Describe a time when you were late IELTS Cue Card

Describe a time when you were late IELTS Cue Card


Describe a time when you were late

When it was
Why you were late
How you felt about being late

Sample Answer 1


Being a hard-working person, I give massive importance to time. It is the most critical resource at our disposal, and we must use it prudently to lead our lives towards an impressive growth trajectory.

Although I have been late on many occasions, one is exceptional and worth mentioning.

When was it?

Last year, I had to attend a meeting, and due to an unforeseen contingency, I went late.

Why were you late

I started from home on time and was about to reach 30 minutes before the scheduled time. But on the way, I saw that a person driving a two-wheeler met with an accident, and had an injury on his head.

Since I was the only one nearby and on humanitarian grounds, I decided to help a needy person. I immediately hired a taxi and took him to the nearby hospital.

The doctors examined him and gave him the proper medical treatment.

They told me they had saved his life because I had brought him in time to the hospital.

How you felt about being late?

I did not feel bad for being late because I performed the role of a good citizen, and I followed the principles of my family to help others without any vested interests.

Moreover, I narrated the incident to my friends in that meeting, and the team appreciated my efforts.

By saving someone’s life, I felt proud, and the satisfaction I had that day will remain etched in my memories.

Sample Answer 2


There is no denying this conviction that we get a limited number of hours per day and must utilize them properly.

Although I try my best to reach the place I am going to, on some occasions, I need to catch up. One such instance is worth mentioning.

When was it?

Last year I went to attend the wedding ceremony of my bosom friend. To my dismay, despite my best attempts, I could not reach there on time.

Why were you late?

The reason for reaching late was overdependence on technology. To contact the wedding venue, I put the details on Google maps on my Android phone and started my journey. As I was going fast, I decided to take a break in between, so I spent one-hour taking lunch.

When I restarted my journey, I realized that my mobile’s battery was almost empty, and after a few minutes, it stopped working.

Due to switching off my mobile phone, I didn’t have Google maps access, so I took a wrong turn and went inside the city instead of following the highway.

There was a massive traffic jam in the city, and it took me three hours to get out of that. Finally, I reached the venue after asking the directions from the local people.

When I arrived at the venue, the celebration was almost over. I met my friend and congratulated him, then I went to the hotel to hit the sack.

How you felt about being late?

I felt terrible because it was my bounden duty to attend the wedding of my bosom friend properly; I apologized to him the next day and took a vow to be careful while going to far-off locations.

Sample Answer 3


Since my childhood, I have had this habit of reaching in time, and to maintain it, I always reach half in advance. However, on some occasions, I have reached late, despite my best efforts. One such instance is worth mentioning.

When it was

It was five years back when I had to attend an exhibition at Pragati Maidan Delhi. I had to reach there at 10 am, but I reached at 1 pm.

Why you were late

The difference between Delhi from my city is about 250 km. I decided to go by train. I boarded a super fast train named “Shatabdi Express” at 6 am. I was supposed to reach at 9 am in Delhi.

However, there was dense fog on the way. Due to that, the train stopped in between because of poor visibility.

The train’s driver took a halt for 20 minutes near Ambala railway station, and when the track was clear, the train resumed the journey.

However, 1 hour later, when we reached Panipat, again there was dense fog. The train didn’t take any halt, it kept moving at a slow speed.

Due to the frequent breaks and slow speed, the train finally reached the New Delhi railway station at 12;30 pm. After that, I hired a cab and reached Pragati Maidan at 1 pm.

How you felt about being late?

Initially, I had kittens because reaching on time was important for me. But later on, realized that safety must be our priority,

Driving the train in the dense fog was not only challenging but also dangerous. Therefore, it was prudent on the driver’s part to run the train by adopting a safe approach.

Sample Answer 4


In the modern era, time is our most precious asset. So naturally, people do their best to save it; however, we sometimes cannot do anything to preserve it. One such instance is worth mentioning.

When was it?

Five years back, I went to Manali Hill Station to enjoy quality time with my friends.

Why were you late

I was late for many reasons. Firstly on the way towards Manali, there is a cement factory by the name of ACC. Thousands of trucks ply daily on that road for supplies. To my dismay, my car was between two trucks, and the crossing was impossible. Due to that, I could cover just 10 km in two hours.

