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Describe a Story or Novel That Was Interesting to You: IELTS Cue Card Sample Answers

Updated on 14 November, 2023

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

For IELTS aspirants, the Speaking section can be a stage to not only display their language proficiency but also their narrative prowess. One of the more engaging topics in this section involves the description of a story or novel that captivated the speaker. A well-crafted response here requires more than just fluency—it demands engaging storytelling, a rich vocabulary, and the ability to connect with the listener through the power of narrative.


Sample Answer:

One of the most riveting novels I have encountered is "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. It's not merely a book but a journey written in words that traces the adventures of a young shepherd named Santiago, who dreams of finding a treasure located far away in Egypt.

The novel begins in Spain, where Santiago is struck by a recurring dream about treasure lying beneath the Egyptian pyramids. Driven by this mysterious premonition, he sells his flock and sets off on an epic quest that serves as an allegory for life's journey. The prose is laden with mysticism and poignant observations about the human experience. Coelho's storytelling is so vivid and compelling that one can almost feel the heat of the desert sun and the shifting sands under Santiago's feet.

As Santiago traverses diverse landscapes, he meets a cast of characters that are both symbolic and instructional. The crystal merchant, the Englishman in search of the alchemist, and the titular alchemist himself, each bring profound insights about destiny, will, and the essential pursuit of one's own "Personal Legend."

What makes "The Alchemist" intriguing to me is its universal theme of self-discovery and its testament to the importance of dreams. It's a novel that speaks to the adventurer within us all, urging us to listen to our hearts, recognize opportunities, and learn to read the omens strewn along life's path.

Follow-Up Questions & Answers:

Q1: How has "The Alchemist" influenced your perspective on life?

A1: "The Alchemist" has profoundly impacted my worldview. It has taught me that the pursuit of one's dreams is a spiritual journey and that the universe conspires to help us achieve our deepest desires if we are willing to listen and take bold steps toward our goals.

Q2: Would you recommend "The Alchemist" to others, and why?

A2: I would wholeheartedly recommend "The Alchemist" because it's more than a novel; it's a philosophical guide that encourages readers to contemplate their own ambitions and the lengths they are willing to go to achieve them.


Tips for Cracking the IELTS Speaking Test:

Tip 1: Practice speaking about a variety of topics to build confidence and reduce anxiety during the actual exam.

Tip 2: Time your responses to ensure you can convey your answer comprehensively within the allotted time.

Tip 3: Record yourself to evaluate your pronunciation, pacing, and emotional inflection.

Tip 4: Use descriptive language and personal anecdotes to make your speech more engaging.

Tip 5: Focus on maintaining a logical flow in your answer by organizing your thoughts before you begin speaking.

Tip 6: Stay on topic and avoid diverging into unrelated tangents.

Tip 7: Listen carefully to any follow-up questions to ensure your answers remain relevant and direct.

Tip 8: Engage with the examiner by maintaining eye contact and using gestures where appropriate.

Tip 9: Stay calm and composed, even if you need to correct yourself or rephrase a sentence.

Tip 10: Enrich your vocabulary by reading extensively and noting new expressions and idioms.

Describing a story or novel like "The Alchemist" in the IELTS speaking test is an opportunity to demonstrate your language skills while sharing your reflections on literature that has moved you. By preparing with the strategies outlined above, you can deliver a response that is both engaging and articulate, showcasing your proficiency in English and leaving a lasting impression on the examiner. Remember, your aim is not just to answer the question but to connect with your audience through the power of storytelling.



Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.