A Police Clearance Certificate is now Mandatory for the Canadian Student Visa

The Government of Canada has recently announced changes concerning study permit applications under the Student Direct Stream (SDS). 

Broadly, most required papers in order to be eligible for study permit applications remain unchanged, barring the submission of the Police Clearance Certificate from August 2023. Until now, students applying for study permits were exempted from submitting the Police Clearance Certificate, but it is no longer the case from August this year. 

Additionally, they have allowed other third-party English tests for students to meet the English proficiency language requirement. The new entrants in this category are TOEFL iBT, Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE), and Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL). 

Students must meet a minimum score equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) score of at least 7 for each module, namely Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Let us see the comparison of the score requirement:

  1. IELTS: Minimum 6.0 band score 
  2. TOEFL iBT: Minimum 83 
  3. PTE Academic: Minimum 60
  4. CAEL: Minimum 60 

IRCC to Introduce Category-based Selection Invitation

Tens of thousands of intended immigrants had been waiting in the pool to be selected under the Express Entry (EE) program for Permanent Residence Status (PR) over the years, especially after the pandemic.

We have witnessed that the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) point median refuses to go down and stays above 485. The inventory of applications is reducing the chances of thousands of candidates who are in the queue every year.

However, there is some good news for many, especially if they are engaged in the targeted occupations. Sean Fraser, Canada’s Immigration Minister, has announced the launch of category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates. This category-based selection draw will take place with the regular draws under the same program.

This year, we will see the government will focus on candidates who come from the following background:

  • Strong French language proficiency or work experience in the following fields:
  • Healthcare Occupations
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Occupations
  • Trade Occupations, such as Carpenters, Plumbers, and other Contractors
  • Transport Occupations
  • Agriculture and agri-food Occupations

This move will be exciting for future candidates. Let us see when the IRCC rolls out this Bill C19 NoC-based draws. We predict it to be implemented after July 2023.

USA Visa Fee Increases

Effective 17 June 2023, the U.S. Department of State has increased certain nonimmigrant visa (NIV) application processing fees. The USDS has increased nearly 15% of nonimmigrant visa fees. 

  • Applicants will have to pay $185 instead of $160 (current NIV fee) for non-petition NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas (F1) and regular visitor visas or visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s).
  • Applicants applying for certain petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers such as H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories will have to pay $205 instead of $190 (current NIV fee).
  • The application fee under the E category, which is applied to a treaty trader, treaty investor, and treaty applicant in a specialty occupation, has increased from $205 to $315.

Cambridge 12, Task 1 (Model Answer)

IELTS Band 8 Report, topic: Map of a town before and after redevelopment |  IELTS-Blog

The maps above show the centre of a small town called Islip as it is now, and plans for its development.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Model Answer: The two maps describe Islip town center’s existing layout and the proposed planned development in the future.

The city center’s existing layout has 16 shops, divided by the main road, constructed in two rows facing each other. Out of these shop counts, 50% of them, especially those erected in the north direction, will be removed for a bus station, a shopping center, car park, and a nearly one-third of the northeast area be left for a new housing facility. The proposed construction plan will also convert the main road into a pedestrian road. Additionally, a vast land of housing and park area in the south will also get a new look with some modifications. Some parts of the garden will be taken off to adjust a new housing colony, cutting the park area less than half to its actual size. The school’s location and size will remain unchanged but come closer to a dual carriageway built in the town center’s circumference.   

Overall, it can be noted that the area of the countryside will no longer be a part of this development and hence, be removed. (185 words)

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 12

  1. Describe a line (or a few words) that you remember from a poem or song.
  • What line it is
  • Which song or poem it is from
  • How you knew about it
  • How you feel about it
  • I’m a music lover, so I would prefer to talk about music than a poem
  • I vividly recall some lines of a song that my father used to sing when I was very young
  • This song was composed before I was born. In fact, I could say that I’ve grown up seeing my father sing this song heartily
  • It is a song sung by the great Freddie Mercury, a member of Queen Band. He is one of the most popular singers in the West, and some of his songs have become an anthem (=chant, chorus, hymn) for the class society
  • I can sing a few lines of it. The title is, “Too much love will kill you.” And here you are: “I’m just the pieces of the man I used to be. Too many bitter tears are running down on me. I’m far away from home. And I’ve been facing this alone for much too long. Oh, I feel like no-one ever told the truth to me. About growing up, and what a struggle it would be. In my tangled state of mind, I’ve been looking back to find where I went wrong. Too much love will kill you”
  • I love this song very much for varied reasons. First of all, I miss my daddy when I listen to this song. What he liked invariably came down to me the same way. Apart from this reason, whenever I’ve a bad day or have some down time because of the stressful work or some unwanted and annoying people, I’ve my ways to soothe (=cool, allay, assuage) my feelings and chill with music playing. This song calms my nerve for sure. Plus, I also love the voice texture of Freddie. Every song of him is always on my mind, and the moment I’ve my chill time, I start singing or humming softly to myself.
  • Why do children like the rhythm of songs or poems?

I guess it drives them and changes the mood of kids all of a sudden. Music has been a part of humankind over the centuries. The rhythm of songs or poems energizes them, and some of them dance to the tune of music. Plus, some stories are told through song and dance.

  • What can people learn from songs or poems?

Songs and poems reflect your mood and represent your culture. Some songs signify historical moments, and some of them are protest songs also. Hence, from happiness to sorrow to the freedom struggle to civil unrest, songs, and poems have instilled (=inject, engender, impart) positive or negative feelings in us about certain events. Mostly, they are used for happiness and sorrow. Every song or poem has some meaning and message to understand for us.

  • Do you think it is easier for children to learn a song or poem than for adults?

Yes, I agree with it. As we grow, we are besieged (=encircle, trap, beleaguer) with internal and external concerns that might weaken our retention ability. This may not be the case for children. They are young and enjoy the moments, and as they haven’t been as pressured for too many things as adults, they learn things easily and quickly. Children are, undoubtedly, well-placed to absorb and retain any learning much better way than adults.

  • Are you good at memorizing things?

No, I don’t think so. I remember that I hardly remember the tables when I was in school. I better write anything for the record because my memory is quite fragile. Luckily, I remember events and people. Lol! Additionally, I’m not worried about this deficiency as I’m a tech-savvy guy, so I always leave evidence for retrieval when needed and not concerned about memorizing anything.

  • When do people in your country sing songs together?

Singing is always attached to historical events, festivals, protests, civil agitations, and while partying with friends. For example, I come from Gujarat state, and we’ve ‘Navratri,’ so you will see boys and girls do ‘Garba’ all nightlong singing, chanting, and dancing also. Sometimes some historical events are also commemorated (=celebrate, memorialize, observe, remember) in song. And we’ve always a national anthem to perform for our beloved country time after time.

  • What types of songs do young children like to listen to?

The youth always enjoys the latest numbers (=song). Gone are the days when the youth was interested in listening to jazz, rock, or pop. They like to listen to rap songs – the music of the hip-hop generation – and house music while partying. But in India, it may not be the case for every kid. They also enjoy melodious and happy songs. We Indians give importance to the lyrics of the song.

  • Why are some singers so popular in the world?

There are several reasons for the success of any particular singer. It could be his/her voice texture, flamboyant stage persona, singing with an incisive sense of rhythm, and maybe the quality of great musicality. Apart from these qualities, some singers have magnificent phrasing with delicate, subtle, slamming, sweet or energetic. The combination of such attributes makes them popular. For example, Kishor Kumar possessed almost all these qualities, and he’s on the minds of people in the present day. No matter what and how things have changed over the decades, but he’s placed his position in the hearts of music lovers.

  • Do people in your country listen to songs from other countries?

Yes, we do. I’ve grown up listening to English and Hindi songs. Indians always value a good piece of music, no matter who has composed, written, or sung. You will also see some sort of permutation combination of fusion of western music in my country. For example, Elvis’s songs did influence some music in India during the 60s and 70s.

2. Describe a conversation topic that you were not interested in.

  • What the topic was
  • Who you talked with
  • When it was
  • Why you were not interested
  • Negative thinking is a much more usual problem than we may think. Many people experience the same every day, but it doesn’t mean that you keep on harping on (=dwell, nag) them all the time and don’t see any positive way out
  • I remember many such incidents.  Let me pick one of them. It was a summer break during my study intakes in Canada. I had only one semester to go, and then I was done with my studies
  • Due to this Chinese virus, everybody in our circle kept painting too much doomsday (=judgment day, last day, day of reckoning) picture as usual. Some of my friends lost their jobs and behaved as if the whole world came crashing down
  • A couple of friends decided to catch up to have some fun and coffee. My friends had only one topic: Chinese virus. And I was like, “Do me all a favor… get a life (=used to tell somebody to stop being boring and to do something more interesting)!”
  • I was sick of listening to those same stories of the virus and blah blah. I really wanted to have some good time with them, but they behaved as if the world would end then. I said to them, “Buddy, this shall also pass, and let’s not talk about this negative topic. Instead, they should focus on what best they can do from now on. Jobs come and go, but our skills will stay with us. This trying time is a litmus test (=acid test, base test) of our determination, courage, resilience (=flexibility, pliancy), and how well we move on”
  • You know I’m a very positive guy in my life. In fact, I enjoy such ups and downs in life. But people fear uncertainty, and such incidents knock them sideways. Because of this, their bad stuff and the negativity bias stick to them forever. Not only do we have media and newspapers working hard to flood all the sensationalized stories round the clock, but we’ve our own mindset working against us. I call them emotional vampires
  • Therefore, I try to stay off all such people and boring conversations that may influence my judgments, peace of mind, happiness, and positive behavior
  • How do you know if others are not interested in your conversation?

It is simple. When people find the conversation not interesting, they try to change the topic or don’t give any attention. Some people are straight talkers, and they will tell you on your face. Others try to ignore the conversation and get back to their job.

  • Do men and women talk about the same things?

‘Yes’ and ‘No’ both.  Some men and women have common topics to discuss, and they really enjoy them by adding valuable insights or further building on the subject. Maybe they’re like-minded. This may not be the same all the time.

  • What do you like to talk about?

To me, it’s all about mood and events. I discuss a range of topics with my friends and family. I love knowing about sports, music, business, research, innovation, life skills, and any other topics that can help me get better in my understanding of such topics. One thing I particularly remain interested in is the discussion over life hacks and health tips. Enlightenment on these two topics helps me get better in my day-to-day life. For example, health tips keep me fit so that I enjoy the world better, and life hacks make me whole and pragmatic to get better and succeed in life.

  • What topics do young and old people talk about?

I guess there’s a remarkable distinction between kids and older people. In most cases, children have no internal and external worries and live in a paradise. So, anything trivial (=frivolous, immaterial, insignificant) details about their role models, sportspersons, games, schooling, innovations, and others excite them beyond imagination. There’s a stark contrast when it comes to older people. They talk about health, finances, family, politics, and social issues. As we grow, our priorities change for good. And as long as we are young, we’re restless and find happiness in small things.

  • Does technological development have a negative impact on communication among people?

My answer will be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both. As long as we use it for bettering our performance, it acts as a boon (=blessing, godsend, windfall). And, in no time, it turns out to be a bane (=burden, curse, calamity) when we use it for gossiping or leisure time. Again, it comes down to the purpose of utility. For example, business people always thank technological development as it saves time and helps them excel better, while most youngsters and others waste their precious time on social media. Last but not least, ‘WhatsApp’ is a disease in India.

  • Do you think women chat more than men?

Can’t say it for sure, maybe some but not all, I guess. It will be unwise to tar all women with the same brush (=to be thought to have the same faults, etc., as somebody else). In fact, it’s a misogynist (=typical of the behavior or beliefs of a person who hates women) attitude.

  • Do you think that it is polite to agree with another person during a conversation if you have another opinion?

I would term it as hypocrisy. It’s simple. If you don’t agree, tell them straight in a polite manner rather than be a ‘yes man’ (=bootlicker, ass-kisser, apple-polisher). Everyone is entitled to have his say. At the same time, everyone is entitled to disagree on any matter where he thinks so. But it has to be in a polite manner for sure.

  • Do you think that many children nowadays do not want to communicate with children of the same age?

No, I disagree with this statement. Children love to be in touch with their contemporaries. It’s a usual thing that they’ve both younger and older friends, but it’s acceptable. For example, when we played cricket in our school, sometimes the school organized tournaments with the senior teams. We were younger than our opponents. It also creates great bonding among students.

  • Why do you think it is important to communicate with others?

Communication is an integral part of life. It’s also a vehicle of success. I read an article online called ‘10 main goals of communication’ and couldn’t agree more. It says that it has a primary essence of influencing, informing, motivating, inspiring, learning, building a relationship, gaining inspiration, socializing, and promoting yourself, whether it’s personal or corporate communication. The absence of communication leads to misunderstanding or disrupts a smooth transition of information exchange. Such a blockade could be counterproductive in personal and corporate life.

  • What communication skills are important?

I guess I can write a paper on this question. I believe the person must be armed with superb communication skills to succeed in life. You’ve gotta identify, first of all, the areas of deficiency in your communication skills. After that, you’ll have to decide what you want to achieve before becoming a smart communicator. Sometimes you need to be a good listener to gather ideas for further communication. When somebody discusses any topic, you’ve got to be more engaging when communicating any message. These are a few life hacks to be a better communicator

3. Describe a time when you saw a child behave badly in public.

  • Where it was
  • What the child was doing
  • How others reacted to it
  • How you felt about it
  • I vividly recall an incident, which overwhelmed me extremely some days back
  • I went to Crossword to buy and see new novels for Diwali mini vacation. Outside the building, I saw adorable puppies, and their mother was there to protect and feed them. That scene tugged at my heartstrings (=to cause strong feelings of love or sympathy in somebody), and I immediately went to pick up some dog food from my car
  • When I returned to the spot, I was shocked to see the bad behavior of a toddler. She was threatening the puppies, and their mother was screaming and moving helplessly to protect her babies. She was completely flustered (=aroused, moved, upset)
  • On top of it, this toddler was screaming at the top of her lungs (=very loudly), and her mother didn’t even bother to discipline her daughter. Looking at this show, first of all, I gave the child’s mother dirty looks. More than the toddler, I felt angry at her because she was enjoying her child’s unwanted tantrum (=temper, outburst, flare-up)
  • Hence, I yelled and asked her to control her daughter. That was quite a scene, and I realized people around me also wanted the same. She also saw it coming, so she started to control her baby
  • But her daughter didn’t obey her command until her mother screamed and threw a hissy fit (=blowup, fit, outburst)
  • Her daughter continued with her wailing and thrashing on the ground for a few minutes
  • Then I went closer to the puppies and fed them
  • I don’t know what’s wrong with people. They’ve no mercy toward animals and mistreat them more often. These mute animals don’t harm humans at all, but I don’t know why some people enjoy others’ hardships. Maybe they get perverse (=sadistic) pleasure by doing such acts. Totally inhumane and savage!
  • What bad behavior do children usually have?

Generally, children throw tantrums to get your attention or get something they want. For example, they want a candy bar at the checkout when you are at the supermarket, and if you don’t buy them, they will throw a fit. So, you’ve got two options: Give in (=surrender) or discipline them. Apart from these two classic examples, there could be many more as well. Sometimes children are frustrated with their homework, and then you see them behaving like another species on this earth. They thrash on the ground, cry for some time, and at times, punch their siblings or parents. Some children are smart, and they emotionally blackmail you for the things that they want.

  • How should parents stop their children from behaving badly in public?

As I told you in my previous answer, there are only two ways that you can control the tantrums: give in or discipline. Suppose you have bought the candy bar to quiet him; it only teaches them to have a tantrum the next time you are in a store. You reinforce (=make a feeling, an idea, etc., stronger) their tantrum-throwing behaviors when giving them what they want. Once your child learns that temper tantrums get them nothing. They’ll realize that they’ll get nothing even if they become rebellious, and that will be a start for them to behave appropriately. In some cases, you need to be proactive in such situations and give them a warning in advance if they throw temper tantrums in public.

  • Are parents these days stricter than those in the past?

It’s hard to say whether the parents of today are more lenient than those in the past. I guess it has to do with how you try to discipline your children. Some parents are strict, and others fulfill all the desires of their children out of affection, or just they want to avoid their stubborn behavior for a while. These both situations set an unprecedented example and undesirable difficulties for parents in the future. Having said that, I cannot say for sure which generation of parents is strict with children.

  • Whose influence on children is more important, friends’ or parents’?

I guess it all depends upon how parents have raised their children. Smart parents who have raised their children with the right advice and right kind of inspiration generally tend to have a better say or control over children. This may not be the case where parents have failed to help children scale the ladder of success or inculcate (=impart, instill, indoctrinate) values. In such a situation, children become loose cannons, which can fire in any direction and rest on destiny. Children grown under the parents’ inadequate supervision believe in others like friends. This is human psychology, and I could be wrong because there’s no assurance of the positive outcome of whether parents are successful in raising or not.

  • What factors affect children’s behavior?

Several factors could affect children’s behavior. Let me tell you a couple of significant ones. Some children suffer from parents’ attention deficit as they’re super busy in their own business and chores. They feel neglected and lonely many times. Some children go through depression due to some untoward incidents and are unable to recuperate (=bounce back, get well, recover, heal, mend) the loss. For example, if a sibling dies of natural or unnatural death, the child usually doesn’t forget such a loss, and that sorrow keeps coming back to his life for a long time. They become irritable towards their parents and others. Apart from these environmental factors, some children also suffer from genetics for their bad behavior.

