Describe a time you were sleepy but had to stay awake

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card

Describe a time you were sleepy but had to stay awake.

You should say:
When it was?
Why you had to stay awake?
How you kept yourself awake?
And explain how you felt about it?

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

When it was?
I consider myself a night owl; therefore, having a white night is not a rare experience for me. Today, I would like to talk about a night I had to stay awake all night to cook home-cooked food, specifically Chung Cake for Lunar New Year.

Why you had to stay awake?
You probably know that Tet or Lunar New Year is one of the biggest festivals in Vietnam. There are a lot of activities taking place before the Lunar New Year, and making Chung Cake is one of them, which excites me the most. However, the process of making Chung cake is time-consuming and requires the contribution of several people. It takes up to 12 hours for the cake to be cooked. Therefore, I and my cousins had to spend the whole night watching the cake.

How you kept yourself awake?
In order not to fall asleep while waiting for the Chung Cake to be cooked, I actually drank a cup of Vietnamese black-iced coffee, which was a savior to keep me being conscious for the whole night. Moreover, my cousins also spent a white night with me, and we kept talking until dawn.

And explain how you felt about it?
After the cake had been cooked, I became immediately worn out and just wanted to hit the bed as quick as possible. I had to say that I slept like a rock after having a white night. However, it was a memorable experience for me to recall the traditional activities of Tet and have an opportunity to bond with family members.

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 time you were sleepy but had to stay awake”.

1. What are some advantages of getting enough sleep?
Obviously, getting enough sleep plays an important role in shaping people’s health. It helps us recharge our energy after a nerve-racking day, avoid being overloaded. For example, an 8 hour sleep is believed to help people work efficiently and boost their productivity. If people don’t get enough sleep, they can find it difficult to concentrate on their tasks.

2. How people in your country keep track of their sleep?
I believe that in this day and age, people in my country can take advantage of cutting-edge devices to be aware of their sleep. Such applications have been invented to analyze their sleep patterns and even give them some recommendations such as listening to the ocean waves or rain drops which helps them sleep better. If it were not for those applications, they might not know what problems they are facing.

3. How do you avoid falling asleep when you are at a meeting?
I think that the key factor which keeps people awake at a meeting is that they should go to bed earlier than usual, or the tiredness because of insufficient sleep will drain their energy the next day. Moreover, caffeine may also be another option to help people avoid nodding off at the meeting. For example, I usually drink a cup of coffee before going to work, which keeps me conscious all day.

Some useful vocabulary

A night owl
Meaning: A person who prefers to be awake and active at night
Example: My wife’s a night owl, but I like to be in bed by 10 o’clock.

A white night
Meaning: A sleepless night.
Example: I had a white night because of stomachache

Meaning: Takes a lot of time to do
Example: Producing a dictionary is a very time-consuming job.

To fall asleep
Meaning: To begin sleeping
Example: I’d better get out before I fall asleep.

Meaning: Awake, thinking, and knowing what is happening around you
Example: He’s still conscious but he’s very badly injured.

Worn out
Meaning: Extremely tired
Example: They were worn out after their long walk.

Sleep like a rock
Meaning: To experience a very deep and restful sleep; to sleep soundly.
Example: I have to set numerous alarms for the morning because I sleep like a rock every night!

Meaning: difficult to do and causes a lot of worry for the person involved in it
Example: My wedding was the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever experienced.

Meaning: To give someone more work or problems than they can deal with
Example: Try not to overload yourself with work.

Meaning: To examine carefully and in detail so as to identify causes, key factors, possible results
Example: In the article, several experienced diplomats analyzed the president’s foreign policy.

Drain (someone or something) of (something)
Meaning: To cause someone or something to lose some ability or quality, often energy.
Example: Eleanor has such a pessimistic attitude that being around her just drains me of energy.

Nod off
Meaning: To begin sleeping, especially not intentionally
Example: After our busy day, we both sat and nodded off in front of the TV.

Some cue-cards you may like :

Credits :

Image : “Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash”

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