IELTS Speaking Practice Test 24 Topic: Being Late

Speaking Part 1

1Have you ever been late for an appointment?

Yes. I have been late for appointments. Usually I try to be punctual. But there were instances where I got delayed for valid reasons.

2Is it common in your country to be late?

Yes. It’s very common in our country. Whenever we plan for meetings, we inform the time as thirty mins prior to the actual time.

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3What kinds of people are often late?

It cannot be categorised. Anyone can be late due to circumstances. So it varies based on the circumstance and not based on the individual.

4What reasons are acceptable when people are late?

The usual reasons one can hear for being late are traffic jams, medical emergencies, woke up late due to late night work and many more.

Speaking Part 2

Here is an audio of the sample answers given below. Please listen to it for more clarity on the Speaking Test.

Describe an important occasion you were late for

You should say

  • when this happened
  • what occasion you were late for
  • why you were late
  • and explain what happened as a result of your lateness

Sample Answer

One occasion that I was late for was not that long ago. What happened was that I had some important work to do, and there was a deadline for this work. At the time, in our house, we needed finances. Some unexpected things came up, and we were a little short. Then an opportunity came, almost like a godsend, a chance where I could make some extra money. On top of that, by the graciousness of my friends, who are more like my family, they agreed to help me with this project that had a deadline for it. So I was very happy about that. Meanwhile, I started taking care of some business, but then I looked at my watch and noticed I was five minutes late for getting together with my friends. I thought, “Here my friends are willing to help me with this project and deadline, and here I am, five minutes late.”

By the time I got there, I was 10 minutes late, and there they all were waiting for me. You talk about embarrassing. Well, all I could do was apologize and thankfully they all accepted my apology and we moved on.

Vocabulary for Cue card

  • Deadline: last date of something
    Eg: Tomorrow is the deadline for the project.
  • Apology: saying sorry
    Eg: She owes an apology
  • Graciousness: excellence of manners or social conduct. good manners, courtesy
    Eg: Her graciousness was appreciated by all

Speaking Part 3

1What are some of the excuses that people make when they are late?

Well, “The alarm didn’t go off and the bus was late or I was caught in traffic.” Those are just a few of the most-heard excuses. “My mom is sick, and I have to take care of her.” is another. “I have to take my brother to school ” will work sometimes. “I got caught in the rain.” helps in the spring time.

2Are people in China usually punctual when they have to be somewhere at a certain time?

Well, I wouldn’t say that they are there on time every time, but they are getting there, they are starting to have the same attitude with people in the West that “time is money ”. It really is a bit of a hard habit to break, as the style of life and the culture have not been that of arriving right on the dot. Of course if people really want to be punctual, and it is really important to them, then they will do everything they can to get there on time.

3What do people in China think of people who are late?

Actually Chinese people are pretty generous overall with people who are late. They are understanding and don’t make a big deal out of it. On the other hand, if they are really bothered by people being late, you wouldn’t know about it anyway, as most Chinese people don’t reveal their feelings very easily. Overall they are pretty easygoing on people who are late.

4Do you think it’s important to be on time? Is punctuality important?

Yes, I think it is very important to be on time. If you are not on time, then you are basically robbing the time of others. It really shows a lack of respect for others and that you don’t think their time is important.

5For what situations is being on time important?

Immediately the first thing that comes to my mind is your own wedding. If any event is important I would say that is, getting to your wedding. There is a funny saying in the West. It goes something like this, “He would be late to his own funeral!” I suppose that is a little extreme but funny, though no one has ever been late for that. A job interview would be an important time not to be late. If you want to make a good impression, and they say “first impressions are the greatest ones,’’ then you should try to be there early.

6For what situations is being on time not very important?

If you were going to go and meet your friends for a game of basketball, and you knew they were going to be there for the afternoon, then you would not have to get there on the dot but would have a little leeway on arriving. If you were supposed to be home for dinner, but you came in a little late, that would be understandable. If you were going to your parents for the day, and you came a little late, they would understand. Most situations in which being late isn’t too important would involve friends and family.

7Do you think modern technology gives us more time, or less?

Definitely less! If anything, modern technology has sped time up with things moving faster everyday. Because of email, now letters are able to be sent and received and answers are expected right away sometimes. With transportation, you can get to places faster and do a lot more. Things are actually moving incredibly fast, and that means less time for all.

8Did people in the past lead a faster-paced life or a slower-paced life than today?

Well, I think that there is no comparison with the life of the past and today; in the past things definitely went a lot slower. You know that two hundred and some years ago the fastest means of transportation was on the back of a horse, and now you can circle the globe in hours. There was no email or Internet, so information went creeping along at a leisurely pace. I think that maybe things were moving so slowly that some people felt bored with it, but now it seems that people are bored with this last paced modern life that we live.

9Do you think the current working hours of most people are reasonable?

I know that in the US people are working more and more hours, and even here in China people have to work overtime. It seems that your work should get accomplished in the time that you have during a nine to five day, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. It seems to me that however long it takes to get your work done would be a reasonable amount of hours to put in. I’m sure that people would like to work fewer hours, and that would be nice, but again it depends on what their job and goals are.

10Is it reasonable for an employer to ask employees to work overtime?

Of course an employer should ask his employees to work overtime if it is really needed. Some people probably think that it is not needed, but if it is going to help the company, then they should be willing to do it. Now if some employees are doing their work and others aren’t, and all have to work overtime, then I would say that no—this is not really needed and the problem should be fixed first. Actually I think that if the employee is conscientious, then he would volunteer to work overtime if needed.

Vocabulary for Speaking Part 3

  • Funeral: a ceremony connected with the final disposition of a corpse, such as a burial or cremation, with the attendant observances
    Eg: She went to a funeral.
  • Easygoing: smooth going
    Eg: She is easygoing.
  • Robbing: take property unlawfully from (a person or place) by force or threat of force.
    Eg: Robbing is a crime
  • Leeway: the amount of freedom to move or act that is available.
    Eg: There is no leeway


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