I sighed in relief when I reached the factory because the road was clear after that. I increased the speed to reach my destination on time. But destiny had a different plan for me. Suddenly there was torrential rain; I could only wait for it to stop. Finally, when it stopped, I restarted my journey. However, there were landslides due to heavy downpours, and the traffic was moving slowly. I tried an alternative route but had to come back because the locals warned me that the road was unsafe.

I drove the car at a deficient speed, and after many halts and numerous traffic jams, I reached my destination at 8 pm. So, unfortunately, I was late by six hours.

How you felt about being late

Initially, I felt upset because my six precious hours went to a waste I could have enjoyed with my friends. However, the best thing for me was that I reached it because there were many road accidents due to landslides and heavy rainfall.

Follow up Questions

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 were late”.

1. Are you ever late for anything?

Being a busy person, I respect the time and do my best to reach it. However, sometimes, due to unforeseen contingencies, such as traffic jams, I need to catch up.

2. What excuses do you use when you are late?

Usually, I arrive on time. However, whenever I am late, I inform the persons waiting for me in advance so that their time should not go for a toss and they feel comfortable.

3. What excuses do people have when they are late?

People generally have the excuse of a traffic jam or type puncture when they get late.

4. Are you good at organizing time?

I manage time by following a timetable and planning for the next day to organize the time efficiently.

5. How do you usually organize time?

The first and foremost thing I do to organize the time is to list the pending tasks at my disposal. After that, I do the urgent tasks first and delegate those others can do on my behalf. Apart from this, I set up reminders to meet deadlines.

6. Do you think planning is essential for time management?

Yes, planning is essential because, without it, we are like a radar-less ship that is always at the mercy of the wind. Planning is necessary for time management because it helps us to handle conflicts adroitly.

7. Why do you think some people pay to learn time management?

Time management is a science. Few people could be better at managing this valuable resource with tremendous ease. Due to this, many people wish to take the advice of others to learn time management. And in this era of the internet and digitalization, it is straightforward to find such people.

8. Do you think children should learn to manage time?

Good habits acquired in the budding years are essential to lead our careers towards an impressive growth trajectory. Learning time management is imperative for children as it empowers them to use this powerful resource efficiently. Moreover, it helps us to handle conflicts adroitly.

9. Why do some people need help to follow their plans?

It is because wasting time is their habit and breaking an old habit is a daunting task for them,.Moreover, following the plans requires coming out of our comfort zones which is a daunting task for them.

10. How would you teach your children time management?

The first and foremost step is to teach time management to children. The teachers and parents must provide them with unabated support to learn the necessary time management skills. Apart from this, the higher authorities must organize awareness campaigns to teach children how to manage time.

11. Do older adults and young people similarly manage time?

There is a vast difference between the management of time by older and younger people. On the one hand, older people thrive primarily on the heaps of experience at their disposal to utilize their time efficiently. On the contrary, young people have this uncanny knack for wasting time over trivial matters, and they use gadgets like smartwatches to manage their time efficiently.

12. How do you feel when someone wastes your time?

I do not feel good when someone wastes my time because I staunchly believe that in the modern era, where fierce competition has become an integral part of our lives, time is our most precious resource.

Wasting time on unnecessary tasks is an imprudent approach; when someone wastes my time, I maintain a dignified distance from that person. Furthermore, I exchange pleasantries with that person and never do any worthwhile activity with him.


1. At your disposal

Meaning: Available for you to use at any time

Sentence: There is no denying this conviction that willpower is a limited resource, and we must use it prudently. In the mornings, we have plenty of willpower at our disposal, which declines during the day, and by indulging in unnecessary tasks, we nosedive it considerably.

2. Worth mentioning

Meaning: Important enough to require a comment.

Sentence: The role of the bicycle in keeping us fit and healthy is worth mentioning.Those who regularly ride it stay away from many diseases. Moreover, they feel charged and energetic throughout the day.

3. Had kittens

Meaning: Was nervous

Sentence: I had kittens on my first job day, but with time I got into the groove, and now I am on a gravy train.

4. Staunch

Meaning: Believing in something very firmly.

Sentence: After reading the bestseller “The Compound Effect”, I experienced a paradigm shift in my thinking. I staunchly follow the principles mentioned in the book for a happy and prosperous life.

5. To my dismay

Meaning: A shocking moment

Sentence: I wanted to remain as cool as a cucumber, but to my dismay, I had kittens.

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