The Top TOEFL Speaking Templates for All Speaking Tasks
The TOEFL test has just presented you with a question, and now it’s your turn to speak up and respond accordingly. Will you freeze, unable to speak? Or, will you answer with smooth confidence? The choice to show up well-prepared is yours. For most, the speaking section of the TOEFL presents the biggest challenge, as it requires speakers to generate original responses in real-time. However, by prepping with a TOEFL speaking template, you’ll be ready for anything the Speaking section throws your way. This article presents 9 helpful TOEFL speaking templates for you to use. Before we get to the templates, let's get started by going over each of the different types of speaking tasks you’ll be faced with.
Table Of Contents
The 4 Types of TOEFL Speaking Tasks
At only 20 minutes long, the Speaking section makes up the shortest part of the test. But bear in mind, shorter does not necessarily mean easier. You will be asked to complete different four tasks in total by speaking into a microphone, which will record your voice. An official test grader will later receive your test recording and evaluate your speaking. Your responses in each task are scored on a variety of different aspects (grammar, flow, language use, etc.) from 0-4, with 4 being a near-perfect response. The fact that there WILL NOT be a real person present during the Speaking section presents a unique challenge, one that could negatively affect those of us who enjoy realistic conversational feedback, but alternatively, may offer an advantage to those who experience “stage fright” when faced with a real person.
All four parts of the speaking Section will require you to demonstrate your ability in either independent or integrated speaking tasks, in addition to being able to express a well-rounded understanding of a few selected topics. Fortunately, we already know the three types of content the tests focus on (Familiar topics, Campus situations, and Academic course content), so there won’t be too many surprises. To begin, you’ll want to be sure you understand what each individual task specifically entails.
TOEFL Independent Speaking Task 1
Here, there will be an opinion-based choice between some options. The question will often ask you to make a decision on your preference between the choices, along with some reasons to support your choice. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter whether you choose A or B, as long as you can back it up with good supporting reasons. Don’t hesitate. Just trust yourself, decide, and defend your choice. There are other styles of questions as well. TOEFL test takers from 2019 reported the following types of questions as ones which you’ll potentially encounter.
Agree or Disagree: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? If you’re asked this kind of question, your goal will be to try to provide reasons as to why you agree with the idea, or why you don’t. Here’s an example to help you get started: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? With the popularity of the technology that focuses on entertainment, people read fewer books than before.
Preference: Would you rather A or B, and why? These questions may describe a situation in some detail, possibly an imaginary one, and ask which one you would choose given the option. Don’t forget to specify your reasons. Take a look at this example: Some people prefer sending messages while others prefer making phone calls directly. Which one do you prefer?
Description and Explanation: How do you feel about this issue? Explain why. Read these types of questions carefully, as you’ll need to make sure you understand what exactly you’re going to need to talk about. Keep your as relevant as possible. Take a look at this example: Nowadays people use extreme methods, like surgery to change their appearance. They do this because they are trying to become more attractive. Do you think this is a good idea?
Advantages and disadvantages: Discuss the good and the bad sides of an issue, then pick a side. Here, you’ll need to briefly lay out both arguments on an issue, then show why one side is a better choice than the other. Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you actually agree, just that you state your opinion clearly. Take a look at this example: Many students are asked to evaluate their professors at the end of the semester. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
Three Choices: Given the option of A, B, or C, which is the best? This potential question type will provide you with three separate choices to select between. Choose one, and explain your decision. Here is an example: Which of the following choices do you think has the greatest impact on environmental protection? (1) Governmental regulations (2) Environmental awareness groups (3) Individual effort.
If/ImaginaryAn "If / Imaginary" question will give you a hypothetical – an imagined situation and ask what you would do or what you would choose. Rather than choosing between two things or two opinions, you are typically not limited in your choice. That is, you can choose anything that fits the situation. Here is an example: If you had a small amount of money, would you spend it right away or save it? Use details and examples to support your explanation
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 2, 3, and 4: Integrated Speaking in Response to Other Materials
For the remaining tasks, you’ll be asked to speak in response to a reading passage, a recorded lecture or conversation, or both. Integrated speaking tasks ask you to use one, or more, other language skills (ie. reading, listening) in combination with speaking. For example, you will need to use both your reading and speaking skills while also responding to a short paragraph on some topic. In addition to the allotted time for listening (60 seconds) and/or reading (45-50 seconds) the material provided for the question, you’ll also be given slightly more time to prepare (20 seconds for task 6 - 30 seconds for tasks 2 & 3) and respond (60 seconds).
Excellent responses for these tasks will be clearly developed, fluid, and continuous. Your main focus here should be on the overall fluency of your responses. So, jot down some notes, take a deep breath, and keep going. Just remember to pace yourself!
Integrated Speaking Task 2
For this task, you’ll first be asked to read a passage on some topic related to campus (meaning, student life), then listen to a related conversation between two people discussing that same topic. Finally, there will be a “question”, which is better understood here as a speaking prompt. The prompt will ask you to summarize, or quickly outline an opinion or concept from the provided material. Take a look at this example:
READING TIME: 50 seconds
Listen to a conversation between two people.