4. Describe an energetic person that you know.

  • Who this person is
  • How you know this person
  • Why consider this person energetic
  • How you feel about this person
  • There are a couple of people who I always adore, and I see them energetic and inspirational in life. Today, I’ve to pick one from them, and truly, it’s a hard job. But, anyway, I will speak about my aunt, Mrs. Nivedita Ahuja
  • I’ve grown up visiting her place, and she also frequents our home quite often. She’s in her 60s at the moment, but the way she carries herself, she looks quite younger than her age. On the first look, you might assume her in her early fifties
  • It’s because she’s a tremendously health-conscious lady. She wakes up at 5 in the morning and goes jogging, and does yoga then after. Because of her fitness regime, you’ll always see a different kind of gleam and positivity on her face. She is truly a loved one in our family, and many of us rush to her for advice when needed
  • I remember she motivated me to rise early and join her for jogging and yoga. In the beginning, it was tough for me to wake up so early. In fact, for the first few days, I felt half-asleep because that’s not my routine at all
  • She’s an extraordinarily thoughtful and pragmatic lady, and therefore, she sensed my trouble of waking up in the morning. She advised me to change my routine, and then everything was on track after a week
  • Initially, I could only jog for around 2 kilometers or so, whereas she completed 10 kilometers of jogging without effort every day. Frankly speaking,  I envied her energy, at the same time, that inspired me to catch up on, too
  • Apart from her energy and fitness regime, I hold great respect for this noble lady. Her experience stories are always worth listening to. She knows how to convert each misfortunate event as a hidden opportunity. She always tells me not to surrender ever whenever I feel any existential crisis. Instead, find the new meaning of life. She always tells everyone to focus on six elements in life to be joyful and successful. They are health, wealth, career, mental strength, spiritual wellness, and relationship
  • I always feel good about her and want her to have a healthy and long life so that she can be a remarkable guide to the youth like us
  • I’m proud of her in every sense she is associated with my life. With her, I never feel any generation gap at all
  • Do you think that nowadays all jobs could be done by robots?

I don’t think so. I guess it’s not possible yet. We need human intervention on many occasions. Yes, that’s true that most large corporations prefer to have an automated process in manufacturing units where you may see some robots helping other machines or humans. People say that robots will take us over in many jobs, but I don’t see this happening at least in my lifetime.

  • Do you think machines could replace human workers in the future?

No, I don’t think so again. Yes, they will be handy in easing our jobs, but, at the end of the day, we must not forget that they’re machines and can be malfunctioned at a critical time. It’s hard to take over the human brain when we compare it with any technology. Human brains have invented technologies, not technology.

  • What are the benefits of replacing human workers with robots?

There are advantages when we take the help of robots in the workplace or manufacturing units. They only understand the ‘command,’ so you don’t need to waste your precious time over and over again. Software designs standard operating procedures, and they are good to go. It saves time and money. The entire process becomes streamlined with precision. It also helps (to) maximize the top line and bottom line of any corporation. Most top 100 corporations are putting efforts to automate their processes these days.

  • How have robots and computers changed the way people work?

Every coin has two sides. They are boon (=blessing, godsend, windfall) and bane (=burden, curse, calamity) both. Let’s talk about their brighter sides to answer this question. They streamline any process, which is a big plus point. You don’t need to remember what you’ve said and committed to someone because everything is programmed in the machine, and you just need to click the button for any file. Unlike humans, they are heartless, so they don’t throw any tantrums and save your time for better productivity. They save our crucial time, which can be reinvested for other worthwhile jobs. I can go on and on. But I guess these are the headline benefits.

  • Which is more important for young people, an interesting or well-paid job?

It all depends upon what kind of person you are. If money is a key driver in your life, you will always see the remuneration first and put aside the satisfaction. The opposite is also true. For some young people, their passion has more intrinsic value than anything else.

  • What kinds of jobs are well-paid in your country?

In India, I guess doctors are coining money (=earn a lot of money quickly and easily). And if you’re not interested in medical occupations, I guess technocrats do very well in their jobs. India is famous for IT solutions, and there are enough ecosystem and good rates of pay. Then, you’ve sports. We know money rains if you are a successful player, especially in cricket and tennis. Let me think who else could be making good money in the occupation. Aha, architectural designers, chartered accountants, bank managers, financial officers, and undoubtedly, our corrupt bureaucrats and politicians do well financially.

  • What jobs do young people prefer?

In my country, most students want to become engineers, IT professionals, and doctors. I don’t know why, but this is the trend in my country. You talk to any parents, and they will have these choices in most cases. Maybe my country has a long way to go to generate other lucrative sectors that may attract young people.

  • How can people find a perfect job?

There are plenty of recruitment websites where they can post their resumes. Plus, we still have recruitment consultants who could connect you with the right organization based on your interest, qualification, and background. On top of these, some people get jobs through networking. It’s a common thing that your ex-colleague may drive you to his workplace.

  • What factors should people take into account when choosing a job?

I would see two elements first, and they are growth and learning. The working span of our life is around 40 years. One wrong decision in choosing the workplace could take you backward and may waste your precious time. I personally prefer to work for a mid-sized corporation because there’s a high probability that you learn more and harness your skills. With large corporations, you may make some extra bucks, and it’s a status symbol, but you end up being just an employee number. Learning is what shines on you in the long run.

  1. What kinds of jobs are unpopular in your country?

Working as a caller with call centers or BPOs is one of the most abusive jobs, I guess. I cannot think of calling strangers and may face their ire (=anger) on the phone. And you work during nights at some call centers, which is intolerable cruelty. Disturbing a natural cycle of sleep always invites illnesses later on, and it affects your body and mood plenty.  There could be others, but this is the one that pops into my mind at the moment.

5. Describe an occasion when you forgot something important.

  • What you forgot
  • Why you forgot it
  • When it was
  • How you felt
  • Forgetting is really a nasty habit, and it could put you in trouble many times. I try not to forget to pay my bills as it is my responsibility. Yet, it has happened several times that I missed my payment deadlines and had to pay my overdue charges
  • In fact, I went through the process of forgetting the last month. I had to make the payment of my credit card and missed it
  • I realized my mistake after two days’ of the deadline; it was too late to correct my mistake
  • Hence, I picked up the phone and talked to the helpdesk of HDFC bank. I admitted to having forgotten to make the payment and requested them to condone (=waive, forgive) the overdue charge and accrued interest on it. Luckily, the officer was co-operative and instructed to make the payment and wrote off (=cancel a debt) other costs
  • Generally, I never forget my bill payments, but this time I don’t know why it happened so. Maybe I was stressful as my inventory of pending jobs was piling up, and, all of a sudden, I had to take leave for two days, which again increased a tremendous backlog of paperwork to catch up on
  • After the coronavirus pandemic, the job has become stressful and trying (=arduous, demanding, irritating) because our company struggled to get back to past glory. Therefore, there’s immense pressure on the team to bring the business, and if we ain’t do it, anybody’s name will be on the layoff (=cutback, unemployment) list. Maybe this pressure painstakingly made me forget the things that I had to perform
  • Eventually, things got settled, especially when the bank officer waived off the penalty. I was both thankful and regretful for this incident
  • Why is it difficult for some people to remember things?

I guess there two things involved in this topic – natural and unnatural. I may be wrong because I’m not an expert on this subject. If I talk about natural tendency, some people are not programmed to remember things quickly or store them in their brains per se (=as such, by definition). Unnatural tendency refers to being involved in too many activities to focus on. People these days like to do too many jobs at a time, and hence, they tend to forget some during this process.

  • What kinds of people are more forgetful?

When you try to do too many jobs at a time, or you’re burdened with too many responsibilities to perform. I guess these two things could be possible for this bad habit of forgetting. Plus, I don’t know how far it is true that you tend to forget essential things as you age. Maybe people are besieged (=encircle, trap, beleaguer) with plenty of external and internal concerns that slow down their brains to retain and retrieve the information from the brain.

  • Do you think technology makes people forgetful?

Yes, to some extent. If I talk about myself, I generally don’t remember the phone numbers of my friends and relatives now, which was not the case when I was very young. It’s because the moment we’ve a new phone number of somebody, we immediately program it on our phone memory and care less to remember it ever. So I can say that technology is a boon (=blessing) and bane (=curse) both.

  • Do you think technology helps people remember past events?

Every coin has two sides. As I said that it has downsides in my previous answer, it also has brighter sides. I think I’ve lost the ability to remember phone numbers and birthdays. Who does this job of reminding? So, many apps and social sites remind me of them. Here it does a splendid job for everyone. I know the pain of forgetting. Once I forgot to wish my ex-girlfriend on her birthday because I didn’t remember her birthday. Guess what? We picked fights from that incident, and one thing led to another, and eventually, we parted ways (=to end a relationship with somebody) after some time. So, forgetting her birthday was just a trigger, which was beyond our control.

  • Is it possible that technology will replace human memory?

No, I don’t think so. Technology will always stand by (=to help somebody, even in difficult situations) humans for a lot many things. But it will be an exaggeration to say that.

  • Why do people sometimes forget things they do not want to do?

As I said, sometimes we are caught up with too many things to perform. Our brain and body also have some limits. Our brain cannot process too many pieces of information to store, retain, and retrieve all the time. Both underuse and overuse of anything may leave undesirable outcomes. I think this is the only reason where people forget the things, which they shouldn’t have.

  • Which do you think is more important to remember about, a business meeting or a meeting with a friend?

First of all, I will give importance to both occasions. But even if I’ve to decide on options, I will go for the business first. There is a reason. Business or a job is our livelihood, and we could be impacted by every wrong decision that we make while working. Plus, it leaves a bad impression when you miss a business meeting, and it could impact your business or job. With friends, we can convince them, or sometimes we don’t even need to convince them. That’s all about relationship, mutual understanding, affection, love, and respect. We cannot act this way in business.

  • In what situation is it important to remember information very well?

I guess we must try to remember all information on all occasions. But the first thing on my priority list will be to remember my passwords and verbal deals. Forgetting what you have told someone could turn out to be a loss-making equation in business. People will try to make you forget or manipulate the agreed talk, so we’ve gotta be careful. 

  • What can people do to help themselves remember information for their everyday needs?

There are ways to keep yourself disciplined in remembering and retrieving any kind of information. I would write it down any important piece of information or take a photograph of the written note and store it on my phone. I don’t think that we’ve gotta remember them as we perform some jobs every day for routine things. If somebody’s memory is weak, he should write the important things or events on ‘post-it’ yellow notes and stick to them on the fridge or by the bed.

  • What kinds of things do people forget easily?

It’s hard to generalize the things that people don’t remember. I guess we don’t bother to remember any inconsequential (=insignificant, unimportant) matter because our brain doesn’t work hard for trivial details on many occasions.  

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 11

  1. Describe an ambition you have had for a long time.
  • What the goal is
  • What you will do to achieve it
  • When you will achieve it
  • Why you want to achieve it
  • Goal-setting is one of the most challenging jobs, especially when we need to set an achievable goal in the long run. During the processing of reaching the goal, one may face multiple challenges, gratifications, reaffirmations while you’re down with some results, and so on
  • When you hear my ambition, you may laugh at it because a few of my friends have already discouraged me by saying, “Buddy, it’s too lofty a task to achieve.” Anyway, I don’t care what they say, or the world thinks about my plans
  • I want to establish an apparel factory and want to take on giants, such as Ralph Lauren, Zara, Gap, Armani, Nautica, and Abercrombie & Fitch
  • I am good at two things inherently: designing cars and choosing the right clothes. I chose the latter option because this business can be kick-started with low investment, and there’s an ecosystem that supports this business proposition better at this stage
  • After completion of my undergrad degree, I will start this business with my family members step by step. We will first manufacture only shirts so that we may not need to invest a lot in the beginning, and as we go, we will keep adding other categories, such as pants, T-shirts, shorts, and so on
  • I guess this entire project will take around one year or so because I’ll be completing my studies in the next two months, and then I’ll research the latest trends, market conditions, marketing strategies, manufacturing processes, and all other essential elements involving manufacturing
  • This is my dream project, and I’m sure I’ll do it successfully. I got motivated for this business line because it is scalable, and I can sell my products in every part of the world
  • When I see the leading brands that I just now mentioned, their prices are exorbitant (=enormous, pricey, outrageous),and with these prices, people buy their stuff and patronize proudly. Hence, I thought I could offer such things at a massive discount without compromising the quality and style. Plus, it’s always an honor to have your own brand buildup and sold globally
  • What kinds of ambitions do people usually have?

Well, it varies from person to person. Some people are highly ambitious, whereas others may satisfy with whatever they achieve. If I talk about Indians, most people have a dream of becoming ultra-rich by doing any job or business.  But if I narrow down my response to your questions, most Indians like to become businessmen, doctors, engineers, army personnel, bankers, and educators. This is the usual theme of professions. There could be many others who want to push themselves and want to become scientists, astronauts, leaders, and sportspersons, among others.

  • Who has a greater influence on the goal-setting of children, parents, or teachers?

I see both have a constructive role in motivating children in their career-making. Some children are born to have both parties to support their dreams, and others may not have the same privilege. It’ll be unwise to belittle (=deride, decry, criticize) anybody’s role in children’s goal-setting.

  • Should parents set goals for their children?

I don’t think that they should set goals for children, but certainly, they can inspire them to be someone by offering latitude (=freedom) and environment so that children can touch the height of success. The biggest concern I see is when parents impose their own dreams on children. That’s an unreasonable expectation. Some children defy their plans and happen to become what they’re. That said, the parents’ role in inspiring them is crucial, and we cannot ignore it.

  • Should parents interfere with their children’s ambitions?

When they feel that their ambitions go nowhere, they should intervene and explain future repercussions (=fallout, impact, effect, backlash). For example, your child could be excellent at drawing and may want to become an artist. He may have everything to qualify for a proficient artist, but the question lies here is, will he secure his livelihood after a few years? The answer may be ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Therefore, parents must explain to them to secure their livelihood first, and then he can do whatever he wants to do. And if he succeeds in his passion, he can later switch to it. This ‘Three Idiots’ movie in India has confused both children and parents. It’s an absurd (=nonsense) movie, to me.

  • Should parents stop their children when they have unrealistic ambitions?

Well, first of all, I will ask who will decide whether ambition is realistic or not. There’s always a generation gap, and it will remain so in the years to come. For example, one of the most precious assets during the 70s was crude oil for tycoons, which now has been replaced by data collection. So, there will undoubtedly be a gap in understanding for parents, too. However, reasonable and competent parents surely intervene when they find their children choose too big a dream to realize. Such intervention will decide to bring the kid back to the track or stay the course.

  • When do young children start setting goals for themselves?

If any kid wants to become a specific sportsperson, he and his parents must swing into action when he is as young as 6 to 7 years old. Occupations other than involving physical fitness offer some time, and you can decide when they are in Year 10. However, I feel, up to the early twenties, children need some inspiration, support, environment, time, money, constant guidance, and other resources.

  • What kinds of goals are not realistic?

I think all goals are realistic as long as children display determination, perseverance, efforts, resilience (=flexibility, pliancy), and other essential skills. No goal is unachievable in life, but dreaming something out of imagination is a scary thing. For example, we cannot fly like a bird, but we invented commercial aircraft and jet fighters. So, somewhere we’ve to find common ground and tweak (=change, adjust) our plans.

  • Why do people set goals?

Man is born to push limits. Some people are inherently talented, and others choose to skill themselves as they go along.

  • Why is it important for teenagers to set goals?

If they don’t do so, they will be doomed (=make somebody/something certain to fail, suffer, die, etc.) in their lives. Parents will support them for a while, but they haven’t signed a lifetime agreement for their children. Their reckless decision could put them in trouble and also members of the family.

  • Why should parents encourage children to have ambitions?

Responsible parents consider this job pious and duty while raising kids. If they don’t do it now, their children will be a burden on them and society, and the country. For their good, they sacrifice everything that they have at their disposal.

2. Describe an interesting tradition in your country.

  • What the tradition is
  • When you celebrate it
  • How you celebrate it
  • Why it is interesting
  • I want to talk about the act of giving and helping the needy on one of the most important and celebrated festivals of India. It is Diwali. The meaning of Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit ‘Dipawali,’ which means “row of lights.” And, it’s also known as a festival of lights
  • I remember my grandfather would pack up the bags of groceries and clothes to distribute among the poor. He would tell me, “My father and his father did the same thing on this auspicious festival of Diwali”
  • Hence, it’s a ritual in my family, but it’s not confined to my family only. Most Indians believe in donating anything of their choice on this day across the country
  • Usually, this festival comes either in October or November of every year. This festival symbolizes the tradition of prayers, fireworks, family gatherings, feasts, and charitable giving
  • The five-day festival is widely observed among more than 1 billion Indians from different faiths in India and its diaspora
  • This festival is celebrated differently in parts of India. But, generally, on the first day of Diwali, people clean and decorate their homes, bake sweets, and pray to goddess Lakshmi. They also decorate their homes with lamps and rangolis. You will see unique designs made of colored sand, powder, rice, or flower petals on the floors. After these rituals, people wish each other, and some of them come outside of their homes and set off the firecrackers and have fun
  • This festival is interesting from a belief standpoint. Every region has a good story for this festival, but, in the end, it signifies the victory of good over evil
  • In Northern India, it commemorates (=celebrate, memorialize) Prince Ram’s triumphant return to Ayodhya after the exile of 14 years. In Southern India, it honors the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king of Narakasura. Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists have their own beliefs. For Sikhs, Diwali commemorates the release of Guru Hargobind Singhji after 12 years of imprisonment by Mughal invader, Jahangir. For Jains, Lord Mahavir reached Nirvana (=heaven, awakening). And for Buddhists, on this day, Ashoka the great converted to Buddhism after the war of Kalinga in the 6th century
  • But the crux (= the most important part) of the matter is this symbolic day has a meaning of joy, victory, prosperity, giving, and blessings for all
  • Is it important to celebrate traditional festivals?

