The speaking section of the TOEFL exam is easily one of the most challenging parts of the test. Without proper practice, even fluent English speakers can get nervous and not be able to give a proper answer. Before we get into the high-scoring TOEFL Speaking model answers, you should know the basic information about the format so you know how to prepare and answer.
The speaking section is made up of 4 speaking tasks. There are two types of questions just like the writing section; independent and integrated.
- Question #1 Independent Speaking Task: Use your own personal experiences and ideas to respond to the task. 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to answer.
- Question #2 – 4 Integrated Speaking Task: Read a passage and listen to a lecture to respond to a task. This requires a combination of skills and is more challenging. You are given 30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to respond for each task.
Now, 45-60 seconds to respond isn’t a long time, especially when you are nervous and can’t think of what to say! That’s why it’s important to simplify the task so they’re are as effective and easy to understand as possible. To do this, follow this answer format and you should easily get above 26 on the Speaking section.
1. State Your Opinion
You don’t have to get fancy with complex sentence structures of difficult words. Just plainly state your position or opinion clearly in one sentence. DON’T repeat the question from the task as you will be wasting precious time on something that will not help your answer.
Example: “In my opinion, pets are very important for the following reasons.”
2. Reasoning and Examples
This is the most important part of your answer where you will spend the majority of the given time. During your preparation time, try to think of two reasons that support your opinion.
Reason #1 “Pets are important because they can relieve stress for owners. For example, my pet dog helped me feel calm and relieve stress when I was going through hard times at work…”
Reason #2 “Also, pets can make you more healthy. This is because some pets such as dogs may require you to walk them outside. This is not only beneficial for the dog, but also for the owner as you are also getting exercise…”
3. Closing Sentence
This doesn’t have to be a long, complicated sentence. It is just a way to restate your main opinion and conclude your answer with a proper sentence. This isn’t a must but oftentimes, without a closing sentence, answers can be left with an awkward ending that doesn’t feel finished.
Example: “For these reasons that I pointed out, I believe pets are very important.”
Okay, now that you know how to properly answer a speaking task, make sure to practice by recording yourself and listening to how you answered. Also take a look at the model answers below and try to emulate it on your next test. Good luck!
Independent Speaking Task
Your school has received funds from the government. Should your school buy new televisions or books? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
TOEFL Speaking Model answer
Your opinion: In my opinion, I believe that the school should choose to buy new books instead of televisions for two reasons.
Reason #1: Firstly, books are excellent sources of knowledge as they do not have the distracting features that televisions have. Books directly provide the information that the reader wants or is looking for, while televisions have many distractions and can tempt the students to look at materials that are not related to their studies.
Reason #2: Secondly, buying books can allow the students to save money. Since most university students are on a tight budget, it is difficult for them to buy expensive books to use as references for their research and assignments. Thus, if the school buys books, the students would not have to buy expensive references and can save their money.
Integrated Speaking Task
Anchoring effect is a tendency of people to be influenced by an impressive figure or an object. People make irrational choices due to their initial impressions. Especially, anchoring effect makes people come up with biased or distorted choices based on their existing beliefs.
Now that you’ve read through the textbook, I would like to tell you about an experiment conducted by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. The experiment was a spinning roulette with numbers between 1 to 100. Right after spinning the roulette, participants were asked to answer the question, “What would be the percentage of African countries in the UN?” The mechanism is like this. For instance, if the roulette points to 50, it aims to predict whether the percentage of African countries in the UN will be lower than 50 or not. Surprisingly, most of the participants’ answers were similar to the roulette’s number. If the number was 70, people’s answers to the question were between 60 and 80. Answers were mostly between 60 and 80 as they were initially given the number 70. Being influenced by the number they received, they gave an answer of numbers close to 70. This is what anchoring effect is. A real life example of anchoring effect can be seen in places such as shopping stores. Uhm, for example, supermarkets frequently provide discounts and buy one get one free events. Since people know the original price of certain products, they buy them with the belief that they are making a choice that saves them money. As seen in this case, it lures people to make biased choices.
Explain the Anchoring Effect and how the example used by the professor illustrates the concept.
TOEFL Speaking Model Answer
Explanation: The Anchoring Effect is when a person makes an irrational or a biased choice due to them being influenced by an impressive figure or an object.
Intro to examples: The professor explains the concept further by taking two examples.
Example #1: The first example is about the roulette experiment. In this experiment, participants are asked to spin a roulette with numbers 1 to 100 on it. They are then asked the question ‘What would be the percentage of the African countries in the UN?’ The answers of the participants were always close to the numbers that they received on the roulette. This shows that an impression or a certain influence can also affect one’s decisions and actions.
Example #2: The second example provided by the professor is about discounted prices in supermarkets. As the supermarkets show the original price as well as the discounted price, it gives customers a biased perspective which leads them to make a choice based on the idea that they are saving money.