The man expresses his opinion of the university’s plan. State his opinion and explain the reasons he gives for holding that opinion.
PREPARATION TIME: 30 seconds
RESPONSE TIME: 60 seconds
To make sure your response is “complete” try to concentrate on specific examples and reasons you heard or saw within the provided materials. Use transitional phrases to increase cohesion as you list off each statement, such as “firstly…”, “next…”, “finally…”, ect.
Integrated Speaking Task 3
For this task, you’ll need to read an academic passage and then listen to a short lecture on the same topic. However, the topic will introduce some new term or idea. Those who complete this task successfully will be able to use both the reading and lecture to illustrate the concept that was introduced both tying both sources into their response. Basically, you’ll need to explain the concept again by repeating things you just heard/saw. Take a look at this example:
READING TIME: 50 seconds
Individuals often modify their behavior based on what they have learned about the possible consequences of their actions. When an individual learns through experience that a certain behavior results in pleasant consequences, that behavior is likely to be repeated. An unpleasant consequence, on the other hand, discourages further repetition of the behavior. While behavior modification can be observed in experiments, it also occurs frequently in everyday settings, when individuals change their behavior based on what they have learned about the consequences of that behavior.
Listen to part of a lecture on the same topic.
Using the example from the lecture, explain what behavior modification is and how it works.
PREPARATION TIME: 30 seconds
RESPONSE TIME: 60 seconds
Integrated Speaking Task 4
In this task, you will listen to a brief academic lecture and provide a summary. Like task 3, you’ll only need to listen to a lecture on some academic topic, perhaps something related to biology or psychology. Then, you’ll need to give a quick overview about some specific part of the lecture you just heard.
Listen to part of a lecture.
Using points and examples from the lecture, explain the two major factors of product quality and how their role in consumer decision making has changed
PREPARATION TIME: 20 seconds
RESPONSE TIME: 60 seconds
Even if you’re not a straight-A student, you’ll only be asked to summarize what you’ve just heard, meaning that it doesn’t matter whether or not you truly understood it. The key here will be keeping a few details from the lecture in your short-term memory, so you can easily reuse them when speaking.
Why You need TOEFL Speaking Templates
Before we dive into our templates, let's talk about why you need a TOEFL Speaking template?
No one likes to show up feeling unprepared, or worse, be taken by surprise in the middle of a big test. A speaking template offers test-takers a “plan of attack”, or a strategy, to effectively take on those certain types of questions that show up on the Speaking section of the test. Rather than feeling lost in the dark, a speaking template provides a sort of “flashlight”. Templates can help guide you along, while still allowing you to adapt to a variety of potential test questions, as well as customize your responses.
Although there is no way to predict EXACTLY what of questions you’ll be asked, templates will prepare you to respond to different types of questions. Having a wide variety of phrases ready to go at the appropriate time will help you improve your fluency, in addition to “buying time” for you to think of what to say next! Here are some of the reasons why using a template will help boost your performance on the Speaking section.
Tried and True
Templates can be practiced again and again, so you’ll be able to get comfortable using them with ease before the test. You’ll feel right at home using phrases that are already familiar to you while speaking.
You can use templates in a huge variety of contexts to provide different kinds of responses. So, even if you’re not sure what the next question will be about, you can still find ways your templates can fit in to your response.
With the right template, your transitions move gracefully, and your opinions are stated with purpose. Anyone listening will be able to follow your words from point A to B.
Native speakers use templates naturally when they speak. This can help them to organize their thoughts or even get a little extra time to think.
TOEFL Speaking Templates for You to Use
Finally, we get to the templates! Below are helpful TOEFL Speaking templates for all 6 TOEFL speaking tasks.
Template for TOEFL Independent Speaking 1
Template for Agree or Disagree Question Type
To begin with, _____
In addition, ______
Therefore, these reasons are why I agree/disagree that ______
Do you agree or disagree that a higher education means a better career? Use details and examples to support your explanation.
I do agree that a higher education means a better career. To begin with, with the advancement of technology and the advancement of the world itself, companies are becoming more complex. If they want their company to succeed, they will need to have intelligent, knowledgeable, and competent individuals working for them. In addition, having a higher education will give you an advantage over the other candidates applying for the same job. Therefore, these reasons are why I agree that a higher education means a better career.
Template for Preference Question Type
The first reason is _____
The second reason is______
Therefore, these reasons are why I prefer to ____ rather than ____.
Do you prefer to eat at food stands or restaurants? Use details and examples to support your explanation.
To me, I prefer eating at restaurants over eating at food stands for two main reasons (or I prefer to eat at restaurants for two main reasons). The first reason is I grew up dinning in restaurants, so I am accustomed to eating in them. Actually, I cannot remember the last time I ate at a food stand. Plus, eating in a nice building is much more comfortable compared to eating outside. The second reason is there is a better food selection. I can have more choices and my food is cooked better, because they have a proper cooking system. Therefore, these reasons are why I prefer to eat at a restaurant rather than a food stand.
