TOEFL Speaking Section: The Ultimate Guides & Sample Questions (2021)

Do you want to master the TOEFL Speaking section? What are the question types and trending question topics? In this guide, we will explain the new TOEFL Speaking section in detail, including question types, sample practice questions and sample answers.

Starting on August 1st, 2019, ETS changed the TOEFL test format to bring a better test experience to test takers.

In the new TOEFL Speaking, there is one independent speaking task and there are three integrated tasks. You are given 45 seconds to answer the independent question and 60 seconds to answer each integrated question. The entire Speaking section takes about 17 minutes to complete including the wait time in between each question.

The 4 TOEFL Speaking Tasks

  • TOEFL Speaking Question 1 (Personal Choice)
  • TOEFL Speaking Question 2 (Campus Announcement)
  • Speaking integrated Task 3 (General to Specific)
  • Speaking integrated Task 4 (Academic Lecture)
Infographic of TOEFL Speaking Section

Now, let’s dive into the details of each of them.

Question One

TOEFL Speaking Question 1 is the independent question. It is also known as “personal choice” question. During the test, you will see a question and hear an audio reading the question. Then, you are given 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak your answer into a microphone.

  • Preparation Time: 15 seconds
  • Response Time: 45 seconds

Currently, there are 3 question styles for the TOEFL Independent Question:

Question StyleSample Question
Paired Choice Do you prefer to watch a movie or read a book? Use detail and examples to support your explanation.
Agree/DisagreeDo you agree or disagree with the following statement: it is important to know the history of the city that you live in?
Good ideaDo you think it is a good idea for young people to learn money management? Why?

Note that “If/Imagine” and “Description/Explanation” questions styles are no longer used. Students have claimed that they still see the “Advantage/Disadvantage” questions but rarely.

For sample questions, answers and templates check out our master guide to the question one .

TOEFL Speaking Question One

Question Two

TOEFL Speaking question two is the first integrated speaking task. The question is combined with reading and listening material. First, you will read a short passage, usually a campus announcement or letter in a campus newspaper. It will either describe some changes that are happening, or it will propose some change that should happen. There will be two reasons given for the change. You will have 45 seconds to read it.

Next, you will listen to a conversation between two students discussing the reading passage. Usually only one student will express his/her agreement or disagreement, along with two reasons. The conversation is about 60-90 seconds.

After hearing the conversation, your task is to summarize what you have read and listened to. You will have 30 seconds to prepare your answer and 60 seconds to speak your answer.

  • Reading Time: 45 seconds
  • Listening Time: 60 – 90 seconds
  • Preparation Time: 30 seconds
  • Response Time: 60 seconds
NEW TOEFL Speaking Task 2 question type explained
NEW TOEFL Speaking Task 2 question type explained
TOEFL Speaking Question Two

For sample questions, answers and templates about question one, check out our master guide to the question.

Question Three

TOEFL Speaking question three is also integrated with reading and listening materials. First, you will read a short (about 100 words) article, usually about a term or a concept on an academic topic. You will have 45 seconds to read it. (If the passage is slightly longer, you will be given 50 seconds to read it)

Next, you will listen to a recording of a professor giving a lecture about the same topic. The professor will illustrate the topic using 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.

  • Reading Time: 45-50 seconds
  • Listening Time: 60 – 90 seconds
  • Preparation Time: 30 seconds
  • Response Time: 60 seconds
New TOEFL Speaking Task 3 question type explained
New TOEFL Speaking Task 3 question type explained
TOEFL Speaking Question Three

For sample questions, answers and templates, check out our master guide to the question three .

Question Four

TOEFL Speaking question four is the last task of the TOEFL Speaking section. The question integrates with listening only. There will be no reading passage. First, you will listen to an academic lecture that is 1.5 to 2 minutes long. The lecture will give one or two examples of the concept.

After the lecture finishes, you will be asked a specific question that requires you to summarize the lecture. You will be given 20 seconds to prepare, and 60 seconds to speak.

  • Listening Length: 1.5 – 2 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 20 seconds
  • Response Time: 60 seconds
New TOEFL Speaking Task 4 question type explained
New TOEFL Speaking Task 4 question type explained


TOEFL Speaking Question Three

For sample questions, answers and templates check out our master guide to the question four.

4 NEW TOEFL Speaking Questions from August 10, 2019 test

Since August 2019, ETS has changed the TOEFL iBT test format. TOEFL Speaking Questions are reduced from 6 Tasks to 4 Tasks only. In this article, we are giving away real Speaking question topics we re-created from one of the new TOFEL iBT tests on August 10, 2019.

If you want to learn more about the NEW Speaking section of the TOEFL test, make sure you read “Understanding the New TOEFL Speaking format – The Four Question Types” to find out what is different after August 1, 2019. 

Speaking Question 1

Question:
Do you agree or disagree that parents should teach their kids to be independent at an early age?


Speaking Question 2

Reading Material:
The school is going to set up solar panels at the roof of the student center. First, there will be plenty of sunshine, making it an ideal location for solar panels to work well. Also, since the roof is hot in the summer and daytime, students will not go there often. Therefore, the school believes this will only bring benefits, and not cause any inconvenience to students.  If the project goes successfully, the school will also set up solar panels at the rooftop of each dormitory in the following year.

