The TOEFL iBT® Speaking section is designed to measure your ability to speak English effectively in academic settings. It is composed of 4 tasks that resemble real-life situations you might encounter both in and outside the classroom.
You’ll get 15–30 seconds of preparation time before each response, and your response will be 45 or 60 seconds long.
To respond, you’ll speak into the microphone on your headset. Your responses are recorded and sent to ETS, where they will be scored by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters to ensure fairness and quality. See the Speaking Scoring Guides (Rubrics) (PDF) for more information about how your responses are scored.
You have 17 minutes to complete the Speaking section.
TOEFL Speaking question 1 is the independent TOEFL speaking question. It is also called the “personal choice” question. This question will be written in one of three main styles:
In the “agree/disagree” style you’ll be asked if you agree or disagree with a short statement. In the “paired choice” style you’ll have to choose between two contrasting options. In the “good idea” style, a choice or action is described, and you must state whether you think it is a good idea or not. You will have 15 seconds to prepare, and 45 seconds to speak for this question type.
This is the most common style in TOEFL speaking question 1. You are given a statement (usually a single sentence) and asked whether you agree or disagree with it. It looks like these samples:
“State whether you agree or disagree with the following statement. Then explain your reasons using specific details in your argument. Teachers should assign daily homework to students.”
“Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should help their parents with household chores as soon as they are old enough. Use details and examples in your response.”
In this style of TOEFL speaking question you must pick between two contrasting choices. It looks like these samples:
“There are many different approaches to academic studies, and all of them have specific benefits. Do you prefer to study for tests in a group, or to study alone? Include details and examples to support your explanation.”
“Some people like to watch television news programs every day, while others like to watch them only now and then. Which do you prefer? Include details and examples to support your explanation.”
In this style a choice or situation is described. You should state if you think it is a good idea. It looks like this:
Some companies have rules that forbid employees from using personal cell phones during working hours. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Nowadays, some people use extreme methods, including surgery, to change their appearance. They do this because they want to look more attractive. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your answer with details and examples.
Same template can be used to organize your answer for all three question styles.
Start with the main point (pick one)
“I agree with the idea that…”
“I think it is better to…”
“I think it is a great/terrible idea to…”
“I feel this way for several reasons.”
Give the first Reason
“First…” + “For example…” (and a personal example)
Give the second Reason
“Second…” + “To be more specific…” (and a few more details)
Conclude your response
“To conclude” + “All the above to support your opinion” (and a personal example)
Avoid Repeating Words. Vary your vocabulary as much as possible.
Use discourse phrases like “as a result,” “consequently,” “moreover,” and “therefore” to link ideas.
Use a mix of simple and compound sentences.
Don’t copy from the prompt, especially at the beginning.
Avoid using idioms. They just lead to trouble.