Describe a Time When Someone at Work Gave You a Compliment

IELTS Cue Card Sample Question – Describe a Time When Someone at Work Gave You a Compliment 

If you ask those who have taken the IELTS Speaking test, Part 2 is regarded as the most difficult. Why? This is because, in this part of the test, you must talk for two minutes about a topic that you may not have enough knowledge of.

Two minutes isn’t much of a time to speak if you know what you’re going to say. But what if you don’t? It will almost definitely be a nerve-wracking experience. 

We don’t want that to happen to you, so on this page, we’re going to show you some sample responses to the cue card topic ‘Describe a time when someone at work gave you a compliment.’ Continue reading to find out more.


What is the IELTS Cue Card Question?

The second segment of the speaking section of IELTS also called the Cue Card Section, lasts 3-4 minutes and is.

You are given a card with a topic and the other points you should mention in your speech written on it. 

This card is what others call a cue card. Some of the most prevalent themes in this section of the test are people and places you know, objects you possess, your favorites, holidays, and past happenings.

You have one minute to prepare and two minutes to speak on the subject at hand. The examiner keeps the time, and you will be informed when your two minutes are up.

There is a chance that you might be asked by the examiner 1 to 2 follow-up questions related to what you have shared, and you must answer these questions briefly and concisely. 


How to Answer this Specific Cue Card Question: “Describe a Time When Someone at Work Gave You a Compliment”

Topic/Question

Describe a Time When Someone at Work Gave You a Compliment

Guidelines to Answer this Question

You should say:

  • When it happened
  • Who gave the compliment to you
  • Why that person compliment you 

And explain how you felt that time.    


  • Recall a time when someone at work (or at school) complimented you. It could be something that happened just recently or a long time ago but whatever it is that you decide to share, make it a point that you have a good recollection of that time. 
  • Because time is of the essence at this part of the test, stick to whatever you decide to discuss. Do not think about changing your mind. 
  • Jot down your thoughts and ideas. State when it happened, who complimented you, and why you were given such a compliment. Lastly, explain and describe how you felt that time. 
  • Remember to make use of your time wisely. Writing sentences is not a good idea. Instead, just write keywords and phrases. 
  • To give you a higher chance of scoring high in this part of the test, utilize advanced and sophisticated vocabulary. Employ complex structures of grammar as well. 
  • Jot down notes as quickly as possible without compromising your ability to understand what you have written later on. It is not important to the examiner what and how you write on your notes. They will be evaluating the substance and delivery of your speech.
  • Make it a point to glance at your notes. It is fine. This is done to make sure that you cover everything you intend to discuss in your speech. 

Sample Responses: “Describe a Time When Someone at Work Gave You a Compliment”

Sample Response 1:

“There have been times when we have done something worthy of recognition. Sometimes these gestures of charity are praised, and other times they go unnoticed. When someone expresses gratitude for anything I’ve done, I take it as a positive indication and try to do more. I’d like to tell you about an incident that occurred when I was an intern in the hospital that I’m working at now. 

It happened around three years ago. It was a public hospital in the city. I was only on my third week as an apprentice, and everything was just so overwhelming. There were many things to be accomplished, and there were only three interns at that time. My role was to check every incoming patient’s body temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. Aside from that, I also assist them in filling up admission forms and writing them for them in case they couldn’t. From time to time, I also monitor those patients who were admitted every three hours. Being new to almost everything, it was a lot for me to take in. Nevertheless, as weeks and months went by, I got used to it and was able to finish my internship without encountering any problems. 

When it was time for my supervisor to evaluate me, I was so delighted to know that she had nothing but good words for me. She said she was impressed with how I was able to manage so many tasks with a positive attitude. She even said that after I graduated, if I would want to work at that hospital, she could give me a referral. That’s how I was able to work in the same hospital where I had my internship.” 


Follow-up Question 1: 

Do you think that people are receptive to feedback? 

Response: 

“For most people, yes, I do believe that they are open to criticisms, and they take it positively. They do their best to improve their weaknesses to be better at what they do. However, there are a few people who take criticisms the wrong way; I think it all depends on how open-minded we are when it comes to these things.” 


Follow-up Question 2:

Is it hard for you to give negative feedback? 

