IELTS Speaking Cue Card Topics: Questions and Sample Answers (2024)

Updated on: May 17, 2024

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IELTS Speaking Cue Cards

The IELTS cue card is a crucial part of the speaking section of the test. During the speaking interview with an examiner, you will be given a cue card that contains a specific topic or task.

The IELTS cue card for speaking includes questions related to the topic you should speak about. You have one minute to prepare your response and two minutes to talk about the topic.

The IELTS cue card format is structured to analyse your English language skills in various aspects, such as fluency and coherence, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. The IELTS cue card topics are mostly based on personal experiences, opinions, or abstract ideas. The IELTS cue card topics and questions assess your ability to organise, present information, and communicate effectively and coherently within the given time.

List of IELTS Cue card questions

Personal Experiences

  • Describe a memorable holiday you have had.
  • Talk about a difficult decision you had to make.
  • Describe a childhood memory that you still cherish.
  • Discuss a situation where you helped someone.
  • Describe a happy event from your childhood.


  • Describe a city you have visited and liked.
  • Talk about a historical place you have visited.
  • Describe a place where you would like to live in the future.
  • Discuss a park or garden you like to visit.
  • Describe a place you have recently traveled to.


  • Describe a person who has influenced you in your life.
  • Talk about a family member you are very close to.
  • Describe a famous person you admire.
  • Discuss a friend you have known for a long time.
  • Describe a teacher who has had a great impact on you.


  • Describe a celebration you recently attended.
  • Talk about a sports event you watched live.
  • Describe a cultural festival celebrated in your country.
  • Discuss a wedding you have attended.
  • Describe a concert or music event you enjoyed.


  • Describe your favorite piece of clothing.
  • Talk about a gift you received recently.
  • Describe a technological device you can't live without.
  • Discuss a book that had a significant impact on you.
  • Describe a photograph you cherish.

Travel and Holidays

  • Describe a journey you would like to take in the future.
  • Talk about a place you would like to visit for a short trip.
  • Describe a memorable road trip you have been on.
  • Discuss a holiday destination famous for its beaches.
  • Describe a cultural experience you had while traveling.

Education and Learning

  • Describe a memorable experience you had in school or college.
  • Talk about a subject you enjoyed learning about.
  • Describe a skill you would like to learn in the future.
  • Discuss a teacher who inspired you to learn.
  • Describe a course or training program you recently completed.


  • Describe a new technological gadget you would like to buy.
  • Talk about an app that has made your life easier.
  • Describe a piece of technology you use every day.
  • Discuss a technological advancement that has positively impacted society.
  • Describe a time when technology helped you solve a problem.

Food and Cooking

  • Describe a traditional dish from your country.
  • Talk about your favorite restaurant and what makes it special.
  • Describe a memorable meal you had with friends or family.
  • Discuss a cooking recipe you enjoy making.
  • Describe a street food experience you had while traveling.

Environment and Nature

  • Describe a natural disaster you have experienced or learned about.
  • Talk about your favorite outdoor activity.
  • Describe a national park or wildlife reserve you have visited.
  • Discuss a conservation project you are passionate about.
  • Describe a camping trip you went on.

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IELTS cue card topics

Here are some common IELTS cue card formats you can expect during the assessment. Make sure to prepare accordingly.

Describe a course that you want to learn in future.

You should say:

  • What the course is about?
  • What did you like about the course?
  • When do you want to start learning?
  • Where can you learn the course?
  • Why do you want to learn it?

Describe a memorable event from your childhood.

You should say:

  • Describe the event.
  • When and where did it happen?
  • Who were the people involved?
  • Why is it memorable to you?

Talk about your favourite book or movie.

You should say:

  • What is the title of the book/movie?
  • What is the genre and the storyline?
  • Why is it your favourite?
  • Would you recommend it to others? Why?

Describe a place you would like to visit.

You should say:

  • Which place is it?
  • What do you know about the place?
  • Why do you want to visit it?
  • What activities would you like to do there?

Discuss a person who has had a significant impact on your life.

You should say:

  • Who is the person?
  • How did you meet this person?
  • In what ways have they influenced you?
  • How has your life changed because of them?

Talk about a hobby or activity you enjoy.

You should say:

  • What is the hobby/activity?
  • When and how did you start doing it?
  • What do you like about it?
  • How does it benefit you or make you feel?

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Describe a recent travel experience.

You should say:

  • Where did you go?
  • Who did you travel with?
  • What did you do there?
  • What did you enjoy the most about the trip?

Talk about a technological device you find useful.

You should say:

  • What is the device?
  • How do you use it in your daily life?
  • What benefits does it provide?
  • Would you recommend it to others? Why?

Describe an achievement you are proud of.

You should say:

  • What is the achievement?
  • When did it happen?
  • How did you accomplish it?
  • Why is it significant to you?

Discuss a cultural event or festival you have attended.

You should say:

  • Which event or festival was it?
  • When and where did it take place?
  • What were the highlights of the event?
  • How did you feel about the experience?

Talk about a challenging situation you faced and how you dealt with it.

You should say:

  • What was the situation?
  • How did it challenge you?
  • What steps did you take to overcome it?
  • What did you learn from the experience?

IELTS cue card with sample questions and answers

IELTS cue cards for speaking: Sample 1

Talk about your favourite book, movie or television series.

  • What is the title of the book/movie?
  • What is the genre and the storyline?
  • Why is it your favourite?
  • Would you recommend it to others? Why?

One of my all-time favourite TV series is BBC’s Sherlock. It's a modern adaptation of the classic detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring the famous Sherlock Holmes. The crime and mystery drama is set in present-day London.

The reason why Sherlock stands out for me is the flawless storytelling and exceptional performances by the cast.

