Difficult Decision That You Once Made - Speaking Part 2 Topics

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Sep 23, 2022 1:25 PM IST

If you are an IELTS aspirant planning to take the exam anytime soon, you must feel jittery and anxious while thinking about how to address the speaking section. The speaking section also includes a question based on ‘describe a difficult decision that you once made’. 

Like every other IELTS question, this question also needs special consideration and attention in order to score high on the Speaking section. Let us now walk you through how to answer this IELTS speaking topic and the follow-up questions that may be asked.

"Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made" on IELTS Speaking Topics or CUE Cards

The IELTS speaking section consists of three parts. In the first part, you need to give a general introduction about yourself to the examiner. In the second part, you will be provided with a cue card which will contain a topic that you will have to speak on and the last part of the test contains follow-up questions on the cue card topic.

As you are now clear with the pattern of the speaking test, we will address the most common question asked in the cue card and that is to describe a difficult decision that you once made. 

This question often repeats itself in the IELTS cue card topics and you must know how to frame the answer to such questions. You will also get follow-up questions on this topic where the examiner will test your understanding and knowledge about the topic.

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How Should You Answer “Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made?”

When you will be asked to describe a difficult decision that you have once made in the speaking cue card topic, you must be prepared for the way to answer the question. It is necessary to divide the answer into a few parts and address each of them individually. You must frame short questions or points in your mind or jot them down on paper before you start speaking on the topic.

The most common questions or points related to the topic ‘Describe a difficult decision that you once made’ are:

  • What was the decision?

  • When did you make the decision?

  • How long did it take for you to arrive at the decision?

  • Why was the decision a difficult one to make?

You will get two to three minutes to speak on the topic and a minute to think about it. You should utilise the limited time you have to brainstorm ideas and mind map them. Next, we have provided two sample answers to address the cue card topic ‘Describe a difficult decision that you once made’.

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Difficult Decision That You Once Made IELTS Sample Answer 1

You can follow the pattern provided in this sample answer.

Our decisions are what shape our lives. We keep taking major and minor decisions throughout that have some impact, both positive and negative on our life. We cannot always choose both roads, we need to settle on any one path to follow. Here I am going to speak about a tough decision which I took while deciding to select whether I should take up mathematics in class 11 or not.

I took up humanities to study in classes 11 and 12 which was, by itself, a huge leap from the ongoing trend of taking science. On top of that, I had to make a choice between two electives: history and mathematics. It was a tough decision to take as my parents were more inclined on taking up mathematics which can open up several career paths after boards but I loved studying history and knowing how our past events impact our present lives. Also, I was afraid of numerics and was under-confident to study mathematics.

Finally, after a week of dilemma, I chose to take history as I did not want to do something against my own wishes. I weighed the pros and cons of the proposition. I knew that if I took mathematics, my scores will not be as expected and can even impact my overall grades.  Though my parents were crest-fallen at first, they supported me when they found my fascination with the subject. Also, by scoring 98 in history on the boards, I proved to them that if I had not taken the difficult decision, I would not have tasted the sweet fruits of labour after.  

Difficult Decision That You Once Made IELTS Sample Answer 2

Another sample answer can be the following one.

The skill of decision-making is an important life skill to learn. Often there are times when we keep doing things in flow and do not consider the effects of it. Also, we should not be in a hurry when taking a decision. We must try to understand the outcomes of our decisions and the course they will take from that moment. 

After my college days were over, I decided to study masters abroad. When I started getting offer letters from UK universities, my results of a government exam taken long back came out. And I was selected. At that moment, I was at a crossway. On one hand, there was the temptation of a government job and a secured future, on the other hand, my dreams were calling me. I consulted my parents and my close relatives. They encouraged me to do what I felt was right. 

I was utterly confused and spent a few sleepless nights. The high unemployment rate in our country reminded me constantly of the lucrative job offer at hand but I also wanted to complete my dreams of higher education. As the day of my accepting the university offer letter was nearing, I finally took the toughest decision of my life. I decided to go abroad and complete my masters first and then hunt for a job. I was sure that my degree will prove valuable to recruiters and once I come back, I can again try for government or corporate jobs. Now I am teaching at a prestigious college in our country and I have fulfilled my aspirations.

Vocabulary Used in Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made

Here are some of the important vocabularies that have been used in the sentences with their meanings and an example has been cited to bring out the meaning in IELTS speaking section:

  • Dilemma: A situation in which you have to take a difficult decision.

    • Example: I was in a dilemma about whether I should accompany my mother to the doctor or attend an important presentation in the office.

  • Proposition: An idea or suggestion.

    • Example: His proposition in the meeting was accepted by all.

  • Crest-fallen: Sad or disappointed.

    • Example: I was crest-fallen when I did not score high in the examination.

  • At crossways: At an important point in life.

    • Example: I was at crossways when I had to choose between studying abroad and studying in the country.

  • Temptation: Desire

Example: I succumbed to the temptation of eating ice cream though I had a cough and cold.

Follow-Up Questions and Answers for Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made

In the third part of the IELTS exam, the examiner asks some follow-up questions about the topic on which you have spoken in the second part. There are generally three to four questions that may take two to three minutes to finish. The questions are related to what you spoke in the cue card topic. Here are some of the follow-up questions to ask on this topic:

Should One Take Decisions on Their Own or Consult Others?

Decisions should always be taken after consulting the relevant person or people as they help us in getting a new insight or bring to our observation a point which we might have been missing while discussing. However, we should not blindly trust the opinion of others and keep room for autonomy.

Why Do Young People Often Take Decisions on their Own?

Technology has empowered people to take decisions on their own nowadays. Young people can research online and gain much knowledge. Still, the importance of consulting parents or elders cannot be downplayed. One must consult them when they are unable to decide on their own.

What Should We Do When We Find Our Decisions are Not Correct?

As it is difficult to turn the wheels of time and go back to the previous time and correct the decision, we should accept whatever the decision has led to. We must learn from the experience and move on with our life.

Why Do Middle-Aged People Take Time to Come to a Decision?

As one grows old and gains experience, one understands that not all decisions will lead to fruitful ends. On top of that, they are burdened with responsibilities that prevent them from taking quicker decisions.

We hope that you are now clear on how to speak on the topic ‘Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made’. The follow-up questions given at the end will help you anticipate the probable questions that you might get from the examiner’s end after you complete speaking on the topic. This will prepare you well for the IELTS speaking exam.

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FAQs on IELTS Difficult Decision That You Once Made

How to start speaking on the cue topic “Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made”?

You should not directly start talking about the topic given on the cue card. First of all, identify the keywords in the topic. Here, this can be a difficult decision. Therefore, first, talk about what is a difficult decision or about decisions in general and then move on to answering how you took a difficult decision.

Should I relate a true incident on the cue card topic “Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made”?

You can narrate a true incident from your life or you can make up instantly. It is upto you to answer the question. However, we advise you to speak on a real-life topic as it would seem authentic and you can even narrate it more vividly giving examples. 

How many incidents do I need to narrate in “Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made”?

You have to narrate only one incident on the topic with the provision of adding a small introduction and conclusion to score a good band on the speaking section. Describe in detail why was the decision difficult and how did you finally arrive at the decision. You can also talk about the people from whom you took help to decide.

How should I end the topic “Describe a Difficult Decision That You Once Made”?

As the time allotted for the IELTS cue card speaking topic is less, it is important to have a proper closure of the topic. You should not go on speaking regarding the event or decision. The narration should be crisp and you must conclude before you are asked to stop speaking. Also, in the end, you can talk about the consequence of the decision in your life.

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