Describe a past event

BỘ ĐỀ DỰ ĐOÁN SPEAKING PART 2 - THÁNG 6-8/2019 (describe a past event)

8 thg 5, 2024

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Describe a historical event that you're interested in

It is the Battle of Dien Bien Phu that I’m going to talk about as a historical event that I’m really deep into.

The battle took place in 1953 when French forces occupied the town of Dien Bien Phu, which was located in a mountainous area on the Vietnamese border near Laos. Although the Vietnamese quickly cut all the roads into Dien Bien Phu, making it suppliable only by air, the French were confident of their position. They were thus taken by surprise when the Viet Minh Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap surrounded the base with thousands of men and used heavy weapons to break the French lines. Despite strong U.S. aid, the base was overrun a year later.

Due to the loss of French forces in this battle, the French government sought an end to the fighting; an official settlement was negotiated at an international conference in Geneva, which essentially ended the French presence in Indochina.

I’m really interested in this historical event because of two reasons. First, this battle is a historically remarkable event of the Vietnamese in the resistance against French colonialism in not only in Vietnam, but also in the Indochina area. Furthermore, I extremely admire Vo Nguyen Giap - the greatest military general of Vietnam, and clearly he is the main contributing factor leading to the victory of our country over the French forces in this battle.

Describe the time you got incorrect information

I am going to talk about the time when I got the incorrect information from the internet about a dress I want to buy.

This is the incident of six months ago when I intended to buy a new dress for a special occasion, which is my cousin’s wedding. At the time my cousin made his announcement, our family were so astonished, because he informed us only 7 days in advance. Therefore, all preparations must be done in a rush.

As it was my cousin’s wedding, I wanted to purchase a new dress so that I can look stunning in that special event. I browsed through many fashion websites to look for the dress. I found one which was to my style but that website didn’t show the price of the dress. Suddenly, I saw one review of a previous buyer saying that the dress was around 50 US dollars. This price was in my budget so I arranged the order with the shop without reluctance. I didn’t make the payment either have the door-to-door delivery yet at that time, because I’m always skeptical to online shopping. One of the major issues of shopping online is whether the product will be the same as exactly as its image on the website, so I decided to visit the store to try out the dress and pay the money then. When the shopkeeper handed me the dress at the store, I was stunned because of its true price - 100 US dollars, which was doubled the price I saw on the review. I was quite disappointed and made a complaint about the information. The shopkeeper then explained to me that what I saw on the review was the price of their sale last month which offered 50% discount. That customer who wrote the review didn’t clarify that so I was misled. In the end, I didn’t afford to buy that dress, so I went with a cheaper alternative.

Describe the time you received a terrible service

Describe a time when you made a complaint and were satisfied with the result

I’m going to talk about the time when I received a disappointing service, made a complaint and was happy with the outcome.

This is the incident of 6 months ago. I ordered a cleaning service for my home to prepare for Tet holiday. There would be a lot of guests and relatives visiting my house in that public holiday so I need it to be clean and neat. The cleaning service provider is called “Aden” and they sent a woman whose name is Mai to my house to do the cleaning. However, she didn’t do a very good job. I asked her to scrub the bathroom floors, but when she finished, they looked no cleaner than before she started. I also asked her to clean the oven and do some laundry. She did neither. I was very disappointed, so I contacted the customer care office and requested to have my money back.

The customer care representative said that this was not typical of Aden service. However, they could not refund my money. What they would to fix the problem was to send a different person out the next day, who would clean my house this time free of charge. They wanted to prove that what happened with Ms Mai – the cleaning lady – was an aberration, so I gave them a second chance. But I also gave them a warning that if the second cleaner was not good, I wouldn’t use their service again and would tell everyone on the social networking sites to avoid Aden.

My warning did work. The second cleaning lady, whose name I forgot, provided a very satisfying service. She did the cleaning perfectly in a professional and careful way. Later then, Aden staff sent an email to me offering a 20% discount of their deep cleaning service for my next order. I was happy with the way they handle my complaints.

Describe the time that you had to change your plan

Last month, I was going to have a picnic with my friends at a camping site on the outskirts of the city. Unfortunately, due to bad weather, we had to cancel our plan.

In fact, we planned to have a picnic to refresh ourselves and to relax after the final term examination. Everything needed such as food, drinks and even a change of clothes was well-prepared. I was so excited about this trip that I couldn’t sleep, and ended up chatting with my friends all night. However, on the next day, it was raining heavily, despite the fact that the weather was forecast to be nice and warm. As a result, we made a decision to put off our plans.

