01. Introduction
02. Grammar/Activities:
03. Reading Section
04 Listening Section:
05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
07 Final TOEFL tests

Speaking practice test 2.05

(Question type: Task 3)

You will now read a short passage and then listen to a talk on the same academic topic. You will then be asked a question about them. After you hear the question, you will have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Now read a passage from a textbook on evolutionary biology. You have 45 seconds to read the passage. Begin reading now.

Altruism in Animals

Altruism, in humanity and the animal kingdom both, refers to the urge to selflessly help others, even at great personal cost. Although acts of altruism are fairly common among humans, many are surprised to see them carried out by other species. We generally expect animals to do only that which aids individual survival. Animals that behaved altruistically would, theoretically, die more often than those that acted selfishly, so they would not be able to pass on their genes to the next generation. However, altruistic behavior exists in many species and therefore must serve some other positive evolutionary purpose.

Using the points and examples given in the lecture, explain how altruism may be a beneficial characteristic for some animals.

Preparation time: 30 seconds

Response time: 60 seconds

Text Explanation

First, take a look at the definition at the start of the text. You’ll definitely want to make note of this, since you will be explaining what altruism is in your response. The rest of the text explains why altruism in animals can be surprising. Of course, the lecture then gives explanations and examples of that.

Be careful to note the types of animals that are mentioned and how they act altruistically. You want to be able to refer back to the specifics of the lecture—your job is to connect those specific details to the general ideas.

Sample notes



  • Altruism = selfless help
    • help survival
    • positive purpose?


  • squirrels: fox ⇒ noise
    • warn, but targets
  • wildebeests
    • fight pred.
  • Why? protect commun.

Sample response #2

The professor and text both basically say that altruism helps communities of animals to survive, even though some animals…some individual animals inside those communities might not benefit from altruism…from that specific behavior. She goes through a couple of examples of animals that do altruistic things, like some squirrels that make noise when another animal approaches…when the community is put in danger…so that the other squirrels in the group can run away to safety or, uhh…hide. Meanwhile, wildebeests actually attack the predators—they put themselves in harms way, but…well…the rest of the animals in the group are better off, so the community is healthier as a whole when there are some altruistic animals within it.