Describe a time when you were late - IELTS cue card

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Describe a time when you were late


The speaking, writing, listening, and reading portions of the IELTS exam are the four components that make up this important stage in your academic or professional career. Specifically, the speaking portion allows you to demonstrate your language proficiency. The second part of the speaking section is called the cue card round, during which you will be assigned a specific topic to speak about for two or three minutes.

Our main goal in writing this blog is to provide sample answers and follow-up questions for the popular cue card question, "Describe a time when you were late."

Describe a time when you were late cue card - sample answer 1


In general, I am punctual, and I make a point of being on time, no matter what the event is. So, there are very few instances when I have been late. But I recall a moment when I was trying to be on time but couldn’t. 


When was it?

I recall arriving late to the wedding of my closest cousin, Akshat, who got married around six months ago. The wedding took place in the Gurudwara on the outskirts of our city, about 23 kilometres from my house. Although Akshat had given me directions when we had previously visited there, I had trouble recalling street names and directions. I always use the map app on my phone.


Why were you late?

I checked my phone for the address on the day of the wedding and left my house promptly.

My mobile GPS indicated that I had reached my destination forty minutes later, but upon closer inspection, I could see only some old buildings and no Gurudwara. I discovered that the map app had directed me to a different address.  I made some inquiries. Luckily, I was given the directions by someone who was aware of this location. I had driven the wrong way along the wrong route, so I got late.


How did you feel about being late?

At first, I felt furious about myself for being inattentive. However, when I discovered the right direction, I felt relaxed and easy. 


Explain how you managed the situation.

 I called one of my cousins who was there at the wedding and asked him to send his location. The ceremony had begun and was roughly halfway through when I arrived. Luckily, everyone was busy, so nobody noticed that I was late. The situation was calm only. But later, when the wedding pictures came out, my cousin realised that I wasn’t there at the time of entry. However, I explained to him the whole situation that happened on that day. 



Being late for my cousin’s wedding made me feel bad. He still makes fun of me even though I'm usually on time.

Read, more: Describe a development in your country - IELTS speaking cue card

Describe a time when you were late cue card - sample answer 2


I can recall an instance where I arrived late for a job interview. It was a frightening experience that tested my ability to overcome unforeseen challenges. 


When it was

About a year ago, I was supposed to have a significant job interview with a reputable company. I had methodically prepared to arrive at the location by 11:30 a.m. to allow for any unforeseen delays, even though the interview was set for 12:00 p.m.


Why were you late?

I got late, and things took an unexpected turn on the morning of the interview. Despite my best efforts to arrive on time, a major accident on the main highway in my city caused an unanticipated traffic delay. I had to stop at one place for about 30 minutes completely since this was the worst traffic jam, and vehicles weren’t moving. I had been seeking the job for a while, and I knew that showing up late for the interview would adversely affect my chances of getting it. 


How did you feel about being late?

When I got to the interview, I was embarrassed and anxious, but I was determined not to miss the opportunity and do my best. I felt overwhelmed with helplessness and frustration. 


Explain how you managed the situation.

I apologised to the interview panel and the HR representative again and explained the reason behind being late. They appreciated my clear communication and honesty in the situation. I did a great job at the interview and gave the best answers I could to all of their questions despite the challenging beginning. 



I learned from this experience how important it is to communicate clearly and honestly under trying circumstances.

Read, more: Describe a time you were very busy - IELTS Speaking cue card

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IELTS Speaking Part 3 - Follow Up Questions

Question: Do you think planning is important for time management? 

Answer: In my opinion, preparation and planning are essential to effective time management. One cannot carry out work correctly without planning. As a student, I constantly organise my study schedule so that I can achieve high marks in my classes.

Question: Why do you think some people pay to learn time management?

Answer: In today's fast-paced world, time management has become a crucial part of everyone’s life. Some people pay for time management training to thrive and prosper in their careers. Some people require time management classes because they struggle to be organised and manage their schedules. 

Question: Is it important for children to learn to manage time? 

Answer: Yes, without a doubt. Our world moves quickly, and kids need to learn good time management skills to keep up with their peers, perform well in school, and eventually succeed in every aspect of life.

Question: In your opinion, what types of excuses do people use when they are late?

Answer: People in my country have many different reasons for being late, such as heavy traffic, unanticipated events, car accidents, oversleeping, getting lost or confused about directions, and delays in public transportation. A family emergency, a work-related emergency, or a car problem are among other reasons. Individuals may also provide health-related justifications, such as being sick or having an appointment with a physician. It is important to note that while some excuses might be true, others are not.

Question: Do old people and young people similarly manage time? 

Answer: I think Younger and older individuals may not manage their time similarly due to differences in priorities, experiences, and lifestyles. Older people may have more ingrained routines and habits and better time management expertise. Conversely, younger individuals could be less experienced in time management and more prone to distractions.

However, it's vital to emphasise that individual characteristics can impact time management more than age. Owing to health problems or life changes, some elderly individuals may find it difficult to manage their time, whereas young people, with their high levels of enthusiasm and focus, may be quite adept at it.

Question: Why do some people find it hard to follow their plans?

Answer: There are a number of reasons why some people find it difficult to follow through with their goals. One of the most common causes is a lack of drive or self-control. Even though people may establish plans or set goals, they frequently find it difficult to follow through because they lack the motivation or willpower to do so. It can also be challenging for people to concentrate on their goals when they are overburdened or diverted by other obligations or tasks. It could be challenging to follow plans due to unforeseen occurrences or circumstances that interfere with one's schedule, a lack of time management abilities, or high expectations. 

Question: How would you teach your children time management?

Answer: Children can learn time management skills by creating a schedule with assistance and adhering to it. They can also learn lessons about the value of time and effective time management from stories or movies. Parents should provide a positive example for their children as they are their role models.

Read, more: Describe a place you visited where the air was polluted - IELTS cue card


In conclusion, the explanation of the IELTS speaking part cue card topic on “Describe a time when you were late” is provided above. You should check the sample answer provided above; it will help you learn how to address the cue card issues and the follow-up questions and answers from the examiner.

We hope you liked reading the blog. If you want to know more about the IELTS Speaking test, we recommend you sign up for our IELTS courses designed by our experts. Please contact Prepare IELTS exam (PI) expert counsellors for further guidance. Our team of education experts is dedicated to assisting you in the best possible way for the IELTS exam. You can also get a one-on-one counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at or call us at +91 9773398388.


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