Describe a person who has influenced you to do better in your life.
You should say:
- who this person is
- how you know him/her
- what this person does
and explain how this person has influenced you to do better in life.
[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.]
Sample Answer 1:
We owe a lot to some people around us because it is them, who help us, one way or another, to become the persons we are today. But, we can probably single out our “teachers” among them to be the “most important”. Today, I would like to talk about one such teacher – my English teacher that is – who influenced me significantly to do better in my life.
His name was Mr Hang Sen, and he used to teach me English at my college. I came to know about him for the first time when I wanted to enrol for an “English Composition” class, but unfortunately, the class was full. And my request for enrolment was denied (because there usually is a high number of college applicants in China but a rather limited number of seats) until, of course, I could manage “special permission from Mr Hang. So, I rushed to him and asked for his permission. However, he wasn’t very happy to see me but allowed me in his class, nonetheless.
Anyway, from the very first day in his class, Mr Hang made it absolutely clear that he meant only “business” and that he was going to make English really “easy” for us. In fact, Mr Hang sometimes used to ask each of his students separately if they understood his lecture. He even used to ask us about how many hours of our study schedules were exactly spent in learning English every day in order to make sure that we were indeed serious about learning English.
Mr Hang inspired me to do better in life as he was never really ready to give up on me (I was really “bad” in English), or any other of his students, until I succeeded. In fact, it was because of his relentless efforts that I have learned to express my thoughts in English today. Finally, it was Mr Hang who taught me to never give up on my dreams no matter how many times I failed, and how difficult were the circumstances around me.
Model Answer 2:
A father is a hero to his children, and the sacrifices he makes to bring smiles to his family are incomparable. My father had always been my inspiration, and he still is. He is my greatest mentor also. The way he influenced and motivated me in different stages in my life to become a good human being, to fight against the odds in life, to attain the success and most importantly to be happy in life are exemplary. I want to be a father to my children the way he had been to me.
I know him from the very first day of my life. In fact, I bear the genetic codes he has. The way I was attached to my father in my childhood shaped my psychological development. I still feel a strong bond between us – more like the way I felt as a helpless child.
He is a university professor and teaches physics to his students. He is a much-revered master to his pupils. He loves to read books, visit historical places and experience new cuisines. He often goes out fishing and has a tough-luck while catching fishes! Besides, he likes classic movies and we often watch movies together. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, a Hollywood classic is his favourite movie. Umm, to say more about him… he hates when people break their commitments and when his students cheat on an exam. People who know him in person say that he is a humble and honest man who has been helpful to others all his life.
He had been there when I needed him and he still is my greatest shield. He encouraged me to try over and over again. I always thought that failure is a shame and the end, but he pointed out that our failures are our greatest lessons in life. He taught me to study out of interests, not only to score in the exams. I still learn from him. He has invisibly shaped my character and I am greatly influenced by him to attain excellence.
Cue card topics like “Describe a person who has influenced you to do better in your life” can have many different answers: Who is your role model? Who deserves the most credit for your success? Who had been there to motivate you in your difficult time? Who has shaped your character? and so on. In short, the question is primarily asking you to discuss someone you admire; so think about what he/she has done to inspire you to do better in life.
However, realize that unlike a “hero,” an influential person isn’t always a positive example. You may have grown and changed as a result of someone whose mistakes or inappropriate behaviour taught you what not to do with your life. Thus someone with a negative attitude could have influenced you to do better in life.
Answers to this cue card topic can draw from lots of different options:
- A family member
- A teacher
- A friend
- A coach
- A community member
- A colleague
Your interviewer would not judge who you select as an influential person in your life. He would be interested to listen to what you talk about this person, how fluently and coherently you talk about him/her and how accurately you justify your choice. So even if you choose a singer as the most influential person in your life, the examiner would not mind. However, it is generally suggested that you should not pick yourself, or a pet to be an influential person in your life!
If you can answer the topic “Describe a person who has influenced you to do better in your life” you should be able to talk about the following topics as well:
1. Describe your favourite personality.
2. Describe someone who has a positive influence on you.
3. Describe someone in your family who you most admire.
4. Describe a person you are most close to.
5. Describe a person who has taught you many things.
6. Describe a person whom you idolise.