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Miscellaneous Topics

Describe a time when you were looking at the sky.
You should say:

  • When and where you looked at the sky
  • Who you looked at sky with
  • How you felt when looking at it
  • And explain why you looked at the sky.

Model Answer

Looking at the sky seems like the sort of thing we might do every day without actually having any awareness of doing it. But today I want to share with you the time when I had an opportunity to look up into the sky from a city on the other side of the planet.

A couple of years ago I had a great opportunity to escape from the scorching hot summer in Hanoi to one of the most stunning cities in Europe, London. Usually the weather in London is pretty much day after day of overcast clouds and dreariness with high levels of rainfall throughout the year. However when I arrived in London, I guess I must have caught a lucky break in the clouds as the city was lit up in sunlight.

But while I was travelling from the airport to my hotel in the west part of London with my mother, I opened the car window to glance around and feel the wind on my skin and in my hair. By this point, the sun had disappeared and the sky was overcast and grey with loads of thick clouds. There were many people on the street walking in a hurry to avoid the rain, while others were too absorbed with their phones to even notice the coming rain.

I was so excited and curious about this huge city that I decided not to let the rain ruin my first day, even though I got soaking wet in the heavy downpour as I got out of the cab and moved my luggage. For the rest of the day, I spent my time looking at the sky from my hotel room’s window while the rain kept pouring down. I love London, without a doubt, but that kind of weather totally made me feel depressed.

Vocabulary Highlights

  • awareness – knowledge or understanding of something
  • scorching hot – very hot
  • stunning – beautiful
  • overcast clouds – grey clouds covering the entire sky
  • dreariness – dark, dull and depressing
  • break in the clouds – a gap in the clouds
  • loads – a lot of
  • absorbed – very interested in something and not paying attention to anything else
  • soaking wet – completely wet
  • heavy downpour – heavy rain
  • cab – taxi
  • pouring down – raining heavily
  • depressed – feeling very sad and unhappy

Describe a piece of good news you heard.
You should say:

  • what this news was
  • when and where you heard it
  • how you heard it
  • And explain why you think it was good news

Model Answer

I’m going to talk about the time when I received the official notification of my scholarship to join an exchange program in Japan about three years ago. It feels like a long time ago but I can still remember the day quite vividly.

At that time, I was a sophomore at university and one day I came across an advertisement for a two-month cultural exchange program in Japan for students from Southeast Asia. I was really eager to apply for this program and luckily my application was accepted and I was also nominated for a scholarship.

So about 2 months later, I received an email from the Scholarship Committee informing me that I had been chosen to receive a full scholarship which would cover all kinds of fees and living expenses for me during the program. I think my heart skipped a beat and I screamed out loud when I saw the word “Congratulations” in that email. I was really proud of myself to be chosen from hundreds of candidates to win this scholarship.

It was definitely the best news of the year. If I hadn’t won the scholarship, my living expenses would have been such a heavy financial burden for my parents, but thanks to the generous grants that I received, I could really enjoy my time in Japan without worrying about the money. To this day I still keep this lucky email in my inbox to remind me of that special occasion.

Vocabulary Highlights

  • vividly – brightly coloured or very clear
  • sophomore – a student in the 2nd year of study at university or college
  • cultural exchange program – an exchange of students between two countries to learn more about the others culture
  • eager – to be interested or excited about doing something
  • nominated – to be suggested for something
  • my heart skipped a beat – to be very excited
  • screamed out loud – to yell in excitement
  • heavy financial burden – a large debt or large amount of money to have to pay
  • generous – to be helpful or to give support

Describe an ideal house.
You should say:

  • where it is
  • what it looks like
  • when you would like to live in
  • And explain why you would like to live in it.

Model Answer

So I’m going to talk about the perfect house that I would like to live in. I would like it to be spaciouscomfy and tranquil and it should therefore be located in a rural area with a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

Painted white and pink, the house would somehow look like a little palace for a royal family. Natural light is a must for this house, and it must contain an effective window system for good ventilation. The house would be equipped with modern appliances and air-conditioning for comfort and convenience. Trees and flowers would be planted around it for decoration and to make it look beautiful.

My ideal house, which would be full of natural light and surrounded by a lot of beautiful gardens, would be the perfect place for me when I am in need of relaxation, and an escape from my heavy workload in the city. I would be able to enjoy the fresh air, and living there would be the perfect way to relieve stress.

To be honest, having the chance to live in such a house would be a dream come true for me, feeling like a king in his own castle, and I hope that one day I can actually build a house like this to live in.

Vocabulary Highlights

  • spacious – with a lot of space
  • comfy – comfortable
  • tranquil – calm, peaceful and quiet
  • rural area – the countryside or farming area
  • palace – the home of a king or royal family
  • a must – necessary
  • ventilation – the movement of fresh air in a closed space
  • appliances – an electrical device or machine used at home eg. refrigerator, rice cooker
  • heavy workload – a lot of work to do
  • relieve stress – to reduce or release stress or worry
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