TOPIC 13- Talk about a time you felt pressure to achieve a goal.

TOPIC 13- Talk about a time you felt pressure to achieve a goal.

BAND 8.0+


Alice (English US)

George (English US)

When did this happen?

What did you need to do?

Why did you feel pressure?

How did you manage this pressure, and what happened in the end?



Actually, I have experienced countless adversities in my life. But the most pressure I’ve ever felt is to become a TOEIC teacher.

I remember vividly about 10 years ago. After graduating from college, I was doubtful about my career. My major is business administration, but it’s not my dream job. Actually, at that time, I didn’t know what kind of job I would like to have after graduating college. I was really stressed and panicked.

But after taking an English class at an English center, I was really interested in English, especially TOEIC. So I made up my mind that I had to change my career to become an English teacher.

The problem was that I was not good at English, and to be a TOEIC teacher, I needed to have a certificate with at least 900 points out of 990 in total.

The major obstacle was how to make my parents believe in my decision. When I told my parents that I wanted to be a teacher and that I needed to spend at least 2 years specializing in TOEIC, they were really taken aback by my decision because I spent about 4 years at university and my parents wanted me to have a stable job like my cousins. At that time, I was really under a lot of pressure.

In order for my parents to believe in my decision, I studied extremely round the clock. I studied nearly 15 hours a day, like waking up around 4 a.m. to listen to the tests and learn vocabulary and grammar. I bought a lot of books about TOEIC to learn and learned from the internet as well. I can say that, at that time, I was obsessed with TOEIC, even though I saw myself learning TOEIC in my dream.

But as the saying goes, hard work always pays off. After nearly 2 years of learning TOEIC from beginners, I took the first test at IIG VN.

What a surprise! I got 970 points out of a total of 990. Holding a certificate in my hand, I couldn’t believe I could do it. The first thing I did was tell my parents about my achievement; they were so happy and very proud of me. After that, I taught at one of the most famous TOEIC centers in my city. So I think this is an achievement that I feel proud of.


Alice (English US)

George (English US)

  1. How did your parents react when they learned that you got a good score?

They were really ecstatic and proud of me; they believe in me and support my decisions all the time.

  1. What was the most challenging part of the test?

I think that reading was quite tough. I remember there were a couple of questions I couldn’t manage to solve. But finally, my reading score was quite high, and I was really pleased with it.

  1. What are some typical situations when individuals feel a lot of pressure?

Aside from a situation like this IELTS exam, there are several circumstances that can lead to stress, like divorce or separation, losing a job, losing loved ones, experiencing economic hardship, or public speaking, as well as peer pressure.

  1. What are good ways to cope with this kind of stress?

In my opinion, there are many ways we can handle stress.

  1. taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media.
  2.   Exercising regularly
  3. Make time to unwind.
  4. Talk to others.
  5. Connect with our community- or faith-based organizations.
  6. Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  7. Getting enough sleep

We need to make sure that we are strong in body and mind, staying focused on the task.

  1. If people run away from these difficult situations in life, what may be the consequences?

There are some dire repercussions to avoiding challenging situations in life. You may lack achievements, and then that could lead to self-loathing. Life is full of challenges, so we should take risks to gain rewards.

There are quite a few dire repercussions associated with avoidance if we run away from the problems.

  • The problem still exists.
  • We don’t grow or become better people.
  • Increases negative feelings like anxiety, stress, and fear.
  • Creates even more problems, such as physical health issues.
  • Isolates ourselves from others
  • Avoidance may make the problem bigger.
  1. Why do people run away from problems?

I reckon that there are some reasons why people avoid trouble.

Firstly, because of fear. That’s a fact.

Along with fear, when a problem arises, we may also feel stressed and anxious. Moreover, feelings of hopelessness, despair, or confusion

  1. What are the benefits of facing your problems?

In my opinion, there are various advantages to working through our problems:

Firstly, we build self-confidence and feel better physically and mentally.

It also helps to decrease stress and anxiety.

Finally, we can find a solution to our problem.

  1. Why do we need to face challenges in life?

From my point of view, hard times stimulate growth in a way that good times don’t.

Facing challenges builds resilience and capacity.

Knowing that one can overcome obstacles, learn from struggles, and benefit from mistakes lays a solid foundation for a successful life.

  1. How can people prepare themselves for challenging parts of life?

We need to know that life is full of unexpected things, so we must be prepared for any situation by assessing them, making plans or alternative plans, staying dynamic, and staying focused.

  1. Can you elaborate on it?

Yes, absolutely, like I mentioned about my career path by taking the TOEIC test. But if I failed, I would assess my knowledge and learn harder to get a better score in the next exam.

  1. Why is it important to be prepared for life?

Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses.

For example, we can know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a tornado.

  1. What causes stress?

There are a large number of things that can contribute to stress or anxiety, including too much work, job or financial insecurity, dissatisfaction with a job or career, and conflicts with coworkers or friends.

  1. What causes stress for most people?

I believe that concerns about money, work, and the economy are at the top of the list of the most common reasons for stress.

  1. Why is it important to manage stress?

It’s absolutely necessary to handle anxiety at a certain level.

