This guide will show you how to answer the first TOEFL speaking question.

 

 

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Styles of Questions Used in Speaking Question One

As of 2017, there are four main "styles" of questions that appear in part one of the speaking section.  They are:

Style One: Pure Experience

“Describe a time when you felt especially proud of an academic achievement. Explain why you felt that way. Include details and examples to support your explanation."

“What is the most memorable experience you have had while on vacation? Why was this experience so memorable?  Include details and examples to support your explanation.”

Style Two:  Three Reasons

"Which of these methods do you think is the best way to prepare for a test: 1) studying alone, 2) studying with friends, 3) asking a teacher for help?  Include details and examples to support your explanation."

"Which of the following, among campus facilities, cost, and location, do you think is most important when choosing a university? Include details and examples to support your explanation."
 

Style Three:  Giving Advice


"A friend of yours is having frequent disagreements with his parents. What advice would you give your friend about resolving this problem?  Include details and examples to support your explanation."

"One of your friends is extremely nervous when giving presentations in his classes. What would you suggest he do to overcome his fear?  Include details and examples to support your explanation."


Style Four: Opinion


"Your university has decided to reduce the amount of money it spends to support sports activities. What is your opinion and why? Include details and examples to support your explanation."

"What is the most important characteristic of a good co-worker? Explain why this characteristic is so important. Include details and examples to support your explanation."
 

Answer Template

No matter which style is used, you can almost always use the same type of template, which should look something like this:


Main point
     “A time when I…”
     “In my opinion…”
     “I would advise my friend to…”
     “I think that…”

Transition
     “I feel this way for two reasons.”
      “This was ------- for two main reasons.”
     “I would make this suggestion for two main reasons.”

First reason
      “First…”  + “To be more specific…”

Second reason
      “Second…” + “For example…”

 

Sample Answer

("One of your friends is extremely nervous when giving presentations in his classes. What would you suggest he do to overcome his fear?  Include details and examples to support your explanation.")

"I would advise my friend to join a public speaking club on campus.  I would suggest this for two main reasons.  First of all, this would give him a chance to talk in front of others without feeling much pressure. To be more specific, he won’t be graded on the quality of his presentations, so he can practice this way without worrying that mistakes will affect his academic record.   Secondly, other members of the club will likely have experienced some of the same anxieties that he is currently feeling, and will be able to offer relevant advice and suggestions. For example, when I was in such an organization during my freshman year I was given a lot of really appropriate tips. As a result, I excelled when presenting in my actual classes."

General Notes

In the same answer above, I have underlined instances where I deliberately used conjunctions to create compound sentences.  This is something you should also do in your answer.  I have used bold to indicate where I used a transitional phrase.  You should also try to do this.

Note, also, that I included a personal experience at the end of the answer.  You should try to include such an example in your answer.

Finally, I did my best to avoid repeating the same words too often. This is another technique that will help you get a high score.

Video Version

Read on for help with integrated speaking questions.