IELTS A Time You Helped Someone: Below is the sample monologue for the cue card talking about a particular time when you gave a hand to someone. The speaker talked about financial help in Part 2 – study how he developed his answer which is equipped with topic vocabulary words and collocations. Also, learn how to discuss your answers logically in Part 3 about helping and achieve a band 7.0 or even a band 9.0.











Describe a time you helped someone


You should say:

Who was the person

When you helped him or her

Why you helped him or her

And explain how you felt about it



A N S W E R 



I have a self-confessed shopaholic friend who can’t help himself but splurge on buying so many things that I believe are actually not needed. Every month, he never fails to go to shopping malls or boutiques and buys things like shoes, clothes and many other things, despite the fact that he has possessed so many of those things already. I must say he’s a very materialistic person.




Shopaholic [noun] – a compulsive shopper

Splurge [verb] – to spend money extravagantly 

Boutique [noun] – a small shop that sells fashionable clothes or accessories

Possess [verb] – own; have 




i.) The speaker developed his introduction by talking about the person whom he had helped. He provided some description to that person making sure that the examiner would get an idea as to why he helped the person. On this part, he’s able to craft his introduction well which was helpful for him to develop more details of his story in the next parts. 

Actually, he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, I can say he’s middle class but his lifestyle is similar to those affluent people. Aside from shopping,  he often eats out in fancy restaurants and goes to movie theaters almost every weekend. I never really wanted to meddle in his personal affairs because it’s his life but as a friend, I was concerned about his impulsiveness on spending.




Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth [idiom] – to have a high social position and be rich from birth

Affluent [adj.] – wealthy

Aside from [phrase] – apart from; besides 

Meddle [verb] – to interfere in something that’s not one’s concern

Impulsiveness [noun] – the act of doing things suddenly without thinking 




ii.) On this part, the speaker added more supplemental details just to extend his story. That served as a preparation for the main thought of his monologue. Doing that helped him talk at length and at the same time making the examiner picture out the situation clearly. 


So one time, I talked to him about his spending habits. I gave him my unsolicited advice – telling him that he should save for a rainy day because there’s no certainty about the future.  But sadly, he didn’t take me seriously and just said that it’s his happiness. He also told me that it’s his way of rewarding himself for working hard. Hearing those words made me shut my mouth then. 




Unsolicited [adj.] – not asked for; given voluntarily

Save for a rainy day [idiom] – to reserve money for use in times of unforeseen difficulty 

Shut one’s mouth [idiom] – to choose not to speak



iii.) Here, the speaker talked about the first kind of help he had given to his friend. He described how he advised his friend and how his friend responded to him. Doing this, helped him extend his story a bit more. 


Until recently, he contacted me and unashamedly told me about his financial problems. He’s drowned in debt. He couldn’t pay the rent of his apartment. What’s worse was he got laid off from his work since his company was downsizing to cope with the negative  impact of the current pandemic. So, in short, he needed some money to live. To be honest, I didn’t really want to help him because I wanted him to learn an important lesson in life, but my conscience wouldn’t stop bothering me. So I decided to lend him some money. 




Unashamedly [adv.] – openly without embarrassment

Drown in something [phrase] – to have more of something than you’re able to deal with

Lay off [phrasal verb] – to be told by the employer to leave their job

Downsize [verb] – make smaller by shedding staff

Lend [verb] – grant someone to use something




iv.) On this part, the speaker started talking about the situation of his friend and how he helped him. That served as the main idea of his story. If you notice, the speaker placed this in the middle of his story because he was making his story more organized and easy to understand. If prepared the examiner to understand the story better through outlining the events that happened. It’s a good strategy for him to make his story organized. 


He was very grateful for the help that I had given him and told me that the pandemic made him realize the importance of saving and not living beyond his means. He said that if only he had listened to my advice before and saved his hard-earned money, he wouldn’t have bothered me for asking help. As a friend, I was elated to hear his realization.




Live beyond one’s means [expression] – to spend money more than they can afford 

Hard-earned [adj.] – something you deserve because you’ve worked hard for it

Elated [verb] – make someone very happy




v.) On this part, the speaker simply added supplemental details to his story talking about the life lesson his friend learnt. He’s just doing that for him to make sure to utilize the two-minute time given to him as he didn’t want to end his story in less than 2-minutes. 





