Part 1 – Introduction & Interview:
[In this part of the test, the examiner asks the candidate about him/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. Do you have an email address?
A. Yes, I have two personal emails, one is Gmail and another one is Yahoo!, and I use both of them regularly. Apart from that, I have an email address provided by my university that I use to communicate with my teachers.
Q. Do you send and receive emails regularly?
A. Yes, I do send and receive emails regularly both for my personal and academic purposes. I have to email my teachers almost two to three times a week and I often send emails to a few of my cousins who live abroad. I get three to four emails daily from my university and not to mention many other automated emails for different web services I have subscribed to.
Q. Who do you usually communicate with?
A. I need to communicate with my teachers, classmates, and the librarian at our university via emails. I also write to my cousins, grandparents and the manager of the bank where I have a checking account. Often, I need to send emails to inquire about something or reply to an email sent by a friend or relative.
Q. How often do you check your emails?
A. Umm… I check my emails at least two to three times a day. When I am at the university, the first thing I do is check my emails so that I do not miss anything important. The email feature on my smartphone has really made it easier for me to check and send emails whenever I need to.
Q. Do you think writing emails has strengthened or weakened people’s writing skills?
A. Interestingly, I think it has done both. Our habits to write emails frequently have increased our writing skills on one hand and weakened our grammar, punctuation and spelling skills to some extent. Those who have taken advantage of the Internet and tried to enhance their writing skills while writing important emails have been immensely benefitted. However, there are others who have not tried so and simply used spelling and grammar correction tools, made habits of using auto-suggestions without noticing closely what corrections these tools suggests have been negatively affected. I believe a piece of technology is a two-edged sword and we can use it in or against our interests and benefits.
Q. What are some disadvantages of emails in your opinion?
A. Emails, unlike handwritten letters, lack the personal touch that we feel while reading a letter written on a paper. It can also fall into the wrong hands, and not to mention, hackers and cyber-criminals may use dangerous methods, including “phishing” to fool users and get their sensitive information such as bank accounts or social security numbers. Once they gain such information, they can cause other harms. Besides, dependency on emails deteriorates our hand-writing skills as we start typing more and writing less. Finally and most perilously, emails could be “spoofed”. Spoofing is a method a cyber-criminal use to send a user an email pretending to be someone the user knows.
Part 2 – Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card:
Describe an equipment of your household (such as computer, television, refrigerator etc).
You should say:
- what it is
- what you do with it
- how long you have it
and explain why it is important to you.
[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.]
I have a personal desktop computer at my home and I would like to talk about it for this cue card topic. My father purchased it for me a couple of years ago to meet my academic needs and to enhance my skills in computer applications. This computer came with the latest configuration and it is proven to be a highly useful device for me.
Back then, I needed a computer to complete my assignments and either print or email them to my teachers. It was important for me to have a personal computer as composing the assignments and printing them at a cyber cafe was expensive and time-consuming. Accordingly, my father bought me a computer and that would be exactly two and a half years ago. I also use it to enjoy movies and listen to music. Sometimes, I also play video games on this machine and browse the internet.
This computer is important to me for several reasons. First, I am still a student and I often need to collect information from the internet for my academic activities. My computer is connected to high-speed internet and I use the service to collect necessary resources for my study. I also complete academic assignments on this computer and print them. Recreation is another purpose which this computer meets. In fact, the computer has become my constant companion. I turn it on just after I get home and only shut it down when I go to bed. Finally, I have learned a great deal about computer and how to use different computer applications, and I am a far advanced computer user now than I used to be.
Q. Will you always keep it?
A. Yes, I will always keep a computer at home. I might someday replace my current computer with the latest one, but I will always need a computer at my home.
Q. Is it worth much?
A. My father purchased this computer for me and it cost him 950 dollars back then. But the real worth of it is far more to me for the usefulness it has. In fact, I cannot do without it.
Part 3 – Details Discussion
Q. Could you explain with some examples of the changes in technology which are used by people in their daily life between now and that of 20 years ago?
Answer: About 2 decades ago, the use of computers and the Internet was not widespread in my country. Back then, computers were used to deal with highly important issues in government offices and large private banks and organisations. The Internet was very expensive and there were no social networking platforms. This is quite different these days. At present, almost everyone uses smartphones and have their personal social networking accounts which they use to share different news and photos with others. Emails and video calls have replaced the traditional postal mails and people can contact others whenever they want over the Internet.
Apart from that, the landlines have been replaced by smartphones, and almost all households have smart TVs with satellite connections. Freezers, air conditioners, microwave ovens, rice cookers, vacuum cleaners were used by only rich people in the past but those are available in most of the households these days.
Q. Whether the equipment you’ve mentioned in your examples are used in your home? How about other families in your hometown?
Answer: Yes, I regularly use a smartphone and a computer at my home. And the other types of equipment I have mentioned in my previous answer (like the freezer, microwave oven, vacuum cleaner, rice cooker and AC) are present in our house. In fact, my parents have been using those items for almost seven to eight years.
Except for some poor families, I think most of the folks in my city use those household appliances. There is scarcely anyone who does not own a computer and a mobile phone these days.
Q. Do you think technology will bring more benefits to the people in the coming days?
Answer: I certainly believe so. Technology has always enriched people’s lifestyle and helped advance human civilisation. This will continue in the future, and, in fact, at a faster pace. The technological progress in the future will help people live longer, eradicate hunger and deadly diseases from the planet, fight climate change effectively, explore space and undersea resources, and even find an alternative planet to settle in if our planet ever become unliveable, and this list will go on and on. Any negative outcomes and threats that a piece of technology has can be avoided by the human with proper use and safety measures.
Q. Do you think it is important for us to use the technology sensibly? Why?
Answer: We should always use technology prudently and sensibly. The technology comprises a great power to both build and destroy. For instance, nuclear technology can provide electrical power for the entire country and at the same time, it can also destroy a country. We should always sensibly use technology to use it for our benefits and avoid the catastrophic outcomes by all means.
Q. Do you think people rely too much on technology today?
Answer: No, I don’t think that we rely “too much” on technology today or at any other time in human history. Depending on how we choose to define “technology” today, in my opinion, we have been relying on technology since the days we invented the first hunting tool and discovered fire. And since those early days, we have done nothing but improve the technologies in order to make our life better and easier because we, humans, as a whole are just not programmed to remain “stagnated” unless it hurts our very existence.
Q. Do you think that the advance of technology has improved standards of education in schools?
Answer: Yes, I do think that advancement in technology has improved the standards of education in schools. In fact, with the advent of information technology and information at the tips of our fingers, gone are those days when we needed to spend days and even months in thumbing through an encyclopedia. Besides, these days students can access teachers, resources, and assignments via the web whenever and wherever they have an internet connection. Finally, with different kinds of online learning tools and educational apps, students today can learn difficult subjects at their own pace while still keeping up with their peers.