TOEFL Speaking Type Six Questions

This guide will show you how to answer the sixth TOEFL speaking question.

How the Question Works

You will listen to a brief academic lecture.  The topic of the lecture is supported using two examples.  You will be asked a question about how the lecturer uses the two examples.  The question prompt will look something like:

"Using points and examples from the talk, describe two methods of how plants absorb water."

The listening

The lecture is about a topic that might appear in a freshman university class. Broadly, the lectures usually relate to:

  • Biology
  • Sociology
  • Business
  • History and Art

The lecture always contains a clear main topic. Moreover, it is always broken into two sub-topics that illustrate the main point. The structure of the lecture is usually something like:

  • Introduction (1-3 sentences that broadly introduce the topic)
  • Subtopic One + some details about it or one detail about it and an example
  • Subtopic Two + some details about it or one detail about it and an example

How to Answer

Include a very short description of the topic of the lecture followed by a detailed answer to the specific question that has been asked.

Answer Template

  • The lecture is about...
  • The professor illustrates this concept using two main examples.
  • First she talks about…
  • She says that...
  • Secondly, she speaks about…
  • She notes that…

Sample Answer

This is an sample answer to a question from TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 3.

The lecture is about how people determine the quality of a product.  The professor illustrates this concept using two main examples.  First she talks about reliability.  She says that people like products that work the way they expect without requiring repairs. People hate to experience unexpected problems with a product. These days, however, this is less important to consumers because manufacturing standards are so high.  For example, most cars sold today are very reliable.  Secondly, she speaks about features.  In her opinion, this refers to the extra but unnecessary things that make a product easy or cool.  These include, for example, air conditioning or a sun roof in a new car. Because products are so well-manufactured, this has replaced reliability as the main determiner of quality.  As a result, new products these days contain a great number of features.

Video Lesson (Including Sample Answer)