Category: TOEFL Speaking

Understanding the New TOEFL Speaking – the four question types

ETS has changed the TOEFL format to bring a better test experience to test takers. In this article, we will be introducing the 4 types of New TOEFL Speaking questions. 

TOEFL Speaking question changed after August 1, 2019

Before August 1, 2019 (OLD VERSION)

TOEFL Speaking used to have 6 question task, 2 independent questions, and 4 integrated questions. 

If you are wondering what the NEW TOEFL Speaking questions look like in a real test, check out this article. We are giving away out lastest paid-course material for FREE – revealing the new Speaking questions from a test on August 10, 2019.

6 Speaking tasks (20 minutes)

  • Speaking Independent Task 1 (Familiar Topic)
  • Speaking Independent Task 2 (Paired Choice)
  • Speaking integrated Task 3 (Campus Announcement)
  • Speaking integrated Task 4 (General to Specific)
  • Speaking integrated Task 5 (Problem and Solution)
  • Speaking integrated Task 6 (Academic Lecture)

After August 1, 2019 (NEW VERSION)

ETS shorten the Speaking section of the TOEFL test by removing Task 1 and Task 5.  Now there are only 4 speaking tasks. ( Questions are renumbered accordingly, what used to be Question Task 2 is now Task 1 in the new TOEFL speaking section)

4 TOEFL Speaking Tasks (17 minutes)

  • Speaking Independent Task 1(Personal Choice)
  • Speaking integrated Task 2 (Campus Announcement)
  • Speaking integrated Task 3 (General to Specific)
  • Speaking integrated Task 4 (Academic Lecture)

Let’s go into details, starting with the new Task 1 questions:

NEW TOEFL Speaking Task 1

Task 1 questions are an independent question, very straight forward. 
You will see a question itself, then you will provide reasons for the choice you make. Some possibilities of this type of question:

  • Personal preference
  • Paired Choice or Multiple Choices
  • Advantage/Disadvantage
  • Agree/Disagree
  • If/Imagine
  • Description/Explanation
TOEFL Speaking Task 1 question type explained
TOEFL Speaking Task 1 question type - Multiple choices

TOEFL Speaking Task 1 question type – Multiple choices
TOEFL Speaking Task 1 question type - Personal Choice
TOEFL Speaking Task 1 question type – Personal Choice

Speaking Question – Task 2

Task 2 questions are integrated speaking task with reading & listening material. You will read a short text, usually a campus announcement. Listen to two people discussing it, then you will be asked to restate what you have read and heard.

NEW TOEFL Speaking Task 2 question type explained
NEW TOEFL Speaking Task 2 question type explained

Speaking Question – Task 3

Task 3 questions are integrated with reading and listening materials. You will read a short text, usually about a term or a concept. Listen to a recording of a professor giving a lecture, with a student asking and/or answering questions. Then you will explain it.

New TOEFL Speaking Task 3 question type explained
New TOEFL Speaking Task 3 question type explained

Speaking Question – Task 4

Task 4 is the last question task of the TOEFL Speaking section. It is integrated with a listening material ( Academic lecture). You will listen to a lecture and summarize it.

New TOEFL Speaking Task 4 question type explained
New TOEFL Speaking Task 4 question type explained

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

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.

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.

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.

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! 

What to Expect on the TOEFL® iBT test day

Before the Test

Plan your trip to the test center to be on time

The test starts at 9:00 am. All test-takers must arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before the test begins, to check in. Late arrivals include students without enough time for check-in, who will not be allowed to take the test.

Plan your trip to the test center, learn the way there, and note the traffic, parking situation, etc.


Check-in involves electronic scanning of all test-takers for test security, producing your ID document, signing a confidentiality agreement, and the assigning of test stations.

Lock up your personal items

When checking in, you will be told to place all your personal items in a secure locker.

Other than the key for your locker and your glasses, the only item allowed in the test room is your ID document. Therefore, put everything else in the locker. If you bring water or a snack, you will be able to access them during the 10-minute break.

In some test centers where there are no lockers, you may receive a plastic bag in which to store your personal items. You will need to place the plastic bag under your chair.

Use the toilet before going into the test room!

Once you have gone into the test room, you will not be able to leave until the 10-minute break after the Reading and Listening sections.

Tip: You can be excused once for the toilet during the Reading and Listening section of the test. Just raise your hand and the supervisor will go with you to the toilet; however, the test clock will not stop during this time. If you ask to go to the toilet a second time, you will not be allowed to continue the test.

