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TOEFL Speaking Task 1 - The 4 Different TOEFL Question Styles

Madison Oster October 12th, 2021

Today we are going to talk about different question styles of the TOEFL Speaking Task 1. Generally speaking, we identified 4 different question styles. Of these four styles, three are rather new and haven’t been used in this part of TOEFL that often before. We will help you understand these questions and we will form structured responses to them together.

Generally speaking, we can categorize speaking task 1 questions into 4 styles. We categorize them as follows:

  • Personal experience
  • Giving advice
  • Three choices
  • Stating opinions.

Regardless of which style you encounter, the timing format is the same. You will get 15 seconds to prepare your answer and 45 seconds to speak.

The first question style is  Personal experience. As I said earlier, this style of question has been around for many years. Questions usually ask you to share past experiences or asks you to talk about things you like. The topics could be related to books, TV, vacation, clothing, movies, hobby, and people. The question goes something like this:

  1. What is your favourite recreational activity? Describe it and say why you enjoy doing it.
  2. Name a place in your country you would recommend others to visit. Describe this place and explain why you would recommend it.
  3. What is your favourite kind of food? Describe it and explain why it is your favourite.

Alright!  Style number 2 is: Giving advice. You will be given a specific situation and will be asked to offer advice for it. For example, you will see questions like

  1. Your friend wants a pet but has never owned one before and doesn’t know what to choose. What advice would you give and why?
  2. Your friend is studying engineering and has room for one extra course in her schedule. What sort of course would you recommend she take and why?
  3. Your friend’s brother has begun spending time with a group of people that your friend thinks may not be very good people. He wants to talk with his brother but does not know what to say. What advice would you give him?

The next style is the Three choices style. This one is actually the newest and it appeared quite often on TOEFL exams in the last 2 years. Questions normally go like this:

  1. Which of these methods do you think is the best way to prepare for a test :1) studying alone 2) studying with friends 3) asking a teacher for help?
  2. Among campus facilities, cost, and location, which do you think is the most important factor when choosing a university

The most important thing to remember when answering a Three choice question is to only pick one choice and talk about it. DO NOT talk about all three options because you won’t have enough time to do that.

Finally, the last style is Stating Opinions. This kind of question is similar to independent essay questions. You are asked to state your opinion on a certain topic. Here are some examples:

  1. Your university has decided to reduce the amount of money it spends to support sports activities. What is your opinion and why?
  2. School is planning to change the cafeteria’s menu with aims of offering healthier, low-calorie food. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this idea.

If you have no problem writing TOEFL independent essays, this style of question should be a cakewalk for you.

Okay! You have learned about the 4 question styles. If you want to learn about the strategies for each question style or you want to listen to some sample answers, you can subscribe to our

Remember practice makes perfect. To do well on the speaking task, you need to practice as many questions as you can. Good luck on your TOEFL Preparation and Happy studying!


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