• For question 3, you first read a campus announcement for 45 seconds.
  • Then, you listen to a dialogue between a man and a woman about that campus announcement.
  • For TOEFL Speaking question 3 you have 30 seconds to prepare your answer and 60 seconds to give your answer.’
  • Your preparation time begins as soon as you hear the prompt, and your answer time begins as soon as your 30 second preparation time is done.
  • At 60 seconds, the recording STOPS. It cuts off. It ends. So be sure to include all the details you need before the 60 second mark.

General Strategies for TOEFL Speaking Question 3

Question 3 is an integrated question. This means you must read and/or listen to a resource before preparing and answering the question.

One additional piece of important information:

  1. In TOEFL Speaking question 3, unlike question 1 and 2, your answer MUST be objective. This means you stay within third person for the ENTIRE answer, using words like “he”, “she”, “it”, and “they”.

Note-Taking Strategies for TOEFL Speaking Question 3

  1. BEFORE you do anything else, WRITE DOWN your structure to take notes. Make sure it is already on your paper before you read the campus announcement.
  2. After the dialogue is finished, look at the computer screen and focus on the prompt. What do you have to do? On question 3, you only want to talk about one person. From your notes on the T-chart, cover up the person you are NOT talking about.

TOEFL Speaking Question 3:

  • I: Two brief points from reading
  • 1: Man: Con reason #1 -> Woman: Con reason #1
  • 2: Man: Con reason #2 -> Woman: Con reason #2
  • 3: Man: Con reason #3 -> Woman: Con reason #3
  • C: Man: Conclusion -> Woman: Conclusion

How do we develop this response?

  • Step #1 : Create the structure for your notes
    • First, the narrator describes the context and gives instructions
    • As you listen to the narrator make your note map.
      • Put reading at the top
      • Under reading put man and woman
      • Since time is limited, simply number each body paragraph

TOEFL Speaking Example Response (including reading passage and dialogue)

Reading Passage:

The Student Association has just purchased a new sound system for the Old Lincoln Hall auditorium, the place where movies on campus are currently shown. By installing the new sound system, the Student Association hopes to attract more students to the movies and increase ticket sales. Before making the purchase of the new equipment, the Student Association conducted a survey on campus to see what kind of entertainment students liked best. Going to the movies ranked number one. “Students at Northfield College love going to the movies,” said the president of the Student Association, “so we decided to make what they already love even better. We’re confident that the investment into the sound system will translate into increased ticket sales.”

Dialogue:

Male: I really think the Student Association made a bad decision
Female: Really? Why? Don’t you like going to the movies?
M: Sure I do. But this new purchase is just a waste of money.
F: What do you mean? It’s supposed to sound really good.
M: Yeah, well, I’m sure it does, but, in Old Lincoln Hall? I mean that building must be 200 years old! It used to be the college gym! The acoustics are terrible.
F: So you’re saying there’ll be no improvement?
M: That’s right. And also, I seriously doubt that going to the movies is the number one social activity for most students.
F: Yeah, but that’s what students said.
M: Well, of course that’s what they said. What else is there to do on campus?
F: What do you mean?
M: I mean, there isn’t much to do on campus besides go to the movies. If there were other forms of, uh, recreation, or other social activities, you know, I don’t think most students would have said that going to the movies was their first choice.

Prompt:

The man expresses his opinion of the Student Association’s recent purchase. State his opinion and explain the reasons he gives for holding that opinion.

Notes:

Reading:

– New sound system

– Attract students, more ticket sales

– Movies most popular

Listening:

Man: Bad decision, waste of money, terrible acoustics, nothing else to do on campus

Woman: Sound really good

YOUR Response:

  • In the campus announcement, the President announces the purchase of a new sound system. He says it will attract more students, and increase ticket sales.
  • The man disagrees with the announcement for three reasons.
  • First he believes that it is a waste of money. He says that the acoustics in Lincoln Hall are horrible, and that the improved sound system will sound terrible in such an old building
  • He also says that although movies are the most popular form of entertainment on campus, they are also the only form of entertainment on campus. For this reason students are FORCED to go to the movies since they don’t have any other choices.
  • For these two reasons, the man disagrees with the announcement.

Audio:

Answer Strategies for TOEFL Speaking Question 3

  1. Spend 15 seconds on the summary of the reading and 45 seconds on the man or woman’s opinion.
  2. Be enthusiastic with your response. TOEFL graders do NOT want to hear a bored robot. Inject some life into it!
  3. When giving an introduction sentence, use phrasing from the prompt. See my example below.
  4. REMEMBER to speak objectively.

What You Must Do Next:

  1. You MUST record yourself: I know it’s awkward. I know it’s strange. But it’s the ONLY way to really focus on your mistakes and correct them.
  2. Find a speaking partner: There are a number of websites and forums where you can find speaking partners to help correct your mistakes. One note, however: non-native speaking partners will only be able to fix the BIG problems. It will be VERY difficult for them to help fix pronunciation, grammar, and other problems that require a native speaker. I recently created a Facebook group to help students find a speaking partner.
  3. Hire a TOEFL Speaking Teacher: If FAST progress is important for you, or if you REALLY need to get a HIGH score, then I recommend hiring a TOEFL Speaking Teacher. I offer lessons. Please sign up for a 30 minute TOEFL Speaking Evaluation HERE (You won’t find a better deal on the internet)

Extra Prompts for Question 3

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