What is TOEFL Speaking Question Two?

(updated August 4, 2019)

First, you will read a short campus announcement, an article in a campus newspaper, or a letter published in a campus newspaper. It will describe some change that is happening, or it will propose some change.  There will be two reasons that explain why the change will be made (or should be made). You will have 45 seconds to read it.

Next, you will hear two students talk about what you read. One of the students will agree with the change, disagree with the change, or (rarely) have a mixed opinion.  He/she will give two reasons for their support or opposition. These reasons will address the reasons for the change mentioned in the reading, though sometimes the connection might be tough to pick up on.

After hearing the conversation, you will have 30 seconds to prepare your answer, and 60 seconds to speak.

Note that this is the same as question three on the old version of the TOEFL.

The Reading

The reading part is about 100 words long, and you are given 45 or 50 seconds to read it and take notes. 

The changes could be something like:

  • A change in a university policy or the introduction of a new policy
  • Changes to the requirements of a class or major, or the introduction of a new requirement for students in a specific department
  • Changes related to a university facility or the introduction of a new facility.

The Listening 

The conversation is about a minute long. The structure of the conversation is usually something like:

  • Introduction of the topic (something like “Hey, did you see this…”)
  • First reason for the opinion
  • Reaction from the other speaker
  • Second reason for the opinion
  • Reaction from the other speaker

The Question Prompt

 The question prompt will be something like this:

“The woman expresses her opinion of the university’s plan. State her opinion and the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.”

Answer Template

Your answer can look something like this:

Reading Main Point

  • “According to the announcement/article/letter…”

Reasons from Reading

  • “This is because ___ and ___."

Transition

  • "There are two reasons why the man supports/opposes this change."
  • "The woman/man has a mixed opinion of this change." (mixed opinion only)

First Reason

  • “First of all, he argues that…”

Second Reason

  • “Moreover, he mentions that…”
  • "On the other hand, he mentions that..." (mixed opinion)

Tips and Tricks

  • Link ideas by using discourse phrases like “as a result,” “consequently," “moreover,” and “therefore.”
  • Spend about 10-13 seconds talking about the reading... at most. Remember that most of your score is based on the listening part.
  • If you are a slow speaker, don't mention the reasons for the change.
  • Create compound sentences using conjunctions.

Sample Answer

This is the answer to a question found in TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 1, page 23. The answer template is in bold.

Reading Main Point
According to the article, the school’s sculpture program will be eliminated.

Reason from the reading
This is because there isn’t much interest in it, and the university’s budget is limited.

Transition
There are two reasons why the man opposes this.

First Reason
First of all, he argues that enrollment is low because students are busy taking required classes, not because they are disinterested.  These mandatory classes are mostly about painting and drawing, however if they are changed more students will take sculpture classes.

Second Reason
Moreover, he mentions that the budget problem can be solved by hiring a part time professor. Additionally, many current instructors have a secondary field, so one of them could probably teach the class. In fact, some of the current painting teachers are also great sculptors

Video Version