Dress in layers

Dress in layers so you can be comfortable in different room temperatures. If you take off an item of clothing during the test (e.g., a sweater), you will be told to place it in the storage area provided.
Inspection before going into the test room

The electronic scanning is to check the presence of metals, especially mobile phones. The administrator will check your ID. This is to prevent someone, who is not you, taking your test.
Going into the Test room

The test room is a computer room, usually with 30-40 computers. Most test rooms have a divider between each computer station.

The test is due to start at 9:00 am, but many test-takers start at 8:45 am. There will be test takers coming into the test room one after another before 9:00 am, which can be disturbing for those already doing the test. Being aware of this should help you deal with the situation.
Photo-taking and seating

After you go into the test room, a test administrator will ask you to sit on a chair at the side of the podium for photo-taking. Your photo will be placed at your assigned seat and will also appear on your score report.

After photo taking, you will be guided to your seat. Seats are randomly assigned, so being first into the test room does not mean you will sit in the first row.

Starting test and sign-out during the break

Before you start, wait for the test administrator to enter the password to begin the test software and confirm your identity on the test interface.

Sign-out and sign-in

During the 10-minute break, the test administrator will enter the password again (to sign you out) and will do the same before the Speaking section (to sign you back in). If the administrator does not enter the password for you, just raise your hand.

Microphone and headphone testing

Your microphone and headphone will be tested by you to make sure they are working properly. If there is a problem, raise your hand to ask for help.

TOEFL iBT Reading Section

Reading is the first section of the TOEFL iBT test. There will be three to five passages, with 12-14 questions each. You have a total of 60-100 minutes for this section, including time for reading the passages and answering the questions.

Tip: You must read through and scroll to the end of each passage and click the “Continue” button to get the questions on that passage.

Experimental questions (extra passages and questions)

ETS is doing experimental questions for the Reading and Listening sections, and some test-takers will be chosen to do them. After completing the questions on the third passage, if you see a fourth and fifth passage, it means you have been selected to do the experimental questions. Another 40 minutes is added for these questions.

The marks you get for the experimental questions will not be counted toward your score; however, you will not know which two of the five parts are experimental; they may not be the last two. Therefore, answer all questions very carefully.
Tip: For the Reading section, you can go back to the previous pages to change your answers. You will not be able to do this for the Listening section.

TOEFL iBT Listening Section

The TOEFL Listening section starts with putting on your headphone and getting the volume right. The computer will not go to the next step until you click the “Continue” button.

The Listening section should have two parts, each of about 20 minutes. Students who have been chosen for the experimental questions will have one extra part.

Each task consists of two academic lectures and a campus conversation.

The conversations are usually:

  • between a student and a professor, e.g. about the student’s learning progress or essay writing.
  • between a student and administrative staff, e.g., from the dormitories or libraries, about dormitory issues or borrowing books.

The academic lectures are longer than the conversations and may be just the professor talking or involve discussion with students, often the major part of the questions.

After the listening material is played, you both see and hear each question before seeing the answer choices. The countdown will then start, and you have 10 minutes to answer questions in each part. This is an average of 3 minutes 20 seconds to answer five to six questions, and most test-takers take only about 10 minutes to answer all the questions.

Remember: Unlike the Reading section, in the Listening section, it is NOT possible to go back and change your answers.

If you have experimental questions for the Listening section, you will have nine listening tasks in total: three conversations and six lectures. Again, you will not know which questions these are. If you do not have any experimental questions, you will have only six listening tasks in total (two conversations and four lectures).
10-minute break

After the Listening section, you will have a break for 10 minutes. During the break, your computer will go into countdown status, and you cannot start the next section.

Tip: Test-takers start this break at different times.

You can go to the toilet during your break. However, most test centers allow only one male and one female test-taker to leave the test room at the same time. Most test centers allow test-takers to eat and drink during this break, but only outside the test room.

If you have brought some materials to prepare for the Speaking section, you can make use of this break to write down anything useful on the scratch paper.

TOEFL iBT Speaking section

After the break, the administrator will re-enter the password to sign you back into the test. Before the actual speaking question, a recording test with one question is done to ensure your microphone is working properly. Usually, this question is something like: “Describe the city you live in.”

As all the test-takers have the same questions, many of them listen to what their neighbors say to “predict” their own questions, but a question about your city is probably for testing the recording.