Firstly, stress is the number one killer for humans nowadays.

Moreover, preventing and managing long-term stress can lower our risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.

  1. What are some effective ways of handling stressful situations?

Meditation, breathing techniques, doing yoga, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, or doing exercises

They’re really useful for coping with stress.

  1. How has life become more stressful now compared to a generation ago?

I believe that life has become much more stressful compared to our parents generation. As a result, stress-related illnesses are increasing around the world.

The first reason is that the pace of life has increased a lot. Everyone wants to live a luxurious life. Therefore, they make every effort and work harder to achieve their goals.

In addition, the increasing competition and challenges in every field of life, lack of family and social bonding, increasing expenses, political instability, environmental pollution, longer working hours, and high expectations are some of the main reasons causing more stress these days.

  1. What is the benefit of working under pressure?

In my opinion, ‘Pressure isn’t necessarily bad; it can enhance motivation, concentration, and enjoyment. such as:

  • We save time by finishing tasks more efficiently and quickly.
  •         We are more focused.
  • enhance our chances of getting a better job
  1. What is a good example of working under pressure?

Some examples of working under pressure include

  • Working extra hours to meet deadlines
  • Taking on the roles of coworkers who are ill
  • Completing a rushed order or quick assignment
  • Taking charge of a new department


  1. What can people do to manage these new pressures?

I think we need to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and avoid drugs and alcohol to have a strong body and a brilliant mind.

Secondly, find out what we’re competent at, care less about what others think, and stay focused.


  1. have experienced countless adversities (/hæv ɪkˈspɪəriənst ˈkaʊntlɪs ədˈvɜːrsɪtiz/): đã trải qua vô số khó khăn.
    Example: Despite experiencing countless adversities, she never gave up and kept pushing forward.
  2. panicked –adj- (/ˈpænɪkt/): hoảng sợ.
    Example: When the fire alarm went off, the crowd panicked and rushed towards the exit.
  3. make up sb’s mind (/meɪk ʌp sʌmbədiz maɪnd/): quyết định.
    Example: After much consideration, he finally made up his mind to quit his job and pursue his passion.
  4. The major obstacle (/ðə ˈmeɪdʒər ˈɒbstəkl/): chướng ngại lớn.
    Example: Lack of funding was the major obstacle in starting their own business.
  5. be taken aback –adj- (/biː ˈteɪkən əˈbæk/): bị ngạc nhiên, bị shock.
    Example: I was taken aback by the sudden news of his resignation.
  6. be under a lot of pressure (/biː ˈʌndər ə lɒt ʌv ˈprɛʃər/): đang chịu áp lực lớn.
    Example: As the deadline approached, she was under a lot of pressure to complete the project.
  7. round the clock –idiom- (/raʊnd ðə klɒk/): suốt ngày đêm.
    Example: The hospital staff worked round the clock to provide care for the patients.
  8. As the saying goes –idiom- (/ðə ˈseɪɪŋ ɡoʊz/): như câu ngạn ngữ nói.
    Example: “Practice makes perfect,” as the saying goes, meaning that consistent practice leads to improvement.
  9. Ecstatic –adj- (/ɪkˈstætɪk/): vô cùng vui mừng.
    Example: She was ecstatic when she received the job offer she had been dreaming of.
  10. all the time (/ɔːl ðə taɪm/): suốt thời gian.
    Example: He’s on his phone all the time, even during meals.
  11. experience economic hardship (/ɪkˈspɪəriəns ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈhɑːdʃɪp/): trải qua khó khăn về mặt kinh tế.
    Example: Many families experienced economic hardship during the recession.
  12. dire repercussions (/daɪər ˌriːpəˈkʌʃənz/): hậu quả nghiêm trọng.
    Example: The decision to cut funding had dire repercussions on the education system.
  13. self-loathing –n- (/sɛlf-ˈloʊðɪŋ/): tự ghét bản thân.
    Example: After making a big mistake, she was consumed by self-loathing.
  14. take risks to gain rewards (/teɪk rɪsks tuː ɡeɪn rɪwɔːrdz/): mạo hiểm để đạt được phần thưởng.
    Example: Successful entrepreneurs are willing to take risks to gain rewards.
  15. builds resilience (/bɪldz rɪˈzɪliəns/): xây dựng sự kiên nhẫn.
    Example: Overcoming challenges and setbacks builds resilience and strengthens character.
  16. lay a solid foundation for (/leɪ ə ˈsɒlɪd faʊnˈdeɪʃən fɔːr/): đặt nền tảng vững chắc cho.
    Example: Good education lays a solid foundation for a successful career.
  17. Tornado –n- (/tɔːrˈneɪdoʊ/): cơn lốc xoáy.
    Example: The tornado caused widespread destruction in the town.
  18. at the top of the list (/æt ðə tɒp ʌv ðə lɪst/): ở đầu danh sách.
    Example: Safetyis at the top of the list of priorities for the company.
  19. competent at -adj- (/ˈkɒmpɪtənt æt/): giỏi, thành thạo ở.
    Example: She is competent at handling complex tasks and projects.


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Composed by Ms.Ngọc IELTS