Describe a difficult thing you did - IELTS Speaking cue card

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Describe a difficult thing you did


Have you found difficulty answering some IELTS Cue card topics such as “Describing a difficult thing you did and succeeded”? Well, many students struggle to answer certain cue card topics in the exam, and as a result, they cannot achieve their desired score.

In IELTS Speaking cue card topics, time plays a crucial role. You need to prepare the given topic in one minute and talk about it in two to three minutes using your English skills. Moreover, it's also important to structure your responses well.

Here, in this blog, we have given some sample answers for one such topic, “Describing a difficult thing you did and succeeded”. By reading these sample answers will help you understand the pattern in which you should answer these types of questions. Let’s read the blog and know the best answer for “Describing a difficult thing you did and succeeded”.

Describe a difficult thing you did

You will receive a cue card with a topic to discuss during one of the speaking sections of the IELTS exam. You will talk on the subject for eleven to fifteen minutes, and your performance will be assessed using the following criterias: 

  • Fluency & Coherence evaluate your ability to communicate in English without pauses, repeats, or disruptions.  

  • Grammatical Range assesses your speech's grammatical constructions, such as the appropriate use of tenses, parts of speech, and sentence structures.  

  • Lexical Resource, which means your vocabulary, including the variety of terms you use and how relevant they are in certain contexts.

  • Your ability to pronounce English words correctly, including their sounds, stresses, rhythms, and intonations, regardless of their original tongue, is evaluated.

Describe a difficult thing you did- sample answer 1


Everything appears to be tough until we try it. It's not a bad idea to try it, even if you don't know what you're doing and how tough it is going to be. Here, I'm going to tell you about the difficult work I completed here.


What was it?

The goal was to pass the CMAT exam. It is one of India's most difficult tests for getting admission to master’s level courses. It was a tough undertaking for me after finishing my graduation because the syllabus included numerous logical and calculative topics.


How did you complete it?

My parents wanted me to study at an excellent B-school in India, so I considered it. I had never taken a tough and challenging exam before, but I was confident because I had enough time to prepare. Just after my graduation, I joined a coaching class, where my mentors gave me the best strategies and guidance to clear the exam.

Why was it difficult?

I must say that it was not easy to pass in the absence of defined course guidelines or topics. We had to cover an extensive course and many topics in order to pass the exam. But, thanks to my hard work and determination, I passed the exam on the first try. I clearly recall my parents being there for me, boosting my confidence and assisting me in whatever way they could.


How did you feel about doing it?

Talking about my feelings made me feel like I had accomplished something in my life. I was overjoyed to realise my parents' dream. In addition, numerous messages were all over my phone screen, congratulating me and recognising my worth.



Finally, after securing good scores, I was admitted to one of the best B-schools in India, which was a wonderful decision, and I am very grateful for that.

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Describe a difficult thing you did - sample answer 2


I always try to accomplish new things in life because it helps me learn new skills and defeat challenges. I also participate in various sports, such as trekking, swimming, bungy jumping, and rafting. Many of these activities benefit me greatly, but they can also be dangerous. Today, I'd like to relate one of my experiences that was both tough and enjoyable.


What was it?

It was about learning how to swim. To be honest, it was a difficult skill for me to learn at first. Actually, I was terrified of diving into the water, but my older sister used to force me to learn because swimming is one of the most vital abilities in today's world.


How did you complete it?

So, I decided to learn swimming at Oriental Club and Sports, a popular sports club near the area. They gave me a 3-month swimming class course and a costume. However, I couldn't float correctly for the first week, but I gradually began learning and honing my skills.


Why was it difficult?

To be honest, it was quite tough for me to learn because I was always frightened of getting into the water. Moreover, I was unable to hold my breath for an extended period of time, which is critical when learning to swim. However, their method of instruction made swimming more comfortable for me. Despite the fact that it was a three-month course, I learned to swim in just one month.


How did you feel about doing it?

Now I'm incredibly good at swimming. I felt a sense of success after learning this necessary skill because learning something new requires work and patience. I also competed in numerous swimming events and received trophies, which strengthened my confidence.



All in all, I felt really nervous while learning these skills; I would not have been able to do this difficult thing without my instructor's and my sister's support.

