IELTS Cue Cards – Describe your study room

Describe your study room.
You should say:

How it looks like?
How much time you spend in this room?
How an ideal study room should be?

and give details of your study room.

Follow-up questions

  • How does a study room help a student?
  • Do you like to study?
  • What type of books do you read?
  • Which do you prefer? Reading or traveling? Why?

Possible answer 1 for the above speaking cue cards

Describing my study room is easy – but perhaps a little embarrassing! Firstly, I will tell you what it looks like, then I’ll talk about how much I spend using it before comparing it with what my ideal study room might be like. That way you will have all the details of my study room.

I am lucky because there is a ‘spare’ room in my flat which I can use as a study space. That’s the good news. The problem is that the room has also ended up being a dumping ground for everything else that doesn’t have a home. It is full of clutter. The room hosts a large double bed, already made up in case of guests, and a wardrobe. There is also a small chest of drawers and a bedside table. Also stored in the room are a Henry Hoover (a type of vacuum cleaner); an ironing board, a clothes rack and a set of low clothes rails that I use to hang out washing to dry. These items and bits of furniture all added together don’t leave very much space for me to work in. Even so, I have a table in the corner of the room. It is quite light, as it is positioned right underneath a duplex window – that’s a sort of sloping window set into the roof – my flat is on the top floor of a converted old house, so it is actually an attic space.

The table is reasonably sized, but I’m afraid it’s also rather cluttered. I have a couple of sets of in-trays on my desk, full of writing paper items (notebooks and reams of A4 paper), together with letters and documents awaiting my attention. There is also a tin full of pens, pencils, highlighters and other odds and ends which take up more space, and an old shoe box full of envelopes and cards that I tend to stock up on in case I need to send a friend a birthday card or quick message. I still like to send messages traditionally through the post for special occasions, rather than using email or texting. In the middle of my desk is my laptop, on which I do all my work. That doesn’t leave any spare room, so my printer is on the floor under the table. I have to crawl on my hands and knees to retrieve papers from it when necessary!

Even though the space isn’t ideal, I do try and discipline myself to go in there every day to do some work free of other distractions. At least a couple of hours a day, but obviously if I have an important deadline then I can spend all day and half the night in there ‘burning the midnight oil’ to use an English expression. I sit on a little swivel office chair, that was actually very, very cheap to purchase and looks rather flimsy, but is in fact extremely comfortable. That was a bargain buy, I must have had it 15 years at least.

My ideal study room would be airy, spacious and uncluttered. It would be a dedicated room, rather than a shared space that ends up collecting all the overflow from every other room in the home. I’d have a huge table, with neat piles of documents and space to spread out reference materials if needed. I’d prefer a window I could properly see out of, rather than one in the roof, but I do like the natural light. If money were no object, all my stationery would match, and I’d have a printer that never jammed or ran out of ink. A neat wooden filing cabinet would contain all my paperwork filed away in an orderly fashion. In one corner I’d have a cosy armchair by a window overlooking a beautiful garden. When I needed inspiration I’d be able to sit in it, gazing out of the view and thinking wise thoughts. I’d also like an endlessly refilling pot of hot fresh coffee, though I expect if I did all that caffeine would be very bad for me.

So you can see why I’m a little embarrassed by my study room, I’m ashamed it is such a cluttered area. Even so, when I find I’m really focused on some interesting project I don’t notice my surroundings. Unfortunately, if I don’t really want to face up to the task I’m supposed to be working on then it is very easy to be distracted when I’m so squashed in by the chaos around me. One day I might have to have a serious clear up, though I really don’t know where else I’d put all those things if I do.

[ Written by – Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]

Possible answer 2 for the above speaking cue cards

My study room and living room is the same room and I spend most of my time in this room whenever I am home.

It’s a square size room that has been painted in white colour. It has got 2 doors, 2 windows, one attached bathroom and a north facing veranda. The bed is placed beside the bigger window. Warm and fresh air keeps the room healthy for breathing. Among other possessions, I’ve got a computer desk, a bed table, a wardrobe, 2 bookshelves, a reading desk, a bed table, and a dressing table. One bookshelf is full of novels and story books and the other one with academic books. I keep my notepads, diary, boxes and other necessary things amid of the study desk. I read mostly on my desk and sometimes on my bed. In case of story books, I prefer to read in bed. For academic reading and writing, I mostly use my desk. My study room has not got plenty of luxurious furniture but I keep my things organised and clean. In the day time, I keep my windows and prefer not to turn on the light. My mother sometimes takes the authority to arrange and clean the room. I have arranged my story books based on Author and the academic books on Subject.