Yes, without any equivocations (=doubt, qualm)! Traditional festivals are the embodiment of our roots. Their significance will never go away because, generations after generations, people observe these festivals. Parents tell the stories of significance to their children, so they proudly celebrate them when they grow up. Humankind feels connected with their ancestors, no matter what they did – right or wrong – and own their traditions and rituals with pride. For example, while celebrating Diwali, I could imagine what joy the people of Ayodhya had when they were welcoming Lord Ram, his wife, who was believed to be an incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi, and his brother, Lakshman.

  • Do you think it is important to maintain traditional festivals?

Absolutely, it’s a part of our rich history. Those who don’t respect their roots face an identity crisis. For example, most Pakistanis believed themselves to be Mughals’ lineage, and now they’ve shifted to Turks. That’s insane! They’re the classic example of the victims of an identity crisis. Now, let’s get back to our question once again. Roots connect you with forthcoming generations. And because of this pride and significance, it’s mandatory to celebrate traditional festivals every year, or your generation will have no idea about its background, heroics of their ancestors, roots, lineage, invaders, and enemies.

  • What is the difference between your traditional festivals and western festivals?

I think every festival has its own significance and story of it. It will be madness to compare one festival with the other – be it a traditional or western one. Diwali has significance for Indians. So has for Christians for Christmas! We may celebrate or observe a particular festival differently, depending on its significance, relevance, story, and what religious books preach to us.

  • Do people in your country like to celebrate foreign festivals?

Yes, we do it with full gusto. We Indians celebrate Christmas, Navroz, and Eid. We also love to know their significance and respect their faiths and enjoy like they are our family members. They are US.

  • Do you agree that the real meaning behind traditional festivals has been lost?

I don’t think so. With time, some changes do take place. For example, people didn’t let off firecrackers some centuries back, but now they do. But the meaning hasn’t been lost. The significance of it is yet intact. However, I’m slightly worried when the festival’s true spirit is hijacked by manipulating any religious teaching. That must be stopped to restore the value of festivals.

  • What is the most popular festival in your country?

In India, it’s Diwali. No matter who you are: rich or poor. It’s a new year for everyone. Forget India; it is now celebrated in the Middle East, North America, Europe, and also other parts of the world.

  • Why do more and more young people prefer to celebrate festivals with their friends rather than with their families?

The youth, on most occasions, feel connected well with their friends. They can freely talk and have fun, whereas they may not have the same liberty with family members. It’s a natural process, I would say. I can discuss certain things with my friends and may not feel comfortable with my parents and vice versa.

  • How do people value traditional festivals?

As I mentioned, every festival has some story and significance. According to them, people do their parts.

  • What is the difference between festivals now and in the past?

I don’t see any change at all; maybe the enjoying and observing methods might have changed a little bit, but it’s a natural process.

  • Do you think it is wrong for children not to celebrate traditional festivals?

Yes, it’s really wrong if we fail to make them feel the importance of traditional festivals. A lot of sense and things are attached to every festival in the world. Not encouraging children to celebrate traditional festivals means they’re deprived of acquainting with the past facts. I understand history is bygone, but we must not forget that history is also a precursor for progress. Those who disrespect history are doomed (=make somebody/something certain to fail, suffer, die, etc.) to fail on many occasions.

3. Describe an activity you enjoy doing occasionally or regularly that is a bit expensive.

  • What activity it is
  • When and where you do this
  • Who you do it with
  • Why you enjoy doing it
  • I describe myself as a health freak and cannot think of my life without being actively involved in workouts. I do a lot of cross-training with other aerobic and yoga activities on alternate days and go jogging the other days
  • But out of all types of workouts, I love going jogging or running as it’s my favorite exercise
  • We are a group of five friends to whom you can tag as health nuts. We adjust our schedules in the morning and meet at one point and start together
  • In the beginning, we went jogging on the running track in the garden, and then we started to run on the road. We’ve our fixed routes, and once a while, we also go for rural trips the moment we want to renew our sense of purpose or desire to push ourselves
  • Jogging is fun. Makes sense. It’s a great workout and fun for sure. You always feel energized and active for doing too many things during the day later on
  • Your face gleams, and the body looks toned to a great extent. Plus, bathing in the sweat gives a sense of achievement and improves the mental state of mine. I feel jubilant when I push myself, and for a moment, you feel above the earth when you hit your line/target
  • Apart from these physical and mental benefits, you take out some time from your busy schedule and meet with your friends every day; otherwise, it’s really hard for anyone these days to spare some time with friends. That’s a bonus in this rejuvenating exercise and brings back your childhood time and gives a reason to smile every morning
  •  Why are some sports expensive? Are they for everyone?

I think very few sports are expensive but not all. For example, if you want to become Formula 1 champion, yes, it is skyrocketing expensive for sure, but not all. If I talk about jogging, it’s not expensive, but you’ve gotta change your running shoes at least thrice a year. Plus, it would help if you’ve bought the right pair of running shoes made by companies, such as Asics, Nike, Adidas, or Puma. The right pair of running shoes has life for around 500 miles, and veteran and regular joggers run that much in two-to-three months comfortably. And, if you skimp on (=try to spend less money, time, etc., on something that’s really important) the running shoes at the regular interval, you risk your ankle or develop muscle pain or increase the risk of injury and lead to wasted money, too. And when we talk about the expense of shoes that offer structured cushioning, the pair cost nearly $150. Yes, it may be costly for many people in the world. But that’s what it’s.

  • Why do people buy fakes?

I guess there could be two types of people buying fakes – the one who can’t afford the authentic product but like to have a similar counterfeit. The second happens to be the victim of fraud. Some shopkeepers withstand the crucial information about products and sell them with deceit (=dishonesty, chicanery, deception).

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being rich?

I think there’s no disadvantage in being rich in life unless you are puffed up with unwanted pride or you become brutal in the arrogance of your money. But there are many advantages associated with wealth. First of all, your life becomes comfortable, and the intensity of any hardship may lessen if you’ve wealth resources by buying material things. Yes, it’s true that money cannot buy everything or happiness, but it certainly helps you keep smiling on most occasions. Plus, you are in a position to help others. For example, you can feed the poor, animals or donate for the right cause in society.

  • What kinds of expensive things do people like to buy?

There could be innumerable things people like to own, and it all depends upon what kind of person you are. Some people dream of buying expensive cars, magnetic jewelry, branded watches, real estate, and maybe a yacht or private jet also.  The aspiration for things may change from person to person or country to country. For example, I would like to have a grandeur villa with a yacht at sea in California. That’s my dream!

  • Do you think men and women have the same shopping habits?

I disagree with this statement, and in fact, I think otherwise. Men may like to buy expensive cars, and women may love to have expensive jewelry or perfumes or maybe stylish clothes. This is just an example, and it all depends upon the person. But both genders, on most occasions, think differently and want to own different things.

4. Describe a person who you think is helpful.

  • Who this person is
  • How you know this person
  • How this person helps you
  • Why you think this person is helpful
  • “Little rain must fall in every life”, that’s what uncle Tarasingh says when I approach him for any sort of assistance during my stressful times
  • He’s not my blood relative, but a gentleman with who I meet more often at the recreational club in the morning. He must be in his seventies. We sometimes play badminton together, and I sometimes feel jealous when I see his energy and playing skills. I often ask myself, “Will I be such a person as energetic and full of life as him when I enter the seventies?”
  • During Sundays, after our playing, we’ve breakfast and have an opportunity to talk at length. In fact, I put up any latest event of my choice for discussion or debate on purpose (=intentionally) with him just to know his perspective because it helps me understand the situation better and more
  •  He’s amazingly thoughtful, competent, intelligent, and full of wisdom. I guess many people in our group go to him for advice. He may not help you monetarily, but certainly, every piece of advice will be a gem for anyone
  • I remember a dreadful situation in which I was struggling awfully. My job was about to be axed during the coronavirus pandemic. I had assumed that I was on the layoff list. Therefore, I was worried about losing my livelihood for some time. I was down and dejected and also facing the ire of my boss during that trying (=arduous, demanding, irritating) time
  • I talked to him about this challenge over the phone. He advised me to research the financial scenario post any big event, such as this pandemic, war, financial meltdown, or the government going bankrupt. While doing so, I started to gain confidence because I learned what I didn’t know. Every dip in business activities due to any untoward situation gets sorted in some time
  • And then, I prepared a report on the likelihood of business scenarios after this medical crisis. My observations and analysis were applauded, and not only it helped me regain my confidence but also it calmed the nerve of my boss. After a couple of months, things were back on track, and I was out of this mess
  • I shared with him this episode. He said, “I knew everything, but I wanted you to read and research on such a crisis on the economy. He showed me his thesis paper, which dated back to the 80s. He researched this topic then and foresaw the situation. I was awestruck. In the end, he said, “Kid, I could’ve emailed you this report then, but I didn’t want to spoon-feed my research. You gotta develop your coping skills, or you die in business.” This was his last statement on this episode

  •  In what kinds of professions do people help others more?

I guess consulting with coworkers is a normative process in all the industries but in automated manufacturing units. In most corporations, it’s unlikely to have a team of all the brilliants because people come and go, and that process leaves a vacuum and disruption in all the departments. Hence, you will see regular training is organized so that steam and hunger for progress is not lost due to the unskilled workforce. That said, it’s a common practice of seeking advice from coworkers or colleagues in other departments. I think only in the automated manufacturing units, people work like robots because they’ve to perform only one specific job or skill.

  • Who should teach children to help others, parents, or teachers?

To me, both of them are equally responsible for this job. Formal and informal learning at home and school go hand in hand (=if two things go hand in hand, they’re closely connected, and one thing causes the other). In the absence of the right inculcation (=the practice of making somebody learn and remember ideas, moral principles, etc., especially by repeating them often) of teaching, training, values, ethics, manners, or etiquette, children become adamant and grow with unwanted brazen (=shameless, audacious, blatant) attitude, which could culminate (=end up) disasters in the long run.

  • Why are some people willing to help others?

Some people believe in humanity and giving back to society. They enjoy doing that job. Some people change after a specific disaster in their lives, and they understand the pain or concerns of others closely due to their own experience. The ugly incident in someone’s life, at times, acts as a catalyst (=motivation, stimulant, impetus) for change. For example, I felt compassion for all animals after losing my pet, Snowie, some years ago. Today, I feed stray dogs, cattle, and cats. That ugly experience of losing my pet awakened my dormant humanity for other animals.

  • Do you like to help others?

Yes, as long as my time and wallet permit. I mean, I would help someone up to a certain extent but not absolutely. For example, if I’ve to feed any poor or animal, I won’t think once also and do that job. But I may not be the same person for people with resources and freeloaders because I hate them and won’t help them at all.

  • Do you think people are less willing to help others these days compared to the past?

I can’t entirely agree with this statement, and in fact, I think otherwise. As time progressed, people have given the importance of giving. Such a culture was not there decades back. It’s obvious because of the evolution of the human brain. People have become more compassionate these days, and media are doing an excellent job in spreading awareness in society. If we talk about large corporations, you will see a button of ‘CSR’ (corporate social responsibility) on their websites, and they feel proud of helping others.

  • How do people in your community help each other?

In many ways, I say. Whenever any crisis occurs, we see people come forward and help others. Be it a flood, be it a pandemic, be it an earthquake, or anything, we see a tremendous positive movement of people willing to do their best to help their fellow citizens. Some run blood camp campaigns, some donate the poor and animals, and some feed hungry people and whatnot.

  • In your view, should children be taught to help others?

Yes, without any doubt. A child without human values and human decency has nothing to contribute to society in general. Therefore, it’s of great significance that we inculcate the habit of helping others. We need to explain to them that if they don’t do good for others, they will also be at the receiving end sometimes in the future. 

  • How can we encourage children to help others?

The one-word answer is ‘Story.’ We need to tell them positive stories of great people and their doing and giving. Stories move from one generation to another, and that chain must not be broken. It’s a part of our culture. We need to explain to them that giving back to society is a part of their responsibilities when they grow.

5. Describe an intelligent person that you know.

  • Who this person is, how you know this person
  • What this person knows about
  • Why you think this person is intelligent
  • What you learned from him/her
  • If I’ve to choose a person I respect much and rely on her wisdom, it’s definitely my grandma
  • She is educated, humorous, intelligent, and composed, and everyone in our family honors her for these qualities
  • Today, I’m a successful athlete who participates in international competitions. All credit goes to my grandma for my success because she disciplined me and infused a culture of fighting challenges and adversaries (=enemy, competitor, antagonist)
  • I remember having distanced myself from sports participation in school. I was never considered cool and made fun of  because I had never played any sports on any school team
  • Here, my grandma gave me a piece of advice. She said, “Kid, this is the right time for you to challenge your body and brain. People only remember outliers and winners and those who have unique and eccentric qualities. So, give your best and touch the sky”
  • She ensured that I had a healthy diet and sleep schedule while I was young. And those disciplinary actions worked wondrously
  • I consider her intelligent because she helped me reprogram my subconscious mind to reach my potentials. Otherwise, I had never known that I could touch the height of success. Every word of her was remarkable in shaping my athletic career
  • I remember an instance. While sprinting for the line during the practice, I stumbled and happened to sprain my ankle severely once. I could not run for two weeks and felt down and dejected. I had all negative thoughts prevailed on my mind and was terrified about my career
  • She came and rescued me from this despair and pumped up supreme confidence in me to get back to my career. That time was terrible, and she said, “This shall also pass.” And, yes, it did so
  • In fact, I learned several life skills and wisdom from her. But one thing that I like about her is her leadership quality. She knows how to motivate people and has answers to all difficulties. She is always smiling, full of life, and a good listener, too
  • Do you think smart people tend to be selfish?

Hmm, I’m afraid I’ve to disagree with this observation. I guess smart people don’t focus on trivial (=unimportant, small) matters in most cases. Some people have a habit of attention-seeking and want the world to help them during their rough times. Therefore, first of all, their expectations are unreasonable. Smart people know how to deal with people and their psychology, and their entire concentration is used in making their progress. They quickly distance someone when they realize that they need to contribute either time or money to them. I don’t think it’s wrong. Yes, I can say that they are less emotional to others and maybe insensitive to people’s problems. But they cannot be tagged selfish for being straight.

  • Who plays a more important role in a child’s development, teachers or parents?

I guess both have a significant role in molding children’s lives. Children spend two-third of the time at home and one-third of it at school. So, whatever learning and mannerism they learn from school must be supported at home and vice versa. Parents may be emotional for children and may condone (=forgive) their mistakes, whereas teachers believe in discipline and are strict. So, this combination prepares children for their adulthood and eventually for their success.

  • Do you think smart people are happy?

It’s hard to say that. Smartness is one thing, but how to deal with challenges and frustrations may require another set of behavioral disciplines. In fact, I believe it’s otherwise. Smart people may suffer from extreme frustrations because they sometimes overthink about problems. They’ve the better critical thinking, so they assume future difficulties beforehand in certain situations, which may spoil their present times. Hence, my answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both.

  • Do you think the intelligence of a person is important?

In most cases, I would say, ‘yes.’ However, intelligence alone cannot help people overcome challenges. It must be coupled with other qualities, such as smartness, social skills, talents, experience, and so on. A man of great intelligence and broad knowledge may lessen the impact of any wrong decision or event and may help resolve the challenge on hand. Hence, it does help greatly.

  • Why are some children more intelligent than others?

I guess there could be three reasons for some children who are more intelligent than others. First, the right kind of upbringing and environment prepares children to be better than others. For example, the child of a doctor invariably learns about some medical science because his father keeps discussing a lot many things about it at home. So, he grows listening to those informal chats and discussions. Second, some children are born smart and intelligent. I haven’t come across any research shedding light on why this happens so, but I’m sure nobody may have an answer to this God-made universe. Lastly, some children don’t do better when they are young, but they learn through experiences and develop a steep learning curve as they grow.  

  • Are people born clever or need to learn to be clever?

Yes, some are born clever, and others get better with experiences and time. Some children have better receptive skills while learning, whereas others take some time. But in the end, if someone is wholeheartedly prepared to challenge something or learn something, nothing can stop him from reaching the destination.

  • Do you think there is anything that intelligent people find difficult to do?

Yes, there could be many, in fact. Intelligence ain’t define that a person can be a master in any subject or occupation. Intelligence means how well and fast you adopt new learning and execute it. There could be many things where you might see intelligent people will also struggle to decode the maze of intricacies (=complexity, difficulty). For example, Virat Kohli is an absolutely talented batsman, but he may not become a notable scientist at ISRO. I mean, you become proficient in one or two occupations but can’t be everywhere. That’s why it’s called “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

  • What ways do people use to judge someone’s intelligence?

First of all, I think this question is flawed (=erroneous). It’s hard to judge anyone’s intelligence. Even the judges of the Supreme Court fail to judge rightly in many cases. Yes, we can talk about reasonable ways. For example, you may designate someone for an assignment. And you can judge him how good, bad, or ugly he is at it. You will have to examine his job qualitatively. In another instance, I can say that how well someone has resolved any issue under pressure at the workplace. When we see in the car’s rear mirror, everything looks clear because it has passed but how you foresee and look forward to certain things that matter the most.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 10

  1. Describe a time when you received good news.
  • What this news was
  • When and where you heard it
  • Why you think it was good news
  • Our cellphones are filled with countless messages, and this digital junk has no value on most occasions unless they are of need
  • I would like to share with you one of the important messages that I received around six months ago
  • My cousin, Siffat, lives in Auckland, New Zealand. She did her master’s degree and decided to stay back in New Zealand
  • She had been hunting for a better job for a long time but in vain
  • Because of her consistent failure to obtain the desired job, she remained dejected (= disheartened, discouraged) and upset
  • Everybody in the family was worried about her struggle. She is a very talented girl and deserves a beautiful life
  • She persevered for her job hunt, and finally, she made progress in her career and got the job that she wanted
  • So, it went like this. I wake up and check my phone. I read a notification of a new message, reading ‘Siffat Sis’. Generally, she sends messages via Whatsapp, but this was a regular text message, so it was bizarre (=strange)
  • The message read, “Woohoo! Hey, couch potato (= idler, lazy person). I made it. I’ve got a job respecting my credentials in the Finance Dept. at AIG.” And, there was a stanza of a Hindi song reading, “Aaj me upar, aasman niche.”
  • It was such encouraging and good news for everyone in the family
  • I was happy for her success because we share a strong bond
  • We both did school together up to higher secondary and always helped each other during all good and bad times
  • What do you think of news on social media?

