The third speaking task is the first of the integrated tasks and will be based on a topic related to campus life. First you will read a short passage, which frequently takes the form of an announcement or clip from a newsletter. This passage is very short, usually about 100 words, and you have 45-50 seconds to read it. Then you will listen to a conversation in which two people offer their opinions about the announcement. The conversation will also be very short, rarely more than 90 seconds or so. Usually the speakers will disagree with each other, so your answer should fully demonstrate the conflicting opinions and should justify each side.
Although the topics are designed to be accessible to those with no experience in American universities, the more familiar you are with campus life, the easier it will be for you to understand the content of the materials. Topics include changes to buildings on the campus, to transportation, to university policy, to course structures and requirements, and other university news.
The question will then ask you to synthesize the information from the two sources by summarizing one of the speakers’ opinions on the changes. Note that your answer will focus on the dialogue; the reading passage is provided mainly for background information. So when you read the passage, pay attention to two things: first, what sort of change is being announced, and second, what two reasons are given for the change. That way, when you listen to the conversation, you will know what to expect, because the speaker will talk about those same exact topics.
Remember that the goal in question 3 is not to give your opinion, but to summarize the opinions of the speakers. Regardless of your opinion, you should present the opinions represented in the dialogue fully. That is, you will explain exactly why the speaker feels the way they do based on what you heard—what you think about the news or expect the student to feel should not be in your answer.
If you want more guidance and practice material for the speaking section, Magoosh TOEFL can help!