My study room and living room gives me comfort in terms of quietness. Sometimes I pick my chair on the Veranda and lit a table light and read books there at night. There are several other rooms in our house but my study room is quite soothing to me. I feel more comfortable at my study room than any other room in our house.

How to answer this cue card?

While describing your study room you should say if this is a separate room or you use your bedroom for study. If this is a separate room say if this is private study room or is it shared by other family members. This cue card usually expects you to be able to talk about the details of your reading room so give every detail possible including the dimension, colour, size of the room and even the number of window, door and balcony. Then give details about the furniture and books you have there. Explain why this is an ideal place for study and how often you read there. you will have 1 minute to prepare for the cue card and within this one minute picture an ideal study room using your imagination and take points from those. Then one by one describe those points.

Following is an example of the points you should take in the preparation phase of one minute:

1. Separate room, lots of books: academic books, story books and magazines.
2. Square shaped, have 2 book shelves, books are categorised.
3. About 400 square foot, white colour, open spaces. quiet and peaceful.
4. Furniture: Tables, chairs, laptop, table lamp, couch etc.
5. An ideal room for study: quiet, spacious, lots of fresh air

Now that you have enough points to describe your topic cards, arrange your sentences and describe them one by one. That you give you enough points for talking about more than 4-5 minutes.


Q. How does a study room help a student?
Answer: The most important aspect of having a separate study room is that it’s completely quiet and personal. It gives a nice environment for studying and preparing for the exam. People can be totally isolated in their study rooms and can concentrate on what they want to do as they aren’t easily distracted. Other places and rooms like internet cafes, drawing room or university campus have other people present and that can be an interruption for a student. Contrary to this a study room is the most suitable places for a student to study. Moreover, they can access the Internet, read or write, allocate their time in study and take rest whenever they want. This is not possible in other places. Therefore, a study room can lead to a more effective and constructive way of studying and offer an even easier way of understanding and assimilating the new information and knowledge. Finally, a student can be totally himself whenever he is in his study room without worrying what others would think about him.

Q. Do you like to study? What type of books do you read?

Possible answer 1: I love to read books- be it a reference book, novel or a biography. Sometimes reading for the exam is boring, but the result is always great as the study times enhance my knowledge. As I have already completed my graduation, I mostly read books that interest me the most. This includes fiction, biography, history and reference books. I am an active member of Goodreads, which is a website of an extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. This website is a great source for picking up a book to read. Besides I maintain a technology related blog and to update this blog I need to read different articles and posts online.

Possible answer 2: The truth is that I don’t like the process of studying but the outcome. When the time comes and I really have to study, I’m completely bored and sleepy. But as time goes by, I discover that I am equipped with the rudimentary knowledge that is necessary not only for my studies but also my future career and life. Now that I’ve graduated from university, I really enjoy reading books from my last semester and especially those related to businesses. As becoming a business consultant is my dream job and I’m very close to achieve that, I am motivated to spend some of my free time reading books about enterprises and gaining significant and useful knowledge.

Q. Which do you prefer? Reading or travelling? Why?
Answer: It’s an interesting question and really difficult for me to answer. Both pastimes are not only entertaining but also important in people’s life. Reading can help someone acquiring knowledge, skills and competencies and of course activate our mind. Books are unparalleled in creating enlightened citizens in a society.

Travelling, on the other hand, broadens your horizons, allows you to make new acquaintances and meet people from around the world and swap opinions, attitudes and interests. In addition to this, you can become knowledgeable about a country’s history, customs and culture by travelling and this results in becoming a more broad-minded and less regressive person. It is indeed a tough call for me to decide my preference between these two! However, if I have to, I would say that travelling is a bit more preferable to reading because it offers me a chance to witness things and events that I never want to miss.

Tips: You can say that you prefer one of the two or even both. You have to explain the reasons for your choice and it would be good to tell why you don’t like the other one.

[The part 3 answers were written by Mary, UK]

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