Benedict Cumberbatch played Sherlock Holmes, and his portrayal of the character is truly captivating. He brings out the detective’s intelligence, sharp wit, and unique charm with such brilliance. The Hobbit fame Martin Freeman played Dr John Watson, Sherlock's loyal friend and partner, and the chemistry between their characters is just outstanding.

What I find the most fascinating about the show is how it skillfully adapted the classic Sherlock Holmes tales to the modern world. They incorporated elements like the internet and smartphones, making the storyline relevant to the present time.

Sherlock offered a mysterious storyline, keeping the audience engaged throughout the series. The crimes included were cleverly written, and Sherlock's deductive reasoning left me in awe each time he unravelled a complex case.

Furthermore, the characters are exceptional. From Mycroft Holmes to Irene Adler, every character in the show left a great impression on the viewer. Over the episodes, I witnessed Sherlock and John's friendship develop slowly with each challenge they faced. It made the characters feel so real and relatable, which is something that I greatly appreciate in a TV series.

To sum it up, Sherlock is an extraordinary TV series that combines brilliant mysteries, flawless acting, and a modern twist on a classic character. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys crime dramas and mysteries. It's an absolute must-watch, and I'm sure it will leave a great impression on anyone who gives it a chance.

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IELTS cue cards for speaking: Sample 2

Talk about a hobby or activity you enjoy.

  • What is the hobby/activity?
  • When and how did you start doing it?
  • What do you like about it?
  • How does it benefit you or make you feel?

One of my favourite hobbies that brings me immense joy and satisfaction is writing. I have been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember, and it has become a part of my life.

Writing is not just a hobby to me; it is a medium to express my thoughts, emotions, and creativity. Whenever I pick up a pen or sit at my computer to write, I enter a world of endless possibilities. Writing allows me to explore my imagination, whether it's jotting down personal experiences or creating fictional stories.    
What I love most about writing is the freedom it offers. I can write about anything that interests me, from fictional fantasy to mysterious adventures or even articles on various topics.

Moreover, writing helps me discover myself. When I write, I get a chance to delve deep into my thoughts, analyse my feelings, and gain clarity on matters that might be overwhelming. It's therapeutic in a way, helping me release pent-up emotions and allowing me to process my experiences in a meaningful manner.    
Also, writing has improved my communication skills and language proficiency. I've noticed that the more I write, the better I become at expressing myself articulately, and it has certainly benefited me in various aspects of life.

Writing has become a significant part of my life. It allows me to explore my imagination, reflect on my thoughts, and improve my language skills. Whether it's a few lines in a journal or lengthy pieces of fiction, writing is an activity that brings me a sense of fulfilment and joy like no other.

IELTS cue cards for speaking: Sample 3

Describe a memorable event from your childhood.

  • Describe the event.
  • When and where did it happen?
  • Who were the people involved?
  • Why is it memorable to you?

One of the most memorable events from my childhood was a family trip to the beach when I was around eight years old. It was an unforgettable experience that left a lasting impact on me.    
It was a bright, sunny day when my parents came up with the idea of going to the beach. We had been looking forward to it for weeks, and the excitement was palpable as we packed our bags with all the essentials.

We arrived at the beach soon, and I was mesmerised by the vastness of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. The sight of the glistening water and the feeling of the soft sand beneath my feet filled me with joy.

My siblings and I immediately ran towards the water, splashing and playing in the waves. We built sandcastles and raced along the shoreline. The laughter echoed along the beach as we bonded as a family, sharing precious moments together.

One particular moment that stands out in my memory was when my dad taught me how to swim. I was initially hesitant, but he encouraged me and held my hand as I waded into the water. With his guidance, I mustered the courage to let go and started paddling my arms and kicking my legs. It was a triumphant feeling when I realised I could float on my own. From that day onwards, I developed a newfound love for swimming and the water.

As the day progressed, we enjoyed a delightful beach picnic, devouring the snacks we brought. The simple pleasure of sharing a meal with my family while enjoying the beautiful beach view is certainly a cherished memory.

When the day drew to a close, we watched the sunset, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink. That beach trip remains etched in my memory as a day filled with love, laughter, and unforgettable experiences. It taught me the importance of spending quality time with family and appreciating the beauty of nature.    
To this day, whenever I think back to that childhood beach adventure, a sense of nostalgia washes over me, reminding me of the precious moments that have shaped my life and brought my family closer together.

Pro preparation tips for the IELTS cue card task

  • Understand the structure, format and types of questions to expect in the speaking test. This will help you feel prepared on test day.
  • Create a study plan to streamline your preparation process and achieve your target score.
  • Refrain from memorising any answers. It will confuse you during the interview.
  • Familiarise using a range of grammatical structures and maintaining fluency instead of complex words.
  • Practice speaking out loud on various topics you expect might appear on the IELTS cue card. It helps you improve your pronunciation and fluency in spoken English. Also, use simple language and make sure you convey your ideas and opinions.
  • Ensure to be prepared for the possible follow-up questions and try to prepare yourself to answer them.
  • It is advisable to avoid overthinking. This might affect your flow and disrupt your thought process during the interview.

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Frequently asked questions

What is an IELTS Cue Card?

An IELTS Cue Card is a task card provided to candidates during the IELTS Speaking test. It contains a topic or a prompt that the candidate needs to speak about for a specific duration. The Cue Card aims to assess the candidate's ability to speak fluently, coherently, and effectively on a given topic.

How much time do I have to speak on the Cue Card topic during the IELTS Speaking test?

Candidates are typically given 1 minute to prepare their response after receiving the Cue Card. After the preparation time, candidates must speak for 1 to 2 minutes on the given topic. The examiner will stop the candidate after 2 minutes.

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