Describe A Time When You Were Late

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card

Describe a time when you were late.

You should say:

When it was?
Why you were late?
How you felt about being late?

Note: You will have to talk about the topic for one to two 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.

Model Answer 1:

Everyone has been late at some point. Whether due to an unforeseen event or simply because we lose track of time, we all experience the feeling of being late. Here, I would like to talk about a situation when I was late.

When it was?
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful summer day, and I had to attend a family gathering. I was running late – by a lot.

I had completely forgotten that the gathering was earlier than I had originally thought, and I didn’t realize this until it was too late. I was 40 minutes late for the gathering, and everyone had already started without me. 

Why you were late?
I was late for the gathering for a few reasons. Firstly, I had forgotten that the gathering was earlier than I thought. Secondly, I had gotten caught up in the day and forgot to check the time.

Lastly, I had taken longer to get ready than I had anticipated. All of these factors combined to make me late and unable to attend the gathering on time.

How you felt about being late?
I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I had forgotten and made everyone wait. I was worried that everyone would be mad at me and that I had ruined the gathering. I felt like I had let everyone down and that I had let myself down as well. 

Being late is not something to be proud of, but from my experience, it happens to everyone at some point. This experience taught me that it is important to be mindful of the time and plan ahead.

I also learned to be more understanding and forgiving when I make mistakes. Ultimately, it is important to learn from our mistakes and take responsibility for them.

Model Answer 2:


  • I am a very punctual person and try to reach everywhere on time.
  • I got this habit from my father, who is very disciplined and strict about being on time.
  • He always told me that if you are punctual, it tells people that you are dependable.
  • If I have an appointment, I take extra caution and try to reach at least 10 minutes before my appointment time.
  • But sometimes, even giving myself this extra time has not helped, and I have been late.

When it was?

  • I remember being late for my best friend’s wedding.
  • My best friend ‘Ajay’ got married last year.
  • He is the first one to get married among my friends, and we were all very excited.
  • Indian wedding ceremonies are very lavish, and usually, there are 2-3 functions before the ceremony.
  • A day before the wedding, there had been a sangeet ceremony where we danced and partied till late night.
  • I was tired in the morning but woke up and got ready on time to be with my friend on his special day.
  • The wedding ceremony was in the Gurudwara on the outskirts of our city, about 15kms from my home.
  • I had been there before with Ajay, and he had given me directions that time.
  • I am bad at remembering directions and road names. I always rely on my cell phone’s map app.

Why you were late?

  • On the wedding day, I put the address on my phone and started from my home well on time.
  • After 40 minutes, my mobile GPS said that I had arrived at my destination but when I looked around there was no Gurudwara and just some old buildings there.
  • I realized that since the Gurudwara was new and away from the city, the map app had not recognized the address and taken me to a different address.
  • I got out and asked around. Fortunately, someone knew the exact location and told me the directions.
  • I had taken the wrong route and driven the opposite way.
  • I was so annoyed with myself for not paying attention.
  • I called another friend who was at the wedding and asked him to share his location in case I got lost again.
  • By the time I reached it, the ceremony had already started, and about was half done.

How you felt about being late? and Conclusion:

  • I felt terrible about being late for my friend’s wedding. To this day he teases me that I, who is always punctual, was late for his wedding.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 : Follow up Questions

Here some examples of follow up questions that you may asked during your speaking part 3 by examiner related to cue card “describe a person you would like to study or work with”.

1. Are you ever late for anything?
No, I am a very punctual person. I value time and am never late for anything unless it is due to some unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances.

2. What excuses do you use when you are late?
I am usually not late for any meetings or appointments. However, if at all I am getting late due to an unavoidable circumstance, then I inform the person I am meeting, beforehand. I don’t make excuses.

3. What excuses do people have when they are late?
People give excuses like car or bike breakdowns or that they were stuck in traffic when they are late

4. Are you good at organizing time?
Yes, I am good at organizing time. I set up reminders for important events and meetings. I am never late for an appointment.

5. How do you usually organize time?
I sometimes set up reminders for important events or meetings, sometimes I make lists of tasks to complete, and sometimes I set deadlines for myself, especially when working on an important assignment/project.

6. Do you think planning is important for time management?
Yes, planning is essential for good time management. If we don’t plan ahead, we will tend to waste time doing tasks/things which are unimportant or unnecessary.

7. Why do you think some people pay to learn time management?
Time management has become very important in today’s fast-paced world. Some people pay to take courses on time management so that they can succeed and excel at their work. Some people are not very good at organizing and managing time, so they need to take up courses on managing time well.

8. Do you think children should learn to manage time?
Yes, definitely. We live in a fast-paced world and children need to manage their time well, so that they can deal with the competition and do well in their studies and later, at their jobs.

9. Why do some people find it hard to follow their plans?
Some people find it hard to follow their plans because of other pressing commitments, like family commitments. Some people maybe too lazy to follow their plans.

10. How would you teach your children time management?
Time management can be taught to children by helping them make a timetable and ensuring that they follow it. Also, children can learn easily from stories or movies, which teach them a lesson about the importance of time and managing it well. Parents are role models for children and they should set a good example for their children.

11. Do old people and young people similarly manage time?
No, old and young people do not manage their time the same way. Old people have more life experience and they understand the importance of time management better than the young generation. Young people may be too impulsive or impatient and may not understand the importance of planning ahead. Another difference is the way the younger generation manages time. They make more use of technology and the old people may use traditional methods, like a timetable or writing down a list of tasks.


Photo by Christopher Luther on Unsplash

Our Editorial Staff at IELTS Rewind provides exclusive tips, tricks, and IELTS material to help enhance your band score. They are an integral part of our team, dedicated to your IELTS success.

Leave a Comment

Facebook Twitter WhatsApp