If you fail to record your voice, try to speak in a much louder voice. Some test-takers adjust the volume several times before the recording test is successful. If this happens to you, speak louder during the recording test, and make sure you speak at least as loud for the actual test.

The Speaking section is about 20 minutes long and includes six tasks.

For the first two tasks, you have 15 seconds of preparation time after you both hear and see the question, and 45 seconds to record your answer.

Speaking Task 1

Task 1 will be about a familiar topic – a person, place, object or event, e.g., a person that you respect and the reason, a book that you like and the reason, a memorable event and the reason.

Speaking Task 2

Task 2 asks you to make a personal choice between two contrasting behaviors or courses of action.

The remaining questions (Tasks 3-6) combine reading and/or listening with a spoken question.

Speaking Task 3

Task 3, Fit and Explain, has a passage of 75-100 words about a campus-related issue. You will have about 45 seconds to read it before it is hidden. Take notes! You will then listen to a recording of about 1 minute; then you are asked to summarize the speaker’s opinion about the issue. You have 30 seconds of preparation time and 60 seconds to record your answer. The most common topic for Task 3 is a school notice about a new rule or policy, and the reasons for it. The recording is usually a discussion about it between students.

Speaking Task 4

Task 4 is about academic issues, based on a reading passage of 75-100 words and part of a lecture (150-220 words). You have 30 seconds of preparation time and 60 seconds to record your answer.

Speaking Task 5

Task 5 has a 1-minute recording, usually about a problem that a student has, with another student or teacher trying to find a solution, often suggesting two solutions. You will need to summarize what you have heard, choose one solution and explain why you chose it. You have 20 seconds of preparation time and 60 seconds to record your answer.

Speaking Task 6

Task 6 is about academic issues, based on part of a lecture (90-120 seconds; 230-280 words) that explains a term or concept and gives examples. You need to summarize what you hear and show your understanding of the examples. You have 20 seconds of preparation time and 60 seconds to record your answer.

During the test, you will probably hear some of the other test-takers answering their questions. Being aware of this should help you deal with the situation.

Tip: The actual test is about 56 minutes; this includes the 4 minutes of test instructions and waiting time.

TOEFL iBT Writing section

Integrated task

The integrated writing task tests your ability to understand material from different sources (reading and listening), and whether you can combine information from those sources in a well-organized written summary.

You have 3 minutes to read an academic passage of about 250-300 words. Then the passage will be hidden, and you will hear a recording about the passage. After the recording, the passage is shown again. You have 20 minutes to write a response that refers to both sources (reading and listening).

Tip: During the writing time, you will be able to read the written passage, but you won’t be able to hear the recording again. To do well, you must take many notes and write down keywords and key phrases while you listen to the recording.

Independent task

You will be asked a question on a particular topic or issue. You have 30 minutes to write a response, expressing your opinion about it.

The computer will do a word count as you write. Your response should be at least 300 words.

The two writing tasks are done using a standard QWERTY English-language keyboard.

The computer will not correct spelling mistakes. Try to prepare yourself for the test by practicing on a piece of paper, or using software that does not automatically correct typing errors.

At the end of the TOEFL iBT test, you will be asked if you would like to do a survey by ETS for research purposes, and whether you agree to ETS using your information (including your answers).

Tip: At the end of the test, you will be asked to submit or cancel your scores. If you choose not to submit them, they will be lost, unless you pay to restore the results within 10 days after your test date. Your score will be ready for you to check online about 10 days after the test date.

If you have asked to have your scores submitted to a school, ETS will automatically forward them as soon as they are ready. Once this request has been made, it cannot be canceled.

2018 Trending TOEFL iBT Speaking Questions

TOP 1: Campus life, around 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, around 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, around 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, around 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, around 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 ……

TOEFL iBT Speaking Guide

The Speaking section of TOEFL iBT test measures your ability to speak English in the campus environment, it takes 20 minutes to complete, of which the test time is 15 minutes and the other 5 minutes is for preparation and standby time.

There are a total of six question tasks you have to answer during the Speaking test: two independent speaking questions and four integrated speaking questions.


  • Task 1: Personal Experience – choose from one option
  • Task 2: Personal Preference – choose from two option
  • Task 3: Campus Announcement – explain your opinion on a campus issue
  • Task 4: General to Specific – explain a lecture topic
  • Task 5: Problem and Solution – explain a campus life problem
  • Task 6: Academic Lecture – explain a lecture