Describe a Situation Where You Need Good Time Management: IELTS Speaking (Cue Card With Example Answer)

You might get a cue card about time management in part two of your IELTS Speaking test.

Let’s look at how to answer this question really well. Below, you can also see an example answer (go straight to the answer here).

What You Can Say

First, think of any situation you often have where you need to organize your time well. This could be related to:

  • Your work
  • Your classes at school  
  • Your homework
  • Your college studies
  • Your family and home life
  • Parties or events that you organize
  • Your social life
  • Vacation
  • Traveling 
  • Work trips
  • Managing lots of hobbies
  • Anything else that comes to mind

Then you can talk about:

  • Why you need to manage your time well in that situation
  • How you schedule your time
  • The best way to work efficiently 
  • How easy or difficult it is to manage your time well
  • How you learned to be efficient and well-organized
  • How you want to improve your time management skills in future
  • Anything else you can think of

Focus on Vocabulary in Part Two

In part two of the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner is listening for interesting vocabulary. So you should focus on:

  • Speaking for one or two whole minutes without stopping
  • Using interesting, uncommon vocabulary

A great way to prepare interesting vocabulary for part two is to prepare a few good word groups. 

A word group is a collection of interesting words and phrases that describe a particular characteristic of someone or something.

For this question about time management, a great word group to learn is the ‘productive person’ word group. You can see this word group used in the example answer below. 

Prepare a Story or Two

It’s also a great idea to tell a short story (or two) in your part-two answer. 

A story allows you to keep talking for 30 seconds easily. It also shows the examiner that you can use suitable past tenses. For this question, you can tell a story about:

  • An activity you did recently that required good management of your time
  • An activity you used to do that required this skill
  • How you first learned to organize your time well
  • How you’ve become more efficient over the years
  • Someone you learned this skill from in the past
  • A book you read in the past about time management
  • Any other related story…

Let’s look at an example answer now. For your own answer, you can borrow the words and phrases used here.

Time Management Cue Card

Describe a situation where you need good time management.

You should say:

  • What this situation is
  • How often you have this situation
  • Why you experience this situation

And say why you need to manage your time well in this situation.

I’m going to talk about my work as a project manager, which requires me to have very good time management skills. I have a very demanding job. Every day, I need to be very efficient and productive so that our team can get things done and achieve results. 

The company I work for produces cables for various electronic devices. We’re a large company with many international customers. I work in the factory, leading a team that’s responsible for introducing new products. As the team leader, I have to be very efficacious and reliable, so that my team members can see how I use my time well, and can emulate me. 

If I don’t manage my time well, then we’ll fall behind and put things off. And that’s no good. As a result, our company will suffer and I might lose my job. So I pride myself on doing a job well and I never procrastinate. Over the years, I’ve learned to take the bull by the horns and be a self-starter. I always try to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done, and sometimes I pull an all-nighter if I need to.

When I first started this job, I was less productive, and to be honest, I didn’t always make fruitful use of my time. I used a dawdle sometimes and fritter away time. My boss wasn’t happy with that and he taught me how to be more efficient. I was really inspired by him and I was very grateful that he took the time to help me improve. I learned from my mistakes and these days my boss knows he can count on me to get the job done. 

(Word Group Used: ‘Productive Person’)

Productive, Efficient, Effective, Efficacious, Reliable worker, Get things done, Achieve results, Count on me to get the job done, I pride myself on doing a good job, Use time well, Good at time management, Make fruitful use of time, Cost-effective, Top performer, Learn from your mistakes, Don’t want to fall behind, Take the bull by the horns, To be a self-starter, Bite the bullet and do what needs to be done, Pull an all-nighter, Nip problems in the bud, Doesn’t dilly dally, Dawdle, Not a time waster, Procrastinate, Won’t put things off, Fritter away time, Sit around twiddling your thumbs.

Like this word group? See many many more excellent word groups here. 

Why Word Groups Are So Useful in IELTS Speaking

Note, you can use this ‘productive person’ word group for many similar part-two questions, such as:

  • Describe a difficult job you had to do
  • Describe something you learned in the past
  • Describe a person you admire
  • Describe a coworker 
  • Describe your job or studies
  • Describe a time when you were very busy
  • Many other similar questions… 

Your Turn To Try

Now, see how well you can answer this question yourself.

It’s a good idea to prepare a word group first (or memorize the ‘productive person’ word group above). Also, prepare a short story or two from your own life.

Then set up the recorder on your phone and ask yourself to describe a time when you had to manage your time well.

Prepare your answer for one minute. Then start talking and keep talking for two whole minutes.

Afterward, you can listen to your recording and try to find ways to improve your answer.

Keep repeating this process and you’ll soon be ready to give a wonderful band-seven score in part two of your IELTS Speaking test.

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