The TOEFL Speaking questions include a set of questions that allow universities and colleges to assess how well a student can communicate, express their opinion, and speak based on their understanding of academic or campus-related reading and listening texts in English in an academic setting. The section provides 17 minutes to the test-taker to complete four speaking tasks including one independent and three integrated tasks.
Hence, to ace this section, you need lots of practice, time management skills, and a better understanding of English. In this blog, we have shared TOEFL Speaking section questions and answers samples, practice tips, and response tricks for your better TOEFL preparation.
TOEFL Independent Speaking Task Questions- Task 1
TOEFL speaking section task 1 is an independent speaking task. Here, you will be presented with two options or situations and will be asked to state which of the two options you prefer and why. To complete the task, you will have to state your preference, elaborate on it, and support it with reasons. According to ETS, you will receive 15-30 seconds for preparation and 45-60 seconds to speak over the topic to convey your idea and opinion.
Since this question will usually include everyday topics, you will not need any specialized knowledge to respond to this question. While responding to questions of this type, ensure that you respond to all parts of the question. Make sure that you are clear about your opinion and give reasons that support your opinion. Your score doesn’t depend on which option you choose (because there is no “right” or “wrong” answer) but rather on how well you state and explain your choice.
TOEFL Independent Speaking questions and answers Sample
The TOEFL independent question is ‘explain a choice’ which may appear in different forms. Let’s look at some of the most common forms in which these questions appear on the TOEFL exam including preference, agree and disagree, description and explanation.
TOEFL Independent Speaking questions – Preference
Here are sample TOEFL IBT speaking questions and answer preference questions.
|Q.1.There are many different approaches to academic studies, and all of them have specific benefits. Do you prefer to study for tests in a group, or to study alone? Include details and examples to support your explanation.
|Q.2. Some people like to watch television news programs every day, while others like to watch them only now and then. Which do you prefer? Include details and examples to support your explanation.
|I like to study for my examinations on my own. This is how I feel for two reasons.
Firstly, I will be able to concentrate solely on what I need to study. Since everyone has their own weak points, we may end up spending a lot of time addressing those points, even if most of the other members are good in those areas. When we work alone, on the other hand, we may concentrate solely on our own weaknesses, allowing us to get the highest potential exam result.
Moreover, I’m easily distracted, which may be problematic while studying in a group setting. For example, last year, I was researching for a midterm test with a group of classmates. Rather than studying, we spent most of our time talking about music and sports. As a result, my exam scores were quite low.
|I would much rather watch the news only on rare occasions. This is because of two reasons.
To begin with, spending too much time watching the evening news makes me really uneasy. For example, if I hear about a new battle or tragedy every day of the week, I become melancholic and find it difficult to function in my day-to-day life.
Second, I believe that daily news viewing is a waste of time. For example, if I watch a news program for an hour daily, I will simply not have enough time to accomplish other things. For instance, ever since I quit watching the evening news, I find that I have more time to complete all of my school tasks.
TOEFL Independent Speaking questions – Agree or Disagree
TOEFL agree or disagree questions generally present with a statement, and ask candidates whether they agree or disagree with the statement.
|Q.1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should help their parents with household chores as soon as they are old enough. Use details and examples in your response.
|Q.2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is better for children to have teachers who are young, even if they are inexperienced.
|I believe that allowing children to help with home duties as soon as they are old enough is a fantastic concept.
First and foremost, this may teach youngsters some really useful skills that will serve them well later in life. When I was a youngster, for example, I was in charge of making breakfast for my younger brother every day before we went to school. This experience served me well later in my life when I moved away for university. There, I was able to prepare my own healthy meals instead of depending on fast food joints like my peers.
Secondly, when parents and children work together on domestic duties, they get an opportunity to bond. They can converse while doing tasks like washing dishes or making food, and the kids may open up about what’s happening in their life.
|I believe that having young professors, even if they are inexperienced, is beneficial for kids.
To begin with, youthful instructors are better able to relate to their students. In terms of actual interests and pop-cultural understanding, they just have a great deal in common with them. As a result, they have an easier time connecting the classroom subject to the students’ everyday life. This can make the learning process more fun for the students.
