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TOEFL Tuesday: TOEFL Speaking Topics

Happy TOEFL Tuesday, Magooshers!

The TOEFL speaking section is very structured. There are 6 questions, and every TOEFL has the same types of questions in the same order. For example, the first question will always ask you to choose one thing from a set of many, then explain why you chose it. Maybe it will ask you to describe a childhood friend who influenced you heavily, and to explain how that person influenced you. Or maybe it will ask you to talk about an activity that you think is relaxing, and why it’s relaxing. The specific questions vary a lot—you will not see a question on test day that’s exactly the same as a practice question you have seen before. But the general format is always the same.

The first two questions in the speaking section are “independent,” meaning they only require speaking skills. You don’t need to listen or read before speaking. That means practice speaking tasks for questions one and two are pretty easy to create. You can find lists of practice questions online, such as this one. It is harder to find practice questions for task two than it is for task one, but the official guide includes a list of questions for the independent essay that also work quite well as practice for speaking task two.

But speaking tasks three through six are all “integrated,” meaning you have to either listen first or both read and listen before speaking. Because creating practice questions of the integrated tasks requires scripts, actors, and more, there are very few practice questions available for free online.

The best practice material comes from the official guide, again. There are also samples in the official book of five practice tests. But there are only a few examples of each speaking task in each book, unfortunately. And don’t trust free, unofficial material for integrated speaking practice—it will almost never be good quality.

If you need additional practice for the integrated tasks, test preparation companies (like Magoosh!) are a very helpful resource.

 
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