About the Question

Type five question includes only a listening part, which takes the form of a conversation. There is no reading part.

The Listening

You will listen to a short  (60-90 seconds) conversation between a man and a woman.  One of the speakers will have a problem related to their university life.  The problems here usually relate to projects and assignments, extra-curricular activities or scheduling.  Usually the conversation is between two students, but it could be between a student and a professor. The professor will never have a problem.

Two solutions to the problem will be given in the conversation.  Usually the other speaker will suggest both. However, one or both could be suggested by the student with the problem. The student will give details about why the solutions are not good, and will not choose one of them.

The Question Prompt

The question prompt will look something like one of these:

“The speakers discussed two possible solutions to the woman’s problem.  Briefly summarize the problem and then state which of the solutions you recommend and why.”

“Briefly summarize the woman’s problem. Then state which of the solutions you recommend and why.”

“Briefly summarize the problem the speakers are discussing.  Then state which solution you would recommend. Explain the reasons for your recommendation.”

Answer Template

Your answer should be structured something like this:

Stating the Problem

  • “The woman’s problem is…. ” (two sentences… problem + details)


  • “Two possible solutions are suggested.”

The Suggestions and objections

  • “First of all, she could…, however...”
  • “Secondly, she might be able to…, but...”

State your Preference

  • “In my opinion, the woman ought to…”

First Reason

  • “Firstly…”

Second Reason

  • “Moreover…”

Sample Answer

This is the answer to a question contained in TOEFL Quick Prep, Volume 2, page 31

Stating the Problem
The woman’s problem is that her computer is being repaired and it won’t be ready until the end of the week.  As a result, she won’t be able to work on some important papers.

Two possible solutions are suggested.

The Suggestions and Objections
First of all, she could work in the computer lab, however it is noisy and hard to concentrate there. Secondly, she might be able to call the repair shop and see if they can fix it sooner, but it is closed today and tomorrow for the long weekend.”

State your Preference
In my opinion, the woman ought to
go to the computer lab.

First Reason
, conditions at the computer lab are not perfect, but if some of the students are particularly noisy she could ask a staff member to talk to them on her behalf. In addition, she will probably just get used to all of the noise after a few days.”

Second Reason
waiting two days to call the repair shop is foolish. If she calls and they tell her it is impossible to fix her machine more quickly, she will have wasted even more time she could have spent completing her assignments.

Video Lesson (Including a Sample Answer)