In the IELTS speaking test, you will often be asked about various experiences you've had, such as things you’ve learned, tasks you’ve accomplished, and decisions you’ve made. Some of these experiences can be challenging, which is beneficial for your IELTS speaking test ‘cause talking about the difficulties you encountered adds detail and allows you to extend your answer.
If you encountered difficulties in, for example, learning a skill, you may choose to say 'it was hard for me to master this skill…' and it is grammatically correct. However, to achieve a higher band score for Lexical Resource, use idiomatic language and say 'I had a hard time mastering this skill.'
TO HAVE A HARD TIME DOING SOMETHING
MEANING: ‘To have a hard time doing something’ means to experience emotional, physical or intellectual difficulties, challenges, or obstacles while accomplishing tasks, dealing with situations, or performing actions. It emphasizes that these difficulties can lead to frustration, struggle, or a lack of progress. This idiom is applicable to various aspects of life, such as work, relationships, studies, personal goals, or any situation involving obstacles or difficulties.
Here are some examples of how you can use this idiom during your IELTS speaking test:
- When talking about sleep, you can say ‘I have a hard time falling asleep.’
- So, when talking about your childhood experiences, you can say ‘I had a hard time learning how to tie shoelaces’
- When talking about events, you can say ‘I had a really hard time organizing the whole thing’
- When talking about decisions, you can say ‘I had a hard time making the decision because the options were equally appealing‘
- When talking about morning time, you can say ‘I have a really hard time getting out of bed’
- When talking about photography, you may need to say whether being a photographer is a good or hard job. Here's the sentence you can use in your answer: ‘Competition in the photography field is fierce, and many photographers might have a hard time standing out and finding their niche’
- When talking about new products, you can say ‘The majority of people have a hard time using new products because they may find the interfaces unfamiliar, encounter difficulties in understanding the instructions, or simply resist change due to a natural aversion to the unknown’
- When talking about rules, you can say ‘If it weren't for this rule, we would have a really hard time meeting deadlines and getting things done’
- When talking about science, you can say ‘Children have a hard time connecting the scientific concepts they learn in school to their everyday lives’ or ‘Students may have a hard time understanding scientific theories and terminology’
- When describing a conversation you had with a very old person, you should mention where and when it took place. For example, ‘Mrs Whitton had a hard time climbing the stairs, so she asked me if I could help her. As we moved slowly up the stairs, we talked about what life was like when she was young'
- When talking about noise, you can say ‘I had a really hard time putting up with the noise, so I called the police’
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