Speaking (School & Advertising)


Idioms & Expressions:

the bane of my existence (something in your life that greatly stresses or challenges you)

Calculus is a very hard subject for me. It’s the bane of my existence.


old school (an adjective that describes methods that were used in the past, or people who still do things according to old methods)

My professor is an old school kind of guy – he doesn’t use a computer or TV in the classroom.


play hooky (verb, this means to skip school)

I played hooky from school last Friday and went to the movies.


buyer’s remorse (noun that refers to the regret you feel after buying something that you wish you hadn’t)

After I bought the book, I realized I didn’t like it that much, and I had buyer’s remorse.


product placement (noun, this is when companies pay to put their products into movies or TV shows)

The product placement in the movie was quite distracting.


airtime (noun, this refers to the time or attention a certain person or product gets on the news or on TV)

Donald Trump was given quite a bit of airtime due to his controversial statements.


Part I: Group Discussion

  1. Tell me about your first day at high school / university.

My first day at university was surprisingly easy. I only had one class on my schedule, and that ended at 10:30 a.m. So, I had the rest of the day off. What stands out to me most about that time is how much freedom I had. I’d never had that much free time before, and I didn’t know how to handle it.

  1. Which subject did you find the most difficult at school / university? [Why?]

I’ve always struggled with mathematics, and in high school, I had to take calculus. It was extremely hard for me, and I needed to put in a lot of extra hours of studying in order not to fail. The concepts were just so hard for me to grasp.

  1. Do you ever need that subject now? [Why? / Why not?]

That’s what made it so frustrating – I knew I’d never use calculus in the future. And to date, I haven’t. I think it’s pointless and ridiculous for us to have to excel at subjects that won’t help us in our daily lives in the future.

  1. What did you enjoy about being a school student / undergraduate?

I liked the fact that I had so much extra time to work on other projects outside of school. I used to make short movies, and so having a free day (outside of attending classes) was a blessing back in those days.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe something you bought but rarely use. You should say:

  • what kind of item it is
  • when you bought it
  • where you bought it
  • and explain why you rarely use it.

This isn’t exactly something I bought and rarely use, but it’s something that I regret purchasing, and that I wouldn’t purchase again. I was out with my friends at a bar in Korea one night and they were all drinking this special beer that the bartender was serving. They all seemed to like it a lot, even though it was expensive, so I decided to try it. I bought it and I was very disappointed. To me, it just tasted like a regular beer! It wasn’t worth the money. I finished it, but I didn’t buy another one.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. How do you feel about the amount of advertising on television?

I think there’s probably too much of it, but then again, I don’t watch enough TV to really be bothered by it. But then again, the only reason TV exists is to sell advertising, so having a lot of ads makes sense.

  1. In what ways has the television advertising changed in the last ten years?

I’m not really sure. I don’t think it has changed too much, although ads might encourage more social media engagement by placing a hashtag or a twitter handle on the screen, to try to gauge who’s actually seeing the ad.

  1. To what extent are people influenced by the advertising they see on television?

Probably not very much, but then again brand awareness is a powerful thing. For example, Coca-Cola spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to maintain a ubiquitous presence, and it pay off, since they’re known as the default soda option.

  1. Why do people still enjoy going to the cinema to watch a film?

People like the communal aspect of seeing a film with a large crowd. It’s fun to be entertained en masse, and to laugh and shout with everyone. Also, attending a movie in person makes it more of an event than simply sitting at home and watching something on your TV.

  1. What sort of influence can films have on people?

In many ways. Films can communicate stories and messages that people otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance to witness. Movie characters also give people certain attitudes and lifestyles that they might want to emulate.

  1. Should filmmakers be responsible for the impact their films can have on people?

I think it’s dangerous to attribute a film’s impact to a filmmaker. If we begin limiting what filmmakers can or cannot do or say, or hold them responsible for how someone interpreted their work, then that opens the door for censorship, which is ostensibly an undesirable fixture in society.