Social media is famous for its authentic and fake news. My personal experience suggests that it has drawn the attention mostly for fake news these days. By saying this, I don’t want to discredit this platform, but it’s people who fill this media with toxicity (=poisonous). Yes, sometimes it makes sense, and the other time, it wreaks havoc (=to do a great damage) when the fake news is spread. There have been occasions that we have seen unwanted and unnecessary hue and cry (=strong public protest about something) in society. Hence, it’s used more for propaganda than what ideally it was designed for.

  • How do people in your country get news?

There are several ways people get acquainted with the latest news and updates. Some people prefer a traditional way of knowing about what’s happening around them. They use newspapers or get updated on TV. People like me neither read newspapers nor do watch TV for updates. They read news online through apps installed on the phone. Some people visit Twitter as well because anything controversial happens in your country, a relevant hashtag is created by the community, and people’s views start clouding (=confuse) your judgment. 

  • What kinds of news do people in your country usually watch or read?

I guess it all depends upon what kind of person you are and your age. For example, the youth loves to know more about their idols, sportspeople, celebrities, or maybe something about the latest technology or gadgets. In the mid-range, people may prefer to learn more about the labor market conditions, stock market, businesses, politics, and cars, among others. The older people gravitate to topics of health, faith, and community welfare. So, it all depends upon who you are, what mindset you have, where you come from, your background, your financial needs, and whatnot.

  • How do people like to share the good news?

In the past, when any good news broke, people used to call each other and shared the piece of news. The same goes for any bitter news. Nowadays, people forward web links of the news via WhatsApp. But this WhatsApp has become a nuisance in my country. You know, some people may like some piece of news, and that’s quite understandable, too. But it may not be useful for others. Plus, some people want to flaunt (=advertise, brandish, proclaim) as they are intellectual and keep abreast of all the happening around the world. So, what they do is they pass on such pieces of news on WhatsApp just to gain non-existent and superficial praise for them.

  • Why do some people like to share news on social media?

I guess they get pleasure by doing that. Furthermore, some people pour out their hearts to (=to tell somebody all your problems, feelings, etc.) others, and it’s just a tendency. At times, they are concerned about their friends and family, and some news pieces may affect them somehow. Hence, they want to give them a heads-up (=a piece of information given in advance of something or as advice), while others have no clue why they are doing so. I mean, in some cases, there is no logic behind certain acts, and on most occasions, you will come across such people doing it unwittingly. They just get pleasure without any reason. For example, some people have a habit of honking (=beep, blare) while driving. And when you investigate why they blow the horn, there won’t be any specific reason, but they enjoy doing so.

  • How do companies tell everyone their news?

Most companies have paid promotions on social media. They use this platform extensively to promote their products or share any new updates concerning their products. So, they run an advert campaign for their products. For example, Flipkart and Amazon organize flash sales every year, and they invest heavily in promotional activities using social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google search optimization, Twitter, and traditional newspapers to attract buyers. 

  • Why do local people like to read local news?

Because it’s connected to them. I mean, I would be more interested to learn about traffic snarls while I’m driving and least bothered about the traffic of Mumbai or Bangalore at that moment. The local issues draw my attention because they could affect my or others’ day-to-day life. Yes, I would be interested in enlightenment (=knowledge) of what’s happening around my country and the world and would give more prominence (=the state of being important) to things that are happening in my city.

  • When do people share the good news?

Whenever they feel that some extraordinary event or thing has happened to them for which they have been yearning or waiting for some time. Their hearts swell with happiness. Some good news could be a life-changing event for them, and they cannot wait but share it instantly with the world. Humans are social animals and love to share things, emotional triggers, rumors, learning, frustrations, and whatnot.

  • How does technology affect the delivery of news?

Well, technology has greatly impacted the delivery of news. In the absence of technology, we had to wait for the newspaper to arrive the next day to get updates or wait for the news bulletin on TV or radio. With the Internet, we get up-to-the-minute pieces of news. A timely-delivery of news could be beneficial to some people and may help them avert (=avoid, deter, foil) any danger, also. For example, the stock market reacts to any good or bad news instantly, so if you want to stay ahead of others in making a profit, you must use technology for instant updates.

  • Is it easier to pass information now than in the past?

Without a doubt, it is. You just need to click the button, and the message is sent. I remember my father saying that his mom used to wait for a hand-written letter from her nanny or brother when he was a kid. Can we think that it could happen now? ‘Nay.’ So, my point is technology has brought the world closer than ever before. And you have multiple ways to connect with the world instantly. Some of them are social media or digital apps such as Zoom, JioMeet, Microsoft Team, WhatsApp calling, Google Duo, and many other apps, and technology platforms make our lives better and easier. This privilege was non-existent in the past. In a way, our generation is lucky to have the boon (=blessing, godsend, windfall) of technology, which our parents or grandparents did not have.  

2. Describe a book you read that you found useful.

  • What the book is, and what it is about
  • Why you read it
  • When you read it
  • Why you think it is useful
  • I generally read articles or books online these days. It’s been a while that I’ve read a paper book
  • Let me pull out something from my reading history. Yes, I read a popular book named ‘The Alchemist’ last year
  • This book has an amazing story to inspire and look inward at what we are and what we want from our life. Plus, how we measure our life in the end
  • Paulo Coelho is the author of this wonderful novel. It’s a very old book, but yet it makes sense in our present times
  • The story speaks about an inspiring journey towards self-discovery. There’s no doubt that wisdom and mysticism (=the belief that knowledge of God or real truth can be found through prayer and meditation rather than through reason and the senses) combine in this classic novel that has sold millions of copies of it worldwide
  • The story depicts the journey of a young shepherd boy who wishes to travel the world in search of treasure. But he ends up discovering an entirely different type of riches, which he never imagined in the beginning
  • The story teaches us to listen to our hearts, which many a time we ignore it. And evaluate and recognize our unique opportunities in life and chase the dream and passion
  • I would recommend this book to people of all ages because there’s something for everyone to learn and understand from this fantastic story. The youth will enjoy reading it and might find some connection to their desires and restlessness in this story
  • What is the difference between paper books and ebooks?

As far as the content and delivery of the message is concerned, both have similar values. However, more and more people are getting used to ebooks because they don’t need to carry all books while traveling and switch from one book to another at will and take advantage of technology. Additionally, people are more conscious about the environment these days, so they prefer ebooks. It’s because ebooks are not contributors to the cutting of trees. That said, yet I like to read paper books. Maybe because I’ve grown up reading paper books, and I love the smell of the paper also. But as I said the environmental concerns, I’ve switched to ebooks now. It was a hard decision to make, but I’m more worried about Mother Nature than my personal wish.

  • What is the difference between the reading habits of young people and old people?

I guess the preference of reading topics changes as you get older in most cases. For example, when I was a kid, I loved reading comic books, and those stories of Phantom, He-Man, Joker, Batman, and their images always captivated and took me to a wonderful paradise of imaginations. Then, I grew up reading schoolbooks and all other related to my academic curriculum and then entered the world of reading novels. These days, I read books on tourism, fictional stories, motivation, politics, sports, investing, and whatnot. This is my rough assumption that people might have such a preference. If not all, something similar must be there. And as we know that when people enter their fifties, they prefer to read books on faith, humanity, and topics encompassing (=covering) helping and understanding the world and its pains and sweet endings. 

  • Some people say that it is easier for children who start reading at a young age to succeed. Do you agree?

My answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both. Reading unlocks the world of information as long as you are interested in developing yourself pertaining to any topic or subject. It certainly makes you articulate and composed. A little bit of extra information always gives a head start (=an advantage that someone has over other people in something such as a competition or race) once you’re set on starting a new journey on any topic or research. However, whatever you learn throughout your academics has no value until you utilize and execute your learning practically. You may have seen students having straight ‘A’s during their studies but fail miserably in their careers also. It’s because they were outperformers during their studies but unsuccessful in implementing their learning in the labor market. Hence, my eyes won’t ever dazzle at the habit of reading at all. I will always monitor the execution.

  • Are libraries important nowadays?

Yes, they are, and they will always be. But the question here is how many people and students go to libraries nowadays. I guess ‘very few,’ and that’s the matter of concern. Additionally, people prefer ebooks, so they have several books installed on their devices. Therefore, libraries are under threat.  

  • What books do children like to read?

Children enjoy watching cartoons and reading comic books in most cases. They are entertaining and suit their preference. But as they grow, books on academic content become a priority for them, especially in India. The reason behind this imposed habit is the educational ecosystem grinds students badly. They have to perform and perform exceptionally well in order to appease the wish of parents or society. That said, some students buck the trend (=to resist or oppose something) and yet find some time to read books on various topics, such as sports, music, fashion, and entertainment. I’ve also seen students reading novels, too. And yes, it is truly an impressive habit for sure.

  • Do you think paper books will disappear?

It’s hard to say that they will disappear. Looking at the current trend, it seems, though, because most students are switching to ebooks. But, maybe I think this could be a passing fad. But again, I could be wrong also in my assumption. I say this because recently, students have been made to study online during the coronavirus pandemic, and most of them are really not enjoying online studies or anything to read online much. They hop back to paper books on most occasions, citing stress on eyes.

  • Do people read more nowadays?

I think so. In the past, we had magazines, newspapers, and other books to read, and we had to spare some time and find the place to read the books of interest. But, now it has changed dramatically because everyone carries a smartphone loaded with several apps. These apps keep sending notifications of the up-to-the-minute update, and because of the convenience factor, people tend to read many things on the run. For example, when I take a mini-break of say 5 to 10 minutes, I complete any article of my choice. So, I guess the reading habit of the people has changed and significantly increased.

  • Do you read before going to bed?

Not much, to be honest with you. In the past, yes, I used to read before I went to bed, but these days, I more often watch something on ‘YouTube’ than read a book. In a way, it’s one and the same thing for me. Whatever type of enlightenment that I yearn for, I get it from ‘YouTube’ videos. Yes, I cannot have some options, such as novels and comic books that I read when I was very young. In a nutshell, my reading has reduced, and at times, this fact also annoys me.

  • How will ebooks affect paper books?

It’s believed that they will replace paper books in the years to come. I don’t know whether it will happen or not. But one thing is sure that it has impacted the sale of paper books extraordinarily because most environmentally-conscious people are switching to ebooks. Let’s see what unfolds in the future. To date, I would say that ebooks have run over their counterparts

  • What is the difference between films and books?

Well, we cannot compare them both. It’s like comparing an orange with an apple. Both have unique offerings and a set of enjoyment. Films entertain or acquaint you with what’s happening in the world with fictional or true stories. Within a couple of hours, you enter a world of fantasy. They are as dearly as books, while books need a different type of mindset. I mean, everyone will not be interested in reading books, but most people will be interested in watching movies of their preferences.

3. Describe a good decision you made recently.

  • What the decision was, and how you made it
  • When you made it
  • Why it was a good decision
  • How you felt about it
  • The best decision that I’ve made in my life to date is to study for a master’s degree in Canada
  • This decision was on the cards (=likely to happen) while I was doing my bachelors’ degree in India. However, there were times when I got confused about this decision a little bit. It’s mainly the cost factor that made me review my decision
  • If I study in India, it will cost me no greater than ₹1 million (₹10 Lacs), whereas it costs me nearly ₹3 million (₹30 Lacs) when I study in Canada. Because of the cost only, I was puzzled for some time, but my dad counseled and encouraged me to go ahead with my decision to study overseas
  • It’s a hard decision to make for me as my family is not wealthy. This decision could throw away their hard-earned money. But my father has farsightedness and explained to me the rationale (=hypothesis, justification, explanation) behind his approval. In the end, we were on the same page (=in agreement)
  • So, while I was completing my last year of the undergrad degree, I decided it firmly and started preparation for the same
  • I guess this decision will be considered as a milestone in my career. I’m studying software designing along with mobile app development. Generally, technologists have either of them in specialization, whereas I possess both skills
  • North America is a hub for new technologies, and it’s considered a powerhouse of the tech world. Obviously, my skill is in demand in India as well, but the only problem that I see while staying back in my homeland is it doesn’t offer good remuneration and benefits for skills. If I study and work there, what I can make in the next ten years will not be possible to do so in my country’s next 20 years. So, that’s the biggest difference and the main factor for me to go abroad for higher studies and stay back there
  • I foresee that I will be in a purple patch (=a period of success or good luck) after completing of my studies. Just that feeling of being successful in the future makes me feel proud of my decision
  • What is the difference between decisions that children and adults make?

First of all, we can never compare decisions made by children and adults. Adults have experience of years in the field that they are involved in. Plus, with professional experience, they’ve attained a number of essential life skills, which guide them further to be wiser. They have seen more days and nights than children and have navigated through several challenges. That makes them pragmatic, calm, reasonable, considerate, and efficient. Hence, when they make decisions, generally, there is some rationale for making such a decision.

In contrast, children are impulsive (=rash), impatient, less experienced of many challenges, and at times, reckless. I don’t want to discredit them, but the naked reality of life is people get matured with time and experiencing challenges. Therefore, I would suggest children to consult with their seniors at home before making any big decision. Having said that, children should be allowed to make decisions that are not consequential (=important) and don’t impact their careers or lives. For example, when they decide to buy a bike of their choice, they should be allowed to purchase the bike they’ve their heart is set on.

  • Does a change of the decision mean that what you did previously failed?

Failures teach us for good. Even if somebody has made an ugly decision, he has an opportunity to correct it. “To err is human” – that’s what the maxim (=adage) says. Plus, nobody can make all the right decisions ever. Every wrong decision leaves a lesson to learn from it. At times, under certain circumstances, people also need to tweak their choices.

  • Is it good for children to make decisions when they are young?

As long as small decisions are concerned, yes, they should be offered leeway (=latitude, space) to make such decisions. Such latitude will prepare them for adulthood and success. But if any decision involves farsightedness, a lot of money, career-making, risk-taking, or any other important element, I would advise them to consult their family members. Because sometimes a wrong decision could cost unimaginable pain and hardship. For example, a child under 18 might insist on driving the car, and if he is allowed, he might endanger his life and others. In a nutshell, children should be prohibited from making certain types of decisions, but not all. It’s a delicate balance that parents must maintain for the betterment of their children.

  • Why do people make decisions?

Because sometimes they have to, according to the situation.

  • At what age can children make decisions on their own?

I guess the right age for children to make decisions is 18. Undoubtedly, at the age of 18, they are relatively young to make decisions, but we gotta offer some leeway so that they can stand on their feet gradually.

  • What decisions do people make every day?

If we talk about decisions made every day, they are related to our day-to-day life, which may not be of great importance. However, things change when you’re employed or run a business. In a business or job, you may need to make crucial decisions every day. Right decisions made every day reap desired fruition in the long run. For example, an attempt to satisfy your clients every day help your business grow exponentially when we analyze it year on year basis.

  • How can people improve their decision-making skills?

Life is a journey, not the destination. Each right or wrong decision leaves some sort of learning. Sometimes it could be bitter and the other time a feeling of pride. When the wrong decisions in businesses are made, we see everything slow to a grind. The opposite is also true. Your personal and professional life improves by leaps and bounds (=very quickly) with the right decisions. In a nutshell, constant decision-making has a steep learning curve. 

  • What skills are necessary when making decisions?

I think, first of all, people must exercise patience and have an analytical attitude while making any decision. Good people analyze statistics, research opportunities and threats, seek advice from the experts, and use their common sense. These qualities in the combination help you reach the right decision in all the probabilities. In some cases, even though we go through such steps, we may make the wrong decisions.

  • What do you think are the qualities of a good leader or a good decision-maker?

I guess they’re reasonable in their expectations in the first place. They run through all the scenarios, such as what will happen if things go wrong. For example, they have three possible results: Optimistic scenario, Reasonable scenario, and Pessimistic scenario. When they go through such steps, they’re all prepared for emergent situations to tweak their plans. This is how they win while making decisions. They think critically and analytically and leave no room for decisions made by impulsive behavior or driven by gut instinct.

  • When do people change their decisions?

Sometimes halfway in the journey, we realize our follies (=mistake). Some people, especially those who possess a negative mindset, paint too much of a doomsday (=the last day of the world) picture and allow the situation to slip out of hands. But some are resilient (=buoyant, strong, tough) by nature and force; they correct the course of their journeys and try to minimize the impact of the wrong decision. You’ve got to take corrective measures to make things better in some cases. 

