What is TOEFL Speaking Question 4?

(updated August 3, 2019)

You will listen to a lecture that is about 1.5 to 2 minutes long. It will be about an academic term or concept. This will be illustrated using two examples, or one example with two clear parts (before/after, cause/effect, etc). The example could be from the speaker's life.  The lectures in this section are most often about biology, sociology, business, or history.

The lecture starts with a short introduction that states and defines the subject (3-5 sentences).  After the introduction the example(s) are given.  When it finishes, you will be asked a specific question about the lecture that mostly requires that you summarize the example(s).

You will be given 20 seconds to prepare, and 60 seconds to speak.

The Question Prompt

“Using the example of ______ from the lecture, explain two ways that (LECTURE SUBJECT) is beneficial for animals” 

“Using the points and examples from the lecture explain (LECTURE SUBJECT)” 

“Using the example of _____, explain the possible effects of (LECTURE SUBJECT).” 

“Using the examples of ______ and _____, explain two ways that animals use (LECTURE SUBJECT).” 

Answer Template

Your answer should look something like this:

Stating the Lecture Subject and detail

  • The lecture is about (LECTURE SUBJECT), which is (QUICK DETAIL).

First Example/First Part (3-5 sentences)

  • First, the professor notes that (DETAILS).  For example, (EXAMPLE).

Second Example/Second part (3-5 sentences)

  • Secondly, he says that (DETAILS).  For instance (EXAMPLE).

Tips and Tricks

  • Use discourse phrases like “as a result,” “consequently, “moreover,” “therefore.”
  • Focus on the example(s) most of all. Summarize the “introduction” in just one sentence that takes no more than ten seconds to say.
  • Create compound sentences with conjunctions like “and,” “but,” and “so.”
  • Summarize, summarize, summarize. This isn’t a place for your own thoughts or logical conclusions.

Sample Answer

This is an sample answer to a question from TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 1, page 25.

Stating the Problem
The lecture is about how companies determine the initial price of a product, which is the price of something when it first goes on sale.

First Example/First Part
First, the professor notes that
companies sometimes set a high initial price, which is later lowered. The high price gives consumers a positive impression of the product.  They know the price will go down later, but are willing to pay more to get it right away.  For example, the professor mentions certain high-tech products. Although things like video cameras, video recorders and cell phones were all pricey at first, they became much cheaper later on.”

Second Example/Second Part
he says that companies sometimes set a very low starting price for their goods. This is done when the market is crowded, and they need to undercut their competitors. For instance, he mentions a new computer that needs to get market share. As a result of its low price, it will attract people not usually interested in computers.  The company can make more money later by selling parts and accessories to these customers.”

Video Lesson (Including Sample Answer)