result I needed in speaking because I was so nervous, but thinking about it since then, I have realised that the reason I didn’t pass was that I was so nervous that I didn’t speak very fluently, so this time I feel much more relaxed.
“Are children exposed to too much negative news?”
I think it’s fair to say that the news in general is quite negative. We are often confronted with at least 5 or 6 items of bad news before there is 1 item of good or neutral news. Although it could be argued that this is simply a reflection of what is happening in the world, it also seems to be true that certain reporters or news programmes sensationalise the negative, making too much of what is wrong with the world and largely ignoring the positive aspects. Inevitably, children are going to pick up on this and this is likely to have an effect on them. However, I think it comes down to individual choices of the parents as to whether children are exposed to too much of this.
“Do you think horror films and movies with violent content have a negative impact on society?”
I have heard the claim that simulated violence, either on television or even in video games, has a direct influence on how people behave within society. But I think it also needs to be considered that the average person watching a violent movie does not then go out and commit acts of violence. I think if people naturally have an aggressive temperament then this could push them into action, but only if that was the way they were already headed. I think for the majority of people, violence in movies is not real life and therefore does not really have a direct impact on how they behave.
“Do you think the world has become a more dangerous place over the last 10 years?”
Certainly crime statistics seem to indicate as such, but that needs to be balanced with the fact that people are more willing these days to report crimes that previously they would perhaps not have brought to the attention of the police. It’s important to remember that there have always been murders and theft, and simply because we hear more about them because of news reports or the internet doesn’t necessarily mean that the world is becoming more dangerous. In my home town, for example, there are still people who do not lock their doors when they go out or even when they go to bed, and that hasn’t changed in many years.
“Do you think imprisoning criminals is effective?”
That’s a very difficult question. I have heard of research that firmly disagrees with the idea of imprisonment, but then there is probably just as much evidence in support of sending criminals to prison. I think that there are definitely weaknesses in the prison system, and there is no doubt that for some, prison is a place where they can learn new skills and techniques for future crimes. However, the idea that people who have committed serious crimes should not go to prison is equally ineffective as there would be less of a deterrent for the law abiding citizens to remain within the law. One thing that I personally believe is that if we are going to have a prison system, we should not be making it a comfortable experience for those sentenced. There are often reports of life in prisons where the inmates have good food, widescreen televisions and recreations centres, a gym and many other facilities that I personally would consider to be luxuries that should not be given to people who have broken the law.