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

Speaking practice test 3.0

(Question type: Task 4)

You will now listen to part of a lecture. You will then be asked a question about it. After you hear the question, you will have 20 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Using points and examples from the talk, explain why the professor thinks there is no real answer to the question of what period of history Homer described.

Preparation time: 20 seconds

Response time: 60 seconds

Text Explanation

It would be very easy to get stuck in the details of this lecture, trying to note all the information you hear: the names, the dates, the places, etc. And it wouldn’t hurt you to use all of that information in your response, but it’s not necessary, and noting it all down will distract you from hearing the main point.

The only details you really need are in the second half of the lecture, when the professor talks about A) the helmets made from boar tusks and B) how the chariots are used. And you don’t really need to mention what the helmets are made of, either—you just need to make it clear that the special material used in those helmets was not used in Homer’s time, but the way the chariots were used in the poems was the same as in Homer’s time. Relating the details to the main idea of the lecture is the most important part.

Sample notes

  • Homer poems
    • when?
      • dunno
      • retold, mix
    • ex: tusk helm.s
      • dist. past
    • wagons
      • carry—H’s time
      • battle—helm. time

Sample response #2

The professor says that Homer’s poems, The Odyssey and…and another one… uhh… like, a lot of people question what period of history Homer describes. Are the poems about the world that Homer lived in? Or about something…a previous time? The professor explains that there isn’t a clear answer, because storytellers… uhh… told and told and told the stories before Homer wrote those poems, and those people all added details. He gives an example of helmets…special helmets made of tusks that are in Homer’s writing. They’re from a distant past, not Homer’s time. But the professor also says that the horse-drawn wagons in Homer’s poem only carried people, but in that earlier time, they would have been used in battle, so it’s uhh, it’s a bit of a mix of—