Response: 

“Yes, it’s something I’m having a hard time doing because some people, like I said earlier, tend to be sensitive. However, I believe that it all depends on the manner and approach you’re going to talk to the person involved. Sometimes, we just need to be sympathetic and understanding towards them so that misunderstandings and conflicts will not arise.” 



Sample Response 2: 

“I worked part-time in a local business for around two years as a student to help pay for my studies. It was a small family business that specialized in selling and repairing household electrical goods. At the time, I was studying to become an engineer, but I had always enjoyed working and fixing things, so the work was excellent, and the people working with me were lovely. 

The company owner once became ill and was unable to work for around three months while recovering at home. To replace his absences, I offered to perform some extra work for the family. It meant that I had to work virtually every day while still studying, and I was exhausted by the end of a few months. When the business owner returned, he expressed his gratitude for all of my efforts, all of the extra work I had done, and for making myself available to assist at such a time of personal distress. He was extremely detailed about how what I had done had made everything a lot easier for him because his family didn’t have to find and manage a new employee to replace him temporarily.

Looking back, I don’t believe I did anything really noteworthy. It was only for a brief time, I made some extra money as well, so it was excellent for me too. I wasn’t after the recognition, but it was nice to hear such good things from my boss. I do remember feeling proud that I was able to help out in the business because they were such good people.”


Follow-up Question 1: 

How do you think employers can make their staff feel appreciated? 

Response: 

“Being an employee myself, sometimes words are already enough for me to feel appreciated. Praises and good words really mean a lot and motivate us to do better. It makes us feel that the efforts we are putting in aren’t wasted.”


Follow-up Question 2:

Would you prefer to get positive or negative feedback from your coworkers or your boss?

Response: 

“I prefer to have both. For me, hearing something positive about yourself is always a good thing. It makes me feel empowered and wants to do better. On the other hand, I would also want to be aware of my flaws and shortcomings so that I can be better at my craft.” 




Vocabulary List of Answering the Question: “Describe a Time When Someone at Work Gave You a Compliment”

Below are some words from the sample responses for the cue card topic Describe a time when someone at work gave you a compliment.’ with their definitions and example sentences to guide you. 

WordPart of SpeechDefinitionExample Usage of
the Word in a Sentence
ariseverbTo occur; become obvious“When people refuse to consult their colleagues, problems arise.”
conflictnounA major disagreement or argument is usually one that goes on for a long time“Expectations of resolving the conflict amicably are falling.”
criticismnounThe act of expressing displeasure of something or someone because of perceived flaws or errors“Constant criticism devalues your self-assurance.”
detailedadjectivePossessing a lot of data or details; paying attention to the specifics“On request, we can provide a detailed list of all publications.”
distressadjectiveAnxiety, sadness, or anguish to an extreme“The published article has led to the actor’s extreme distress.”
exhaustedadjectiveDepleted of physical or mental energy; extremely fatigued“He was physically exhausted after the argument.”
feedbacknounInformation about a product’s reactions, a person’s performance on a task, and so on that may be utilized to improve“The writer receives no instant feedback and must rely on his or her imagination to predict the reader’s reaction.”
gesturenounAn act used to express one’s sentiments or intentions“As a gesture of kindness, I prepared the room and invited them to dinner.”
indicationnounA symbol or piece of information that denotes the presence of something“There’s a strong indication that the project has been a failure.”
internnounA trainee who works in a trade or occupation to obtain experience, sometimes for no pay“He declined to be treated by an intern and insisted on seeing a licensed physician.”
monitorverbExamine and check the progress or quality of something; keep under systematic evaluation“The elections will be monitored by independent observers.”
overwhelmingadjectiveVery substantial in amount“The evidence stacked against him is overwhelming.”
receptiveadjectivePrepared to consider or take on new ideas and recommendations“It shows that the institution cares if it is receptive to minor issues and responds quickly.”
referralnounAn endorsement to an employer “I need the manager’s referral for promotion.” 
sympatheticadjectiveSomeone who demonstrates, particularly through their words, that they genuinely care about the pain of others“A counselor’s role is to be sympathetic and non-judgmental at all times.”

Additional Reading — IELTS Speaking Cue Card Questions


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