What kind of help children can offer to their parents at home?


Realistically, we cannot expect children to help parents at home because in the first place they’re just children – I mean, all they want is play, which is certainly natural. However, if parents educate their children about the value of giving a hand every now and again, I believe children become thoughtful and helpful in their own little ways like doing simple house chores such as washing the dishes, dusting the furniture, and putting the garbage bag in the litter bin without being told.

 So, in other words, children will only offer help when they are taught by their parents about some simple tasks in the house, if not, parents cannot expect their children to voluntarily do some chores in the house. 




Give a hand [phase] – help 

Every now and again [phrase] – occasionally 

Dust [verb as used in the answer] – to remove the dirt or dust by wiping or brushing 

Litter bin [noun] – a garbage container usually in street, building, park where people can put their trash




i.) The speaker developed his answer by expressing his realistic view about children. He described how most children avoid doing some chores in the house. Then he transitioned by stating that if parents trained them to do some chores, then children would probably offer help. He ended his answer by simply concluding that when parents taught their children about house chores, they would volunteer themselves doing some tasks in the house. It’s a logical answer!



Do you think parents need to help their children do their homework?


Yes to some extent like helping them understand the question or the instruction. In other words, parents can only give guidance to their children and should not be the ones who entirely do their homework as it is not right. If they do so, it is highly likely that their children will become irresponsible and will miss the opportunity to learn on their own. I know that there are some parents who do their children’s homework because they want them to get better marks but honestly, they are not helping their children at all. I just hope that they would realize that what they’re doing is just absolutely wrong. 




To some extent [phrase] – partly; in a limited way

Entirely [adv.] – completely




i.) The speaker gave a positive direct answer to the question but gave emphasis on the limitation of parents in helping. He explained about the tendencies of parents doing their children’s homework instead of their children doing it on their own. Then ended his answer by giving his own reflection about those parents who did their child’s homework. 


What should the government do to help its citizens?


Well there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question as every government in any country has its own shortcomings that disappoint its citizens. However, if I could just talk about what our government needs to do in order to help us live comfortably, I would like our government to focus on improving the health care system in our country. Just to give you an idea, to be sick in our country is terribly expensive, the medical costs are exorbitant even in state hospitals, as a result, the mortality rate of the underprivileged is seriously high, simply because they cannot afford to get proper medication. 

Unlike in other countries, in which people are provided free to low cost medical treatment, our country is the opposite. So, if our government can change that, then that’ll be a big help to us citizens. 



One-size-fits-all [adj.] – suitable for all circumstances

Shortcoming [noun] – fault; failure 

Exorbitant [adj.] – unreasonably high 

Mortality [noun] – the state of being subject to death 

Underprivileged [noun as used in the answer] – poor people 





i.) The speaker answered realistically by stating that there’s no single answer to the question. To make a better answer, he only focused on talking about what the government in his country could do to improve the lives of the people in his country. It’s being realistic and at the same time being specific. 


How can citizens help their country improve?


The golden rule is to obey the law – when citizens pay their taxes religiously, abide traffic rules, dispose their garbage properly, and avoid committing petty and serious crimes, then a nation will surely prosper. We cannot expect a country to improve on its own without the cooperation of the citizens. The government and its people should work hand in hand, if they want to see their nation grow.

Both the government and the citizens have a huge responsibility for each other in order to achieve a common goal which is improving the country itself and their respective lives. Those are what I think the things that the citizens can do to better their country.



Golden rule [noun]  – the basic principle that should always be followed

Religiously [adv.] – regularly

Abide [verb] – follow; obey 

Petty [adj.]  – minor; of little importance 



i.) The speaker specifically mentioned several duties that every citizen should do in order to improve their country. By doing that, he’s able to discuss his answer clearly and at the same time speaking at length. Make sure to always discuss your arguments clearly so the examiner would not be confused with your points. 



And that’s all about IELTS A TIME YOU HELPED SOMEONE recent topic! Now that you have good ideas on how to talk about helping, make sure to develop your confidence so you’ll be able to achieve a band 7.0 or even a band 9.0. Good luck!


Meaning of Words and Phrases Sources: 1, 2


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Best of luck to your exam! Be Natural! Breathe Confidence!



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