TOEFL Speaking Question 2 (on the NEW TOEFL)

 

About Speaking Question Two

Here’s how TOEFL speaking question two works:

  • 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.
  • After hearing the conversation, you will be asked to summarize what you have read and listening to.  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 seconds to read it and take notes. 

The changes are usually related to:

  • Buildings on a campus
  • Classes and majors at a university
  • Transportation on a campus
  • Extra-Curricular activities on a campus (sports, clubs, etc)

The Listening

The conversation is 1.5 to 2 minutes long.  It is always between a man and a woman.  One of the students will express an opinion about the change. He or she will agree with the change, disagree with it, or (rarely) have a mixed opinion. He or she will specifically refer to the two reasons for the change stated in the reading when supporting his/her opinion.

The Question Prompt

The question will look 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.”

After the prompt is displayed, you will have 30 seconds to prepare. You cannot see the reading while you prepare.

Answer Templates

The good news is that you can always use the same template to organize your answer to toefl speaking question 2.  Try this one:

Reading Main Point

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

Reasons from Reading

  • “This is because ___ and ___.”

Transition

  • “The man/woman does not support this change.”
  • “The man/woman supports this change”
  • “The man/woman has a mixed opinion of this change.”

First Reason

  • “To begin with, he/she points out that…”

Second Reason

  • “Moreover, he/she argues that…”

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 based on a question from the official ETS practice set)

 

State the Change

  • According to the announcement the campus auditorium will be demolished, and a new one will be constructed.

State Both Reasons for the Change

  • This is because it is very old and in poor condition, and it is too small for the current number of students enrolled at the school.

State the Speaker’s Opinion

  • The man does not support this change.

State the Speaker’s First Reason

  • To begin with, he points out that the auditorium is historically important, as it was one of the first things built on campus. Therefore, he does not want it to be destroyed. Instead, he thinks it should be preserved in its current condition.

State the Speaker’s Second Reason

  • Moreover, he argues that he has never seen the auditorium completely full. He says that there are no events which the entire student body attends. Most of the time only small audiences go to the plays and concerts held there, so he thinks it isn’t necessary to make the auditorium any bigger.

Video Version (with more details!)

 

 

 

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