Secondly, I personally find young instructors to be less intimidating. In my experience, older instructors are more critical of their students’ mistakes than their younger counterparts. This may cause students to be apprehensive, and as a result, they may be reluctant to ask doubts in class—which in the long run will affect their learning process.
TOEFL Independent Speaking Questions – Description and Explanation
This question format includes certain daily topics on which you need to provide your opinion with details.
|Q.1. Some companies have rules that forbid employees from using personal cell phones during working hours. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
|Q.2. Nowadays, some people use extreme methods, including surgery, to change their appearance. They do this because they want to look more attractive. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your answer with details and examples.
|I don’t think it is a good idea for companies to prohibit employees from using their phones during business hours, because of two reasons.
To begin with, our mobile phones are the fastest means by which we can communicate with others. So, if there is an emergency at home, the news would most probably be conveyed to us through our phones. And, of course, we’d like to know about emergencies as quickly as possible. If a worker is worried about being disconnected from his loved ones throughout the day, then there is a good chance that he may start looking for jobs that allow him to use his phone, which would be disastrous for the company.
Second, I believe that personal phones have the potential to increase our workplace atmosphere. Making a brief phone call or looking at a social media post might help us relax. And if we’re happier, we’re more likely to do well.
|I think getting surgery to change your look is a terrific idea. This is how I feel for two reasons.
First and foremost, by changing our appearance through plastic surgery, we will be able to develop the confidence to face any social situation. After all, self-confidence comes only when you are comfortable in your skin, and sometimes an aesthetic surgery with that!!
Secondly, if we are unhappy with the outcome of our operation, we can always reverse it. I mean, plastic surgery is so inexpensive these days that if you get an operation and it doesn’t look good, you can easily have another treatment done. For example, I’ve changed the shape of my nose three times already, and the cost to me has been modest.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Sample Questions- Task 2 (Campus Life)
The first integrated task in the TOEFL speaking section is based on a topic related to campus life. To complete this task, you will have to use your reading, listening, and speaking skills. As, it consists of three parts:
- A short passage: Read a short passage (of around 100 words) on a campus-related topic (e.g., a change in university policy, campus facility, quality of life on campus, etc.), which will provide you detailed information.
- A Conversation: Listen to a conversation (of around 90 seconds) in which two people express their opinion about the article/passage.
- A Question: After reading the passage and listening to the conversation over the same topic, now you need to respond to the question which generally requires you to summarize the main speaker’s opinion within the context of the passage.
To answer this speaking section question, try to include all the points from passage and audio.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 2 Sample Question and Answer
Direction: Read a short passage and listen to a conversation on the same topic. You will then be asked a question about them. After you hear the question, you will have 15-30 seconds to prepare your response and 45-60 seconds to speak.
|Currently, the university drama club organizes plays only on campus. Next year, however, the drama club will also perform street plays in and around Washington D.C. Mr. Watkins, the head of the drama club, feels that doing street plays will help in taking important social messages to large groups of people, which in turn will help create a sense of awareness in the society in which we live. In addition to this, it is hoped that getting the drama club to perform street plays will also help motivate students in the club to pursue a higher standard of excellence, and will also help them improve their confidence.
Read the transcript
|Narrator: Now listen to two students discussing the article.
|Male Student: Meriya, you are a part of the drama club, right? What do you think about the proposal in the article?
|Female Student: I really liked the proposal. I have always wanted to do street play. I personally believe that art should try to bring about a social change in the society that we live in.
|Male Student: I agree…but why a street play? Wouldn’t a conventional theater performance also have the same impact?
|Female Student: Yes, conventional theater performances can have a good social impact. But, I feel the street theater provides a much wider reach…not very many people visit a theater, but you can always find people on the street.
|Male Student: Mhmm…that’s true
|Female Student: Also, I know a lot of people who would like to do a street play, but lack the confidence to do it. I feel that when the club organizes a street play, those people also will get an opportunity to do what they’ve always wanted to do, with the added advantage of their peers being there for support.
|Male Student: Mhmm…you’re right…I hadn’t really thought about that.