Describe a difficult thing you did - sample answer 3


As we all know, many of life's difficulties begin with difficulty and end up being simple.


What was it?

Today, I would like to talk about my weight loss journey, which was quite difficult to adjust to. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were all compelled to stay inside our homes and face various hard circumstances. As a result of my overeating, while lying lethargic on my bed all day, I gained a lot of weight. I wanted to get back into shape and resume my healthy eating habits.


How did you complete it?

Consistent exercise and intermittent fasting assisted me in losing weight. I used to get up early and go for a jog, but now I prefer to walk. Furthermore, I began eating nutritious foods in moderation and successfully adhered to a suitable diet. With this approach, I was able to lose a significant amount of weight.


Why was it difficult?

It was difficult for me because I had never been diligent in following a certain diet. I'm a laid-back individual who works, eats, and sleeps. However, following the lockdown, I became aware of my massive weight gain and desired to shed part of it. I believe weight gain is easy, while healthy weight loss is quite difficult. To succeed, one needs to put in a lot of effort, be disciplined, and be persistent, which I found tough.


How did you feel about doing it?

I was initially heartbroken because I couldn't eat the junk food that I craved. Despite knowing it was unhealthy, I loved eating them. Fortunately, once I started eating properly, my mood improved, and I became more active. As a result, all of the obstacles and challenges were worthwhile!

Follow-Up Questions of IELTS Speaking Cue Card

Question: What kinds of jobs require people to be confident?   

Answer: Every type of job requires being confident in what they do. A brand manager, for example, must be confident in his speaking skills in order to close a deal; similarly, a teacher must be confident in front of children in order to gain attention to whatever they discuss. As a result, people with confidence are expected in all types of occupations.

Question: On what occasions should children be encouraged? How?   

Answer: There are numerous scenarios in which students must be motivated. When youngsters are hesitant to try new things and are afraid of them, people should encourage children to engage in those activities and complete the task.

Question: How do you help children stay focused?

Answer: First and foremost, one can offer them a distraction-free environment, such as not allowing them to use cell phones while studying. Another technique to help children focus is to teach them about meditation, which requires them to concentrate on their breath or a single sound.

Question: What challenges do young people face today?

Answer: Young people today face challenges such as mental health concerns. They are also aware of an increase in depression and suicide among them due to failure in competition, which they compete in education and in their professional lives.

Question: What are the most difficult things for youngsters to do?   

Answer: As a child, you must make a lot of difficult decisions. Youth is a stage in life when a person is ready to embark on their journey as a self-sufficient individual. At first, they believe that everything is difficult, but gradually, they learn to overcome every obstacle.

Question: What can we do to overcome the thought that everything is difficult?  

Answer: Nothing is tough unless we put it to the test. We should attempt first, regardless of the consequences, even if we are unaware of them. It is not a bad idea to try something new.


The above topic of the IELTS speaking cue card, "Describe a difficult thing you did," has some model answers and follow-up questions. It would provide some excellent ideas for the test. To perform well, customise your language and speaking style. Remember, with the right strategy and hard work; you can easily ace IELTS speaking cue card questions.

We hope now you have an idea of how to answer the “Describe a difficult thing you did” type of cue card questions in your IELTS speaking test. But, still, if you are, if you wanna get further details or would like to prepare for IELTS, then you can contact Prepare IELTS Exam (PI) expert counsellors for further guidance. Our team of education experts is dedicated to providing you with the best test material and guidance to ace the IELTS exam. You can get a one-on-one counselling session and an IELTS online practice test via our platform. Contact us at or call us at +91 9773398388 for further queries.


Start by choosing a specific difficult thing you have done in the past. Provide an overview of the situation, explain the challenges you faced, and discuss how you overcame them. Make sure to highlight the importance and impact of the experience on your personal growth.

Yes, you can choose any difficult thing that you have personally experienced. It can be related to your academic, professional, or personal life. The key is to select an event or task you can effectively describe and discuss.

Your answer should ideally be around 2 minutes long. It's important to manage your time effectively during the speaking test, so practice summarising your response to fit within the given time frame.

To make your answer more engaging, use descriptive language, vivid examples, and personal anecdotes. Try to convey your emotions and thoughts during the difficult task. This will help the examiner better understand your experience and make your response more compelling.


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