4. Describe the first time when you used a foreign language to communicate.

  • Where it happened
  • When it happened
  • Who you talked to
  • How you felt about the conversation
  • The language provides us a primary method of communication. It’s hard to learn any foreign language; no matter how hard we try to improve it, we cannot be as good as a native speaker for sure
  • In India, most people study in the school where the medium of instruction is the English language. I can proudly say that we are far better than other nationals in speaking and writing the English language. But there’s also a caveat (=warning). Can we speak like native speakers? In most cases, the answer is ‘no’
  • It’s a continuous process of getting better in the language. I remember my linguistic skill in the English language was tested when I started my freshman year in the USA
  • Until then, our teachers and others spoke in the English language, but we always mixed our vernacular language, and in most cases, it was an Indian English instead. I mean, a pure translation from the mother tongue into the foreign language. And it looks funny on many occasions
  • After completing of my first course, I had to do a presentation before an audience of around 400 people in the auditorium. They were students, professors, and other people from the industry. Most of them were born Americans whose first language was English
  • This is the first time where I felt less confident while speaking in English. I feared that I was judged on my language. Obviously, my pronunciation delivery, intonation, and stress were not akin to those of native speakers
  • And somehow, I completed my presentation with low confidence, impacting my marks also
  • But that was a steep learning curve for me. My classmate, who is a born American and native speaker, calmed my nerve and counselled me about where I was wrong. Ever since that experience, I’ve never looked back and improved on pronunciation delivery, intonation, stress, and colloquial language
  • Will minority languages disappear?

I guess they will gradually vanish for many reasons. Evolution is a natural process. Humankind adopts and disowns many things with time. For example, I’m a Sindhi, I know how to speak it and understand various dialects also. But I don’t know how to read or write it. Now, here is the concern! Perhaps, our next generations may even struggle to speak and understand it. There are several languages that are on the brink of extinction. And that’s why many governments are trying to revive vernacular languages by including them in academic courses at the school level. Languages disappear owing to the natural process of migration, and in some cases, they are destroyed by force. For example, ‘Saraiki Language’ in Pakistan is on the verge of disappearance because the state has imposed ‘Urdu’ as a national language on all citizens without sympathy for many people.

  • Is learning a language since childhood good for the child?

My answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both. I would say ‘yes’ because children retain the learning well when they’re very young, and as they grow, their retention skill gets debilitated (=weaken) because they’re surrounded by unimaginable external and internal concerns.

However, when we force or create an environment for children to learn another language at a young age, they may lose their command over native languages. So, all in all, you get something and lose something. And, it’s arbitrary (=subjective).

  • Is spoken language more important than written language?

I don’t think so. Maybe we speak more and write less in our day-to-day life. But it all depends upon your own circumstances. Suppose your job entails back-end processing where you need to write too much and speak less; there, the importance of writing supersedes spoken language. So, it’s all about your situations, but I believe both skills are equally significant in our lives.

  • Do you think learning a foreign language is important?

Again, my answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both. Some people enjoy learning other languages because they see intrinsic value in them. Some people have to learn a foreign language because the ecosystem has been created such. For example, we Indians yearn for speaking the English language fluently as most international trades and domestic transactions take place in English, and therefore, it’s a requirement to climb the ladder of success. In India, there’s another group of people who feels pride in the English language proficiency for some unknown reasons. They feel associated with the language and like to be called ‘Angrez.’ Hence, it comes down to what you want to achieve by learning the foreign language.

  • Do you think English will be the mainstream language of the world in the future?

No. I don’t think so. Native languages will be dominant in the years to come, and they won’t be replaced ever. Yes, some minority languages will be at a loss and may disappear in the future.

  • Can people learn English and not learn another language?

If it’s decided, anybody can learn any language in the world. No mission is impossible against the will of the doer. You just need a purpose for doing anything. Motivation always ensues (=come up, arise, emanate).

  • When learning a foreign language, which part is easier – Speaking or Writing?

I think speaking is easier than writing in any language. Because speaking doesn’t involve a complex grammar structure, and your expressions and gestures speak unspoken things, so it’s handy for speakers.

  • Some people travel to learn a foreign language. What do you think about this preference?

I support this notion. You tend to learn any language better when you are surrounded by native speakers. You learn significant elements of the language by interacting with native speakers formally or informally. And, it’s like building blocks every day.

  • Do you think grammar is important?

Yes, it’s without any equivocation (=without any doubt). Or the meaning and context will be distorted. I know some people say that grammar isn’t something to concentrate on. But they forget that people lose their professional integrity by using erroneous language. If I talk about myself, I won’t dare to read any material if the first couple of lines don’t make sense and grammatically incorrect. I will throw it away.

  • Is it popular to learn English in your country?

Yes, very much. English is a very much popular language in India. In fact, I would say that every Indian desires to speak in English fluently. They feel a status symbol if they are proficient in this language.

  • Why do some people learn languages so quickly?

I guess there are two reasons for this. One, some people are good at grasping any learning, and it’s a God gift. Some people memorize swiftly, which may not be possible for everyone. Two, some people have an interest in learning languages. Again, it’s a choice or a dream, I could say. For example, I have seen people working hard to improve their French or English proficiency in India. Not because they want to go overseas, but they feel confident and content to have command over other languages.

  • What are the difficulties of learning a new language?

There could be many for sure. Non-native speakers don’t have an environment where the other language is widely used. And therefore, they make a lot of mistakes because there’s no one to correct their mistakes. Everyone is just involved in a trial and error process, so they stay away from the language’s purity. Additionally, some people start learning a new language with great zest in the beginning, but that strong desire to learn a new language fades away after some time as every skill takes your dedication, time, patience, and die-hard efforts. Everyone is not born to possess such qualities.

5. Describe an area of science that interests you.

  • What science it is
  • How you got interested in it
  • How you learn this science
  • Why this science is interesting to you
  • The science course never interested me when I was in school. I studied it for the sake of studying and chose the concentration of engineering for my career
  • But after many years, I found a renewed interest in one of the branches of Science, which is Astronomy
  • I guess most children grow up watching ‘Discovery’ or ‘NatGeo’ TV stations that host some informative documentaries, including space probes
  • Their findings and commentaries are always captivating, and you feel knowing more about outer space. This interest fortified further when my idol, Elon Musk, decided to commercialize space travel
  • Additionally, I remember my father always telling me the contribution of Ancient India as the original home of mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. He talked about the connection between ‘Kumbh Mela’ and ‘the Indian Calendar, Vikram Samvat,’ and their relationship with the observation of the stars, moon, sun, and planets that formed the basis of navigation and timekeeping
  • What NASA observed in the last 20 years was the part of our rich Indian culture centuries back
  • Learning more about Astrophysics was never an intent of academic passion as my interest in exploring new things of outer space and how the cosmos influences are meaningful in our lives was merely casual
  • Hence, I started to collate (=gather) details of it casually by reading books, watching documentaries, and listening to people around me
  • There are countless things that are unanswered, and I think I will learn them as time passes
  • I also think that Astronomy is connected with our day-to-day life, and we will know of its significance sooner
  • Today, modern observations are made in all parts of the spectrum. It’s not limited only to radio frequencies or X-rays
  • Do you think science is important?

Science is one of the precious assets of humankind. It defines us. Without science, we wouldn’t have made progress in many worthwhile areas. Just imagine what we were some ten to twenty centuries ago. We all humans knew only three things: food, sleep, and sex. We didn’t do anything good to save humanity.

Science is a systematic study of many concentrations backed by evidence, data, observation, and hypothesis. Synthesis and analysis of all these statistics keep us evolving and get better. Without science, we will only be like other animals who know only three things that I stated.

  • How does science influence our life?

It’s of great assistance in many ways. The systematic studies of various branches gave birth to (figurative) several useful innovations and inventions, which are directly linked to our day-to-day lives. For example, life expectancy was around 30 years some three hundred years ago, which has improved to 60+ these days. This has become possible only because of the untiring efforts of our scientists in medical science. This is just one example, and there are many other branches where we take advantage of in-depth studies of science. It offers the potential for long-term benefits to all.

  • Should children learn science?

Yes, they must, at least, up to a higher secondary level. Children must study the combination of courses, including science, for the overall development of theirs. Science course teaches them to synthesize information, analyze outcomes, hypothesize situations, brainstorm challenges, and many other things. This develops their minds to think critically, backed by evidence. Plus, what’s been happening around us over the centuries is a subject of curiosity and relevance. The more they learn about these, the better prepared they will be. Maybe they could be potential innovators or inventors!

  • Do you think science can change our society?

Yes, definitely. We have already been reaping its benefits in all areas that have touched human life. I mean, we’ve been using medical devices, renewable energies, advanced technologies in agriculture, health-enhancing treatments, outer space explorations, radio frequencies, and whatnot. The contribution of scientists has made our life comfortable, safe, and secure. Without science, we would have traveled on horses, elephants, and ponies and covered our bodies with leaves and sung ‘Jingalaalaa’ in the jungle.

  • How can museums help (children) learn science?

In a great way! Museums familiarize children with a wide range of information on several topics. It all depends on the students’ interests and areas of study. It’s a great collection of things and information specific to a particular subject. They can get acquainted with what happened in the past in related studies and incorporate it with their studies or increase awareness of the specific field. For example, we’ve anthropology, archeology, and ethnographic museums. Here children can learn about the collection of antiquities, the conservation and restoration of historic sites, human remains, archeological thefts, intellectual properties, and so on. This is just one example. You have museums in many areas where children can improve their understanding of their interests.

  • Which area of science is the most important in the last one hundred years?

There could be many, but my answer is medical science. We’ve seen a tremendous improvement in medical science. Most countries have invested billions of dollars to better human life. I think each decade belongs to some sort of medical breakthrough from which we have been significantly benefitted. For example, penicillin’s discovery might not hold a reputation today, but it was one of the greatest achievements to better humans’ health. Today, lives are saved by blood transfusions and heart transplants, and the lives of the handicapped have been made easy by the use of prosthetics (=artificial parts of the body). Today, amputees (=a person whose arm or leg amputated) can live a respectable life with these artificial body parts. The latest one is the study of DNA that carries genetic information. So, the list is endless.

  • Which do you think is more important, science or social studies?

I guess both are equally significant without a doubt. Science helps us live better and healthy, whereas social study sheds light on how our society has evolved, and our cultural ties play a role in humankind. It encompasses the basic understanding of equality and justice, which are the basis of society’s foundation.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 9

  1. Describe a family (not your own) that you like.
  • Whose family this is
  • Where they live
  • Who are the family members
  • Why you like this family
  • Well, there are many families in my acquaintance (=contact) that are worth discussing, but it’s hard to pick one of them
  • Anyway, if I’ve to choose the perfect family, I will give number one to the family of my friend, Tina
  • I’ve known this family for the last 15 years. Tina and I have been studying and growing up together over these years. Hence, it’s the usual thing that we keep visiting each other’s family. In fact, I can say that it’s my extended family in a way, considering the amount of love and affection that I receive from her parents. Sometimes they also counsel me about my study and career plans
  • They live in a luxurious villa in the same vicinity where I live. I love her house very much because it’s set within landscaped grounds. Plus, it has an absolute green backdrop because it’s surrounded by a number of mature forest trees
  • Tina has a younger brother who is in year 12 right now. They are four in the family
  • Words will fall short of praising the qualities of the Bhatia family
  • Tina’s mom has a congenial (=affable, jovial, cordial) personality, and she’s a super successful businesswoman also. In business, she maintains order by sheer force of personality, and I guess she’s one of the adorable persons in the workplace, too.
  • About her father, uncle Bhatia is an innovative kind of person. When you sit with him casually, he always comes up with some bright ideas on many things. He always discusses the solutions of any matter rather than cribbing (=complain) about problems like others. As a youth, I tend to learn a lot many things, which I might not learn from books. When he speaks, it’s always ‘pearls of wisdom’
  • Not only these, but they are also full of life all the way. They create moments of happiness and live in the present. You can see their loving memories all over on Facebook and Instagram. They also travel a lot. Every year, they go to some exotic places in the world and bring back sweet memories and learning of the other culture and share with us
  • To me, they are the happiest family on this earth, and they make every moment count. Uncle Bhatia always says, “You get only one life. Make it count!”
  • One thing is sure that when I acquire my family, I will certainly emulate (=copy) what they do
  • How do grandparents educate their grandchildren in your country?

I guess it’s hard to answer this question because it all depends on the grandparents’ personality and temperament. All humans don’t have the same qualities: some are full of wisdom, and others are full of negative mindsets.

Anyway, if I take the gist (=summary, tenor) of this question and generalize it, the first thing that grandparents teach children is the importance of several life skills in life. Children get all the book knowledge from the school, but life skills prepare them for adulthood and success. For example, my grandparents taught me many invaluable life skills, such as being punctual at work, doing my laundry, managing time, having good manners, being a good helper and team player, among others. I can go on and on. And, frankly speaking, you won’t believe how useful these life skills are in my life. I think the wisdom of grandparents plays a vital role in our success in the long run. And, there’s no doubt that grandparents are as knowledgeable as our professors and teachers who shape our lives positively.

  • Who is the head of the family in your culture?

Both my parents jointly make all significant decisions in my family. But if I talk about the Indian culture, it has been an elderly male candidate who is the family head in most cases. However, things are changing for the good. You could see women are also coming forward and participating in all family decisions, especially in urban areas.

  • Are grandparents important in your family?

Yes, they are. Our both sets of doting (=adoring, loving) grandparents are the pillars in the family. They’re always there to help children or grandchildren untiringly and incessantly (=constantly), no matter what nonsense or crime they have ever committed. Such selfless love and pampering are precious, and I say that they’re a guardian angel of all sorts for sure.

  • In a typical family in your country, who plays the leading role?

I believe both moms and dads play equally an important role in raising children and looking after other family concerns. It will be unwise, or I would say discrediting, if I become selective on picking up either of them as far as dedication and sacrifice is concerned. Ideally, the father takes the expense of raising children, whereas the mother counsels children for career building and being a responsible citizen. However, things are also changing currently, majorly in urban areas, where you see both parents are the working ones, and they have shared responsibilities to guard their families against all sorts of challenges.

  • For parents, what is important when bringing up their child?

I guess there could be several things we can discuss, but let me narrow down my response. Most parents are worried that children may go astray (=to go in the wrong direction) as they grow, and that’s the only colossal (=gigantic, very big) concern that they have. Then, they try to ensure that their children don’t become a liability to them. In other words, they want their children to embrace their responsibilities as they grow, and when they acquire their own families.

I don’t think that parents are concerned other than these fundamental expectations. But I think that’s not enough. Parents should also inculcate (=impart, indoctrinate, instill) the right values in their children. For example, they certainly advise children not to tell lies, but they themselves do that day in, day out (=everyday), so it’s a self-defeating training.

  • What makes a good parent?

I think I would respect those parents who make their children responsible and give them wings to fly. They should offer a positive environment to children from which they get motivated and do something uncommon for themselves and society at large. Mediocre (=ordinary, dull) living is contagious, and parents must help children to come out of a mediocre life and think beyond imagination with the good values. When I say good values, it means they must be compassionate, sensitive, helping, and strong enough to take the world head-on.

  • Do you think both parents should take equal responsibility for taking care of their children?

Yes, absolutely. Be it a family or a job; nothing great can be achieved without teamwork. So it is the right thing in the family! Their equal concentration on children ensures that they stay on the right course as they go. Plus, every person is unique with so many unimaginable things, and mature people learn from each other. The same applies to parents. For example, my dad is good at taking care of all the external concerns, whereas my mom teaches me to become a good person in life. Such a positive combination shapes the lives of children.

2. Describe a prize that you want to win.

  • What the prize is
  • What you need to do to get it
  • How you know about it
  • Why you want it
  • What a coincidence? You know why I’m taking this test right now, it’s because I want to win the prize of £3,000 from the British Council as well as to study abroad
  • British Council offers 10 prizes worth £3,000 to those students whose academic credentials are brilliant and a high score in the IELTS test, along with an essay of 500 words that should convince them why a particular student deserves this prize
  • It’s a tough competition, though. Tens of thousands of students apply for this prize from India, and I’ll have to stand out (=emerge, stick out) of them to hit the jackpot
  • Hence, not only do I need to score better in the IELTS test, but also I’ve to learn how to write a persuasive (=impressive, cogent, compelling) essay. The persuasive essay is not as easy as it looks. You need to develop critical thinking and have command over the English language to be in consideration
  • The task ahead is full of challenges, and you don’t have trainers who specialize in this job, so it becomes rather complicated
  • Luckily, someone suggested the name of a trainer in Canada who himself went through such processes. His name is Vinod Gambtoo. I shared my concern with him, and he agreed with me to train for this special skill
  • I’m just about to submit all my papers along with the IELTS mark card in the next 15 days
  • I’m thankful to two persons for this job. The first one is Mr. Gambtoo, and the other is my friend, Gurpreetkaur Khalsa
  • I never knew about this prize, but she had all the details for this exciting scholarship and was preparing for the same. She’s a generous (=thoughtful, good, considerate) girl. Everyone wants to compete with a small number of rivals, and generally, they withhold (=conceal, hide) such vital information, which could strike down (=annul, disallow, nullify) their chances to win such prizes if there are too many contestants. But she doesn’t subscribe to such a narrow mindset for sure
  • This prize is significant in two ways. First of all, it will reduce a little bit of the financial burden of my parents. And the second is it’s a certificate of achievement. Such prizes and scholarships increase your chances to be hired when you enter the labor market after your studies. The prize money doesn’t matter. Whether you win $100 or $100,000, it’s the recognition of your achievement that sets you apart (=to make somebody/something different from others or better than others) from others
  • What rewards can children get from school?

It’s said that recognizing a student’s efforts is more valuable than money. All schools also have an instinct (=inclination, aptitude) to compete with other schools within the state or country. Therefore, students who are enrolled with them are the ones who will help them (to) achieve this target. Schools motivate students by giving various types of awards, such as a certificate of achievement, a certificate for good behavior, a certificate for recognizing students’ skills, i.e., innovative thrust, teamwork, leadership, academic excellence, and others. There are many ways to keep students in business. For example, when I was awarded scholarships by my school, I always felt connected with my school and its reputation. Such awards keep students thinking out of the box all the time. At times, schools take all the expenses of coaching and provide playing equipment to students interested in sports or who have performed well in the competitions.

