Describe a time when you tried to do something but weren’t very successful IELTS cue card

Describe a time when you tried to do something but weren’t very successful IELTS cue card

Describe a time when you tried to do something but weren’t very successful IELTS cue card


Describe a time when you tried to do something but weren’t very successful.

You should say

When it was?
What you tried?
Why it was not very successful?
And how you felt 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


Being an innovative person, I try to take part in new activities. Sometimes I gain success, and sometimes failure.

When it was? and What you tried? 

Last year on my friend’s birthday I tried to give a public performance as a singer. There I failed miserably.

Why it was not very successful?

Although I have been singing since my childhood, I always shy away from public performance. Due to this reason, I developed a fear in myself.

On many occasions, I had got chance to exhibit my singing talent, but every time I said no.

 However, on the occasion of my friend’s birthday, I said yes because my friend insisted on me.

I didn’t want him to feel sad on this birthday. Hence, I said yes, but deep inside, I was not feeling confident.

 My start was good, but in the middle of the song, I went blank and forgot the lyrics. Although I had the write-up of the lyrics with me, I didn’t have the confidence to carry on.

The crowd gave me a big round of applause to cheer me, but continuing with the performance was impossible for me.

Seeing my plight, one of my friends had come to my rescue and started singing from the point I left.

Later on, I joined him, and somehow we finished the performance.

When the music stopped, I had a sigh of relief.

And how you felt about it?

Initially, I felt embarrassed, but later on, I felt light.No doubt I gave a terrible performance but at least I had tried.

Sample Answer 2


Being a busy person, I usually do not try my hand at new activities.

When it was? and What you tried? 

Last year there was a lockdown in my city due to the corona pandemic. During that period, I tried my hand at cooking.

Since sitting at home was too boring I tried to kill the monotony of my life by inviting my neighbours for dinner.

I had ordered the food from the restaurant but due to some unforeseen contingency, the restaurant didn’t deliver the food.

Hence I did not have any option but to cook the food myself.

I took the help from Youtube videos and tried to cook three mouth-watering delicacies.

The food items I cooked were looking good, but when I asked about the taste, my guests said “TERRIBLE” in unison.

Why it was not very successful?

The preponderant reason for my failure was my lack of experience. 

Cooking is a skill that requires tremendous experience. While watching videos and reading recipes, it seems easy. However, when you try your hand at it, the task becomes daunting.

 I tried hard by following every step prescribed in the video however I failed miserably. 

Another cause of my failure was my poor knowledge of spices and herbs

And how you felt about it?

I felt embarrassed in front of my guests. I realized that day that overconfidence is not good in life and experience is the best teacher. 

Moreover, I realized that cooking is a must-have skill, and everyone should learn it and master it. It saves not only your time but also money.

Sample Answer 3


It is a gospel truth that we often strive hard to be successful in life. However, success is a combination of hard work and luck. Sometimes luck favours, and sometimes things go sideways.

Recently I tried my hand at a new task, but I was not successful.

When it was? , and What you tried?

Being a student, I always have a cash shortage., 

To come out of the financial crunch, I started a small business last year. 

Why it was not very successful?

There were too many reasons for my failure. The first one was a lack of domain expertise. Whenever you try your hand at a new business, you should have basic knowledge of it. However, I jumped on the bandwagon without hands-on experience.

The second one was that I hired a team consisting of my friends and relatives. That was a collosol mistake from my side. Because there is no denying this conviction that as a businessman you should never mix your emotions with your profession. My team never used to take me seriously. And, due to this, I was unable to service my clients.

The result was complaints started piling up, and finally, I had to close the operations.

And how you felt about it?

Initially, I had a nervous breakdown. I went into a state of depression. But as time passed, I had accepted my defeat and realized that this defeat brought me closer to the realities of life.

Although I had failed miserably, I learned some valuable life lessons. And these learnings would help to handle the conflicts adroitly not only in my personal life but also in my professional life.

Follow up Questions

Here are some examples of follow up questions that the examiner might ask during your speaking part 3 related to cue card “Describe a time when you tried to do something but weren’t very successful”.

1. What’s your definition of success?

As per my opinion, success is the attainment of goals. These goals could be related to your career, family, lifestyle etcetera. When you achieve these goals according to the terms and conditions set by you, you achieve success.

And success has different meaning for different persons.For someone having a fit body is success.Whereas fr others having a palatial house with a plum job is real success.

2. What things do children try to succeed in?

The children need to work with determination, dedication and discipline to move their lives towards an impressive growth trajectory. Moreover, they need to go beyond the conventional domain to achieve success. Because in this contemporary epoch there is fierce competition in every field. Due to this reason, only those who are committed to strive hard can gain success.

Hence children must follow a routine with determination,dedication and discipline.The regular action they take leads to compounding of efforts and it is a well known fact that compoundin leads to stupendous results.

3. Which do you think is more important for people to become successful, hard work or opportunities?

Both hard work and opportunities play an imperative role in the success of a person. On the one hand, hard work prepares us to handle the conflicts adroitly in our lives. On the other hand, opportunities lead to a significant jump in our fortunes. Hence, a judicious combination of both is required to achieve success.

