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Describe a stressful day

IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card 270 with Model Answer:

Describe a stressful day at school/ university/ work.

You should say:
  • how the day started
  • how things went wrong
  • what you did to reduce the stress
and explain why it was a stressful day.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Model Answer 1:
Working as a school teacher is really troublesome if you are to take the class of the small kids. I am a Mathematics teacher at a local school here in Chiang Mai in Thailand. Being a teacher, I have to undergo several other responsibilities as well. Yesterday was a really hefty day for me.

Usually, my day begins with taking the class in the school and since I am not that much experienced, I have to take the class of the elementary level. But the school principals asked me to meet him before entering the class. When I met him, he ordered me to play the role of an invigilator in the exam of the sixth-grade students. I had to abide the order and accordingly went to be the invigilator for the sixth-grade kids. But the experience I gained was awful.

I have joined at the school around five months ago after I completed my graduation. The authority took some tests and formal interviews and then allowed me to take classes. They, in fact, did not inform me that I have to be invigilator for the exams and thus I had no preparation at all about the issue. Besides, it was highly difficult for me to control all the examinees alone. Moreover, some of the kids were performing some illegal acts – they brought their books and used them to write down the answers. Some of them were talking to each other to know the answers and they seemingly ignored the female invigilator present at the exam hall.

When I had to control all the students, alone, I was greatly stressed. I had to shout with the students so that they remain silent during the exam. Besides, I had to walk continuously for two hours until the exam hours were finished. So, everything made me feel stressed. When I get back into the teachers’ room, I washed my face, then took a break for 10 minutes. Sitting in my chair, I closed my eyes and tried for a short relaxation with breathing control. Then when I got up, I took some homemade snacks and went for taking the remaining class assigned to me.

Generally, I take three or four classes in a day. But I had to work for extra two and a half hours on that day to complete all the activities. It took two hours to perform invigilation in the exam hall and half hour for preparing the exam scripts and question papers. After the exam was done, then I had to take all the regular classes. This is not easy to take classes of underage children and the teacher is supposed to talk in the class more than performing any other things. Besides, I also have to remain aware of the activities of the kids since they are minor, they always get engaged in mischievous acts. Hence, I was stressed about executing all my responsibilities yesterday and the day turned into a stressful one.

Sample Answer 2:
That’s an interesting topic to talk about, I would say. As an employee in a software industry, I often have to take challenges, work extra hours even on holidays to meet the deadlines and participate in lengthy and exhaustive meetings. Some days are more stressful than others and thus this topic reminds me a day which was not only a stressful but also a very tiresome for me.

It was early November last year but I can’t recall the exact date. Usually, we do not have extra pressure on a usual workday except in some occasions. This was one such occasion and unfortunately, everything went wrong on that day. I slept at around 2.30 am and could not sleep more than 4 hours to reach office in time. The road traffic was very bad and the journey was quite fatiguing. After I reached office I heard that one of our server computers had crashed and some of the projects were gone with the crash of the server. Our project manager invited us to an immediate meeting and distributed tasks among us so that we could deliver our work to the client in time even if the server computer is not repaired. This was a very bad news for us. We were allowed only 5 days to complete the three weeks’ tasks in case the data is not recovered. We wished and prayed for the recovery of the data along with the server. The server administrator informed us that he, along with his team members, is working hard to recover the data. We were however engaged in work and had a very little time to spare or relax. I took my lunch at around 4.00 pm and had a severe headache in the evening. I could neither leave the office as it would give a wrong impression to my team members that I left them in a crisis time nor could concentrate on my work. That was quite a burden that was more than I could actually take.

I was quite frustrated that we did not have proper backup facilities to prevent such incidents and was overwhelmed with my work pressure. I drank water very frequently to reduce my stress and headache. I also went for a walk in the evening for about 20 minutes to release some of the pressures I was feeling. Finally, I tried to remind myself not to worry too much as it would be over soon and if luck is with us, the server administrator team would be able to recover the data without any loss or hiccup within few hours.

I left office at around 11.40 pm and could not manage a taxi to reach my home. I had to walk for a few minutes and wait more than an hour to get a taxi. That was indeed a bad day.

Idea generation for this Cue Card topic: 

"Describe a stressful day at school/ university/ work." 

Completing everyday tasks at home and office is sometimes stressful. And often, the stresses go beyond the tolerable limit. People's behaviour and attitude are often related to the stress level they have. The cue card is about describing a stressful day and here are some additional ideas for them to deal with the cue card smartly.

1. Attending extra classes is stressful and I had to take the unnecessary stress a few days ago. In fact, I had to stay at my college from 7.30am to around 8.00pm. Each of the students of the class had to suffer the stress. The teacher wanted to take three classes together.

2. Parenting is a stressful task indeed. I am in trouble with my two little children. I took them to my office on Monday last, and there they crossed the limit. I had to spend about three continuous hours after them. They were making troubles and if I take care of the one, the second one starts its activities. I was highly stressed that day.

3. A science student in any university is the worst sufferer. There is no preset lab time. And most of the cases, it takes place in the evening. On Thursday last, I spent four hours in the chemistry lab and seriously got stressed. The teacher asked to complete an equation and bring him the result.

4. The job of a sales manager is not a rocket science but needs to undergo a huge level of stress. I work for a multinational company as sales manager headquartered in Shanghai, China. In the last day of the month, I had to take a serious level of stress. Adjusting the sales, supervising the employees, setting newer strategy, documenting the plans and more. Even I lost appetite that day.

5. I was stressed at the office about the disagreement with my boss. He wanted to make a detail investment plan even before setting up the preliminary strategy. So, I suggested him to change his plan and take necessary measures to evaluate the real scenarios. He did not agree rather threatened me by dismissing me from the position. So, I felt stressed.

Ideas for this cue card topic will help you to talk about the following cue card topics as well:

  • Describe a bad experience you have had. 
  • Describe a tiring day at your school or workplace. 
  • Describe a day you had to work really hard. 
  • Describe a memorable day. 
  • Describe a negative experience you have had at your work or class. 

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