About TOEFL Speaking Question One

TOEFL Speaking question 1 is the independent TOEFL speaking question.  It is also called the “personal choice” question.  Currently, this question has three main styles:

  • Agree/Disagree (about 50% of the time)
  • Paired Choice (about 30% of the time)
  • Good Idea (about 20% of the time)

You will be given 15 seconds to prepare your answer, and 45 seconds to speak.

Note that “multiple choice” and “advantages/disadvantages” questions are no longer used.

Sample Questions

Style One: Agree/Disagree

This is the most common style. You are given a statement (usually a single sentence) and asked whether you agree or disagree with it.  It looks like this:

“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 you must pick between two contrasting choices.  It looks like this:

“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 style a choice or situation is described.  You should state if you think it is a good idea.  It looks like this:

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.

Answer Template

The good news is that no matter what style you get, you can use the same template to organize your answer.  Feel free to use just one reason if you speak slowly. 

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…”

First Reason

  • “First…” + A reason + A personal example

Second Reason

  • “Secondly…: + A reason

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 directly copy the prompt.
  • Avoid using idioms. They just lead to trouble.
  • Don’t use a transition like “I feel this way for two reasons.”  That might waste time.

Sample Answer

Main Point

  • I agree with the idea that children should be given homework on a daily basis.

First Reason

  • First, homework helps children to remember their lessons for a much longer period of time. The only real way for young people to absorb a lesson is to actually go home and repeat it as much as possible. In the long run this leads to a lot more academic success.

Second Reason

  • Secondly, working together on school assignments gives children and parents a great opportunity to bond. For example, I got a lot of daily homework when I was in elementary school. Every evening I went home and worked on it with my mom and dad, and I asked them questions whenever I had trouble. As a result, we became really close.

For more samples (with recorded answers) check out my large collection of samples.


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