  • Is it good for children to compete for prizes at school?

Yes, of course. Through competitions only, children can prove their worth or excel in academics or sports. Let’s see what exactly the meaning of any trophy or prize is? It gives students a sense of accomplishment, an increased level of self-confidence, respect among the peer group, and, more importantly, a pride for three parties: himself, school, and family. Students carry forward such a feeling of accomplishment throughout their lives, which can help them to succeed in their occupations in the long run. So, it’s not all about prize or money, but it could inspire them to think innovatively or work hard for themselves and society as a whole.

  • What reward can companies offer to outstanding employees?

I guess only a few companies have developed an atmosphere for employees who want to remain associated with them in the world, or in fact, stay there for a longer time. Large corporations have a mixed bag of motivational tools for their employees. Some corporations offer hard cash to motivate top performers, whereas some companies have ways to boost company morale by giving them from new gadgets to dinners out to trips to some exotic places in the world. It all depends on how corporations evaluate the drivers for employee performance, and more importantly, it rests on the policy, philosophy, and vision of any company.

  • What rewards do children want to get?

I think, first of all, they want the recognition of whatever good they have done while studying. A simple phone call from teachers to their parents on positive feedback also sends them into the orbit. Children love to receive trophies or badges of honor for their volunteer jobs or on the excellence of any extracurricular activities. Scholarships drive them to do better in studies and offer a feeling of accomplishment on which they feel proud while discussing it on any public forum. Apart from these monetary or non-monetary tools, they also appreciate their teachers’ verbal hugs when they fail in any mission. We cannot be winners all the time, but how to deal with failures gracefully is something that they learn from their mentors, coaches, and teachers. Therefore, this part of encouragement is as significant as other things for students that I discussed.

  • Is it a good idea to reward children for doing homework or housework?

Yes, it is without any doubt. In fact, incentivizing students to complete their homework or household chores is a positive development. Children are always like clay, and school, along with parents, must mold them into the right shape and encourage them to be responsible citizens so that when they grow, a lot many things get streamlined for their good. Plus, every small thing in life teaches them good or bitter lessons. Only academics don’t determine the success of students in their careers, but how to deal with other concerns makes them composed and articulate all the ways.

  • Should parents push their children to get prizes?

My answer is yes, but they should not push them overly to the point where they get frustrated if they fail. Their job is to offer a conducive environment to children whereby they feel motivated but not under any fear of losing and repercussions (=backlash, fallout, chain reaction) from parents. With the right amount of encouragement, children develop virtues, such as commitment, perseverance (=dedication, determination), tenacity (=courage, guts, chutzpah), grit (=the courage and strength of mind), camaraderie (=companionship, togetherness), and resilience (=bounce back). These qualities will invariably take them to their goals of becoming outperformers gradually.

3. Describe a short-term job you would like to do in a foreign country.

  • What type of work you would like to do there
  • What country you would like to work in
  • Why you would like to work in this country
  • Finding the right kind of job that hits all the right marks, such as satisfaction, money, and work-life balance is hard to achieve these days
  • Most people ask, “What’s your passion?”  And then you present or contemplate (=think about) your various interests in life. So, one of my interests is to work for animal betterment in my life
  • I want to have a state-of-the-art veterinarian hospital in my town. Therefore, I would like to gain some hands-on experience working for a not-for-profit organization for animal betterment in Canada
  • I’ve gone through plenty of openings as an animal care administrator online, and it seems that this cause is certainly underserved (=not getting enough help, services, or products) and underrepresented (=marginalized, belittled, diminished) all over the world
  • I’ve done some research on this occupation and found that the government of Canada and several not-for-profit organizations spend millions of dollars to better the lives of animals. They spend billions of dollars in research to alleviate (=mitigate, allay, assuage, ease) the sufferings of animals day in, day out (=every day for a long period of time)
  • I’ve also visited a few organizations, which take care of stray animals. While talking and gathering pieces of information, I found they’ve the expertise to deal with both the medical and psyche of animals, and that’s what gravitates me to this job and place
  • Suppose I’ve experience of some years with such organizations and a little bit of know-how about how vets treat diseased and injured animals and ask about new advances that might help animals live longer and better. In that case, it will be handy for me to start a charitable organization dedicated to this cause in India later on
  • What are the difficulties that people might face while working abroad?

I guess there could be many. First of all, I think language is a big barrier for immigrants or international workers working in other countries where the English language is the first language. No matter how proficient you are, but you can’t be as good as native speakers while communicating. Then, foreigners must adapt to or integrate into the host culture in order to be in sync with (=in agreement with somebody/something) the culture. Otherwise, it’s hard to make progress. You’ve gotta blend yourself with them in every aspect to be marketable. And the last is the weather. I come from India, which has almost hot weather round the year, and if I’ve to work or live in North America, the weather out there is utterly the opposite.

  • What is the biggest challenge of working in a foreign country?

Along with the factors presented in my previous answer, there are yet other things that put immigrants into trouble. For example, corporations out there don’t have any idea about the school’s quality from where you have graduated. And therefore, they think twice to consider your academic achievement at par with their education system. The same trouble applies to your work experience. Imagine how we work in India and how they work there. It’s a day-and-night difference in reality. For example, clients in India have a strong urge to call for every small matter, whereas people there prefer all the communications recorded via emails. Therefore, it’s a 360-degree change, and you need to adapt to all new settings.

  • How would you benefit from working at a multicultural company?

Of late, professional diversity is the centerpiece of all the corporate discussions. A vast number of corporations have a distribution channel globally, so they try to assimilate (=grasp, incorporate, understand) with the local culture. For employees, they will have an idea of how things work in other countries, and such an experience is like gold on your resume.

  • Will it be beneficial for young people to work for an international company?

Absolutely, and there’s no doubt about it. The more you know about the world at a young age, the more chances you have to grow in the long run for sure. I guess global understanding in the line of business you are in will make you composed and articulate. And their benefits will be seen gradually with time.

  • How do people get to know about international jobs?

It’s not hard at all. In the past, until the advent of new technology, we hardly had any knowledge about openings in the international market. But there are several recruitment websites that list jobs regularly now, and some of them operate globally.

  • Is it difficult for people to get a job at an international company?

Yes, I think so. Most companies prefer to hire locals for several reasons. It’s a matter of convenience for both parties. Corporations have to spend time and money both while hiring candidates from other countries. Plus, they’re always skeptical (=doubtful, unconvinced) about the quality of their academic achievement and work experience. However, there are exceptions, too. For example, we Indians are known for our IT skills excellence, and this fact is wide open to the world. Hence, North American and European companies see worth in the Indian workforce in the tech world.

  • Is it good that now people have an opportunity to live and work abroad?

I think it’s a positive development for both immigrants and host countries. Both parties need each other for their success. It’s like mortise and tenon (figurative, coined by Vinod Gambtoo). Immigrants get a better lifestyle living abroad, whereas host countries need population and their participation in economic activities.

4. Describe an event you experienced in which you did not like the music.

  • Where it was
  • What the event was
  • What the music was like
  • Why you didn’t like the music
  • Last year, I attended the wedding of my cousin at Hyatt Regency in Ludhiana
  • Certainly, it was a joyous moment for everyone, but I was really annoyed at my cousin’s decision to organize a live DJ band at the reception ceremony
  • Apart from this DJ band inclusion, the venue was cool. Obviously, I can’t fault Hyatt for his bad decision, and the entire decoration of the ceremony was simply stupendous (=fabulous, fantastic)
  • I had also visited this place before and had a tremendous experience as far as their background music choice is concerned. They generally have the background music of softly lapping water, and, in fact, it’s soothing to your ears
  • I guess we often choose to listen to music that suits our activities and moods. It soothes our nerves and calms our minds
  • But the live DJ band at the wedding reception is something torture. I don’t know who dared to start this gaudy (=showy, gross) music culture in my country
  • You can’t hear anything, and the heavy sound of drums and guitar simply puts you off
  • I mean, it’s OK to have the background music of softly lapping water on such occasions because I consider it a charming piece of music
  • During the entire event, I had to yell in order to be heard over in the deafening noise. I was wondering what my cousin and his wife would have been going through
  • My head started to ache, and I really wanted to leave the place, but I couldn’t do so as it was our family’s celebration
  • Somehow, I managed my time and was faking my smile all the time
  • After a few days, my newly-wed cousin also shared the same experience. He’s a sarcastic (=satirical, caustic, saucy) guy, and what he said made me burst out of laughing
  • He said, “Because of this DJ band, I was also distracted by the splintering noises thundering in my ears. Thankfully, it didn’t disturb my first night”
  • What kinds of music do you like to listen to?

Well, it all depends upon the occasion. I grew up listening to Rock and Pop music, and then gradually became fascinated by other genres also. I love to listen to Bryan Adams, Freddy Mercury, Bono, Roxette, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Sean Paul, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, Elvis, and many others. So, if you see the range, it has all types of genres.

  • What kinds of music are most popular in your country?

In my country, people listen to a wide variety of music genres. I’ve seen people humming a tune of classical music, dancing on folk music in the countryside, the youth reveling on house music, baby boomers (=a person born during a baby boom, especially after the second world war) reliving their lives listening to rock and jazz music, and so on. There’s an endless list. Overall, Indians prefer those songs that have catchy lyrics and full of melodies. The music industry is worth billions of dollars in India. It means music is a part of our lives.

  • Is it necessary for the government to require all children to learn music?

I don’t think so. The government cannot impose its decisions on people on any matter. Additionally, I don’t think that every kid loves music; some love to listen to it or some love to sing as well, but we cannot be sure that everyone desires to learn music as a subject. There’s sufficient support and environment for whoever wants to make a career in music or just want to learn it, but putting all the children through for the same will be over the top.

  • Do you think music lessons are important?

I guess that makes sense. Music has been part of humankind over the centuries. And I think people feel connected with music if they are trained at the basic level. For example, musical training helps children master the skill of memorization.

  • Why do many young people spend a lot of money on music concerts?

Music sound excites emotions and interest. People feel connected when they listen to music they like the most. One of the primary reasons for the youth attending music concerts is (that) it gives them an opportunity to meet and greet their favorite band or the singer in person. It unwinds them because they’re the idols from whom they take inspiration. The entire atmosphere is reverberating (=resound, echo) when you see boys and girls clap, dance, or sway to the beats. I guess such music concerts boost their happiness.

  • There is a lot of pirated music. Do you agree that we should support official music?

Absolutely! You know it’s a crime to buy pirated stuff. Sometimes I wonder why people are so insensitive towards artists. They spend their life and blood to produce a charming piece of music to survive or make some money. But people don’t respect their skills in society. They just try to save some money at the cost of robbing someone’s livelihood. In my country, pirated music and photocopied books or other literature are a norm. Most people grow up using pirated stuff and photocopied books and brazenly (=blatantly, unashamedly) call themselves as saints.

  • There is a saying: ‘Music is like Math.’ Do you agree?

Well, frankly speaking, I’ve heard this adage first time ever in my life. But I do see some connection between these two. I guess both of them follow the combinations, patterns, relationships, interdependence, and structures to produce a great result and idea. Maybe I’m wrong because I never took any interest in developing my skills in music. Neither did I have any formal education in music. This is the best I can postulate (=hypothesize, posit, presuppose) in my argument for this saying.

  • Do you think music concerts are suitable for older people to attend?

I’ve generally not seen older people attending music concerts. And I also don’t see any reason to do so because people stand for hours clapping, dancing, and swaying to the beats. It’s an amazingly electrifying experience, but I don’t think that older people like such a setting to enjoy themselves. They prefer relatively calm events, maybe a town hall where limited seats are available for the audience, and they can sit and enjoy music.

  • Why do shopping malls often have background music?

Shopping malls are filled with unimaginable crowds. Just imagine that all these shoppers and visitors talk to each other, making the entire environment noisy and loud. When you have soft background music, people experience some comfort and don’t get irritated.

  1. Do you think older people like the same music as younger people?

Yes, that’s possible in some cases but not all. I think older people give importance to good lyrics and melody with the combination of music, which matches the mood and theme of the story. However, one thing is sure that both these age groups will not accept all types of contemporary music. There will be some likings, and there won’t be. That’s because music is defined individually, and more importantly, it represents your time and life. For example, you would’ve heard the popular song of Freddie Mercury (Queen Band) – ‘Radio Ga Ga.’ Now, this song and its melody and lyrics may not have relevance in the present, so possibly the youth may not enjoy it. But when I listen to it, it reminds me of my school, old friends and gives me a smile on my face. 

5. Describe a dinner that you enjoyed

  • Who organized this meal and where you had it
  • What you talked about during the meal
  • What you ate and drank
  • Why you enjoyed it
  • I love tasty food, especially love trying different cuisines
  • I can’t say I’m a gourmet, but one thing is sure that I wouldn’t eat anything that’s served on the plate
  • I remember the dinner that we had last month. My boyfriend surprised me utterly by inviting me to the CN Tower on our first anniversary of dating
  • I never thought that my boyfriend would give me a treat at one of Canada’s most expensive restaurants. As expected, it cost us more than $250, but it was all worth it
  • Thankfully, it wasn’t the weekend, so there were relatively small numbers of people relishing the food
  • Initially, I was thinking of saving my boyfriend’s money, so I was unable to decide what to order, but I guess he read my mind and encouraged me to order whatever I liked the most
  • We both love Lasagna with wine and other French dishes. Everything was delightfully tasty, and more than the taste, it had a perfect setting to be with someone and share moments along with a meal
  • This was really a gastronomic delight
  • While having the meal, we talked about how we met and how far we have come in our lives, all those moments where we had our finest moments and also those dark moments where we hated each other for a while. We also talked about our immediate plans in our life and all other stuff
  • I think that the main reason for liking and remembering this meal is because I was felt special and loved. On top of it, the food was awesome, and the experience was such that I thought I’d died and gone to heaven
  • Will you choose a café or a restaurant when you meet others?

Well, it all depends upon the occasion. If friends decide to meet casually, the café will always be the right place because you may sit longer and eat less. Cafes serve bakery stuff, such as cookies, cakes, and light snacks, along with hot and cold beverages, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks. We’ve too many cafes in our city, and trust me, all of them are unique in their offerings. The ambiance (=atmosphere, environs) of some cafes are cool and inviting.

If I’m really hungry or have a formal meet with my clients, then I would definitely choose restaurants over cafes. But, overall, the café will be my preferred choice.

  • What are the differences between a café and a restaurant?

I think you wouldn’t note much difference between cafes and restaurants generally except the size, price, and ambiance. Cafes are meant to be a place for conversation, informal meetings, or a cup of coffee and sit in for a while on the run, whereas restaurants offer a perfect setting for having a meal with friends and family. They are expensive, and each restaurant is unique in ambiance with a pricey menu.

  • Is it important to have a meal together with your family?

Definitely, yes. Having a meal together with your family has only advantages. You could enjoy the meal while discussing your day-to-day life and other issues. Such a conversation gives us some sort of mental relaxation, and you could deal with your work stress. Some parents do it on purpose to promote more sensible eating habits with their children. Children happen to learn all that profound (=deep, intelligent) wisdom of what’s good and what’s not in their eating habits from their parents. It also gives an opportunity to sit together and have fun while eating.

  • Is it expensive to eat out in your country?

I don’t think so, but again it depends upon your income. India is not an expensive country for anything, but if you live from hand-to-mouth, then everything that you see is costly. For example, the McDonald’s burger cost me ₹150 in India and $5.50 in Canada. In the end, how much you save and purchasing power decides your spending power.

  • More and more people are unwilling to cook. Why is this happening?

‘Time is money,’ that’s what’s said. With time, pressure on working people has grown manifold, and it’s hard for them to cope with (X=not, cope up with) their personal and professional life. This could be the chief reason why people are unwilling to cook a meal for themselves. Another factor responsible for this phenomenon is the tremendous availability of fast food at a lower cost. People feel saving a lot of time by buying tasty fast food on the run. And, because of this propensity (=disposition, tendency) of consumer behavior, you see there have been countless fast-food joints that have come into existence everywhere in the world.

  • Do you like to try new food?

Yes, I love trying new foods but may not like all. I’ve tried Lebanese food, Canadian food, and various cuisines of Indian food. I guess all cuisines have mouth-watering smells.

  • What kinds of foreign food are popular in your country?

In my country, you see Chinese food everywhere. Sometimes I wonder that more than Chinese people, we consume their delicacies. In fact, I would say it’s not Chinese food but Indian-Chinese food as it is prepared according to the taste of India. Apart from Chinese, some European and Mexican delicacies are also popular.

  • Do you like to cook at home?

Yes, I love to cook at home as long as time permits me. I believe home-cooked food is healthy. We are already going through worse of the food industry, such as increased hormones in the meat and the use of pesticides in vegetables, so fast food is junk for our body. Therefore, home-made food makes sense.

  • What is the difference between having meals at home and a restaurant?

Both have their advantages. Meals at home are all about sitting with your family members and enjoying the healthy food, which is made of the right condiment, unadulterated oil, and fresh vegetables or meat. I personally love home-made food much, and I believe it’s tastier than that of made in restaurants. However, some people believe that meals at a restaurant are tastier than what’s cooked at home. Plus, you have an ambiance where you do nothing but order the food of your choice. That luxury is not there at home.

  • How often do people in your country like to eat out?

I’m not sure how often they go out for a meal, but I guess they go once a week at least, especially during the weekend.

  • Is it possible that everyone will eat at restaurants instead of at home in the future?

