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Life-Choices, Decisions, Success

Describe a success in your life.
You should say:

  • when it was
  • what it was
  • why you chose it
  • and how you achieved it.

Model Answer

Well, the success that I would like to share with you today is about my contribution to a social welfare activity that occurred about 5 years back when I was just a freshman in college. I really feel proud of this achievement as I believe I have done something really good for society.

At that time, the local authorities in my hometown had planned to destroy a public park and build a shopping mall complex instead. I had taken notice of them cutting down the trees so I gathered my friends to protest, though it was a very complicated situation.

The reason for me to do that was because that park was the only green space and recreational area for the local people. They came there every day to exercise, and enjoy the fresh air in order to maintain and improve their health. As well as this, it’s also home to a large number of wild birds and other animals, which I feel is a very important thing to conserve.

I know that going against the authorities is a really hard thing to do but I felt that I needed to do it for the sake of the community. We made some plans to contact the media and go to the local authorities to express our view and opinion, and in the end, we succeeded and the construction of the shopping mall was cancelled, so I feel like this really was a success in my life.

Vocabulary Highlights

  • social welfare – to do with the health, happiness and living conditions of people within a society
  • occurred – happened
  • a freshman in college – first year student in university or college
  • local authorities – the local police or government
  • shopping mall complex – one or more buildings that include many shops, restaurants, cafes and possibly a cinema and other facilities
  • taken notice of – to have seen or paid attention to something
  • to protest – a strong complaint or argument against something or someone
  • green space – an area with a lot of trees, grass
  • recreational area – an outdoor area usually with a lot of nature used by people for activities that help them to relax and have fun, such as playing sport, exercising, walking, having a picnic etc
  • home to – the home of
  • conserve – to keep and protect from damage, waste or loss
  • going against – to argue or challenge someone or something
  • for the sake of – for the benefit of

Describe what you would do if you were given a day off.
You should say:

  • what you would like to do
  • who you would like to be with
  • where you would like to do it
  • And explain how you would feel at the end of the day.

Model Answer

So I’m going to share with you an activity that I would love to do if I had a day off; and that is to spend my entire day participating in various outdoor activities, in order to relieve some stress and recharge my batteries. I have been making some plans of a number of things that I’d like to do when I get the chance, such as hiking or cycling in a mountainous area, and paying a visit to some historical places.

So, if I had a day off, I would like to spend it with my best friend, Lan. She loves travelling and discovering new places as well, and she knows basic first aid and how to survive if we were to ever get lost, so I think that she would be the perfect partner to go with.

Ninh Binh province is my hometown so I would like to go there on my free day, and although I was born and brought up there, I haven’t finished travelling through this massive mountainous province. Having numerous tourist attractions, Ninh Binh would enable me and my friend to enjoy the fresh atmosphere, go hiking and visit various places, for example, the Stone Church and Hoa Lu Palace.

I’ve been suffering from quite a heavy workload in my job recently, so I’m really in need of a day off that would allow me some time to do my favourite activities, making me feel more excited and happier with my life.

Vocabulary Highlights

  • relieve some stress – to reduce or release stress or worry
  • recharge my batteries – to get new energy, to feel good again
  • paying a visit – to visit
  • basic first aid – basic emergency medical care
  • survive – to continue to live ie. to not die
  • get lost – to not know where you are
  • brought up – raised

Describe a difficult choice that you made.
You should say:

  • what the choice was
  • when this happened
  • what choice you made
  • And explain why the choice was a difficult one.

Model Answer

So I’m going to talk about a situation when I found it really difficult to make up my mind. It was when I was a child, about ten years ago, and my parents weren’t getting on well with each other, which made the atmosphere at home really terrible. In the end, they got divorced, but I didn’t know whom I should go to live with, my mom or my dad.

That was a really difficult time in life for me because so many things changed, mostly in a negative way. I had a difficult time to choose who to live with because I loved both of my parents and we had had many unforgettable memories together. So to solve this matter, our family spent a long time discussing it and deciding on the best option for me.

Finally, I chose to stay with my mom because she could take better care of me and she needed my support after the divorce. Though my dad felt upset, he agreed with my choice, for my sake. You know, I believe that was not only a tough choice for me but also for my parents as well.

I always want to live under the same roof as both my parents, so choosing just one person to live with was a hard thing for me. Not being able to see my dad every day made me feel sad, so that was one of the toughest choices I have ever had to make.

Vocabulary Highlights

  • make up my mind – decided to
  • getting on well with each other – having a good relationship
  • divorced – when a husband and wife are separated ie. opposite of getting married
  • solve – to find an answer to a problem
  • matter – problem
  • upset – to be angry or unhappy
  • for my sake – for my benefit
  • live under the same roof – to live in the same house

Describe a time when you had to work hard to achieve a goal.
You should say:

  • what the goal was
  • when this happened
  • what you did to achieve this goal
  • and explain why the goal was important to you.

Model Answer

I’m the type of person who never likes to rely on luck. I believe that everything can only be achieved through hard work and determination, and my final year in high school was one of the times that I spared no effort to achieve my goal.

At that point, I was still a senior student and like all the other students, passing the University entrance exam to get into my dream University was my main goal. But for me, I felt that the pressure was even higher since I had chosen Hanoi Medical University – one of the top Universities in Vietnam. There are thousands of students taking part in that exam every year so it is highly competitive.

In order to compete with the other candidates, every day I would spend hours in the library to read as many books as possible and to learn as much as I could. And even after school, I usually stayed up late to review everything I had learnt that day. It was a long process with a lot of hard work but I didn’t feel tired at all because becoming a doctor was one of my greatest desires. I was willing to put in a lot of hard work and effort for that dream and to not let anything stop me from achieving it.

So in the end, all the hard work paid off, and I passed the entrance exam with outstanding results and became a medical student. When I received the results, I was so happy that I burst into tears. All of my hard work for the year had helped me achieve one of my big goals in life so far.

Vocabulary Highlights

  • rely on luck – to leave things to chance or fate
  • spared no effort – to try as hard as possible
  • desires – a strong feeling of wanting something
  • hard work paid off – got good results due to a lot of effort
  • outstanding – very good, or excellent
  • burst into tears – to suddenly begin to cry
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