IELTS Speaking Part 2&3 #52 Describe a mistake that you once made

Describe a mistake that you once made. You should say:
What the mistake was
When and where you made it Who you were with
And explain how the mistake affected you.

Sample Answer:

No one wants to talk about his mistakes and it seems like the human psychology is prone to forget blunders and remember good things in life. But some mistakes are hard to forget and have severe consequences in life. I, too, as an ordinary human try to learn from my mistakes, forget them most of the time and go ahead with my dreams to do something remarkable in my life. I would like to thank you for this cue card topic that expects me to talk about a mistake I have made in my life.

The biggest mistake in my life was falling in love with the wrong girl who had a completely different view about life, love and relationship. I was hardly 17 years old when I fall hard for this girl. Initially, we were classmates and then became friends. In a year I started to feel something about her that was quite extraordinary and hard to explain. I guess people call this ‘love’. My whole world started to shift and I was surrounded by a mirage for this whole time. Not a single moment had passed when I didn’t think about her. She was the center and power source of my universe. When I proposed her, she expressed her boundless joys and acted as if I should have proposed her earlier. So far, this is a sweet and innocent love story of a teenager and I was happy to have her in my life.

However, it took me only a few months to realize that she was not serious about our relationship. When she was my whole world, I was her just another temporary boyfriend. The relationship ended in ten months and I was so broken-hearted that I could not concentrate on anything for a while. My parents also knew about it and they were very supportive to me. First few days, it was quite difficult for me to get back to my normal life, study or go outside. I simply could not appease my mind that I made a great mistake and it was like an illusion that I need to come out from soon. However, when I started realizing that I made a big mistake by approaching to a serious relationship without even knowing the girl genuinely, I started making peace with my mind. I was completely honest with myself and that eventually helped me to get out of the depressive time I went through at that time. The lesson learned from this mistake made me more cautious about making any kind of relationship and I am happy that I took this mistake as an event to learn a lesson. However, I often feel bad that how someone could be so naive to play with someone’s sentiment so cheaply.

Follow-up questions:

  1. Do you often make mistakes?
    We all make mistakes. I don’t reckon I particularly make more than the average person but it’s still too often for my liking, to be honest. I usually make mistakes when I’m not concentrating, when I allow my mind to slip. For example, when I’m revising something and I’m testing myself, if I rush, don’t pay enough attention to the question, I’m more likely to get the answer wrong. Also, double-checking is important. When I’m speeding through the questions, I’ll assume I’ve got it right the first time and then be shocked when I realize otherwise. When I take my time, focus, not let myself get distracted, it’s plain sailing.
  2. What can people learn from their mistakes?
    I think it depends on what kind of mistakes they make. If, for example, it’s a language mistake, they can obviously learn the correct version of whatever it was that was wrong, but if it’s something more general like a life mistake, they can’t go back and change it but they can use that new knowledge to help prevent themselves from making the same mistake again in future and possibly also educate others. Making mistakes is a part of life, from constantly falling over when you first learn to walk right up until you’re at death’s door. I don’t think anyone who you’d consider successful got there without making a few mistakes along the way.
  3. What should teachers do when students make mistakes?
    I believe teachers should generally tell their students when they have made a mistake, but how they do it and how often they do it is something that needs to be considered. If a teacher was to ignore a mistake, the student might believe that they hadn’t done anything wrong and would then continue repeating the mistake until, hopefully, eventually, someone would let them know, at which point, it would probably be a habit of the student and so even harder to stop.
    Obviously, if someone’s constantly correcting you, that might lower your confidence, so at times, teachers need to be selective about what mistakes they address and usually it’s better to not constantly interrupt the student while they are talking. Little gestures, though, might work well and let the student correct themselves if they want.
  4. Do you usually listen to someone’s advice?
    It depends on the situation a lot. I mean, if it’s a serious situation and I have to make a big decision then usually I’ll ask people I think can help me for advice. If the advice seems to be good then I would certainly consider it.
  5. Who should give young people advice about their future career? Why?
    It’s a good idea for young people to listen to a variety of advice from different sources and then make up their own minds about what they want to do. Teachers and career counselors have more knowledge about careers and the employment opportunities, but parents, relatives and friends also have a different insight which they can offer you… a more personal viewpoint sometimes. But at the end of the day, everyone should make their own decision because it’s their career… they need to be happy doing what they choose.
  6. Other possible questions:
    Do you think making mistakes is necessary?
    What do people do to avoid mistakes?
    Do you think young people should ask old people for advice?