Newsletter subscribe

Cue Card (Jan to Apr 2020), Cue Card (Sep to Dec 2019), CUE CARDS

Talk about a gift for which you spent a long time to choose (IELTS CUE CARD Jan to April 2020)

Posted: September 17, 2019 at 4:03 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Talk about a gift for which you spent a long time to choose (IELTS CUE CARD Jan to April 2020)

You should say:

  • what it was
  • who you bought it for
  • where you bought it from

and explain how he /she felt after receiving it.

Model Answer 1:
There is a saying when it comes to giving gifts, that it is ‘the thought that counts’. Often when people say this, what they mean is that the gift was really terrible, but the recipient no doubt appreciated the sentiment and enthusiasm behind it. However, I think there is also a more positive interpretation, a really thoughtful gift is much more likely to delight both the giver and the receiver. I always try really hard to think about what gifts my closest friends and family might really like. Sometimes it’s really easy to think of something and just go out and buy it, at other times it’s much more of a challenge.

I’m going to tell you about an occasion when I knew exactly what it was I wanted to find as a gift for someone, but it was a real problem to find. I’ll tell you what it was; who I bought it for; where I bought it from and how the gift was received.

There is a bit of a story I’m afraid, so bear with me! I used to live in a little terraced house in a town called _________. By chance, I moved into my house just a couple of weeks after my next-door neighbors had also moved in. Fortunately, we got on really, really well together. We used to chat over the garden wall; I’d look after their cat when they went on holiday, and we were often in and out of each other’s houses.

After a few years, one of them came round to tell me some ‘bad news’ that they had decided to sell up and move away. I was really sad to see them go but happy they would be moving to a lovely new house which was more suited to their lifestyle. Anyway, it turned out that selling their house was quite traumatic. They found a buyer but that person was awkward and petulant and kept insisting on quite unreasonable conditions and threatening to pull out of the sale at the slightest inconvenience. The buyer wouldn’t negotiate on anything, and it all got a bit unpleasant.

As is often the way, the deal-breaker turned out to be something ridiculously trivial. My neighbors had a really unusual steel soap dish with chunky letters spelling out the word ‘soap’ and was hung up in their bathroom. It was nice, and it did match the other fixtures and fittings in the room, but it was also most definitely a moveable personal possession that anyone would normally expect to take with them when they moved. It had been a gift from one of the couple to the other and had sentimental rather than any great monetary value.

However, their house buyer had their eye on it, and threatened to walk away from the purchase if it didn’t come with the house. It was unbelievably stupid of the purchaser to insist on such a trivial thing, but it would have been even more stupid for my neighbors to let their house sale fall through because of a soap dish, however, special it might be to them personally. Sadly, they agreed she could have this with the house, and the sale went through.

In the meantime, I’d been trying really hard to think of a suitable house-warming present for my dear friends to wish them well in their new home but it was tricky. To be blunt, they were a lot wealthier than me and in any case already had most things they needed following a recent wedding and the associated gifts from well-wishers. I couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money, but I wanted to choose something that I knew they would like and would be really thoughtful. I decided I would try and find them an identical soap dish!

It took me a long time, a couple of months. I searched the internet and eBay for second-hand items. I scoured second-hand shops and looked everywhere. I almost gave up hope. However, one day, I couldn’t believe it! There it was, on eBay! An identical product, in near-new condition, just sitting there waiting for me. I snapped it up immediately with a ‘buy now’ price rather than risking losing out in a bidding war. It really wasn’t very much, it was an unlikely item to desperately want after all! I was so delighted when it arrived through the post and it was indeed exactly as advertised! I couldn’t wait to give it to my old neighbours for their new house!

I rushed around one evening to their new home when they would both be there, and presented it to them carefully gift wrapped. I think they were a bit nervous about opening it because I was so obviously confident they would like it, a lot. They were worried about how to disguise their reactions if they didn’t. It might be hard to pretend. I wasn’t worried though, I just knew it was the perfect gift! Eventually, they ripped off the wrapping paper and… were absolutely delighted! It wasn’t just that they had their soap dish back, it was that they were really touched I’d worked so hard to find it for them, and persevered long after they’d given up any hope of replacing their original one for themselves.

It is said that it is better to give than receive! My neighbours absolutely loved the present, but I was bursting with pleasure too. I knew I’d got it right, and that they would treasure this unlikely gift too. It was indeed a gift that took me a long, long time to find, but it was very well worth the effort! Since then, they have moved house again – this time, they took ‘my’ soap dish with them! I still smile at the memory, certainly, on this occasion, it really was the thought that counted most!


There is a saying: 

the thought that counts:



much more of a challenge.


ridiculously: adverb:  so as to invite mockery or derision; absurdly.

trivial: adjective:   of little value or importance.

Sample Answer 2: 
Finding books is not really a difficult task but it really takes the time to get the right book. The same thing happened to me last Monday. I was tired of searching a book in the local market and finally found that after five hours of continuous search.

In fact, I wanted to provide the book as a gift to my geography teacher in college. He is really fond of books. I trickily brought out the information which types of books he liked. And then started my mission. But unfortunately, it was hard for me to get the desired book. The book is not available in the local book shops of Mumbai. So, I had to travel to different city markets to get the book. I was astonished that the local libraries do have such a pretty book in their collection. But the shop where I found the book was a small one and did not have many decorations.

I bought the book for Mr. Narendra Bhowmick. He is the geography teacher in our class. But he does not behave as a teacher rather a very intimate friend for each of the students. He loves to discuss numerous topics and provides the right knowledge to his students. He is a graduate from Cambridge University and thus he is a bit altered than the other teachers. His method of teaching is interesting and he loves to teach independently. He does not follow any strict structure to provide lectures in the class. Besides, he is never irritated with any queries from the students’ side while some other teachers turn angry when they are interrupted in the middle of the lecture. Marking his birthday, everyone planned to give him gifts and thus I decided to present him the book he likes most.

