IELTS GT Test – Speaking Mock Test # 26
[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. Are your friends mostly your age or different ages? [Why?]
A. Most of my friends are contemporary to me. However, I have one senior and two junior friends who have a noticeable age gap with me. I think we become friends because we love to spend time together and have common interests. From this regard, age is not always a determining factor for making friends.
Q. Do you usually see your friends during the week or at weekends? [Why?]
A. I usually see my friends on weekends these days. I have become exceedingly busy for the last couple of months and can’t manage time on a weekday. Apart from that, I have taken a graphics designing course in the evening. So it’s difficult for me to manage time on a busy weekday to hang out with friends even though I want to. However, every weekend, I spend a few hours with three of my close friends.
Q. The last time you saw your friends, what did you do together?
A. As far as I recall, this was only five days ago. It was a Sunday afternoon and we talked about our plans for taking a tour to Scotland after our term final in college. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant and ate pizza together. During this time we had conversations on different topics including politics.
Q. In what ways are your friends important to you?
A. I believe good friends are always important to us. My friends remain on my side no matter what and come forward to help me. They make life more enjoyable and I can share everything with them. They are like our reflection on the mirror and we can learn about ourselves by looking at them.
There are numerous occasions when my friends extended their helping hands selflessly. They are often my inspiration for doing something good.
[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 an interesting historic place.
You should say:
- what it is
- where it is located
- what you can see there now
and explain why this place is interesting.
Cue Card Answer:
It is a Nawab’s (a deputy ruler or a provincial governor under the Mughal rule of India) palace. More precisely, once being a nawab’s residential palace, Ahsan Manzil is now a museum. Built in around 1860’s, this “pink palace” is standing still along the banks of the “Buriganga” river to silently carry the memories of a bygone era, full of many charms, histories and mysteries.
Built on 5.5 acres of premises, Ahsan Manzil today remains as one of the most significant architectural reminders of the elite life of the nawabs in Dhaka (Bangladesh) during the heyday of British rule in 19th and early 20th centuries. Attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists every year from all over the world, this old palace is divided into two parts: the Eastern side and the western side.
The eastern side with the beautiful dome is called “Rangmahal” (hall of pleasure) while the western side is called “Andarmahal” (private area). Once you enter the eastern side, you will get to see a large drawing room, a library and guest rooms. The ballroom, few residential rooms, a drawing room with elegantly-designed wooden artificial ceiling and “jalsaghar”(the music room) are on the western side. Displaying a large front garden, this “grand palace” also has an open and spacious stairway, coming down from the second floor and extending up to the bank of the river. Having plenty of artefacts for public display, the floors of this elite residential palace are made of marble stones of different beautiful colours.
Remaining an architectural treasure of the past centuries in the “undivided” Bengal, Ahsan Manzil is certainly an interesting tourist attraction as it has witnessed many historical events unfold, which eventually lead to the “birth” of Bangladesh. Being at the centre of all political power and activities during the last part of the 19th century, Ahsan Manzil was the cradle of new Muslim identity as well as the birthplace of a new breed of Muslim leadership in undivided India. In fact, even people like Lord Curzon, who helped propose the partition of Bengal and establish Dhaka University, including many other governors and viceroys of undivided British India, visited and spent their times at the grand old palace of Dhaka.
Having survived a couple of devastating natural disasters (the earthquake of 1897 and the flood of 1988), this “kachari” (courthouse) of the nawabs is still carrying memories of the glory days of the then-east Bengal when the Nawabs of Dhaka would conduct their daily court affairs as the “chiefs of the panchayat” (village council).
Discussion topics: Looking after historic places
Q. How do people in your country feel about protecting historic buildings?
A. People in my country are active vocal for protecting historic buildings and any heritage related to our past history. We believe such structures and monuments are a part of our national pride and are irreplaceable. They signify how as a nation we were always so great and why should we be proud of our history as a glorious nation. I can recall an event when thousands of people took their stands on the street to protest a decision to demolish an old building which dates back to the 17th century. Due to the public sentiment and their active participation, the decision was revoked.
Q. Do you think an area can benefit from having an interesting historic place locally? In what way?
A. I certainly believe so. Take my area as an example where we have got two prominent historic sites and due to their historic significance, people know about our area and whenever I say them that I come from this particular area, they react like – ‘Oh! Your place is famous and I had been there!’. Apart from this, such a famous area attracts more tourists which flourishes the local businesses. Finally, the government’s budget allocation for such areas is another advantage.
Q. What do you think will happen to historic places or buildings in the future? Why?
A. I think significant historic sites in rich countries would get a priority from their respective government as the demand to protect such sites has already begun. An increasing number of tourists each year along with climate change issue has already caused harm to many such sites. In the future, affluent nations would be more serious to preserve and protect their historic areas while the fate of such places in poor and war-torn nations is unknown.
Less important historic sites, which are not known internationally, are being replaced by large buildings in many underdeveloped and developing countries. However, the most concerning issue is the war which, without any doubt, will destroy such locations indiscriminately.
So, you can understand I have a mixed feeling about this issue, but let’s hope for the best.
Discussion topics: The teaching of history at school
Q. How were you taught history when you were at school?
A. Well, that’s an interesting question. Our school teachers used to explain a historic event and then described the outcome of it from the textbook. They often told us about the characters from history and a great deal of their life, work and ambition.
Sometimes, they used a projector or large images to give us a glimpse of the event and people from history which was quite interesting. They often gave us assignments and wanted us to study comprehensively before we submit the assignments. Our school often arranged a trip to a nearby historic site or to a museum to let us witness some of the historical artefacts. I enjoyed my history class, I must say.
Q. Are there other ways people can learn about history, apart from at school? How?
A. Definitely! I believe people who have a passion to read can learn a great deal of information regarding history. Travelling is another excellent way to learn more about history while my favourite method is to watch the documentary on YouTube or on a television channel. I think people who are famous historians are great researchers and travellers.
Q. Do you think history will still be a school subject in the future? Why?
A. I believe it will be a mainstream school subject in the coming decades and centuries. The importance of learning about history lies in its capacity to reveal the future to us. It is often said that ‘to learn about the future, study the past.’ So, every generation will need to learn about history.
In the future, the method of learning and teaching would change, but history as a subject will not be replaced, I believe.