Topic: An important letter
Audio for IELTS Speaking Practice Test 12
Speaking Part 2

Cue Card

Describe an important letter that you received

You should say:

who wrote it
when you received it
what the letter was about

and explain why it was important.

A very important letter that I received actually came from my doctor, believe it or not. I know that sounds a little strange coming from a young person like me. You see, at the time, I was in school and was working very hard and neglecting to take care of myself. I was so worried and stressed over my studies that, well, number one, I wasn’t eating very well. Then on top of that, I was spending so much time in the library that I wasn”;t going outside and getting any exercise. I noticed that I was starting to get sick easily and kind of run-down. It was really getting bad; even my friends noticed my lack of strength and energy, and one of them was so concerned about me that he wrote and mentioned this to my parents, and my mom asked one of her friends, who is a doctor, to give me some advice.

So this doctor who I didn’t even know wrote me a long letter and told me that flat out. I really needed to have more balance in my life and make sure that I was getting all of the things that I already said I was missing. So out to the badminton court I went whether I felt like it or not, eating a good healthy breakfast in the morning, slowing down and taking some time with my friends, and before I knew it, I felt so much better. If this doctor hadn’t taken the time to write me, I just don”;t know what would have happened to me. I think my life would be different and I might not even be sitting here talking with you.

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Speaking part 3
What are the different kinds of letters that the post office delivers ?

Well there are bills and things that you have to pay. Then there is a lot of junk mail and advertisements. The nice thing is when you get a personal letter from one of your friends. I suppose there would be some credit card applications and maybe a bank statement, birthday cards and Christmas cards come through the mail, too.

What can people do if they receive unwanted advertising in the mail ?

The best thing that they could do is simply drop it in the wastebasket. I suppose if they wanted to they could save them and tie them together and take them to the recycling center to make a little money. They could just put them in a corner and let them stack up and see if their friends are interested in them. If they have a pet they could use advertisements to line the inside of a bird cage or litter box, so it could do its business there.

Why do people write letters to newspapers ?

I think it is because people read newspapers and maybe something that they read affects them and they have something to say about it. Of course not everyone does this because some people are quieter in nature and would feel like writing and having it printed would be embarrassing. I really think that it depends on the nature of the person and what affects them. I don’t know if I would do something like that unless an article really got to me.

Do you think it is better to apply for a job by letter or by email ? Why/Why not?

Well, it really depends on the company, but a lot of companies do their business by email and so they might prefer that. If the company wanted a hard copy letter, well of course I would oblige them. I think because I am applying for the job. I would do whatever is convenient for the company.

What do you think is the most difficult kind of letter to write ?

I find it very difficult to write a letter rejecting someone. It”;s hard to tell them you don”;t want to date or whatever them and not hurt their feelings any more than you have to. You have to word things carefully and make sure they get the point, but be subtle.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of emails compared to handwritten letters ?

Well of course an obvious advantage is speed, getting it there quickly. Another advantage would be you don”;t need a paper, which would save on the environment, along with not needing a pen which again saves the environment. As to the disadvantages, well, a handwritten letter has a more personal touch, it shows that you took your time to sit down and gather all of the writing materials and also took time to go to the post office or put it in the mailbox to get it to the person on the other end.

Do you prefer to write letters or emails ? Why?

I really only write emails now. I haven’t written a letter in so long, it is kind a hard to remember when. As long as I have a computer and the net is there, I will always prefer writing emails. Things are just moving too quickly for me to take the time and energy to write a letter. In a way, I would have to change my whole way of thinking to write a letter. It might be fun to try it and see what it is like.

Do senior citizens in China write emails ? Why /Why not?

Well, unless they are very unusual senior citizens they don”;t write emails. You know that having a computer and more important knowing how to operate one is just not something that the older generation has a lot of experience in. In our culture and maybe even in the West, I don”;t know, senior citizens like to get around in their own neighborhoods and mix and mingle with their friends there, so the need to write emails and use a computer is not really there. I suppose that if an older person has a business, then they might write some emails, but more than likely they would have a secretary do it for them.

What effects, if any, do you think the use of emails might have on traditional Chinese culture ?

Well, as I was saying emails have had a big effect on Chinese culture already. We younger people want to reach out to not just the ones that are in our neighborhood or even in our city but to those that are all over the world. You know, for a long time China was closed to the West and Western culture, now that it has opened its doors there have been many changes, and writing emails is one of them. Emailing is more than just writing; it really is a way of life, and this way of life wasn”;t available here in China before.

Do you think handwriting will still he an important skill in the future ?

Well in China right now the written characters are important for many things, such as billboards and small business signs. But now that computers are being made with Chinese character inputs, the actual writing out of them is no longer necessary. I think there will come a time in the future when writing the characters by hand will be a lost art. sad to say, as writing characters by hand is an art form here in China. Computerization is moving in and taking over, so for the sake of speed we will see the slower methods of communicating–;such as handwritten characters–;become a lost art and a casualty of modern times.

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