Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded- IELTS Cue Card


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Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded- Cue Card

The IELTS speaking section is categorized into 3 different tasks, and the test takes between 11 and 14 minutes to be completed. It evaluates your speaking ability in several ways. Part 1 is an introduction to oneself, while Part 2 is the individual lengthy turn. The examiner provides you with a cue card and asks you to speak about a specific topic. In this blog, we’ll be looking at the topic “Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded” which can be asked in your IELTS speaking part 2.

iets cue card topics with answer pdf

Introduction to IELTS Cue Cards

The cue card is the most important and challenging part of the IELTS speaking test. This round is the one that examines the candidate’s confidence, the art of speaking, and the methodology used in evaluating the given topic. The candidate will be given exactly one minute to speak on a specific topic, known as the cue card round. The instructions are written on a card given by the examiner. Moreover, the examiner will ask you some follow-up questions after the IELTS speaking part 2. Now, let’s discuss how to answer the cue card in the IELTS speaking part.

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How to Answer the Cue Card?

Speaking is one of the most important modules in IELTS, and out of all three rounds, cue cards hold more weight. In order to respond correctly, various factors need to be considered. First of all, the students need to introduce the topic, and then he/she will answer all the given points to elaborate. Moreover, there are many IELTS cue card topics but in this blog, we’ll be looking at the topic “Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded.”

Based on the given pointers, you can present your answer to the question, “Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded.”

  • What was it?
  • How did you complete it?
  • Why was it difficult?
  • And explain how you felt about doing it.

Let us show you how a cue card looks like that you can get in your IELTS exam. See the image below.

Know everything about IELTS Cue Cards with

Now, you had a look at your likely cue card. Let us now move ahead with our blog and see in how many ways you can frame the answer in your IELTS speaking cue card round. Thus, you can prepare your answer based on the three samples below.

Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded- Sample 1

This is the first sample for “Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded.” You can answer the question by adding these points to your IELTS exam.


Doing something difficult and challenging can be very intimidating. Getting out of your comfort zone and pushing beyond our boundaries can make us feel both scared and excited.

What was it?

One challenging endeavour I undertook was learning to cook independently. Cooking can be a daunting task for beginners, especially if you have no prior experience. From grasping terminology to understanding which ingredients to use, it’s all quite formidable. Nevertheless, despite all the obstacles, I was determined to learn and improve my cooking skills.

How did you complete it?

I began the process by reading cookbooks and browsing the Internet to acquire foundational knowledge. I further delved into understanding ingredients and combinations that could be used to create luscious dishes. After grasping the basics, I decided to start with small, simple dishes such as fried rice, grilled vegetables, and basic salads.

Why was it difficult?

One of the main difficulties I encountered was the immense patience required. It took me a considerable amount of time to master basic techniques and understand the intricacies of flavors. Additionally, it took a while to get accustomed to the actual cooking process, including knowing where and how to season the dish and ensuring the vegetables were cooked correctly.

And explain how you felt about doing it.

I felt immense pride when I finally mastered the basics of cooking. Although it was a challenging journey provided me with a profound sense of accomplishment. Learning to cook independently deepened my understanding of the flavors, textures, and aromas of delicious cuisine.


Overall, I did cooking because I had to make sure that I was paying attention to all the small things, and eventually I did. And it certainly made me more confident in my cooking.

Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded- Sample 2

Here is another sample provided to answer the cue card in the IELTS exam. You can use this pattern to answer for your cue card.


I generally strive to learn or try something new in my daily routine. Initially, new tasks can be quite challenging for me, but with practice, I become accustomed to them. Today, I would like to talk about a time when I undertook something difficult and succeeded.

What was it?

The challenging task I undertook was driving a car in a bustling metropolis with heavy traffic. Learning to drive was essential for me to gain independence and the freedom to go wherever I wanted. I vividly remember a day when my father was not at home, and my grandmother's condition was quite critical due to her high blood pressure.

How did you complete it?

I decided to confront the challenge head-on, opting to drive a car to take my grandmother to the hospital. This marked my first time navigating the city streets behind the wheel, and it turned out to be a pivotal moment as I managed to save her life. The success of this endeavour was rooted in the countless hours I had spent practising in vacant parking lots and on deserted roads. Today, I am not only confident in driving through urban areas but also in navigating hilly terrains with ease.

Why was it difficult?

Mastering the skill of driving presented numerous challenges that I had to overcome. As a beginner, I had to grasp the basics, such as changing gears, accelerating, braking, and consistently checking my mirrors. Moreover, driving inherently carries a degree of risk that demands my utmost caution. Furthermore, the experience was quite nerve-wracking, especially when navigating the roads alone without the guidance of an instructor or any assistance at hand.

And explain how you felt about doing it.

I felt an immense sense of pride in myself, considering my limited driving experience, when I successfully transported my grandmother to the hospital on my two-wheeler. Given her frail condition due to old age, it was a daunting task that I never imagined I would be capable of accomplishing. Emerging from this experience as a confident driver filled me with a profound sense of achievement. Additionally, receiving praise and recognition from my father further bolstered my confidence and affirmed the significance of my actions.


