About TOEFL Speaking Question One
TOEFL Speaking question 1 is called the “Personal Choice” question. Currently, three main styles are used on the test:
- Paired Choice
- Good Idea
When you take the test you will get one of these styles. You will be given 15 seconds to prepare your answer, and 45 seconds to speak.
Note that the “multiple choice” and “advantages/disadvantages” questions are not used nowadays.
Style One: Agree/Disagree
This is the most common style in TOEFL speaking question 1. You are given a statement (usually a single sentence) and asked whether you agree or disagree with it. It looks like these samples:
“State whether you agree or disagree with the following statement. Then explain your reasons using specific details in your argument. Teachers should assign daily homework to students.”
“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.”
Style Two: Paired Choice
In this style of TOEFL speaking question 1 you must pick between two contrasting choices. It looks like these samples:
“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.”
“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.”
Style Three: Good Idea
In this new style a choice or situation is described. You should state if you think it is a good idea. It looks like these samples:
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.
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.
The good news is that no matter what style you get, you can use the same template to organize your answer.
Main Point (pick one)
- “I agree with the idea that…”
- “I think it is better to…”
- “I think it is a great/terrible idea to…”
- “I feel this way for several reasons.”
- “First…” + “For example…” (and a personal example)
- “Second…” + “To be more specific…” (and a few more details)
Tips and Tricks
- Avoid Repeating Words. Vary your vocabulary as much as possible.
- Use discourse phrases like “as a result,” “consequently,” “moreover,” and “therefore” to link ideas.
- Use a mix of simple and compound sentences.
- Don’t copy from the prompt, especially at the beginning.
- Avoid using idioms. They just lead to trouble.
- I agree with the idea that kids should help with housework right away.
- I feel this way for several reasons.
- First, doing household tasks teaches children really valuable skills. For example, I was required to prepare breakfast for my little brother every day before school, so when I grew up and moved away to attend college it was really easy to prepare healthy meals for myself. As a result, I have always been in great shape both physically and mentally.
- Second, family members can bond when they share responsibilities. To be more specific, young people are sometimes shy, but if they spend a lot of time with their parents doing chores they might open up a bit. Accordingly, they will be more likely to discuss their feelings.
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