Here’s how TOEFL speaking question 3 works:
First, you will read a short (100 words) article on an academic topic. You will have 45 seconds to read it.
Next, you will hear a short lecture about the same topic. The lecture will illustrate it using either one or two examples.
Finally, you will be asked to summarize the reading and lecture.
You will be given 30 seconds to prepare, and 60 seconds to speak.
The reading is usually about a specific term or concept. It usually has a clear title and about five sentences that define the term and give some basic details. When I surveyed 500 students in 2019, they said the most common topics were:
Biology/Animals – 60%
Business/Marketing – 20%
Psychology/Learning – 10%
Art/History/Literature – 10%
The lecture is usually 1.5 minutes or 2 minutes long. It is about the same term or idea from the reading. Most of it will consist of one or two examples that demonstrate the term or idea. It could be an example from the personal life of the speaker. If there is just one example, listen for two parts (like cause/effect or before/after).
The question will look something like one of these:
Describe what _____ is, and how the professor’s example illustrates this idea.
Describe how the example of the ____ illustrates the concept of ____.
Explain the concept of _____ using the examples of ____ and ____ given in the lecture.
Using the examples from the lecture, explain the concept of ______.
You can always use the same template to organize your answer to TOEFL speaking question three.
Stating the Term or Idea
“The reading is about (TERM/CONCEPT)”
Give a Small Amount of Detail from the Reading
“It states that…”
“The professor elaborates on this by providing an example.”
“The professor elaborates on this by providing two examples.”
First Example/First Part
“To begin with, he/she mentions that…”
Second Example/Second Part
“Next, he/she says that…”
Try to use transitional phrases like “as a result,” “consequently,” “moreover,” and “therefore.”
Spend about 10-13 seconds summarizing the reading… at most. Remember that most of your score is based on the listening summary.
If you are a slow speaker, omit the “small amount of detail” part of the template.
Use a mix of simple and compound sentences if possible.
Paraphrase. Don’t just copy the sources word for word.