TOEFL Speaking Section Tips Questions 1-3

Are you taking the TOEFL soon and worried about the speaking section? The speaking section is usually the most difficult part for students. There are basically 6 types of questions on the test; this week we will talk about the first three.

Question One:  The first question is the the most open and usually the easiest for my students. It involves a question about something specific to you, such as “Describe your best friend” or “a person who has inspired you”. You have 45 seconds to respond . I usually tell my students that if they run out of things to say after describing the person or thing, think of a personal detail like “I remember this one time…” It’s a lot easier to describe something that actually happened and you will probably feel more comfortable saying that than something invented.

Question Two:  Question 2 is similar to question one but in this case it asks for an opinion. It is usually an either /or question such as “which do you prefer?”  You are giving your opinion here so it is ok to choose sides. That doesn’t mean you can’t mention the positives and negatives of both options, however. Just keep in mind you have to express your opinion in 45 seconds. 

Question Three:  In question 3 you will read a campus-related situation and then listen to a discussion about that same topic. The question will ask you to describe the opinion of the speaker and their reasons for holding that opinion. They want the speaker’s opinion, not yours. You are simply reporting what they say. The important thing here is your note-taking skills. Brief, concise notes listing the points made by the speaker are essential. You have 60 seconds to briefly describe the text (maybe one or two sentences) and then convey the students opinion (usually 2-3 points).  It’s a good idea to brush up on campus vocabulary as there are a lot of specific vocabulary words that are not commonly used outside of campus life.

The testing centers often use small cubicles in a large room so there may be many other students within your range of hearing to distract you during the speaking section. Try to practice in an environment where you do not have perfect silence so you are prepared. It also a good a idea to practice with a native speaker to correct you. We will discuss questions 4-6 in a couple of weeks,. In the meantime, if you want to take an english course in Palermo with a native speaker, come visit our Spanish school in Buenos Aires at LV Studio.