Saturday, July 12, 2014

Unusual (New) TOEFL Speaking Questions - 1 and 2

Today I learned that on last week's TOEFL exam in Manhattan, there were slight changes in the first two speaking questions.  Apparently the questions were not simple one sentence questions. Instead, a situation was described and the TOEFL taker was asked to make a choice and support it in regard to the situation.

For instance:  Let's say that you are accepted to two university graduate programs.  One program is considered prestigious, but they can only offer you a loan to pay for your very expensive tuition, while the other program is an average program, but they are willing to give you a scholarship. Which program would you choose to attend? 

You can handle this type of question using the same format that I recommended for other types of 1 and 2 questions:

Reason 1
Example 1
Reason 2
Example 2
Conclusion, using 'Although..."

An example:

Intro: If I were admitted to a prestigious school, which offered no financial aid other than a loan, or an average school, which offered a scholarship, I would choose the prestigious school for two reasons.

R1: First of all, I want the best educational experience possible.

E1: I think it would be a real shame to choose a school just due to financial considerations.  You only live once and should not allow money to determine your choices.  If I am lucky enough to get into a great school, I would be foolish to turn that experience down.

R2: With great credentials, I can pay off my loans easily.

E2: OK, it's true I'll go deep into debt, but it will be worth it.  I'll learn amazing things, meet amazing people and if the school is really great, everyone will want to hire me and I'll get a job easily and pay off the loan quickly.

Conclusion: Although it's true that living with debt is stressful and we should do what we can to avoid going into debt, education is especially meaningful to me. I want to go to the best school possible regardless of the cost and paying off a loan does not have to be a terrible experience.