I don’t think so. With time, people are getting matured with many things. I mean, you learn so many hidden or perilous (=hazardous, very dangerous) pieces of information of everything. The food industry has commercialized at the cost of unhealthy adulteration of chemicals and other things, which affects us heavily. Eating out is not a healthy habit, and I guess people are returning to the cooking of late.

  • What are the advantages of eating at restaurants?

Two things come to my mind: one, it is super tasty, and two, it saves your precious time. Apart from these two advantages, I don’t see other benefits.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 8

  1. Describe a friend/person who is a good leader.
  • Who this person is
  • How you know this person
  • What he does
  • Why you think he is a good leader
  • It’s not a hard question, but let me think who is the best leader in my opinion
  • Aha, I would pick our Prime Minister Modi for this topic because he’s given a ray of hope for the better future for all Indians
  • I guess everyone knows him very well. He is all over the places every day and gets the maximum media attention
  • Ever since he has become Prime Minster of India, you see there’s a division among people. I mean, you will see people love him, and you will also see people hate him for some reason
  • Anyway, I would like to talk about why I adore (=admire, revere) our PM as a leader
  • In his first term, he focused on uplifting the poor. And what he did was well taken in the world. He encouraged poor people to open their bank accounts under the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana Scheme’.
  • Initially, his critics laughed and taunted him, but this has been the most prominent financial inclusion on earth to date. Under this scheme, more than 400 million (40 crores) people have opened their bank accounts, and all the government benefits now are directly transferred to beneficiaries (=recipient)
  • In the past, people at the bottom of the pyramid struggled to get benefits introduced by the government due to the bureaucracy’s large-scale corruption
  • Now, there’s no contact of any officer or politician while receiving the government subsidy or benefit
  • Because of only this reason, our PM strikes a chord with people (=to say or do something that makes people feel enthusiastic or sympathy), and the opposition is left with perplexed (=puzzled, bewildered)
  • This was one example. Apart from this, he knows well how to stay in touch with people. Hence, people feel that there’s someone at the top who thinks and cares about them. The love for him clearly reflected in the second term, and people, greater in numbers than before, voted him to be our prime minister once again

Follow-up questions:

  • Who is the head of the family in your culture?

Both my parents jointly make significant decisions in my family. But if I talk about the Indian culture, it has been an elderly male candidate who is the family head in most cases. However, things are changing for the good. You could see women are also coming forward and participating in all family decisions, especially in urban areas.

  • Are men better at decision making in a family?

I disagree with this statement, and, in fact, endorsing such a notion should be considered sexism. There’s no doubt that there’s a cliché (=adage, saying) in our society that men are better than women when it comes to making any decision. In fact, it’s also an ingrained (=fixed, implanted, inherent, inbred) attitude of men in our society, which is unwanted. I guess the habit of making the right decisions comes from the experience, and whoever is enriched with experiences can make the right decision. It has nothing to do with gender.   

  • Do you think that in the future there will be more women leaders?

Yes, I think so. I could see several women coming forward and displaying grit (=boldness, adventurousness), courage, and skills in the world. That monopoly of the man being the top leader has successfully been challenged in recent years. Yet I believe there’s a long way to go for them. But I’m an optimist as change is inevitable in life.

  • Should a leader discuss with team members when making a decision?

Companies grow only when their teams are meticulously (=assiduously, comprehensively, completely, efficiently) coordinated and intertwined (=associate, connected) with other departments. Hence, taking diverse views while working could make a massive difference in the desired outcome. Every person is born with some specialty, and a good manager knows how to take advantage of others’ skills and specialties to make progress in any area. So, it’s a mega ‘Yes.’  

2. Describe your favorite clothes.

  • What it is like
  • Who gave it to you or from where you bought it
  • How often you wear it
  • Explain how you feel about it or why you enjoy wearing it
  • I’m always fascinated by Bond’s suit in my life. He puts on marvelous suits, tuxedos (=a black or white jacket and trousers, worn with a bow tie at formal occasions in the evening), or three-piece suits in the movie. Generally, Bond wears the Tom Ford brand, but I like Ralph Lauren more than that for some reason
  • I remember having bought a suit for my final presentation of the last course while doing an MBA
  • It was a momentous (=crucial, consequential) day for me because, after that, we all were to start our life, and it was an end to my school life also
  • It’s a two-button suit, which is crafted in Italy. It is made of Glen plaid fabric with rolled lapels and hand-sewn natural shoulders. And it’s paired with flat-front trousers. It has two front pockets with flaps and four buttons at the cuff.
  • I love this suit because it fits well and looks good on me. Whenever I’ve an important client meeting, I choose this suit to be expressive. I pay a lot of attention to my clothing sense because it makes you apart from the crowd. Well-dressed people whether men or women grab the maximum attention wherever they go
  • I feel confident when I put on this suit. You know some clothes give you an edge over (=a slight advantage of something/somebody) others in the presentation. My experience also suggests that many people have not developed the clothing sense throughout their life, and they look awkward on some occasions
  • For example, I’ve seen people putting on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt while attending a wedding. That’s outrageously off. Or sometimes people wear sneakers at the workplace. That’s over the top (=excessive, exaggerated)

Follow-up questions:

  • What is the difference between the dressing style of young people and that of older people?

In India, you will see a remarkable blend of western and traditional outfits for both genders, especially for girls. Girls love putting on skirts, salwar suits, jackets, kurtis, blazers, blouses, shirts, saris, and among others. Boys’ outfits are divided simply into two parts: formal and casual. About older people, they’ve also both combinations as of the youth. It all comes down to your lifestyle and preference. For example, my father always wore either suits or safari suits.

  • Do people living in the north part of your country wear different clothes compared to people living in the north?

My country is full of diversity in all the ways, be it religion, language, weather, or clothing sense. I believe you will see a different taste of food and choice of clothes in every 100-kilometer distance in any direction of India. So, forget north or south, it changes dramatically within the state also. That said, preference for the outfits changes with distance.  For example, people in the south are seen wearing ‘lungi’, which is generally not the north’s style.

  • What kinds of clothes do people wear after work?

Boys wear round-neck T-shirts with shorts or pajamas. And I think girls wear leggings with T-shirts. Some girls also wear shorts after work. Older people wear pajamas and shirts or kameez in most cases

  • What kinds of clothes should people wear at work?

I personally believe in the dress code in the workplace. It looks good and attractive when you have a dress code. Strictly, people should wear formal outfits in the workplace. I wonder when I see people wear colorful shirts paired with jeans and sports shoes. That looks hilarious and tacky (=gaudy, dingy, messy).

  • Do you think students need to wear a school uniform?

Wearing a school uniform is a symbol of identification and pride, and it also makes a school’s personality. It’s the imperative piece of being a school student. It also teaches students to take pride in their appearance. Wearing a uniform is all about being in the organization or school together. Hence, it should be mandatory, no matter what people argue against it.

  • Where do Indian people buy clothes?

We’ve all types of buying options available. You have high-street shops and malls where you can go for shopping. Some people also love to buy clothes online as it saves time for them. At times, we have attractive deals online, so everyone wants to take advantage of the right deal. However, I personally like to go to a mall where you have multi-brand outlets to choose from several options. 

  • Does personality affect how people choose what to wear?

To some extent, it does, but not absolutely. Again, it is more of a psychological factor, I guess. For example, my paunch (=tummy, abdomen) is visible, so I prefer to put on tuxedo on several occasions. You’re talking to yourself constantly, and it controls or redeems you on many matters.

  • When should people wear formal clothes?

At the workplace, it should be mandatory. And ‘yes’ when you attend anybody’s wedding for sure.

  • Do people wear formal clothes more often than before?

Probably, yes, because most corporations pay attention to what you wear at the workplace. In the past, maybe they were not much strict.

3. Describe a difficult challenge that you completed/met.

  • What the challenge was
  • When and where you completed/met it
  • Why it was difficult
  • How you felt about it
  • You know life is a roller coaster. And, you’ve got two choices only: either you enjoy the ride and embrace it joyfully, learning from experiences along with it, or you keep resenting (=grudge, dislike)  about what’s happening to you
  • As I’m a positive guy, so I chose the former way to overcome my challenges
  • Here’s the story of my challenge! My girlfriend and I parted ways (=leave somebody; to end a relationship with somebody) last year because we lost that sweetness in the relationship and kept fighting each other
  • In anger, we both decided to call it off (=cancel something). But it was a great setback for me in life, and it was hard for me to move on for some time. I don’t know how she felt about our breakup, but it certainly was unwelcoming for me
  • I couldn’t concentrate on my job for a couple of months, and it was an incredibly ugly time of my life
  • Regardless (=anyhow, by any means, paying no attention, even if the situation is bad or there are difficulties) of how it happened, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on what’s truly important for me to overcome this incident
  • I reexamined my values and beliefs against what I lost in my life. I had a clear understanding gradually and talked to myself about this failure. My mind said one thing, “you must fail to grow”
  • I experienced certain things outside of my control, but those experiences now have become part of my life
  • Apart from a failed romance, I left it all to chance for some time, and I saw a brighter day sooner
  • From the breakup, I took a lesson from all the positives and made them my strength. I didn’t curse (=blame, bad-mouth, verbal attack, castigate) her for the failed relationship but appreciated what she taught me to become a better person
  • I feel now improved and confident. It’s because I don’t dwell (=hole up, inhabit, exist) on the past but look ahead

Follow-up questions:

  • Do you think parents should give challenges to children?

Yes, of course. Challenges define and prepare you for unforeseen (=abrupt, startling, sudden) circumstances. Or you don’t get better in your academics, career, or personal life. It’s a kind of exercise that you choose for your children to prepare them for the future. However, I also believe that challenges like goals must be realistic to some extent. Some children are born to excel, but others are not. Hence, parents, at times, need to rationalize their expectations from children.

  • What is the most challenging thing for kids?

Unlearn the bad things! Yes, children tend to emulate (=imitate, mimic, mirror, follow suit) their peers, parents, friends, and others. The most formidable job not only for children but also for adults, is to unlearn the distorted (=wry, perverted) learning. It’s really challenging for parents and teachers to reset the minds of children for better learning. For example, when a child sees his father peeing in a public place, that image stays on his mind forever, and he is, inadvertently (=by chance, unintentionally), encouraged to follow suit (=imitate, mimic, mirror, emulate) later.

  • Can parents reduce the challenges kids have? How?

Yes, they could be handy to their children. But if they aren’t heavily burdened with challenges, they must not intervene (=interfere, arbitrate). I mean, children should face as many different challenges as possible to get better, and we must allow this culture to grow for their good. Having said that, if children are overwhelmed (=devastated, affected, moved) with these tasks, we should calm their nervesand show them some good ways to complete those tasks rather than helping them to complete the said challenges. 

  • What challenges do you think children might have to face?

There could be countless challenges waiting for children for testing. When they are young and restless, inculcation (=the practice of making somebody learn and remember ideas, moral principles, etc., especially by repeating them often) of values, morality, manners, discipline, and others is focused. As they grow, their performance of academics, sports, and other co-curricular activities replace the basics. After school, they have to face the brutal world and learn how to navigate challenges, depravity (=wickedness, degradation), workplace politics, ugly habits, and other things. So, on every step, they have two things: Positive and negative. We must train them how successfully and joyfully they could cruise their journey.

4. Describe a leisure activity that you do with your family.

  • What the activity it is
  • When you do it
  • Who(m) you do it with
  • Do you enjoy doing it?
  • We’ve several leisure activities to enjoy with family members, but time is a big constraint (=discouragement, deterrent, obstacle) in today’s fast-paced life
  • Generally, Sunday is a super bright day for all the leisure activities, especially at noon
  • I want to recount a funny game with you that we sometimes play after our stomachs have settled
  • It’s a super wholesome (=together) family time, in fact. We play one of the coolest games called ‘Ping Pong Ball Challenge’ with family members
  • What we do is we place a line of cups at the end of the room on a table for one team. We split the family members into a team
  • At the other end of the room, we place the ping pong balls. The rule is the team has to move three ping pong balls from one side of the room to the other side by placing it between the chin and neck. Whichever team completes this challenge first is the winner, and that team will give a party at any place in the evening
  • This game is full of fun. It looks easier than done. But the moment you try to hold the ping pong ball between your neck and chin, it more often slips, and you’ve got to restart it
  • While playing this game, there is an electrifying (=amazing, energizing) atmosphere at home. Both the teams try to win and buck up (=bolster, cheer) the team member. You could hear the sound of clapping and yelling from the other room, and it’s worth watching it
  • I enjoy playing this game much. It also offers a sense of camaraderie (=companionship, togetherness) within the family members

Follow-up questions:

  • What are leisure activities popular in your country?

I guess it depends upon the size of your family and friends and the place you come from. There’s a whole lot of activities varying from place to place. In most cases, I’ve seen people playing cards or Ludo King in a team on the phone these days. Some people also play the game of Chess, and as usual, other family members or friends offer free advice on the movement of pieces. 

  • What leisure activities do young people like?

I exactly don’t know what kids do during leisure time nowadays, but we had some options while I was young. We would go someplace on bicycles and enjoy the short trips. At times, our friends would watch any good movie that we had planned to watch together. Again, playing cards and the game of Chess was also an option at hand, and we did so. If nothing from these, we would sit and gossip for hours – a no-brainer (=cakewalk, an easy thing).

  • Do leisure activities have to be educational?

Not necessary. We must need some time to unwind (=relax) ourselves. The best strategy to unwind yourself is to act and think like a child, away from the world doing something inconsequential (=insignificant, trivial, unimportant). Hence, I don’t think that everything should be linked to an educational activity.

  • Do men and women like different leisure activities?

I’ve no idea about it, in fact, never thought of it. Maybe men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, so there could be some difference! I’m just kidding, not being sarcastic (=disrespectful, disparaging, arrogant). Yes, I remember the account of my family. I grew up seeing my mom knitting a sweater and dad watching a movie during leisure time. So, probably there should be some difference while having any leisure activity between men and women.

5. Describe a picture or photograph in your home/room that you like.

  • What it is about
  • Where it is placed in your home
  • How you got it
  • Why you like it
  • I want to talk about a great photo of my mom being awarded for her Master’s degree at King’s College, London
  • She looks stunning in her navy blue graduation gown and cap. It’s the photograph of ‘70s
  • We had this photo framed and hung in our drawing-room. We see this photo every day over the years. I love to see my mom smiling in this photo, and probably it’s the best photograph of her life
  • My mom preserved this photo as if it were a goldmine for her. After her marriage, she packed this photograph carefully to bring it to our home. She says, “This photograph will inspire my generation to study at the best school in the world, and that’s why she considers this photo as a historic moment”
  • I agree with my mom on her thoughts because of this photograph, my sister and I always considered education on high priority. Her unique way to inspire us to be a better person paid off eventually
  • My sister did her undergrad studies from the University of British Columbia, whereas I joined Stanford
  • Just imagine how one photograph could impact your life so positively, and this is the classic example

Follow-up questions:

  • Do Indians like to take photos of themselves?

I guess most people like to be taken their photos. However, some people stay off the camera for some reason. I personally believe that we should keep our photos of all ages so that we can look back and see our journey and how our facial features change with time.

  • What kinds of devices do people like to use for taking photos these days?

Well, it’s a simple affair these days. Everyone has a smartphone, and it means that everyone has a camera in his hand 24 hours. Some people might be highly interested in professional photography, and they buy DSLR cameras that offer multiple options in photography.

  • Why do some people delete photos?

I think there could be three reasons. One, no one likes to keep the ugly photos of himself. People select stunning pictures and treasure them but always delete the ugly ones. Two, sometimes the storage of your phone or camera reaches its capacity, and therefore, you have to make a harsh decision of deleting photos. Lastly, some photos are confidential, and people don’t want to risk them being circulated at any cost. That’s why they delete them.

  • Why do some people keep photos?

To me, it’s a treasure, and people cherish their photos. They give a reason to smile and remember something extraordinary, which means a lot to you. Pictures are great memories of life.

  • Has the way people take photos changed?

Yes, I think so, especially in this modern digital world. As I said to you that everyone has a camera on the smartphone. So, practically, everyone is a photographer, maybe an amateur (=aspirant, beginner) one. In the past, you had to book a professional photographer to book an event for photography, but it’s not the case now. They are called only when there is a significant event; otherwise, your camera does all the job.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking photos with a smartphone?

I don’t see any disadvantage of taking photos by the phone at all. You’ve only advantages, I guess. You’ve all the moments captured, and they go to your album, maybe on Facebook or Instagram. Plus, you can also capture all the undesirable events to warn the government or any agency and stand up for (=support or defend something/somebody) the truth. You would have seen several viral videos and photos, and sometimes they have merits also.

  • Do you think photographers are artists?

Yes, absolutely, they are great artists because they can make an ugly-looking person a handsome one. Unfortunately, their career is under threat nowadays because of amateur photographers like us.

  • What are the benefits of learning painting for children?

It supports creativity. Children could use their learning experiences in creating impeccable (=immaculate, unblemished, exquisite, faultless)   designs in other industries, such as architectural, 3D animation, gaming, and others at the later stage. Therefore, I consider this skill crucial for all children.

  • Can anyone become a famous artist through hard work?

