Should You Use Speaking Templates on the TOEFL?

I’m often asked if it is a good idea to use speaking templates on the test.  Some students fear that graders will see the same templates again and again and punish students for using them.  This may be true, so if you are going to use templates make sure that you are using fresh templates.  That is, make sure you use templates that have been developed recently… not a set that has been in textbooks for years and years.

With that in mind, I recently completed another revision of my own collection of templates.  Not only are these brand new, but they reflect all of my most recent research and ideas about how the test is put together.  The page also includes video lectures about all of the integrated speaking questions.

If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below.

One response to “Should You Use Speaking Templates on the TOEFL?

  1. I agree 100% about using templates. Fresh templates are better than the older ones that many use. I teach TOEFL preparation courses at California State University, and, when students answer the independent speaking and independent writing tasks, they tend to use the contrived “I have several reasons to support my point of review.” template.

    If fact, in response to the following independent speaking prompt, “Describe a place you visited when you were a child. Then explain a favorite memory you had while visiting that place.”, some students will still use the above template to frame their responses. In this case, it will look something like this: “When I was a child, I visited Disneyland. This place was memorable to me for two reasons.” In this case, these students fail to properly decode the speaking prompt and use the same catch-all template no matter what the speaking task is. Therefore, the added problem to using templates is that not only are they not fresh, but they also may not directly address the speaking or writing tasks.

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