This guide will teach you about how to answer the third TOEFL 3 speaking question

TOEFL Speaking Part Three

Type three questions consist of a reading (announcement or letter) part and a listening (conversation) part.  

The Reading

The reading part is about 100 words long, and students are given 45 or 50 seconds to read it and take notes. It usually takes the form of:

  • An article in a campus newspaper
  • A letter published in a campus newspaper
  • An announcement from the university administration

The topic of this reading is usually a change or a suggested change. For example:

  • 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
  • Changes related to a university facility or the introduction of a new facility.

The Listening (Conversation)

The conversation is always between a male student and a female student. It is about 60 to 80 seconds in length. One of the students  has a strong opinion on the topic of the reading part. The other is more passive but sometimes responds to the points made by the stronger student.

The structure of the conversation is usually:

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

Note, however, that the conversation will not just have five lines. Each of the parts may be revealed in several lines. 

Your Answer

You must quickly paraphrase the announcement and then summarize the opinion of one of the students.  The question will be something like this:

“The man expresses his opinion of the announcement made by the campus library.  State his opinion and the reasons he gives for that opinion.”

Answer Template

  • The article/announcement/letter is about...
  • It states that...
  • The man disagrees/agrees with the plan/proposal.
  • He feels this way for two main reasons.
  • First of all, he states that...
  • Secondly, he notes that...

Sample Answer

This is the answer to a question found in TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 2:

The article is about the campus cafeteria.  It states that beginning next semester classical music will be played during meals, to encourage students to talk to each other instead of listening to MP3 players.  The man disagrees with this plan.  He feels this way for two main reasons.  First of all, he says that students don’t actually want to relax during meals. Many of them prefer to study for exams or work on assignments while they eat, and the music will make it hard to concentrate.   Secondly, he notes that most students don’t like classical music. For this reason, they will not stop listening to their own music.  In fact, the change will make them more likely to bring their own MP3 player to the cafeteria to block out the classical  music. 

Video Lecture (Including a Sample Answer)