TOEFL® Exercise 1 Practice 90

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In this question, you'll speak about a familiar topic. Your response will be scored on your ability to speak clearly and coherently about the topics. You'll have 15 seconds to prepare your answer and 45 seconds to speak.

We recommend you practice taking notes with a pen and paper like you will during your TOEFL exam.

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If you are going to.....locked
If you are going to.....locked

You have 45 seconds to record your answer. Click the record button to begin.

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Sample Answer
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Grammar & Vocabulary Training Exercise
(This exercise trains your speech, listening skills, and speaking comprehension)

Listen to your response and write out exactly what you hear including grammar and spelling mistakes. Use Grammarly to find any common and intermediate level mistakes.

Re-write your response to use correct grammar and spelling and improve the structure then redo the test.



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Pronunciation Training Exercise
(This exercise trains your pronunciation, speech rhythm, timing, and reading)

Click the record button and read out load a Sample Answer Script:. As you speak, your speech will be translated to text. It can take 5 seconds before the text appears, so don't worry and keep speaking.

Click the record button to stop recording; Review the text for any pronunciation errors.



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Step-by-step guide for tackling TOEFL Independent Speaking Task 1
Step 1: Choose quickly

The question will be very general, so you can choose many options. However, remember you only need one answer so don't waste time thinking too hard. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. So choose the first idea that comes to your mind. In your 15 seconds preparation time, you should not spend more than 3 seconds choosing a topic. Once you have a topic, write it down in your note immediately. For this example, you can choose your aunt for example.

Step 2: Find supporting ideas

After choosing the main topic, you need to come up with supporting ideas. Choose about 2 or 3 ideas. One is too little. More than three will be too many and you will not have enough time to develop all the ideas within the time limit. Similar to the first step, note down the first two or three supporting ideas. Do it as quickly as you can.

In your note, don't write full sentences, only jot down a few words that will help you with the organization of your actual speech. For example, if you chose your aunt as your closest relative, you can have supporting ideas describing her and why you are close to her. But also remember to be specific. For this example, one of your supporting ideas is that your aunt shares a similar interest with you. Make sure to tell what interest it is and if you can, tell a very short one or two sentence story about the interest. Remember, you have 15 seconds in total to finish both step 1 and 2. Plan your answer as fast as possible.

Step 3: Speak

You'll have 45 seconds to make your speech. The structure of the response can be the following:
1. Your main idea or your main opinion
2. The first main idea and supporting details and examples
3. The second supporting idea and supporting details and examples
4. Conclusion.

Tips to get a high score
1. Read your response out loud clearly and be enthusiastic with your response.

2. You can paraphrase the prompt to give your first sentence.

3. For "Personal experience" questions, you need to talk about your personal experience, so make sure use the words "I", "me" and "my" and avoid using the word "You".

4. Be specific about your supporting details and examples. The trick is to use sentence structure like "If I...., I..." or "When I ..., I ..." when providing supporting details and examples.

5. Pay attention to the tense. For example, when giving a response about your past events, you should use the past tense.
Prepare for all 4 question styles
TOEFL Independent Speaking Task 1 has 4 question styles:
  1. Personal experience
  2. Giving advice
  3. Three choices
  4. Stating opinions
Personal experience
What is your favorite book? Describe it and explain why it is your favorite.

Giving advice
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?

Three choices
The university decides to remodel the dormitory and add a new space to it. Which space do you recommend to add in your dormitory? (1) Cafe, (2) Study room, or (3) Game room

Stating opinions
Do you think the government should legislate laws to fine people who use cell phones when crossing roads and intersections?
"Personal experience" questions
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 questions go something like this:
  • What is your favorite recreational activity? Describe it and say why you enjoy doing it.
  • Name a place in your country you would recommend others to visit. Describe this place and explain why you would recommend it.
  • What is your favorite kind of food? Describe it and explain why it is your favorite.
  • What is your favorite book? Describe it and explain why it is your favorite.
  • What is the most memorable experience you have had while on vacation? Why was this experience so memorable? Include details and examples to support your explanation.
"Giving advice" questions
The second question is 'Giving advice'. You will be given a situation and will then be asked to offer advice for it.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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?
"Stating Opinions" questions
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:
  • Your university has decided to reduce the amount of money it spends to support sports activities. What is your opinion and why?
  • 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.