In the end, learning to drive was a difficult thing but I’m glad I did it. Despite being daunting, it was a valuable experience that I’m grateful for now.

Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded- Sample 3

Here is a sample answer to help you get an idea of how to present your views in the IELTS exam.


It is a gospel truth that challenges are an integral part of our lives; however hard we try, life cannot be a smooth ride.

What was it?

In reflecting on various challenges I've tackled in life, one particularly memorable experience was assembling my personal computer about a year ago. This endeavour arose after the completion of my semester examinations, prompting me to approach my father for assistance in acquiring a new PC. However, my aspirations leaned toward a gaming computer with a robust configuration, which unfortunately exceeded my budgetary constraints.

How did you complete it?

Upon discussing my dilemma with a tech-savvy friend, they proposed a cost-effective solution: assembling the computer by purchasing individual parts instead of opting for a branded gaming PC. Intrigued by the idea, I diligently immersed myself in tutorials on YouTube and extensively researched online blogs to familiarize myself with the process before purchasing the parts.

Why was it difficult?

With limited knowledge of computer hardware, I initially perceived the task of assembling the PC as highly daunting. But I had no choice but to do it! After immersing myself in learning and feeling sufficiently confident, I opted to purchase each component online, finding it to be a more cost-effective option than buying from physical stores. The CPU construction was actually the most challenging element, and it took me an entire day to assemble all the parts. Despite this, after an entire day of meticulous effort, I successfully assembled all the parts flawlessly.

And explain how you felt about doing it.

All of this knowledge boosted my confidence and to be honest I discovered a lot about the various computer components and how they work, thanks to those videos and blogs which helped me in understanding the computer and their parts. Although I initially experienced nervousness during the assembly process, my unwavering self-assurance propelled me forward. That is the only thing that kept me going, and I was really excited when I prospered in building my computer with all parts on my own.


Overall, the entire experience proved to be unique and rewarding, diverging from my initial expectations. I am glad that I was able to challenge myself to do it.

Lexical Resources

In the table below, you will come across the meaning of the terms, grammar, and pronunciation that will help you in your IELTS vocabulary.

Lexical Resources Meaning
Intimidating Making you feel frightened or nervous
Endeavour To try to do something
Formidable Causing you to have fear or respect for something or someone
Luscious Having a pleasant sweet taste
Intricacies Quality of being complex or elaborately detailed
Cuisine The style of cooking of a particular country or restaurant
Metropolis A very large city
Terrains Land of the type mentioned
Nerve-wracking Making you very nervous or worried
Frail Physically weak or easily damaged
Bolstered To support or improve something
Affirmed To state something as true
Configuration Particular arrangement of the parts of something
Constraints Limit or Restriction
Intrigued To make somebody very interested and wanting to know more
Diligently Characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort
Flawlessly Without any flaws or errors
Prospered To develop in a successful way

The following list will assist you in enhancing your vocabulary for the IELTS speaking section and guide you in using the right words. Now, let’s talk about some follow-up questions that can be asked related to your cue card.

Follow-Up Questions

The third round in the speaking section is the follow-up questions related to the cue card. Let’s discuss on some questions for “Describe a Thing You Did and Succeeded” that can be asked after your IELTS speaking part 2.

  • Why are people involved in difficult work?
  • Do you think parents allow their children to do difficult things?
  • What kind of difficult things do children do?
  • Would you recommend that others take on similar challenges? Why?

These are some of the follow-up questions for the cue card. Now, let’s discuss some tips that will help you to excel in your IELTS cue card.

Tips to Excel in IELTS Cue Card

The IELTS Speaking test assesses your ability to communicate effectively in English. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a good test score in your IELTS exam.

  • Read the cue card topic carefully and take note of any specific instructions.
  • Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.
  • Speak clearly and confidently and maintain a natural pace.
  • Record yourself and listen back to identify areas for improvement
  • Avoid using fillers in your IELTS speaking test
  • Utilize a range of phrases for IELTS for your exam
  • Understand the requirements of what the examiner wants from you.
  • Focus on your vocabulary, including the range of words used in context
  • Do not stop speaking until the examiner instructs you to do so.
  • Do not use complicated words forcefully just to impress the examiner
  • Evaluate the grammatical structure used in your speech, including the correct use of tenses, parts of speech, and idioms.

Related IELTS Cue Card Topics 

  1. Describe a Long Car Journey You Went On
  2. Describe an Area of Science That Interests You
  3. Describe Someone Who Often Helps Others
  4. Describe a Sportsperson That You Admire
  5. Describe a Piece of Good Advice That You Gave to Someone


Finally, preparing for the IELTS speaking section might be challenging, but with proper guidance, you can do well. Furthermore, this blog provides an overview of sample answers to the cue card topic “ Describe a Difficult Thing You Did and Succeeded.” In addition, we talked about follow-up questions that an examiner could ask you during your IELTS speaking part 3. However, if you are struggling with your IELTS preparation, you can attend our IELTS online classes and receive advice from our qualified instructors.

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