Template for Three Choices Question Type
First, compared to ____, ______
So for these two reasons, I believe that ____ (or I would choose ____)
Which of the following choices do you think has the greatest impact on environmental protection? (1) Governmental regulations (2) Environmental awareness groups (3) Individual efforts
I think that governmental regulations have the biggest impact on environmental protection. Compared to individual efforts, governmental regulations make citizens follow the law, rather than make good choices. For example, in Korea, if you don’t recycle properly, you can receive a fine. They provide all the bins and resources to make it easy for the public to make the right choice to recycle. Second, when the government steps in to make regulations, it also educates the public, which can lead to individuals going above and beyond for the environment. When the government introduces a new regulation, it will explain why they are doing it, which may have people think twice about before they throw garbage out the window of the car. For these two reasons, I believe that governmental regulations have the biggest impact on environmental protection.
Your degree requires you to take one course, which one would you choose? (1) Energy and environment (2) Health and nutrition (3) Solar system
I would choose health and nutrition classes for two main reasons. First, I deal with nutrition every single day. When I am trying to make healthy choices for my body, I am sometimes uncertain about what the best foods are the most nutritious. A health and nutrition class would surely ease that trouble and help me make choices that are good for my body. Second, I am not very interested in sciences, so I don’t think an energy and environment or solar system class would be very intriguing to me. I would rather take classes that excite me rather than the class I was totally disinterested. So, for these two reasons, I would choose to take a health and nutrition class, rather than energy and environment, or solar system course.
Template for IF/Imaginary Question Type
The first reason is _____
The second reason is ______
So for these two reasons, if ____, I would ____.
If you had a small amount of money, would you spend it right away or save it? Use details and examples to support your explanation.
If I had a small amount of money, I would save it. The first reason is I grew up in a family that prided themselves on having money in the bank, so it is easy for me to save money. The second reason is if there was an emergency and you would need some money. If you saved it, you would be ok. However, if you did not save it, you could be in trouble. In addition, it is more important to save money and pay off your debts, rather than waste your money on something useless. So for these two reasons, I would save a small amount of money.
Template for Description or Explanation Question Type
First of all, ______
Therefore, I strongly/firmly believe that ______
Should schools have teams for sports that might carry a risk of serious physical injury? Explain your answer.
In my opinion, schools should still allow sports that carry that risk despite the risk of serious physical injury. First of all, it is not the responsibility of schools to completely eliminate all risk from the lives of students. Otherwise, they would have to abolish any science labs that used chemicals or sharp objects because they pose a potential threat to safety. Furthermore, students and their families should be allowed to make personal decisions about what kind of activities they are participating in despite risk as long as they are not simultaneously endangering unknowing bystanders. Therefore, I firmly believe that schools should allow students to make decisions about what sports they will play, even when those sports contain some serious risks.
Template for Advantage and Disadvantage Question Type
However, I believe that there are disadvantages as well. ______
So, I believe that there are advantages and disadvantages to _______
Many students are asked to evaluate their professors at the end of the semester. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
I believe that it is beneficial to evaluate professors at the end of the semester, but there can also be some disadvantages. First, since superior staff can’t sit it on every class, they should take input from the students on how the class went. Students are likely to be honest in their reviews, so the professor can also learn from their mistakes. However, I believe that there are disadvantages as well. If a student knows that they will receive a failing grade, they may be dishonest in their review just to spite the professor. They may say that the professor wasn’t fair, even if that isn’t true. This can be hurtful to the professor and detrimental to their career. So, I believe that there are advantages and disadvantages to asking students to evaluate their professors at the end of the semester.
Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking 2
|The man/girl agrees with the announcement/letter/article, which is about ______
There are two reasons why the man/girl supports the announcement/letter/article.
One reason is that ______
Another reason is that ________
Therefore, these reasons are why the man/girl believes that _____ is a good idea.
|The man/girl disagrees with the announcement/letter/article, which is about ______
There are two reasons why the man/girl opposes the announcement/letter/article.
One reason is that _____
Another reason is that _______
Therefore, these reasons are why the man/girl believes that _____ is not a good idea.
Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 3
From the reading passage, X is described as ______
The professor illustrates/demonstrates X by giving one/two examples.
In the first example, _____
In the second example, ______
(Optional) In summary/So/Therefore, these examples demonstrate/show X
Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4
The professor uses two examples to demonstrate ______
In the first example, ______
In the second example, ______
In summary/Therefore/Ultimately, ______
Now, it’s your turn. On a test like the TOEFL, the wide-ranging, yet specific types of questions presented may seem to be overwhelming at first, as there is no way to have the perfect response ready beforehand. But, after having covered all the ins and outs of the Speaking section, while breaking down each of its four speaking tasks into smaller parts, you’ve got a pretty solid idea on what to expect come test day. When you combine your knowledge of the Speaking section with these speaking templates, you’ll be not one, but TWO steps closer to achieving your best score on the TOEFL test.
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