About TOEFL Speaking Question One

TOEFL Speaking question 1 is the independent TOEFL speaking question.  It is also called the “personal choice” question. 

You must give your personal opinion on a matter related to life in general. You have 15 seconds to prepare, and 45 seconds to speak.

Sample Questions


This is the most common question style. You are given a statement (usually a single sentence) and asked whether you agree or disagree with it.  It looks like this:

“State whether you agree or disagree with the following statement. Then explain your reasons using specific details in your argument. Teachers should assign daily homework to students.”

“Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should help their parents with household chores as soon as they are old enough. Use details and examples in your response.”

Paired Choice

In this common style you must pick between two contrasting choices.  It looks like this:

“There are many different approaches to academic studies, and all of them have specific benefits. Do you prefer to study for tests in a group, or to study alone? Include details and examples to support your explanation.”

“Some people like to watch television news programs every day, while others like to watch them only now and then. Which do you prefer? Include details and examples to support your explanation.”

Imaginary Situation

In this rare style a situation is described.  You state if you think it is a good idea.  It looks like this:

Some companies have rules that forbid employees from using personal cell phones during working hours. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Nowadays, some people use extreme methods, including surgery, to change their appearance. They do this because they want to look more attractive. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your answer with details and examples.

Answer Template

No matter what style you get, you can use the same template to organize your answer. Like this:

Main Point (8 seconds)

  • “Personally, I think…”

First Reason (25 seconds)

  • “First of all…”
  • “For instance…”

Second Reason (12 seconds)

  • “Moreover…”

General Strategies

  • Don’t repeat words many times.  Vary your vocabulary.
  • Include one long reason and one short reason, like the template says above.
  • Or just include one really long reason.  That’s fine too!
  • Use transition phrases like “as a result,” “consequently,” “moreover,” and “therefore” to link ideas.
  • Use a mix of simple and compound sentences.
  • Don’t use idioms. They just lead to trouble.
  • Don’t use a transition like “I feel this way for two reasons.”  That might waste time.


Speaking Evaluation Service

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Sample Answer

Main Point

  • Personally, I think that children should be given homework on a daily basis.

First Reason

  • First of all, homework helps children to remember their lessons for a much longer period of time. The only real way for young people to absorb a lesson is to actually go home and repeat it as much as possible. In the long run this leads to a lot more academic success. For instance, when I was in elementary school I mastered long division by doing questions in my bedroom every evening. As a result, I’m now studying engineering at university.

Second Reason

  • Moreover, regular homework gives kids a chance to bond with their parents. If they work on assignments after school they can spend a lot of really meaningful time together.

For more samples (with recorded answers) check out my large collection of samples.


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