Friday, March 24, 2017

Pieces of advice for the TOEFL speaking questions

For questions # 1 and #2

1) Your reasons should be as short as possible and not longer than a sentence. 

i.e. I go swimming in the summer because it is good for my health. Then: example. 
I also swim because it is a good social opportunity. Then: example.

Describe a common drink that you drink.
I drink tea because it is good for my health./ It is cheap. / It is stimulating. / It is a social custom in my country. (Short reasons)

2) Make sure your example is different from your reason. Some students just repeat their reason in different words. This does NOT work. You lose points by doing this. An example is different from a reason.

3) By the 25 second mark you should be switching to your second reason.

4) Keep your examples realistic and DETAILED.

For question #3

1) Identify what the reading passage is from: an announcement, a flyer, an email message sent by the professor, a letter to the school newspaper etc..

In this announcement from the university we learn that... 
In this letter to the school newspaper a student proposes that...

2) Be aware that something will be created, changed or eliminated according to the reading. You can use these verbs in your answer: In this memo from the Provost's Office we learn that the university is changing its policy concerning ____________. Now students will have to _____________.

3) When you talk about the reading, talk about what is happening and why. Do not talk about the reading for more than 15 or 20 seconds. You can talk about the reading in two or three short sentences.

4) Catch important verbs and key words in the dialogue that you can use in your answer

5) You can transition from speaking about the reading to speaking about the dialogue by saying: In the dialogue the male/female student agrees/disagrees with this __________________. First he/she says....

For question #4

1) Be able to define the topic of the reading in your own simple words. Use subject + verb + object if you can.

"In this academic reading passage we learn that ________ is a __________"
The professor gives 2 examples of this.

2) "When" is useful in defining a term. i.e. Mutualism is when two organisms help each other.

3) Listen for useful verbs and keywords in the lecture that you can use in your answer.

For question # 5

1) Identify which piece of advice sucks the least. Neither piece of advice is going to be a good piece of advice - they want you to think and so they give you two less than desirable pieces of advice. If one piece of advice is impossible, recognize that. Please, use common sense - one piece of advice is often impossible or really bad. Do NOT choose the worst piece of advice.

2) Learn how to use recommend and suggest properly

3) Do not say 'advices' - pieces of advice. Advice is uncountable.

4) State the problem + 2 pieces of advice + I think the student should....+ Further I would not recommend that....... Please study this:

For question #6

1) Determine the purpose of the professor's lecture PRECISELY. The purpose of this professor's lecture is to teach us two ways that plant/insect mutualism occurs. Don't say, This lecture is about mutualism. This shows that a student is lazy and sloppy.

2) The professor will give two examples of his topic. In each example there will be an explanation and after each explanation the professor will probably also give an example of the explanation. Get the explanation and the example and use them both in your answer.

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