Student Conversation Script:
Female student: Did you hear that the school is going to install solar panels on the roof of the student center? They have really picked a good spot; the solar panels should work well there.

Male student: Well, indeed the roof has plenty of sunlight to be absorbed during the daytime.

Female student: I can see how it can help the school to reduce the bill for electricity consumption. Especially during the summer where the need for the air conditioners is high. This is great!

Male student: Well, I don’t know. I kind of disagree with the school about how it does not affect the students.

Female student: What do you mean? Is something bothering you?

Male student: Yeah, in the evening when the roof is cool… It is actually a great spot for students to chill and relax. And the view is amazing on the roof, you can see the entire campus up there. If the space used by solar panels, students will not have another location to see the view.

:

Oh well, I guess we will just have to find another place to chill in the evening.

Question:
The male student expresses his opinion about the announcement. State his opinion and explain his reasoning.


Speaking Question 3

Reading Material:
Evergreen content refers to informational or reference material that never goes out of date, and which is, therefore, good for websites looking to build a lasting readership. Good evergreen material can be used over and over by the general public, creating a built-in guarantee of continuing hits. The quality of the content in terms of its presentation, clarity, and usefulness will go a long way towards dictating the popularity of the site

Professor giving lecture:
Evergreen content can generate financial benefits for companies and website owners over time. Take an office supply company, for example; the company can post an article introducing the most popular office supplies with links in it. Thus, advertisements can be placed on a website without using pop-up ads or other distracting marketing schemes. When someone clicks on it, it will generate what we called a “click-through” income.

We live in a “NOW” generation. When people want information, they want it now. So, they may click on any information desired to read the content.

Better website traffic means higher earning potential. And having evergreen contents is the key to drive more people to your website.

Website domains and hosting are relatively affordable, so just about anyone with drive and initiation can reap the benefits through a website that contains solid evergreen content. They are great in generating passive income online.

Question:
Based on the lecture, describe the benefits of evergreen content.


Speaking Question4

Listening (Lecture)

All animals need food to live, while some predators hunt with their speed and strength advantage, others prey with tactics. Today I will introduce two effective ways that animal use to capture preys. 

First, let’s talk about capture prey with a trap. The ant-lion is a type of insect named for the predatory nature of the larva, which traps ants and other small insects in pits dug into the ground. They create a burrow with a slippery slope, sit and wait for small insects comes in their pathway so that they can catch their meals, almost effortlessly with the minimum energy. 

Another method that predators use is to use baits to lure prey, like the heaven birds, a type of tool-using bird that hunts fish. Fish often stay in deep water. Since heaven bird cannot swim, they would throw plant seeds or drop insects as bait to entice fish to where they can grab them. Once the fish come close to the surface of the water, heaven bird will catch them – a delicious meal they got. As you can see, animals are also intelligent when it comes to capturing prey.

Question:
Based on the reading and the lecture, describe two effective ways that animals use to capture prey.


Are you looking for sample answers and more TOEFL speaking questions? We offer the most affordable plan across the Internet, boost your TOEFL speaking prep. with our study plan now! 

2018 Trending TOEFL Speaking Questions

If you are preparing for the TOEFL Speaking with limited of time, you might want to consider spend more effort on the topics that show up on the test more frequently. Let’s take a look of the 2018 trending TOEFL Speaking Questions below.

TOP 1: Campus life,  60%

Under this category, academic-related, 33%; daily life, 20%; volunteer work, 7%.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for university students and why?

In my opinion, homesickness poses major challenges to university students. The reasons why it is experienced so commonly are as follows. First, starting a brand-new life at college naturally…

TOP 2: Personal opinion: 15%

these type of speaking question topics are the most frequent ones.

Q: Some university students choose to take difficult classes even if they know they might not get a good grade in the class. Other students prefer to take easier classes in which they know they will get a good grade. Which do you prefer? Explain why.

I would prefer take easier classes for sure. My reasons are simple, first starting a brand new life at college already can be a big challenge, I would not wish to overwhelm myself with unnecessary all the stress. Second…

TOP 3: Science and technology: 12%

In 2018 TOEFL iBT test, chance you face a Science and techology topics are increasing, with a higher frequency than before.

Q: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: students should not be allowed to bring cell phones into the classroom.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: students should not be allowed to bring cell phones into the classroom.

TOP 4: Society and politics: 8%.

This topic is relatively more difficult; therefore, a good answer will be more impressive.

Q: Describe a serious problem that your country is facing. Explain why it is so serious.

In my opinion, homesickness poses major challenges to university students. The reasons why it is experienced so commonly are as follows. First, starting a brand-new life at college naturally…

TOP 5:Professional and employment: 5%

which is the least frequent one

Q: Describe a job or career that you are not suited to but still admire.

For me, doctors fit the bill. I feel this way for the following reasons. 
Admittedly, it is an honor to be trusted with another human being’s health and well-being. Patients trust their physicians with their most personal and intimate matters. In hearing people’s stories ……