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IELTS Cue Card Sample Question – Describe an Incident When You Got Scared

Are you preparing for the IELTS Test and looking for ways how to ace the second task in the IELTS Speaking Section?

You are on the right page. On this page, we are giving you some tips on how to get a high score in this part of the test, commonly referred to as the Cue Card Section

If you do not know yet, most candidates feel that this is one part of the test that they feel the least confident in.

Why? You are required to talk for a longer period without prompts and questions from the examiner. In addition, you have limited time to prepare. 

We are here to assist you, so please keep reading for sample responses to the cue card topic ‘Describe an incident when you got scared.’

What is the IELTS Cue Card Question?

Task 2 of the IELTS Speaking Section calls for you to speak for 1 to 2 minutes on a specific topic based on the information on a card provided by the examiner.

This card is what others also call a cue card. You will be given 60 seconds to prepare what you are going to say. 

Write down some thoughts to help structure your talk using the pencil and paper that the examiner will also provide.

You must then give a one- to two-minute speech on the assigned topic.

The examiner will let you know if the two minutes are over, and you should stop talking.

Be prepared, as you might also be asked 1-2 follow-up questions regarding what you have shared. You must respond to these questions quickly and concisely. 

How to Answer this Specific Question: “Describe an Incident When You Got Scared”


Describe an Incident When You Got Scared

Guidelines to Answer this Question

You should say:

  • When and where it happened
  • What made you scared 
  • Who you were with

And explain how you felt after the incident. 

  • Recall an incident when you got scared. Whatever incident it is that you decide to share, ensure that you have a vivid recollection of the event so that you will be able to have enough information to share later on. 
  • Once you have chosen an incident to discuss, stick with it. You do want to start over again in case you change your mind. 
  • Start jotting down your ideas. State when and where the incident happened and who the people you were with at that time. Discuss what made you scared and how it all happened. Lastly, explain how you felt after that incident. 
  • Be wise in managing your time. Instead of writing long sentences, only write keywords and phrases. 
  • Employ advanced and sophisticated vocabulary. Formulate complex structures of grammar as well. These will amaze the examiner and will help you get high marks in this part of the test. 
  • When you take notes, you should do it as quickly as you can. Nevertheless, make it a point that you will be able to understand what you wrote. Do not worry if the examiner has no idea on what you wrote. You are evaluated not on the quality of your handwriting but on the quality and delivery of your speech. 
  • Should you wish to take a look at your notes now and then, you may do so. It is completely fine. Your marks will not be deducted if you do so. 

Sample Responses: “Describe an Incident When You Got Scared”

Sample Response 1:

“I’d like to tell you about a time in my life that utterly terrified me. We were invited to a wedding reception around a decade ago. However, I had made the decision to spend the night at home, and my parents had left for the party later that evening. I was exhausted and suffering from a throbbing headache. The first thing on my mind was to get some sleep in my own bed.

I didn’t lock the door since it kept jamming, and I wasn’t in the mood to deal with it, so I simply attempted to shut it as best I could. After that, I took some medicine and went to sleep in my bed. I was awakened when I heard a knock at the door about a half-hour later. I just ignored whoever it was because I wasn’t feeling well and hoped they would leave and return later… Well, I was mistaken. I heard a booming sound on the door, footsteps up the stairs into the kitchen, and a strange voice of a man I had never seen before yelling out a name I didn’t recognize. I worked up my courage and got up to address that individual.

I went straight into the kitchen and observed a strange tall man standing near the refrigerator wearing a big coat and a hat. He seemed like he was in his late forties. He then noticed me and inquired as to if the person whose name he was crying out for lived nearby. I bravely informed him that I was unfamiliar with the individual. I breathed a sigh of relief when he simply apologized and departed. When he was gone, the first thing I did was lock the door.”

Follow-up Question 1: 

What should people do when they are scared? 


“Well, I think it depends. We get scared of different things. If we’re scared for our safety, then practicing and training for self-defense is something we can do. On the other hand, if we are scared of doing something, like extreme activities, I believe there’s really not much to do but face those fears by doing it.” 

Follow-up Question 2: 

Some people say that we aren’t safe even in our own homes. What can you say about this? 


