05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
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5.05 Independent Speaking Task Question 1

What Is In the Speaking Section?

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.

  • Question 1 is called an “independent speaking task” because it requires you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions, and experiences when you respond.
  • Questions 2–4 are called “integrated speaking tasks” because they require you to combine your English-language skills — listening and speaking, or listening, reading and speaking — just as you would in or out of a 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:

  • Agree/Disagree
  • Paired Choice
  • Good Idea

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:

In this style of TOEFL speaking question you must pick between two contrasting choices.  It looks like these samples:

In this style a choice or situation is described.  You should state if you think it is a good idea.  It looks like this:

Answer Template

Same template can be used to organize your answer for all three question styles.

Start with the main point (pick one)

Transition (optional)

Give the first Reason

Give the second Reason

Conclude your response

Answer Template