|Female Student: Also, the audience of a street play would be similar to the audience we’d get if we were to take up acting as our profession…at least, it would be more similar than the kind of audience we usually get when we perform a play in the campus…I have a feeling that this article might encourage more students to join the drama club.
|Male Student: Um, to be honest, right now, I am considering if I should join the drama club.
|Female Student: Given your artistic flair, we’d be more than happy to have you in our club.
|Q: The woman expresses her opinion about the change described in the article. Briefly summarize the change. Then state her opinion about the change and explain the reasons she gives for that opinion.
|The university drama club is planning to perform some street plays in addition to the plays performed on campus. The head of the club feels that doing this will not only help in raising public awareness of social causes, but will also motivate the students to do better and improve their confidence.
The woman fully agrees with the head of the club. She holds that street plays have a much wider reach when compared to conventional theater performances. She believes that by performing on the streets, students will get an opportunity to spread public awareness on a much larger scale.
She also believes that this initiative of the club will not only help boost its members’ confidence by giving them an opportunity to perform in public alongside their peers, but will also encourage more students to join the club since it offers a more ‘real’ experience.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice Questions- Task 3 (Academic)
The second integrated task in the TOEFL speaking section, i.e. Task 3 is based on an academic topic. Similar to TOEFL task 2, the Academic speaking test also includes three parts to this task:
- Passage: Read a short passage (of around 100 words) on an academic topic.
- Recorded Lecture: Listen to a lecture (of around 90 seconds) in which the lecturer will elaborate on the subject in the reading passage by adding more details and giving specific examples.
- Question: Combine and convey important information from the passage and the lecture while answering the question.
The topics for the question are drawn from various fields: life science, social science, physical science, and the humanities. Although the topics are academic in nature, you do not need any prior knowledge to understand the reading passage and the lecture, or to answer the question that follows.
In fact, it is recommended that you do not include any ‘extra’ information when responding to this task. The reading passage and pre recorded-lecture will provide all the information you would require to respond to the task.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 3 Sample Question and Answer
Direction: Read a passage, afterwards listen to the lecture and respond to the question. You will get 15-30 seconds to prepare your response and 45-60 seconds to speak.
|Man vs. nature conflict refers to the conflicts that occur when a literary character faces resistance from a natural force. This natural force can include the weather, wildlife, the wilderness, or a natural disaster. In man vs. nature conflict, a common theme is for a natural event to force a character to look within themselves and consider their internal strengths to meet the challenges they face. The characters usually end up confronting their powerlessness and mortality in the face of the natural world. Therefore, the essence of the man versus nature conflict can be summarized thus: man struggles with human emotions, while nature charges forward undeterred.
Read the transcript
|Narrator: Now listen to part of a lecture from a Literature class
|Professor: One of the conflicts that can be seen in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is that between man and nature. Romeo and Juliet are two star-crossed lovers from two warring families.
When Romeo kills a member of the Capulet family, he is exiled from Verona. On the eve of his banishment from Verona, Juliet—who understandably wants to spend more time with her love, mistakes the singing outside her window to belong to the nightingale—a symbol for the night. Upon realizing that it was a lark—the messenger of the morning—Juliet is forced to let Romeo leave. Nature, thus, hinders the couple from spending more time together.
Another instance can be seen when the messenger, who is supposed to carry an important letter to Romeo detailing the plan for Juliet to fake her own death, is detained by a plague threat. The letter, which would have explained to Romeo that Juliet was still alive and that he could whisk her away when she awakens from her death-like slumber, is not delivered to Romeo in time. As a result, when Romeo sees Juliet’s still body, he decides to take his own life. Juliet also follows suit when she wakes up from her slumber and sees him lying dead.
|Q: Using the examples provided by the lecture, explain the man vs. nature conflict.
|When in a literary work, the character encounters some resistance from natural forces, it is known as the man vs nature conflict. The professor, here, takes the example of two characters in William Shakespeare’s play — Romeo and Juliet. They are lovers who come from rival families.
The first instance he provides is of the lark’s song. This song prevents the couple from spending some much-needed quality time together. Thus, the lark, here, serves as a symbol of nature intervening in their love.