However one should wait for the opportunities to come.Rather every person should work towards creating opportunities.Becasue you do not the future, a small opportunity can bring colllosol benefits in your life.

4. Do you think people would be happier if they didn’t have any goals to achieve?

A life without goals is like a ship without radar, which moves adrift at the mercy of the wind. Hence goals play an important role to achieve the path towards success. Because goals show as a trajectory to follow and when everyday we make efforts to achieve goals, we get the benefits of compounding in our lives. And compounding is an essential step to churn failures into success.

IELTS new cue cards 2021

1Describe a time when you tried to do something but weren’t very successful IELTS cue card
2Describe a time you saw something interesting on social media
3Describe a live sports match that you have watched
4Describe a leisure activity near/on the sea that you want to try IELTS cue card
5Describe an occasion when many people were smiling
6Describe a quiet place you like to spend your time in
7Describe a street market in your city
8Describe an activity that you do after school/work IELTS cue card
9Describe a time when you helped a friend
10Describe a law on environmental protection
11Describe a puzzle you have played
12Describe a natural talent you want to improve like sports music
13Describe a piece of local news that people are interested in
14Describe a time when you encouraged someone to do something that he/she didn’t want to do
15Describe an argument between two of your friends
16Describe a tall building in your city you like or dislike IELTS cue card
17Describe a plan in your life that is not related to work or study IELTS cue card
18Describe someone older than you, whom you admire IELTS cue card
19Describe a time when you felt bored
20Describe the time when you had to sing a song or a poem in front of a public
21Describe a time when you changed your opinion
22Describe an occasion when you ate a kind of food for the first time
23Describe a place/person/home you like to visit but you don’t want to live there
24Describe a time when you had to wait in a long line
25Describe a skill that you can teach other people
26Describe a part of a city or a town you enjoy spending time in
27Describe a time when you were really close to a wild animal
28Describe a time when you shared something with others IELTS cue card
29Describe an occasion when you were not allowed to use your mobile phone IELTS cue card
30Describe a decision made by others or someone that you disagreed with
31Describe a time when your computer broke down
32Describe a company where you live that employs a lot of people IELTS cue card
33Describe a person who you think is very open
34Describe a person who wears unusual clothes
35Describe a short trip that you often take but you do not like
36Describe your first day at school
37Describe an art exhibition that you visited
38Describe a piece of international news you have just recently heard
39Describe an unforgettable bike(bicycle) trip
40Describe a piece of equipment that is important in your home IELTS cue card
41Describe a bag you want to own
42Describe a time when you needed to use your imagination
43Describe a time when you told your friend an important truth
44Describe a time you saw children behave badly in public
45Describe your favourite weather
46Describe your favourite singer IELTS cue card
47Describe a computer/phone game you enjoy playing since your childhood
48Describe an expensive activity that you enjoy doing occasionally
49Describe a thing you bought and you are happy about
50Describe an aquatic animal
51Talk about a health condition that you had and found a solution for it online IELTS Cue Card
52Describe an occasion when you wasted your time
53Describe a family which you like and are happy to know
54Describe a time when you received good news
55Describe a time when you first talked in a foreign language IELTS cue card
56Describe a special hotel you stayed in
57Talk about a time when you gave advice to someone
58Describe a perfect job you would like to have in the future
59Describe a book you read that you found useful or Describe an exciting book you read.
60Describe an old person you know and respect
61Describe an event you attended in which you didn’t like the music played
62Describe an old friend you got in contact with again
63Describe an interesting conversation that you had
64Describe a time you made a promise to someone
65Describe a person who helps others in his or her spare time
66Describe a good decision you made recently
67Describe a risk you have taken which had a positive result
68Describe an ambition that you have for a long time
69Describe something or someone that made a lot of noise
70Describe an interesting tradition in your country.
71Describe an event in which you were unsuccessful.
72Describe an old object which your family has kept for a long time
73Describe a town or city where you would like to live in the future
74Describe an intelligent person you know
75Describe an art or craft activity that you had at school IELTS cue card
76Describe a photo of yourself that you like (or you have taken).
77Describe a large company that you are interested in
78Describe a time when a family member asked for your help
79Describe a dinner you really enjoyed
80Describe a time you got lost in a place you did not know about
81Describe a foreign country you want to know more about?
82Describe a volunteering experience you have had
83Describe your favourite movie IELTS cue card
84Talk about a recent health-related article that you have read IELTS cue card
85Describe a time when you were surprised to meet a friend.
86Describe a prize that you received
87Describe a line that you remember from a poem or song
88Describe an article on health you read in a magazine or on the internet
89Describe a polite person whom you know
90Describe a place where you are able to relax
91Describe a conversation topic you were not interested in.
92Describe an energetic person that you know
93Talk about a famous person that you like the most IELTS cue card
94Describe a program or app in your computer or phone
95Describe a special day or a memory of your school or college days
96Describe a water sport you would like to try in the future
97Describe a gadget you own.
98Describe a time when you had some medicine
99Describe a friend/person who is a good leader
100Describe a famous celebrity from your nation who you admire.
101Describe a place you visited that has been affected by pollution
102Describe a famous person that you are interested in
103Describe an area of science that interests you
104Describe a mistake you have made.
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