“That is absolutely true. We’ll really never know what other people are thinking. Imagine if that man who barged into our house was a criminal and was planning to do something? It is sad, but it’s just the reality. We are not safe even in the comfort of our homes. That is why I recommend that everyone should train for self-defense.”

Sample Response 2: 

“Everyone’s life is filled with frightening events. One such incident occurred throughout my childhood, and I recall it vividly. I was a very enthusiastic and active kid when I was ten or twelve years old, always wanting to participate in some sort of activity. 

I still remember that day from back when I was in school. It was the parade that I took part in as part of an Independence Day event. Every year on that day, we start with a procession wearing spotless white clothes and playing the national anthem, with some of the youngsters dressed as well-known characters. When a sudden yelling sound erupted from the front side of the building, a flag hoisting ceremony was about to commence. It was one of the teachers in school, Mr. Yu. The supporting personnel arrived quickly and advised all children to remain calm and safe on the ground. Yes, there was an earthquake, and it was a huge one. 

Suddenly, a joyous moment of celebration in my life changes into a frightening and terrible incident. While standing on the school grounds, we noticed that some buildings were trembling and that some live things were falling from balconies. In this dangerous circumstance, people were fleeing here and there. I believed that no one should ever have to go through such a terrifying situation in their lives. I’d like to erase such recollections from my mind. I tend to disperse them when I recall them.”

Follow-up Question 1: 

How important do you think are earthquake and fire drills? 


“Oh, I think they are extremely vital and crucial. I think they can be the difference between saving and losing lives. These are the kind of things that should be taught to everyone; what to do in case of fire and earthquake. However, another thing that people should learn is reacting to such panicky situations. Because even if you are aware of what to do, if you are in a state of panic, you get lost in your own senses.” 

Follow-up Question 2:

Do you get scared easily? 


“I’m not usually the kind of person who gets frightened easily. In fact, my family and friends would always prank me and do things that they think would scare me, but they fail most of the time. One thing I’m scared of, however, is spiders and it’s not because of how they look. They’re just small creatures. I’m scared of them because they might be deadly or poisonous.”

Vocabulary List for Answering the Question: “Describe an Incident When You Got Scared”

Below are some words from the sample responses for the cue card topic Describe an incident when you got scared.with their definitions and example sentences to guide you. 

WordPart of SpeechDefinitionExample Usage of
the Word in a Sentence
commenceverbTo start; begin“The classes will commence in the late July of this year.”
cry outphrasal verbTo make a loud sound that expresses fear, pain, or grief“He would frequently have nightmares and cry out in his sleep.”
departverbTo leave, especially to go on a voyage“We depart from Heathrow tonight at eleven o’clock.”
disperseverbTo make something disappear “The gathering began to disperse once the paramedics had left.”
eruptverbTo give a loud and quick outburst of wrath, enthusiasm, pleasure, or other emotions‘He purposely waited outside the door, allowing them to wait in irritation before daring to erupt something joyful.”
fleeverbTry to escape from a dangerous circumstance or location“Villagers were forced to flee to the neighboring hills by troops.”
hoistverbTo pull up something using ropes and pulleys“Once the wind is calm, hoist your sail.”
processionnounA group of people or vehicles moving in a systematic manner, especially as part of a ritual or celebration“The procession made its way to the city’s main park.”
reliefnounA sense of reassurance and calm following the release of worry or distress“It provides a little relief from the scorching summer heat.”
spotlessadjectivesomething that is completely clean or pure‘The place was bright and immaculately spotless.”
throbverbTo pulse steadily; thump or sound with a powerful, steady rhythm“Behind his closed eyes, a faint ache began to throb.”
trembleverbTo quiver involuntarily, usually as a consequence of concern, enthusiasm, or weakness“His mouth began to tremble, and he began to cry.”
unfamiliaradjectiveUnknown; unidentified“He soon adjusts to the unfamiliar setting.”
utterlyadverbTotally and without reservation; absolutely “He thought the whole thing was utterly embarrassing.”
vividlyadverbIn such a way that it evokes intense emotions or vivid mental images“My grandfather taught me how to play chess, and I still remember it vividly.

Additional Reading — IELTS Speaking Cue Card Questions


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