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TOEFL Independent Speaking – Task 1

TOEFL Independent Speaking _Tasks
Read on to understand how you can ace the TOEFL Independent Speaking

TOEFL Independent Speaking is the first part of TOEFL’s speaking section, which consisted of two speaking tasks until August 2019, but now only consists of one task. This is the very first task in the speaking section and it requires you to give your opinion and to defend that opinion using reasons and examples from your own personal experience. This, however, may not be as easy as it sounds. You will need to think quickly and speak fluently.

To do well on the Independent Speaking task, you need to demonstrate your ability to speak clearly and logically about familiar topics. Your ideas must be from your own personal experience, and not memorized templates or examples which may or may not be relevant. You are scored on what you say (content) and how you present it (organization).

For this task, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your answer, and 45 seconds to speak into the microphone. You only get 15 seconds to think about what you might say, which is not a lot of time. When I sat the test, I didn’t know what I was going to say until the recording time started! That’s why you have to be able to think on your feet and keep your answer structured. What helps is having the question displayed on the screen in front of you. So, keep referring to it as you are speaking. It will help you stay on track as you speak and help you come up with ideas as you go.

I’m going to share a strategy with you that will help you organize your answer and think of ideas when you attempt the TOEFL Independent Speaking section.

TOEFL Independent Speaking – Task 1

Remember, this task will ask you for your opinion on a general topic where there may be two points of view – either you agree, or you disagree. Whichever opinion you choose, you must explain why.

For example:

Much of today’s education is becoming digitized. Even so, some people prefer to study in the classroom. Others are choosing to study online. What do you prefer, online or classroom learning, and why?

Or:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
It is acceptable to lie to someone to protect them.
Use details and examples to explain your opinion.

In both of these questions, you are being asked to do the same thing. In the first question, you are being asked if you agree that online learning is better than classroom learning or not. In the second question, you are being asked if you agree that lying is sometimes acceptable or not.

Here is a suggested method to help you structure your response:

METHOD

Summarize the prompt

State your opinion

Reason 1

Reason 2

 

Example 1 – Sample Response

Much of today’s education is becoming digitized. Even so, some people prefer to study in the classroom. Others are choosing to study online. What do you prefer, online or classroom learning, and why?

Summarize the prompt: Nowadays, a lot of education is going online.

State your opinion: Although this is very convenient and efficient, I actually prefer traditional learning in a classroom.

Reason 1: This is probably because all of my education was in a classroom environment. I feel that this kind of learning environment gives you more interaction, and therefore a better ability to really think about and understand things from different perspectives.

Reason 2: I also think it helps to socialize people. When we learn with others, we also learn how to work with others and interact with people who don’t necessarily share our views. In an online environment, we are alone and don’t really get the same interaction as in real life.

 

Example 2 – Sample Response

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
It is acceptable to lie to someone to protect them.
Use details and examples to explain your opinion.

Summarize the prompt: Some people think it is acceptable to lie to others to protect them.

State your opinion: Although it might sometimes be the easier thing to do, lying is never the right thing, even if it is to protect someone

Reason 1: Firstly, people deserve to know the truth so they can make decisions for themselves. For example, we might lie to our friends that they have not put on weight because we don’t want to offend them. But if we tell them the truth, it will actually help them to take action to improve their health.  

Reason 2: Secondly, the person to whom you tell the truth may not like it in the beginning, but later on, they will realize you had their best interest at heart, and thank you for being so honest with them.  

Practice using this strategy to feel confident on test day. You can refer to the TOEFL course on E2Language.com for more tips. 

Good luck!

Written by Jamal

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