Another instance is when the messenger who carries an important letter to Romeo detailing a crucial plan is held back by a plague threat. This results in the death of the two lovers. Thus, the plague—another one of nature’s minions—succeeds in putting a complete end to their love story.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Sample Question- Task 4 (Academic)
The TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4 Questions is also associated with the academic topic. However, like task 2 and 3, it doesn’t offer three parts. It has only two parts:
- Recorded lecture- Listen to a lecture (of around 90 seconds) in which the lecturer explains a term or concept and provides examples to illustrate it.
- Response to Questions- The question this section usually asks you to summarize the lecture and bring out the relationship between the examples and the overall topic.
For this task, you will have to use your listening and speaking skills in order to complete.
Similarly, like task 3, the topics for the question are drawn from a variety of fields like Life Science, Social Science, Physical Science, and the Humanities. To complete this task also, you do not require any prior knowledge to understand the lecture or answer the follow up question.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 3 Sample Question and Answer
Direction: Listen to part of a lecture of a class and response to the question.
|Professor: “Déjà vu” describes the uncanny sensation that you’ve already experienced something, even when you know you never have. Say you’re exploring a new city for the first time. And all at once, you feel as if you’ve walked down that exact tree-lined footpath before. You know that you haven’t been there before. So, then, why do you experience that feeling of familiarity?
One theory suggests that déjà vu has to do with how you process and recall memories. Déjà vu can happen in response to an event that resembles something you’ve experienced, but don’t remember. Even though you can’t access that memory, your brain still knows you’ve been in a similar situation. This process of implicit memory leads to the somewhat odd feeling of familiarity. If you could recall the similar memory, you’d be able to link the two and likely wouldn’t experience déjà vu at all. This commonly happens when you see a particular scene, like the inside of a building or a natural panorama that’s very similar to one you don’t remember.
Instances of déjà vu in healthy individuals may also be attributed to a ‘mismatch’ in the brain’s neural pathways. This could be because the brain is constantly attempting to create whole perceptions of the world around us with limited input. For example, it only takes a small amount of sensory information—like a familiar smell—for the brain to create a detailed recollection. This may produce the unsettling feeling that we’ve experienced a new moment before.
|Q: Using points and examples from the talk, explain how déjà vu occurs.
|The professor, in her lecture, discusses two potential causes of déjà vu. The professor describes déjà vu as the uncanny sensation someone gets when they feel as if they have experienced an unfamiliar situation before.
The first theory states that déjà vu occurs when our current experience is similar to a past forgotten experience. So, even though you cannot recollect that experience, your brain is—causing you to feel as though you have been in this situation before.
Another theory states that déjà vu occurs when the brain attempts to make sense of the world using the limited information it receives. The lecturer talks about how a familiar smell could sometimes evoke a detailed recollection in our minds. And this may cause us to feel that we have experienced that event before.
TOEFL Speaking Questions Answers Tips
Develop a General Template
Since, you would have less time to prepare for speaking test responses, It would be convenient if you have a template to format your answer, that includes important details.
Sample template for Speaking Test
|Task 1 (Response Template)
|Task 2 (Response Template)
|Task 3 (Response Template)
|Task 4 (Response Template)
|State your opinion
|Main speaker’s opinion
|Main idea of passage and lecture
|Main idea of the lecture
|Reason #1 for opinion
|Reason #1 for opinion
|Detail #1 from Passage
|Detail #1 from lecture
|Detail for reason #1
|Details for reason #1
|Corresponding detail #1 from lecture
|Detail #2 from lecture
|Reason #2 for opinion
|Reason #2 for opinion
|Detail #2 from Passage (if any)
|Detail #3 from lecture
|Detail for reason #2
|Details for reason #2
|Corresponding detail #2 from lecture
|Detail #4 from lecture (if any)
Take ‘good’ notes
Integrated speaking tasks that require you to summarize the information presented in a reading passage and/or listening audio, you need to make ‘good’ notes within the time allotted for you. So, you need to be strategic when you take notes. Don’t jot down everything you read or hear word for word; instead, jot down keywords or phrases that will remind you of what you want to say. Also, try to draw connections between ideas when you take notes. You can do this through the use of arrows. While making notes, ensure that you include all the important points discussed in the reading passage and/or listening audio accurately.