High Scoring Answer Analysis

This first question asks you about a familiar topic in your personal life. This question gives you lots of creative freedom. It is also a trap that can easily trick you into wasting time contemplating too long. This first question will ask you to describe a person, a thing or an event from your personal experience. You will get 15 seconds to prepare for an answer and 45 seconds to speak your answer. You have to make a quick decision and use your time as efficient as possible. An example of this question is as following:

Example:

Whom do you feel close to in your family (or extended family)? Describe this person and say why you feel close to him/her.

Answer:

The person whom I feel close to in my family is my sister. The first reason is, we always played together during our childhood. I grew up in a family of 6 and I am the youngest. I had two older brothers and one older sister, who is the closest in age to me by only 2 years. My sister and I were great friends, and we would hang out often, so we built a strong friendship during our time living with our parents. The second reason is, even though she is married with 2 children, we still keep in touch, so we haven't lost that friendship. Therefore, my sister is whom I feel close to in my family.

Analysis and comment

This is overall a good response to this question.

  • The sample has both an introduction at the beginning of the speech and a short conclusion by the end. That helps make the speech seem complete.
  • Before stating each reason, the speaker mentions the number of the reasons ‘the first reason,' ‘the second reason.’ That is a very good thing to do. The examiner can know for sure the speaker states two reasons to support his argument.
  • Each reason is supported with further explanations that explain the connection between the reason and the main argument of the speech. For example, with the first reason, the speaker does not only say that he and his sister are close in age but also further explain that the further age gap is the reason they hang out often when they were younger, and that’s why they are close. The reasons are backed up with convincing explanations that help the speech easier to understand and follow.

Low Scoring Answer Analysis

This first question asks you about a familiar topic in your personal life. This question gives you lots of creative freedom. It is also a trap that can easily trick you into wasting time contemplating too long. This first question will ask you to describe a person, a thing or an event from your personal experience. You will get 15 seconds to prepare for an answer and 45 seconds to speak your answer. You have to make a quick decision and use your time as efficient as possible. An example of this question is as following:

Example:

Whom do you feel close to in your family (or extended family)? Describe this person and say why you feel close to him/her.

Answer:

In my family, the person I feel closest to is my sister. I grew up in a family of six, and I am the youngest. My sister is closest to me by age. We hung out. Now, my sister is married with two children. I still feel close to my sister. We kept in touch. Therefore, my sister is whom I feel close to in my family.

Analysis and comment

Wrong things

  • You will have 45 seconds to speak your prepared speech. If you don’t finish the speech in time, you will get cut off half way. If you finish too early, you will leave a bad impression of not knowing how to utilize your time and have an unthorough response. This sample may not fill the 45 seconds you have to speak. It is too short and incomprehensive.
  • Even though the sample speech does provide the reasons to explain the argument, it does a bad job at further explaining those reasons which makes it hard to understand how the reasons ultimately support the argument. For example, one of the reasons is that the speaker and his sister is closest in age compared to the rest of the siblings. However, it does not explain much further how the close age gap makes them close.
  • There is no transition word which makes the speech hard to follow and does not flow well. When mentioning each reason, it would be helpful to number the reason with ‘first,' ‘firstly’, or ‘first of all.’ Having those adjectives right before talking about the reasons help the examiner follow your speech better and is aware of the number of reasons you’ll provide.

Right things

  • The sample starts off with an introduction of the prompt together with a direct answer to the question in the prompt. It is important to state your answer clear and direct in the first one or two sentences of your speech.
  • In the end, the sample includes a short sentence as a conclusion and sum up of the whole speech. The conclusion for this question speech only needs to be one sentence that restates the introduction. However, having that conclusion will help the examiner knows that you are finished with your speech as planned and do not get cut off because of time.
 
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