Describe a time when you did a lengthy calculation without using a calculator IELTS Cue Card

Describe a time when you did a lengthy calculation without using a calculator IELTS Cue Card


Describe a time when you did a lengthy calculation without using a calculator

You should say:

When was it?

Where was it?

How did you?

How did you feel about it?

NOTE – The examiner gives you one minute to plan your answerand to help you prepare for the topic, the examiner provides you with a pencil and a notepad. You’ll have to answer the questions given on the topic for one-to-two minutes.

Sample Answer 1


There is no denying this conviction that calculations are an integral part of our lives, and we thrive primarily on them to plan and organise our work. Moreover, we thrive primarily on calculators and computers to make calculations in the modern era.

However, on many occasions, we need to calculate without using any gadget or device, and recently I had such an instance.

When was it? And Where was it?

Last month I went to a remote village with my father to buy agricultural land. However, there was a dispute regarding the dimensions and total area of the land. Therefore, we had to recalculate the site to pay the price accordingly, but the internet needed to be fixed. Moreover, we had to walk a lot, and unfortunately, we left our mobile phones in our cars.

Since it was challenging to go back to our cars to pick up the mobile phones to do the calculations, I decided to do it with paper and pencil.

How did you do it?

I made a rough drawing of the area on the paper, and after that, with the help of measuring tape, I measured the whole area. Unfortunately, the land had numerous corners, so it took me three hours to draw everything on paper. After that, I manually calculated the total area using my knowledge of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Moreover, I also utilised the knowledge I acquired for mensuration in my schooling days. After working hard for 6 hours, I calculated the area, and we returned to our car and finalised the deal.

How did you feel about it?

The overall experience was mind-boggling, and I often thought of leaving it in between. But my hard work paid off because the calculation was accurate when I rechecked with a calculator.


Here are some examples of follow-up questions that the examiner might ask during your speaking part 3 related to the cue card “Describe a time when you did a lengthy calculation without using a calculator”.

1. How often do you make calculations?

For most tasks, whether they are trivial or colossal, I make calculations. And it starts when I wake up in the morning by planning my day and calculating the leisure time at my disposal for fun-related activities.

2. What instruments do you use to make calculations?

I prefer to make simple calculations myself; however, to make complex calculations, I use a calculator, and when the date is enormous, I like to use Microsoft Excel on my computer.

3. Is the significance of manual calculations declining?

In the modern era, many gadgets are at our disposal to make calculations. In such a scenario, the trend of making manual calculations is declining.

4. Do you know anyone who makes fast and accurate calculations.?

My father is a calculation ninja. He has this innate ability to make complex calculations with comfort and ease.

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