Don’t Exaggerate Your Response
Since TOEFL doesn’t offer you a long time to speak. Don’t exaggerate your answer. Try to speak your answers simple, crisp, and interesting. In your answer, try to compile important points and eliminate repetitive sentences, synonymous, and paraphrasing the same statement. Moreover, let your response stay natural without focusing much over your accent and pronunciation. However, while responding keep in mind that your words and sentences are clear and precise.
Memorize Some General Used Phrases
Since you have limited time, it’s good to memorize some phrases that you can use while responding to the question. Such phrase examples are: “This person believes that”, “This person holds that”, “This person argues that”, “This person’s view is that”, “This person’s point is that”, “The lecture stated”, “The reading stated”, “The reading presented”, and “The lecture offered”. In addition to this, try to learn a minimum of two new words (including spelling, pronunciation, meaning) every day. This will help you in all sections of the TOEFL exam.
Practice is king to qualify in any exam. To get a good score in your speaking section, you can practice with sample TOEFL questions, previous year question paper sets, and study materials. However, you can also practice your TOEFL speaking section questions while performing your day-to-day activities. For example, you could improve your note-making skills by making notes during class lectures and while reading your course textbook. You can, then, improve your speaking skills by summarizing what you learned from the lecture and textbook.
A bonus tip for speaking section question practice is to always record your answer and hear it back. So, you could evaluate your performance and ensure you can convey your answer in the allotted time.
Go with the Easier Choice
In independent tasks, the questions TOEFL usually asks you are choice based. Since, you don’t get scored for what your opinion is but for how well you can support your statement. Select the option for which you will be able to come up with more points quickly; this is irrespective of whether or not it matches your personal opinion.
For example, if the question is about whether you prefer online or offline classes, and you have more points to state why online classes are better, go ahead and select that option, even if you personally believe that offline classes are better. This will help you save some valuable time.
Use your preparation time effectively
As, TOEFL speaking test has a fixed time, don’t spend all TOEFL preparation time jotting down the points. Set aside 5 or 10 seconds to plan how you would like to start and conclude your response. Remember, both the introduction and the conclusion are important parts of any response. So, planning them beforehand will help you feel more confident while giving your response.
TOEFL IBT speaking questions and answers are important for the students to practice for the TOEFL test and ace the exam, which doesn’t only examine the speaking skills but touches on and evaluates other parts of the test like reading and listening. Preparing for TOEFL requires a student’s study environment, quality study materials, constant guidance, and motivation. Study abroad institute Galvanize helps students to get good scores in TOEFL and fulfill their dream to study abroad.
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FAQs Related to TOEFL Speaking Questions
What are the questions for TOEFL speaking?
The TOEFL Questions can be based on choice, summarizing the passage, speaking about any point of view after listening to a conversation/lecture, and/or reading passages on the same topic. Some general speaking questions include:
- Describe any one of the worst moments of your life and what you have learned from it.
- What would you prefer between offline and online studies and why?
- What do you like about watching the news on television?
How do I practice speaking for TOEFL?
You can use these tips to prepare for your TOEFL speaking test practice:
- Develop a general template for your response.
- Practice with your day-to-day activities.
- Record your responses.
- Analyze your performance, including your answer duration and accent.
Is TOEFL speaking easy?
TOEFL exam pattern difficulty level differs from person to person. If one has a better understanding of the English language and speaking quality, that person can find the TOEFL speaking test easily. However, with better practice, learning some important phrases, and time management skills, you can make the TOEFL speaking section easy for you.
What are the 4 tasks of speaking in TOEFL?
The four Tasks in the TOEFL Speaking Section include:
- Task 1: Independent Speaking Task (Explain a Choice)
- Task 2: Integrated Speaking Task (Read a passage, listen to a conversation, and respond to the question)
- Task 3: Integrated Speaking Task (Read about a topic, listen to a classroom lecture, and response to the answer)
- Task 4: Integrated Speaking Task (Listen to a classroom lecture and respond to the answer)