Instead, we threw a party at my friend’s house. We made some favorite dishes together, and then played cards. The ones who lost had to buy snacks for all of us. Surprisingly, we soon forgot all about our misfortune over the picnic. By the way, we enjoyed this party a lot, it helped us to chill out and get ready for the new term.

Describe the time you attended a special event

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It is a wedding party of my best friend that I’m going to talk about as the most impressive party I’ve ever joined.

Six months ago, a close friend of mine got married with her man after being in love for two years. Her wedding party was held outdoors in a garden of a beautiful villa in District 2. It was a beautiful and unique wedding but with a more approachable setting. The color palette was full of bright and bold pinks and oranges that really stood apart from all the natural greenery. The menu was made up of cutesy and yummy food items, together with a stunning wedding cake with fresh flowers. I was asked to be one of her bridesmaid so I dressed up beautifully in a gorgeous light pink dress. There were around 80 people joing her wedding, all of them were relatives and close friends of the groom and the bride. I remember having a lot of fun in her wedding by joining some outdoor wedding games. I enjoyed the cocktail making competition. There was a cocktail making station set up outside, and the groom and the bride challenged their guests to use their best mixing skills. The winner was the one who had the tastiest and best looking wedding cocktail – they also provide extras such as colourful straws, fruit and umbrellas. It was really enjoyable and fun even though my cocktail was not tasty at all because I just mixed it in a very random and intuitive way. There was dancing and singing as well.

Describe an occasion you borrowed something from friends or family members

I am going to talk about the time I borrowed a dress from my younger sister, which happened around 6 months ago.

To be honest, I don’t really like the idea of borrowing something from someone  even if they are my family members or closest friends, as I have this fear that I may lose or damage their belongings no matter how careful I am. However, 6 months ago I was under a circumstance which I had no other way than borrowing a dress from my younger sister.

I needed to buy a new dress for my cousin’s wedding. At the time my cousin made his announcement, my family were so astonished, because he informed us only 3 days in advance. Therefore, all preparations must be done in a rush.

As it was my cousin’s wedding, I wanted to purchase a new dress so that I can look stunning in that special event. I browsed through many fashion websites to look for the dress, but I  couldn’t find any dresses which were to my style. Or if my eyes fell upon any dresses, those would be extremely expensive and over my budget.

A few days prior to that, my younger sister had bought a brand new gorgeous dress in a beautiful floral print and she hadn’t worn it even once. She was in a business trip overseas during the time of my cousin’s wedding so she couldn’t attend it. Therefore, I cam up with the idea to borrow her dress. It could save me a significant amount of money. I asked for her permission of this borrowing and luckily she said yes.

As I didn’t want to be an irresponsible borrower so I treated her belongings with so much care, as if it was a precious artefact. So I was kinda stressed and uncomfortable when wearing that dress in the wedding party as I had to be careful with all of my actions, with all the food and beverage in order to avoid any clothing stains. I washed and ironed the dress then returned it in a timely fashion. I did a great job with that borrowed dress.

Describe an occasion when your home appliance broke down or stopped working

I am going to talk about the time my refrigerator broke down. 

A year ago, the refrigerator at my home acted up. This is understandable because it was more than a decade old. It definitely might be at the end of its useful lifespan. It had broken down a few times before but my dad still tried to fix it to get several more years out of the appliance. It was really annoying since the fridge kept acting up repeatedly after a short time period. The last time it stopped working, my family suffered from series of refrigerator problems. First, the refrigerator was not cold enough because of the door seals which didn’t function properly. Therefore, all the food stored the fridge got rotten quickly, especially perishable food like leftovers, raw meat and vegetables. Second, it leaked water all over the kitchen while running. Last but not least, there was bad smell inside the fridge no matter how hard my mom did clean it. The last time the fridge broke down was a week before Tet holiday, making the situation even worse. Vietnamese people normally store a lot of food in the fridge to prepare for Tet holiday since there will be no shops or supermarkets open during that time. The huge amount of food that my mom prepared for Tet holiday was on the verge of decay so I decided to throw away that troublesome fridge and buy a new one for replacement. It has been a year since I bought the new fridge and it has functioned really well.

Describe an occasion you invited your family members to a meal at a restaurant

I am going to talk about the time I invited my whole extended family to a dinner at a luxury restaurant on my 22nd birthday.

After receiving my first month's salary, I decided to treat my family members to a dinner at a famous restaurant by Saigon River. All of my aunts, uncles and cousins attended the birthday party, and what made me happy the most about is the very presence of the uncle who is an overseas Vietnamese living in Australia. He tried her best to arrange time to fly to Vietnam to join with us so I felt extremely grateful.

The dinner was in a small, cozy Italian restaurant, which created a pleasurable atmosphere for its customers. That day was in October, so the weather was quite rainy and wet, yet suitable for such an intimate gathering. Well, the restaurant that I had carefully chosen is particularly renowned for quality pizza, flavorful pasta and unique beverages and more importantly, its view overlooks the river. Actually, I had to reserve the table a week in advance, as the tables in this special place are always full. That was also my first experience of such a first-class restaurant, and it was all the more rewarding to share it with my family.

This dinner means a lot to me, as it not only marked my 22nd birthday with my beloved ones, but it was also a family reunion. I realize that family bonds, after all, are such an irreplaceable treasure for each person, and quality time with your own flesh and blood is always important.

Describe an occasion when your motor vehicle broke down or stopped working

I am going to talk about the time my motorbike had a flat tire.

Few things are as reliable as bad luck. No matter how careful and diligent I am about maintenance, last week I got a flat tire while I was riding back home after work. At first, I noticed a bit of a wobble and heard a humming sound at speed. Then, it felt like my bike was losing power. After noticing those conditions, I slowed my bike down and got it to the side of the road. After looking at the motorbike, I was sure it was the rear tire that was the one affected. It was around 10:00 PM at that time so I couldn’t drag it to any repair shops. Also, I never carry a tire repair kit and I don’t know how to replace the tire. I haven’t signed up for roadside assistance service so I couldn’t call for help. Furthermore, the place where I stopped my motorbike was still far from my home so dragging it all the way would be a disaster. I was in a very desperate situation and there was no super hero or fairy god mother showing up to help me. Therefore, I decided to try to ride the bike with a flat tire because it was the only thing I could do. I managed to control my speed and direction. The hardest part was to keep the bike balanced while riding but eventually I still made it successfully by riding home safe and sound. My dad took the bike to the repair shop nearby my house the next morning.

Describe a time you received a call from someone you do not know in the public place.

I am going to talk about the time a stranger called me in the department store.

It was several months ago when I was wandering around my favourite shopping mall. I was super stressed because of the heavy workload, so after work I did some window shopping at the mall to relax a bit. While standing and looking at storefront windows of a clothing shop with latest items displayed on mannequins, I heard a female’s voice calling out a name of someone. Then soon after that a young woman bumped into me and started making fun of the clothes displayed at the storefront windows. I remember that woman wore a dark green coat and with brown hair. Then, she looked up and realized that I was not the person she knew. She immediately said sorry for her mistake with wide-eyed, apologetic facial expression and withdrawing body language. She mistook me for her friend who went shopping together with her, because her friend and I looked pretty alike. I replied politely to her saying that it was ok, and then she left and continued looking for her friend. The cashier at the front of the store was watching and heard the whole thing, and she smiled a bit at the incident.

Describe a time someone lost something but you found it

I am going to talk about the time my younger sister lost her purse and I helped her to find it.

This is the incident of just last week. She was pretty sure she dropped it somewhere in the house, so she went all over the house to find it. However, she couldn’t make it. I know my younger is a bit forgetful and absent-minded so the purse could have been anywhere that she had visited, such as in her bedroom, outside the house, on her working table in her company’s office.

The purse contained important identification papers and bank cards. Getting all of them redone is really time-consuming and troublesome, so my younger sister was determined to find it.

I did her a favour by joining my hand to look for it. First, we looked inside her handbag, then our bedroom, and our house. My sister also called a colleague who was at work during that time to check whether the purse was on her working table. Unfortunately, after hours of thoroughly searching, the purse was still nowhere to be seen.

At that time, we almost gave up our hope and thought about the process she must be through in order to redo the papers. I was so tired so I went to the kitchen and got myself a water bottle in the fridge. Soon as I opened the fridge, the purse appeared right in front of my eyes, lying on the egg holder tray. She must have accidentally dropped it there while drinking water. I instinctively screamed in happiness and my sister ran downstair immediately. She was on cloud nine when I handed her the purse without forgetting to complain on her absent-mindedness.

Describe a time you made an important decision with the help of other people

I am going to talk about the time I was in the state of confusion in deciding career path and a friend of mine helped me to get through it.

It happened two years ago when I was looking for a new job. After I had quit a job at a real estate company, I spent 6 months to travel and learn Mandarin Chinese. When the refresh time was over and I was in need of money, I started my job search, and unfortunately things didn’t happen smoothly as I expected. No companies contacted me for job interview. I was really disappointed and had doubts about myself. I wanted to continue the career in office administration, but due to the challenging situation, I intended to switch to become a salesperson. It might be easier. I also thought about quitting being hired and opening a coffee shop. I really found myself at a career crossroad.

Luckily, a friend of mine who is my former colleague knew about that so he asked me out for a drink to catch up. He was a head hunter so I thought that he would be the right person I needed to talk to at that time. And as expected, he gave me pieces of advice in choosing career. He said that he understood what I was going through because he also used to undego several changes before finding himself and developed his career in HR recruitment. He told me to think through about what I would most enjoy working at for the next several years. Furthermore, he agreed to help me to find a suitable job, since he understands me pretty well.

His advice was really helpful. Somehow it got me calm and resilient. Several weeks later he contacted me to send a job description of an admin assistant position. He recommended me to the employers and I attended the job interview and they offered me the job. I have been working for the company for over 2 years so far.

Describe a time that you got up early in the morning

I am going to talk about this morning because it is the latest time I woke up pretty early.

Normally there is no ocassions in my life making me wake up early in the morning. My full-time job starts at around 9:30 AM so I have plenty of time in the morning to get dress and have breakfast. I get up at around 8:00 AM every day. The personal hygiene takes me about 45 minutes due to multiple steps of skincare and I spend around 15 minutes for breakfast. I leave home at 9:00 AM to go to work.

But today is the day I do not follow my morning routine because of the IELTS test. It starts at exactly 8:00 AM, so it is understandable that I have to get up at around 6:00 AM to get ready. In order to get up that early, I forced myself to go to bed at around 10.00 PM last night. I say “I forced myself” because this is really a challenging task for a night owl, a late-night sleeper like me. Since I normally go to sleep at midnight, so of course I was unable to sleep at 10:00PM. I had to take 2 sleeping pills in order to fall asleep. I know it is not good for my health but it is an effective solution for my situation.

When I got out of my house at around 7:00 AM this morning, the sunlight was not too strong. It took me 30 minutes by motorbike to get to the venue where the test was going to take place. Some other test takers had already been there and were sitting inside the lounge, all looking drowsy and nervous.

There was around 30 minutes before the beginning of the test, so I found myself a seat, took out my smartphone and enjoyed some music. I really hate the atmosphere before any tests. There’s always stress and nervousness in the air, you can smell it. I tried to keep my mind relaxed instead of being stuck with worry and anxiety. 

Waking up early like what I did today is such an interesting yet not really desirable experience since I’m not a morning person.

Describe an occasion you showed something new to younger people

Describe a time you solved a problem via the Internet

I am going to talk about the time I found the idea to motivate English learning for my cousins through the internet / by showing them an American musical called ‘Hamilton’.

I have become an English tutor for two cousins of mine who are currently high school students.

Normally I teach them English grammar and vocabulary which is very boring and uncreative, even I find it tedious to teach them. I want to change the situation. So I browsed through many English educational websites to find ideas. I found some games and classroom activities which were quite practical and funny, but they were still not what I was looking for so I continued searching.

At that time, I was in deep impression with the American Musical called Hamilton. To be more specific, it is a sung-and-rapped through musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The musical was so amazingly brilliant, unique and extremely creative, I kept repeating several songs in the musical because the music and the lyrics were so impressive. Eventually, while I was listening to one of Hamilton’s songs, I thought: “This is it. This is what I am looking for”. I would show this musical to my cousins, show them the beauty of the lyrics in all of the songs and let them know more some phrases or idioms through music.

It did work. My cousins paid attention to the very first song of the musical, even though they needed to follow the subtitles. Musical is pretty cool since it combines spoken dialogues with rhythm and melody, making the spoken language so poetic and memorable. My cousins did learn some English idioms and phrases, such as “When push comes to shove”, and they actually could understand the context which these idioms could be applied. One of my cousin told me that she was so interested in English musical so that she looked for another one which was the musical called “Les Miserables”.

It is so great to have the internet, especially in terms of language learning.

It is so great to do something helpful for others, especially in terms of education.

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