Speaking Sample 17

IELTS GT Test – Speaking Mock Test # 17

[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]


Topic: Names

Q. How did your parents choose your name(s)?
A. To be honest, I can’t say for sure what was on my parents’ mind when they decided my name. But once I heard from my mother that my parents decided to name me Helen because they thought it was a beautiful name. Who knows, they might have been influenced by the American actress Helen Hayes MacArthur as they named me Helen Hayes!

Q. Does your name have any special meaning?
A. With Greek origin, the word ‘Helen’ means ‘shining light’ and ‘Hayes’ is derived from an Irish word meaning descendant of Aodh (“fire”), or of Aed, an Irish mythological god. So the name ‘Helen Hayes’ could mean something like a descendant of the fire God who shines brilliantly!

Q. Is your name common or unusual in your country?
A. The first part of my name ‘Helen’ is very common in the United States and the last part ‘Hayes’ is also customary. But together they create a less common name, I guess.

Q. If you could change your name, would you? [Why/Why not?]
A. No, I would never want to change my name and why should I? My parents chose this name with great love and fervour and this name means a lot to me. I have always been Helen Hayes and want to be the same for the rest of my life. This very name defines me as a person and I will never take another name.


[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Describe a TV documentary you watched that was particularly interesting.

You should say:

  • what the documentary was about
  • why you decided to watch it
  • what you learnt during the documentary

and explain why the TV documentary was particularly interesting.

Cue Card Answer:

Some say it “the partisan documentary” while the others call it “fair and balanced”. But, I called it very “powerful” when I first watched the documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11”, made by Michael Moore, back in 2010. I decided to watch the documentary simply because, in my opinion, no American documentary film managed to provoke as much political controversy ever before as Fahrenheit 9/11. This is, in fact, one of the best documentaries I have ever watched.

Being filmed during the US presidential campaign of 2004, the documentary probably was aimed, in my opinion, at helping the-then democratic presidential candidate even though many argued at the same time that film-maker was actually trying to turn off swing voters and thus contribute to a Republican victory with his “strident” film-making approach. Having raised some legitimate questions over Bush administration’s motives for war in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the disputes about the Saudi flights from the United States right after the horrific events of 9/11 in 2001, the documentary has also tried to shed some lights on the “dark” sides of American politics and corporate profiteering. I heard about this documentary for the very first time from one of my university professors who highly recommended it to us.

Being a political documentary presented with an interesting “deadpan humour” approach, Fahrenheit 9/11 served a very significant and serious purpose in proving to its audience that any war, considering that it was based on lies, was bound to cause atrocities and loss of innocent lives. Having a very passionate tone in its words and images in order to create a lingering effect in the mind, the film also proved that the then president was no “take-charge” kind of leader during a time of “serious crisis”, leaving the audiences to wonder about how the greats like Eisenhower, Reagan, Truman, Bush senior, Clinton, Nixon or Kennedy would behave in such crisis situation. Besides, the controversial film also tried to reveal a “naked truth” during its 2-hour 3-minute run time about how some people, who are in charge of making the laws of the country, do not care to read and understand the laws. Having fashioned its arguments in favour of revealing an “uncomfortable truth”, the document was surely interesting enough to have won the Palme d’Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.


Discussion topics: Different types of TV programmes

Q. What are the most popular kinds of TV programmes in your country? Why is this?
A. TV series, live sports competitions, news programmes, talk shows, music shows, cooking shows, documentaries, reality TV shows and weather updates are some of the most popular programme types on the TV in my country.

I believe people of all ages enjoy watching different TV series, weather updates, news programmes while the youth love to enjoy sports. Cooking shows and reality TV shows hosted by women are popular among females. Students and more serious viewers mostly watch news, music, documentaries and talk shows. Due to public demands, these TV programmes are widely common in different TV channels.

Q. Do you think there are too many game shows on TV nowadays? Why?
A. I do not think that game shows and similar programmes are all over the TV channels in my country, and we have any reason to be worried about it. Since the inception of the satellite TV channels, we have dedicated channels for news, sports, documentaries, music, movies and so on. So, a particular channel may focus mostly on programmes like game shows, but their number is not that high, especially not in my country. Many TV channels broadcast a single game show in a season and have numerous other programmes on their other slots.

I think TV channels are highly competitive these days and showing too many game shows would not make much profit for them. However, we have many popular games shows that attracts a large number of audience of all ages. ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ and ‘Double Dare’ are two highly popular game shows of all time in my country.

Q. Do you think TV is the main way for people to get the news in your country? What other ways are there?
A. I think TV once was the main source of news and information but the Internet has replaced it already as a source of news, especially with more than 85% internet users in my country. However, TV is still a popular source of news and information.

To get news on current events and to get other information, people also rely on the radio, which is also losing its popularity, online news portals, and newspapers in my country.

Discussion topics: TV advertising

Q. What types of products are advertised most often on TV?
A. I can’t be accurate on that as I do not watch TV much. However, from my experience, I can say that commercials of beauty products like soap and cosmetics; household consumer products like tea, coffee, dishwashing and electronics; common consumer products like soft drinks, packeted food, and cookies; Internet services, insurance services and baby products dominate the TV channels. In recent days, adverts of real estate companies, fast food chain shops, car manufacturers, mobile phone makers and pharmaceuticals have also become common.

Q. Do you think that people pay attention to adverts on TV? Why do you think that is?
A. I think people enjoy creative and entertaining TV adverts and we are being greatly influenced by them. They, however, hate too many commercial breaks during their favourite TV programmes. Since advertisements are all over there, we often do not pay extra attention to them but they have an impact on our subconscious mind as we decide what products to buy and what not to largely based on the advertisements we see and listen to, even without paying much attention.

I think brands and companies are spending a hefty amount of money to shape the consumers’ decisions and behaviours and they often produce commercials that viewers would like. Since advertisements are so common on TV, we have started accepting that there would be dedicated time for commercial breaks and we would watch them.

Q. How important are regulations on TV advertising?
A. I think proper regulations should always be in place while deciding what commercials could be shown to the public and what should be banned, censored or restricted to a few particular channels. Thus TV channels that are enjoyed by the whole family should not contain any offensive and vulgar scene and speech. Besides, no commercial should be allowed to target the children. I personally think that the authority should not allow a commercial to be aired that demeans others, has false claims and fail to meet the guideline. Regulation of television advertising should cover both the length of commercial breaks and on the content of the advertisements themselves. Restricting the advertising of certain products like tobacco, liquor, and gambling is also important. Thus a fitting regulation on TV advertisements has direct and indirect impacts on our family and the society as a whole and that’s why they are extremely vital.

3 Comments to “Speaking Sample 17”

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