I bought the book from a book store located in, L T Road, Borivali West in Mumbai. In fact, this is the only shop that collects the books of foreign writers. But there are some differences with the books that are found here. Printing is a great issue to consider before buying a book. Not all the booksellers sell the original print. Rather they sell the photocopied books with an attractive binding and cover. It happens as the original books are a bit expensive. So, the majority of the book readers get the replica. But the shop sells the original books and with the superior printing quality. I was lucky to have the store and purchased the book.

When I presented the book, Mr. Bhowmick unwrapped it and was glad to have it. In fact, he was highly glad that he gave me a great hug. Besides, he declared that it was the very best gift he has got so far. He had been looking for the book for the last couple of months but did not get it in the local shops. I also did not disclose how I managed the book or how hard I had to struggle to discover it. He was highly excited and thanked me a lot for this priceless gift. I was glad of seeing his reactions. Moreover, he was amazed at the information that how I knew about the book he had been looking for so long. I smiled gently and reacted as it was coincident.


Model answer:

  • I am not very gifted in arts and crafts and so I normally don’t make things myself.
  • I prefer to gift people cards and flowers.
  • However, a few years back when I was in 9th standard, one of my closest friends decided to immigrate to the US.
  • On his last birthday before leaving, I wanted to do something really, special for him.
  • But unfortunately, I did not have much saved pocket money.
  • So, I went to my mother to get some money to buy him something expensive.
  • But, my mother suggested me to personally make him something rather than buying him something, which he may not even care to take with him.
  • At that moment, I came up with an idea of drawing a sketch of me and him together.
  • It took me a lot of time to come up with something satisfactory since my drawing skills were not so good.
  • I remember I spent nearly 4- 5 days making that sketch.
  • My mother helped me a bit too.
  • Then I handcrafted a wooden frame for the sketch and gifted it to him on his birthday.
  • I still remember his shock when he opened my present since he expected it to be a wall painting because of the shape of the present.
  • But after finding out what it was, his eyes swelled up with tears.
  • He didn’t say anything, we just hugged each other.
  • 2 months later, when I was talking to him on facetime, I saw our portrait hanging on the wall in the background.
  • At that time, I realised that nothing could ever be as special as a handmade present.

Part 3 – Follow up Questions

    1. Have you received anything that was handmade by the person who gave it to you?
      Yes, I have received handmade cards many times from my students. But I particularly remember a time when I received the handmade bag from my friend. It was finished to the minutest details and it was made as if it was tailored for me. I still carry it with pride wherever I go. It is a very smart shoulder sling bag
    2. When receiving a gift, do you prefer something that was self-made, or something bought in stores?
      When I receive gift, it is the intention that matters to me the most not whether it is expensive or inexpensive. When I know I am receiving something from a friend who has made it for me sparing his or her time it certainly feels good but the giver should be as happy to give as I am to receive. That matters to me the most.
    3. Which is better, self-made food or food that you buy?
      When it comes to food, I always prefer self made food and I enjoy the compliments I receive after after the guests relish the food that I serve. I certainly love to cook at home rather than buying food from the market or opening the packet and eating the food that is stuffed with preservatives and harmful additives. But sometimes when I am busy at work I can buy food from outside but I am very selective about the food being freshly cooked.
    4. Are art classes important in schools?
      These days children are under lot of stress from their academic workload. Art classes are stress busters. Moreover, art has been known as a fine value from times immemorial. Why would people work if there were no amusement and entertainment activities available? Hence art classes are very important for the holistic development of the children.
    5. Do Indian people often give gifts?
      Yes, Indian people like to give gifts. They give gifts on special occasions such as marriages, birthdays and anniversaries etc.
    6. What’s the value of giving presents?
      Gifts are gestures of love. They give happiness to the giver as well as the receiver.
    7. What kinds of gifts are suitable for friends to give each other?
      Friends know each other well, so they can give any gift, which can be useful to the other person. The gift need not be expensive. It should be taken as a gesture of love and not for economic value.
    8. What factors do people consider when buying a gift for friends?
      People consider a lot of things when buying a gift for friends. They consider the friends requirement and they consider their own pocket.
    9. Why do people give presents?
      People give presents as gestures of love. Presents give happiness to the recipient as well as the person who is giving the present.
    10. Do children prefer receiving gifts or spending happy time with their parents?
      Children are very innocent. They love receiving gifts. They take the happy time with their parents as granted. So, they don’t give it much value.
    11. Compare the kinds of gifts that boys like with those that girls like?
      Gender differences are disappearing nowadays. But generally boys like electronic gadgets and girls like barbie dolls and stuffed toys.
    12. Compare the kinds of gifts that well educated people like with those that less educated people like?
      I do not think that the literacy level of the person has anything to do with the choice of gifts. Every person has his or her own taste. A very educated person may not appreciate a book as a gift, which may be very much liked and appreciated by a less educated person
  1. Are expensive gifts always better than cheap gifts?
    I definitely do not think so. A simple inexpensive flower may give more happiness to the person than a very costly gift.
  2. Do men and women have the same attitudes towards gift giving?
    There are no gender differences nowadays. Both like to give and receive gifts and even the choice of the gifts is almost similar nowadays.
  3. How are gifts that people give each other today different to gifts when you were a child?
    Today we belong to an era of globalization. The market today is flooded with choices. You can buy any gift, and there are gifts to suit every pocket. Earlier, the choices were restricted. Today we have a lot of electronic items also.
Subscribe To Weekly IELTS Update Newsletter

Subscribe To Weekly IELTS Update Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This
%d bloggers like this: