[The examiner asks the candidate about him/her, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. Do you have a large family or a small family?
A. I come from a small family. I live with my parents and two siblings. As I recall we used to live with our grandparents, uncles and aunts many years ago. But now we have a nuclear family.
Q. Can you tell me something about them?
A. Yeah sure. My father is a doctor and he has been practising medicine for more than 15 years. He is a devoted doctor and possesses a great and exemplary personality. People think that he has a very controlled personality but we know that he is very kind. I am proud to have such a great father. He is my idol in my life.
My mother is an angel and she is the most kindhearted woman I have ever seen in my life. She is a teacher in a school and she teaches literature. She is my best friend and I adore her very much.
My brother is 3 years senior to me and he is working in a telecommunication company as a System Analyst. He is around 28 years old and a very good friend and mentor to me.
My younger sister is only 12 years old and she is busy with her homework, study and computer. She is very sweet and helps my mother often to finish her household chores. I love her very much and she talks a lot to me. In our house, I am her best friend and I often help her completing her home works.
Q. How much time do you manage to spend with members of your family?
A. I live with my family and I spent most of my time at home with my family members. When I am out of home for my classes or go to hang out with friends are the times I stay away from my family. Apart from that, I mostly spend time with them.
I have a very close relationship with my younger sister and my brother. We often go out together to watch movies or to go shopping. We sometimes play computer games together. On an average, I spend 5-7 hours with my family members in a typical day.
Q. What sorts of things do you like to do together?
A. I like to discuss my plans with my father. I often take advice on important things from him. He discusses his experience, tells me history and often he teaches me morality and importance of being honest in life. He recommends me books and then we discuss these books in our free time.
I do everything with my brother John. We hang out together, watch movies, read books, sometimes we fight, we often complaints to our parents about what I or he should not have done, we swim, catch fish, play football and many other countless things. Though he is very friendly, he often scolds me whenever he thinks I did something wrong. He even acts like a mentor sometimes. Nowadays, he got busy in his office and that’s why we spend our time together on his days off.
I play computer games and chess with my sister and she often seeks my advice regarding things she can’t decide alone. We watch cartoons and documentary on History Channel together.
I love to talk to my mother and she is very fond of feeding us. She often shares her experience at school with us and we often watch TV serials and sports together. She loves to hear some classical music and I have become a fan of her favourite singers. So I often listen to music with her. There are many more activities that actually I do with my family members and those are the frequent ones.
Q. Did/ Do you get on well with your family? Why?
A. Yes, obviously I go well with my family. They are the most precious things I have in my life. They care for me a lot, they help me on my difficult times and my whole existence is surrounded by them. Whoever I am and whoever I become in future would be because of my family members’ love, care and affection.
I have a strong bonding and friendly relationship with my family. They share their thoughts and everyday experience with me. They always try to support me no matter what and all those mutual understanding makes us a small, happy family.
Describe a teacher who has influenced you in your education.
You should say:
• where you met him/her.
• what subject he/she taught.
• what was special about him/her.
and explain why this person influenced you so much.
[ You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish. ]
Developments in education...
Q. How has education changed in your country in the last 10 years?
A. I live in a developing country where the education sector went through numerous changes including the government’s more fund allocation in education, more women enrollment in higher studies, changes in academic syllabus etc.
During the last 10 years, the most significant change that has happened in the education sector in my country is the people’s mentality regarding the necessity of education. Only 20-30 years back many parents showed little interest in sending their kids to school. But that has radically changed in my country and nowadays almost every parent sends their children to school. This is a giant leap in my opinion in terms of the advancement of our education. The government allocated a share portion of its budget to ensure the school's infrastructure, study materials and salary of the teachers and that has been proven effective to build a solid ground to make an education nation. Only in the last 5 years, our literacy rate has almost doubled and I give a major credit to the government for ensuring free education in primary level, special scholarship and monetary rewards to women students.
I am not 100% sure about the exact statistics but my best guess would be that more than 200-300 colleges and universities have been established in the last few years. We had only 4-5 engineering university back in 2000 but we have more than 30 such educational institutions now. More importance has been given to vocational education and thus a large number of underprivileged populations have come under the vocational education system.
In a nutshell, that was a massive change and I have witnessed some of those changes in my own eyes including how public exams’ quality has been improved, how the schools are emphasising on English and Mathematics as academic subjects and so on and on.
Q. What changes do you foresee in the next 50 years?
A. If you ask me about the type of changes that might occur in the education sector in my country in next 50 years, I would need to rely on my own past experience and predictions mostly. My best guess is that the education would be more practical than theoretical in future. Women’s participation and performance in education would excel to a great extent. More women would be in research and higher education than their male counterpart.
The education would be expensive and private education institutes would be more demanding than the public and state-owned ones. More foreign students would come to study here and the number of higher education institutes would increase by many-fold than the current number.
The digitalization and computer-based education system would replace many traditional education systems and the online education would be a very popular form during that time.
Curriculum and subject offered in the college and education level would see a dramatic increase and technology would be the most important and demanding subject in this era.
Not sure if I will be alive or not to see the changes but I hope many positive changes within the next 50 years in my country including 100% literacy rate, more engineering and research-based education system, some of our universities are raking in the world’s best university list and we are renowned as a country of a very excellent place for education.
A national education system...
Q. How do the expectations of today’s school leavers compare with those of the previous generation?
A. Well, the school quitters nowadays are expected to study further and get involved in a part-time job to gain practical experience. The job market is pretty competitive compared to the previous time. Getting a good job requires talent, some practical experience, good grades in school and many other criteria. The competition in public service or government jobs is even higher. In the past decades there were very few school graduates in my country and hence securing a job both in public and private sector was not that tough.
The requirement is education is higher than the past. Twelve class degree is not enough to get a decent job. Recruiters are looking for candidates with prior job experiences and at least Bachelor degree. Thus the school leavers nowadays have no other option but to continue their studies. Getting a part-time job besides the study is a dream for many.
I heard from my grandfather that there were only few bachelor degree holders in his whole village while there must be more than 100 bachelor degree holders in a single community these days.
Those who leave school without completing the course have no other option but to either look after their family business or manage a job where physical labour is the only skill that s/he has.
The population in my country has almost doubled in the last decade and that is pretty obvious that the completion the school leavers nowadays face is tremendous. Among the school leavers, many decide their major in college or university while others prefer vocational education. This facility was very narrow in my grandfather’s generation as I know. So I would say there is a whole lot of difference between current and past generations in terms of their opportunity, action and plan after leaving school.
Q. What role do you think extracurricular activities play in education?
A. Extracurricular activities sharpen the minds of students and enhance their creativity. Activities that require physical movements keep their body fit and thus the importance of extracurricular activities are immense. It is often experienced that kids who have interests in sports and games outperform the others in many fields. Extracurricular activities like singing, debating, painting can be very handy in terms of career enhancement. Students who have extracurricular activities possess better leadership and social activities. Finally, from my experience, I can say that such students have better knowledge about the world than students who are solely focused on academic lessons.
Different styles/ methods of teaching and learning...
Q. What method of learning works best for you?
A. I prefer to work in a pair for the complex topics and subjects. The group discussion, in particular, works best for me. When I study in a group I can discuss my views and learn opinions of others. Thus the discussion is always helpful and I can better perform in an exam and remember the details for a long.
Q. How beneficial do you think it is to group students according to their level of ability?
A. It’s always beneficial for students to make a group for study and discussion. If the group comprises students of similar calibre and talent levels, they are proven to be more helpful. Similar abilities of students in a group can be advantageous from mainly two points of views. They are more frank to participate in any discussion and they have a good understanding among themselves. Secondly, they understand each other better and can advise in an effective way.
If a group is formed with different levels of students, there is a chance that a really talented student would get bored with the silly discussions by the others while a dull student among really talented group mates would not dare to opine whenever s/he likes.