Yes, one can, but it has a bumpy ride. The world of arts is extraordinarily unpredictable. Some deserving artists starve, at times, and some morons (=idiot) hog (=to use or keep most of something yourself and stop others from using or having it) the limelight, leaving others crying for attention. And, there are also some rogue (=crook, rascal, villain, swindler) artists such as M.F. Hussain who attacks the religious sentiments to gain unwanted popularity. Such artists should be penalized for life imprisonment.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 7

  1. A job you would not like to do in the future.
  • What the job is
  • When you don’t want to do it
  • How you feel about the job
  • That’s a good question and takes me back to a time where I felt down all the time in my previous job
  • Two years back, I lost my job and was almost broke (=bankrupt, penniless) then. I applied for my desired position to several corporations, but either I wasn’t called for an interview or I was declined for the position after my interview session
  • I did my bachelor’s degree in commerce and am quite well versed in accounting and finance. I’m an assistant accountant currently, and that was my chosen job and comfort zone forever
  • My company went into liquidation (=process of closing a company, selling what it owns and paying its debt) some two and a half year ago, and I had no way but to hunt a new job then
  • After successive failures to find the job that I wanted, I compromised with my career path and decided to take up a job in other areas, too
  • Finally, I was chosen as a sales cum operations officer with a brokerage firm, which dealt with the stock market, trading on behalf of regular and high-net-worth clients
  • I encountered a host of challenging times while working with this company, and some of them were beyond my imaginations
  • It was a family-run organization, so practically I had to report to three bosses and needed to align with three bosses on many occasions
  • That was the first account of  huge dissatisfaction in my job
  • Furthermore, I never experienced that my job was ever rewarding and fun. I always felt underpaid against my untiring (=continued, dedicated) efforts to maximize the growth of my company
  • After one and a half year, I felt stagnant (=dormant, idle, inactive) in my job role and bored
  • I faced everything with a grin (=beam, smirk), but in the end, I gave in (=abandon, give up, back down, cease) when I felt unappreciated at work
  • One of the significant elements of the workplace is the need for recognition. I got unhappy when I realized that it went unappeased. My boss never proclaimed (=affirm, indicate, announce) gladly what best I had done. On the contrary, he placed his frustration on me on a couple of occasions. This was the last trigger for me to quit the job for another
  • Luckily, I found the job that I wanted, and now I’m quite relaxed and happy with my current work profile

Follow-up questions:

  • What kinds of jobs young people prefer?

Well, it’s subjective. It all depends upon what kind of personality you are. Ambitious young people have a huge arena of choices from IT to engineering to management administration to the medical field. India is known for IT solutions, so I guess we manufacture tens of thousands of students who are interested in working with tech companies. At the same time, India is also known for giving unimaginable numbers of engineers every year. I think these are the main careers.

  • Some people may lose their jobs due to technology, how to deal with it?

I agree with you on this statement. I foresee many jobs will be automated, and robots will be replacing human talents in the years to come. The best solution is to keep your skills updated with changing time, or you become unwanted (=redundant) for sure. We won’t and can’t go back in the past. Nor do we desire to have medieval time to live our lives. The second solution that comes to my mind is population control. This suggestion might sound out of the way concerning this question, but it’s not. Population explosion will have dire (=critical, drastic, acute) consequences, and it takes away opportunities because the world businesses may not be able to match up with the rise in population as far as job opportunities are concerned.

  • Will you settle in another country?

Yes, I will settle abroad, and that’s why I’m taking the IELTS test.

  • How young people today decide their careers?

There are multiple ways and considerations that the youth makes up their minds (=to decide something) to choose a career. Some youngsters have their own passion to follow in life, and they’re adamant to compromise for anything lesser than what they have dreamed. Well, it’s not bad propensity (=disposition, leaning, tendency) because some people never settle for less, and they’re truly deserving, also. Some youngsters follow others without thinking deeply, and at times, they get happy or unhappy after some years. There is a section of the youth which idolizes others or look upon their parents. They have a clear path of their careers and go after them diligently and sincerely.

  • What do young people prefer – boring jobs with high pay or interesting jobs with low pay?

It’s hard to answer how people see their dream jobs. If we look at this point pragmatically (=practically, in a sensible manner), people should go for interesting jobs, no matter how much they fetch (=earn) from them. However, when I see people around me, they prefer only those jobs that offer a high remuneration. They think of accumulating wealth first and then chase their passion. Again, I’m drawing assumptions, and people may have a host of factors while choosing any job.

  • What do you prefer – physical work or work involving thinking?

If my passion offers me physical activity along with creativity, there can’t be a better option than this. But it doesn’t go hand in hand (=two things are closely connected and one thing causes the other) in most cases. Jobs that involve critical thinking generally don’t entail (=involve) physical activities, barring a few ones. Physical activities in the job keep employees fit while working.

  • Do you think today we have less physical labor than we did in the past?

Yes, I think so. Technology has taken over many physical jobs. Plus, technology has made our life comfortable. For example, in the past, people used to commute to work on bicycles, but we can’t think of taking our bikes to go to the workplace due to the distance and sometimes harsh weather.

2. Describe an old person you know and respect.

  • Who the person is
  • How you know this person
  • What he or she is like
  • And explain why you respect him or her
  • I am in touch with several elderly people in my community, and I guess all of them deserve a lot of respect
  • I tend to receive an abundance (=plenty, plethora) of wisdom from them more often
  • Today, I would like to talk about a lady who is in her 70’s. Her name is Kavita Paryani. She’s a retired banker
  • She has a bright smiling face and is full of life with the pearls of wisdom for all the youth. She always wears an absolutely positive attitude
  • I got acquainted with this marvelous lady in the park where I go for jogging every morning
  • She actively pursues happiness every day; I mean she seizes every day in all the possible ways
  • Whenever I’m upset or kind of that, she advises, “follow your passion and let go of expectations and everything in between.” Initially, I think I was too young to understand where she came from. But now I understand the value of her advice in my life these days
  • She is a firm believer in the power of community, and you will see her everywhere doing something or helping others. She helps people in our temple, organizes food bank for underprivileged people, fundraises for animal shelters, teaches disadvantaged children so that they can dream big, coaches a sports team at times, and among others
  • In a nutshell, she’s a great volunteer and a noted person within the greater fabric of our society
  • I hold a lot of respect for this lady on account of her benevolent (=philanthropic, caring, compassionate) jobs. And sometimes I wonder how she garners (=amass, gather, reap) so much power and strength to do so many activities at a time

Follow-up questions:

  • What qualities does a person need to have to take care of old people?

I’ve two adjectives for that: patience and compassion. These two qualities are the center stage when somebody decides to take care of old people in society. Elderly people are just like kids, and they see the world differently. They value relationships because they’ve seen more life. Because of this, they tend to be more sensitive. Some of them express their sensitive views, whereas others swallow (=absorb, eat, gobble) the pain and suffocate (=smother, stifle, asphyxiate) well within.

  • Do you think old people should be taken care of at home?

Well, in our country, that’s the way it is. In some countries, they move to senior homes and enjoy their lives with others. Both ways lead to happiness as long as we see underlying benefits in such a setting. I personally believe to have my elder people at home because they might have slogged (=to work hard and steadily at something) for us over the years, and it’s our payback (=compensation, reimbursement) time. They got us all the possible world and sacrificed everything they could for us. Leaving them behind may not be a good idea. At least, that’s what the culture of Bharat is.

  • How can people in the neighborhood help the elderly during an epidemic?

If you really want to see the best community volunteering, go to the countryside. You will see people connected with each other in all the sorrows and good times there. The culture of helping and giving is getting obsolete (=out-of-date, archaic, antiquated) in this fast-paced world, especially in big cities. Having said that, I must also say that we see exceptions, too. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, people in big cities also took care of their neighbors by talking or inquiring about their health. In my neighborhood, people ensured elderly people did not move out of their houses for their essential needs. Volunteers got them everything at home. Elderly people, generally, need no money. They just need a verbal hug during a crisis. That friendly gesture pumps them up with confidence, and they feel protected and loved all the time.  

  • Do you see this kind of help occurring in your neighborhood?

Yes, I can see it clearly. Digital media has played a big role in creating awareness in people about community volunteering. People have realized that their small world needs to take care of neighborhood and social causes to make this world a better place to live.

3. Describe a place you visited that has been affected by pollution.

  • Where it is
  • When you visited this place
  • What kind of pollution you saw there
  • And explain how this place was affected
  • Pollution is an issue that runs rampant (=excessive, growing, uncontrollable) throughout my country. It doesn’t make me feel proud of what I’m going to narrate, but I’ve to…
  • If it’s not rectified sooner, I foresee it will take the shape of a monster in the years to come
  • I’ve visited countless tourist places, but today I would like to remember my visit which is as late as the last week in my city, Ahmedabad
  • I had a meeting with someone, and it got canceled for some reason all of a sudden. I had some time to kill, so I decided to visit Riverfront
  • I live in the west of Ahmedabad. To have a different experience, I went to the other side of the city to view the spectacular view of Riverfront near Khanpur
  • I was shocked to see the state of the riverbank and felt angry at people. It was pretty diabolic (=terrible, extremely annoying)
  • People had no manners, spitting anywhere, plastic bottles of beverages were strewn (=scatter, sprinkle) and thrown in the river swimming, and boys were doing bike stunts on the sidewalk of the road. The place was full of unimaginable litters
  • I was disappointed to see this view. People didn’t bother about taking care of the public property. On the contrary, I felt as if they had taken a pledge to dirty it on purpose
  • I don’t know why some people get a perverse pleasure in making things worse. Such people are a huge liability on the nation, and they’ve no respect for fellow citizens
  • I didn’t have any device to measure the noise pollution, but it was surely concerning and unbearably loud
  • After this experience, I decided not to visit this place ever again. Maybe the same way, other people might have been thinking, too. It’s a kind of surrender to  worthless people, and that’s more appalling (=alarming, awful, dire, disheartening) to me because such uncivilized people dictate our lives in some ways or the other these days

Follow-up questions:

  • What kinds of pollution are serious in your country?

Ironically, we’re facing all types of pollution that have threatened our quality of life. In the past, people were only worried about air pollution, but there are many others, too. We go through noise pollution, light pollution, air pollution, waterways are blocked, food adulteration, and I can go on and on. We’ve polluting industries that produce greenhouse gas emissions, and they contaminate groundwater. People blow horn incessantly, and I think I’ve become almost deaf to experience any sound all day.

  • What can individuals do to protect our environment?

Discipline. It comes down to your morality in all the civic responsibilities. Most people never think deeply about their responsibility towards the nation and Mother Nature. On most occasions, they fight to the death for their rights – sometimes they are the unwanted ones. We must be compassionate about our Mother Nature. Human beings are, in fact, not being human to our earth. We must understand the value of trees, animals, and water, and learn how to co-exist with them, not by killing or destroying them for our short term benefits.

  • Do you think individuals should be responsible for pollution?

Yes, in most cases, individuals are the cause of all types of pollution. Wherever you see humans on this earth, you will see filth and dirt around them. In fact, I say that the human race itself is a plague on this earth. We are ripping off (=abuse, defraud, exploit) all the natural resources day in, day out (=every day for a long period of time), and talk about humanity. Hypocrisy at its best! And surprisingly, when we discuss this matter in society, people laugh at you, make fun of you, or don’t take you seriously. This is the brazen (=audacious, blatant) attitude, we’ve developed over the decades.

  • Why is there a need to involve the government in environmental protection?

Without the fear of penalty, society becomes lawless. Even though there are laws to protect the environment in the first place, yet some people care about nothing and flout (=defy, disregard, repudiate) the rules. There’s a devil inside us, and it can only be controlled either by law enforcement or by the religion.

4. A time when you did not tell the truth to someone.

  • When it was
  • To who(m) you did not tell the truth
  • Why you did not tell the truth
  • And what the truth was
  • The long-standing and moral principles say that lying is a wrongful conduct
  • Yet our society is filled with people who often tell lies. Sometimes they do it brazenly, too
  • I also live in the same society, and I regrettably assert that I also lied to people in the past. When I recount a few incidents, I feel ashamed of what I did in the past. But, anyway, every mistake that you make leaves a valuable lesson to learn from it
  • I had to face the ire (=displeasure, annoyance, exasperation) of my boss last month for (=because) what I did was unacceptable for the company
  • My boss assigned me the job of sending promotional materials to our clients. They were promotional images with the content, and I had to send them at regular intervals
  • I didn’t do that job rightly, and my boss detected it in the last month
  • My boss was right because I was lazy at doing my jobs and took it for granted and thought that it wouldn’t be detected ever
  • I must admit that I was negligent, and because of that, our business went down in the last quarter
  • I don’t know what kind of perverse pleasure I got by doing that. I faced the music (=to accept and deal with criticism or punishment for something you have done) and lost my credibility at the workplace for which I feel sorry about it
  • Thankfully, this question has relieved me a little bit from my misconduct at the workplace

Follow-up questions:

  • How can people check whether a piece of information is correct or not?

There are ways wherein you could check the authenticity (=correctness, accuracy, credibility) of the information. If any matter relates to any policy, law, or usual information, people can visit relevant websites to double-check the information. What is written or printed at the source should be taken into consideration. In some cases, you could also talk to your seniors who hold rich experience in your line of business. Their wisdom proves to be handy on many occasions. In some cases, everything is not black and white, so you also need to develop the skill of reading between the lines (=to look for or discover a meaning in something that is not openly stated)

  • What is the difference between giving information by phone and email?

People may forget the discussion held over the phone, and it might create confusion in some cases. Therefore, emailing is the best way to communicate with people, so that they’ve a record of what they said and what was told. In the business, emailing is the best tool for exchanging information, but all people aren’t accustomed to this professional habit.

  • What kinds of professions are related to giving information to others?

I guess every line of business includes exchanging information; be it product information, counseling, sales pitch, consultation, and among others. Some service-oriented professions rely heavily on supplying information to their clients. For example, my educational consultant has explained to me about so many invaluable things before I made the decision to study abroad. Without her counseling, I might not have decided to study overseas.

  • Do people trust the information shared online?

No, I don’t think so. But credulous (=gullible, simple, accepting) people, who have no habit of checking citations or confirming with fact files, believe any information easily whether it’s available online or by any other medium. Therefore, it’s quite an easy task for scammers to trick them. For example, people trust blindly Wikipedia, but I don’t do so. I always double-check the online content because sometimes it could highly be opinionated or biased, which is far from reality.

5. Describe a program or app on your computer or phone.

  • Which the app/program is
  • When and how you found it about
  • How you use it
  • And how you feel about it
  • There are thousands of apps available on your smartphones nowadays. Some of them die before they’re born
  • My phone has also many apps stored, and some of them are really useful to track multiple things
  • I’m working for a small corporation, but I remain overly busy and need to do paperwork, and sometimes I’ve to see wanted or unwanted people in business
  • Because of the hectic schedule, my personal life, at times, is demolished and put a lot of pressure on me mentally. I shared my concern with my colleagues two years back, and he suggested me to spare some time for myself. He also recommended me one app, which I’ve been using it since then. It’s a marvelous app
  • The name of the app is ‘Strides’
  • This app allows me to track all my goals and ensures the tasks to be completed timely. It’s a truly multifaceted app
  • It has a nicely designed dashboard that allows you to see everything at a glance. It has four trackers: target, habit, average, and milestone
  • I use this app to fulfill my daily habits. This app reminds me of my goal fulfillment, and I love it
  • The best part of this app is that it allows you to track your goals and tasks by the day, week, month, or the year. I guess without this app, it’s hard for me to keep myself organized. You can also customize it to your needs, and that’s one of the best features I could say

Follow-up questions:

  • Which phone app is the most popular in your country?

In India, WhatsApp is an extraordinarily popular app these days. This app is owned by Facebook. Surprisingly, this app was not much known and popular in the world in the beginning, but Indians loved it too much. Apart from these, there are many apps that are famous among youngsters and other age groups. The youth post their creativity on Instagram. Instagram is one of the favorite apps among the youth in the world currently.

  • Do you think that parents should limit the time for their children to spend on the phone?

It varies from case to case. If children are seen wasting too much time on the phone, then ‘yes’, parents must swing into action. Phone addiction is a new disease right now. You will see most people are busy wasting their time in gossiping, texting messages, calling, or watching videos using different apps. Such a nasty habit distracts them from their goals. In a nutshell, parents must act before it’s too late.

  • Do you think people depend on phone apps too much?

Yes, I think so. And it’s worrisome, too. Over-reliance on phone apps for getting things done could adversely impact your natural skills. For example, we use the phone calculator even for small calculations. Or God’s sake, your app reminds you of your important goal. It’s convenience for sure, but, at the same time, it’s a crutch (=cane, bolster) also.

  • Do you think some apps will help people to study?

Yes, there are some apps that are doing a remarkable job, especially after the pandemic of coronavirus. These apps have proven their utmost utility to enlighten and assist students to complete their studies. For example, ‘White Hat Junior’ coaches young children on how to code in computer courses. Children as young as ten years old have been learning to code and develop apps. I wish we could have had such apps during our time.

  • What kinds of apps do you have on your phone?

I’ve a host of apps that deal with productivity, social networking, and games. I’ve ‘Strides’ and ‘Moneycontrol’ that deal with my goal setting, milestones, and stock market respectively. I’ve downloaded ‘WhatsApp’ for chatting and ‘Instagram’ and ‘Facebook’ for posting updates, messages, fun content, and stories. When I’ve some extra time for doing nothing, I play Candy Crush and Ludo.

  • What are the drawbacks of having too many apps on your phone?

I guess, first of all, it slows down your phone, and there’s no point in having too many apps on your phone. Additionally, some apps keep sending notifications that distract you from doing the right job at times.

  • How much time do you spend on these apps?

It all depends upon the utility of the specific app. For example, I’ve also downloaded BBC English to improve my English proficiency. Sometimes I keep listening to their audios continuously as I enjoy learning something new from this app. I guess I spend around 2 hours a day. I’ve not calculated time ever but this could be the estimate.

  • Do you like to look for new apps or just keep using the old ones?

I don’t search for new apps unless it’s recommended by someone or it has to be a popular one which offers some useful features for me.

  • Do you use free apps or the ones that you need to pay for?

Until now, I have been using all the free apps; never paid for any app yet.