TOEFL Speaking Question Type: INDEPENDENT QUESTIONS : QUESTIONS 2 and the sample answer.
In this second Independent Speaking Task, you will be presented with two possible actions, situations, or opinions. Then you will be asked to say which of the actions or situations you think is preferable or which opinion you think is more justified and then explain your choice by providing reasons and details. As with question 1, you will have 45 seconds to give your response.
Topics for this question include everyday issues of general interest to a student. You may be asked, for example, whether you think it is better to study at home or at the library, or whether you think students should take courses from a wide variety of fields or else focus on a single subject area, or whether first-year college students should be required to live in the dormitory or be allowed to live off campus in apart¬ments of their own. You could also be presented with two opposing opinions about a familiar topic—for example, about whether or not television has been a benefit for humanity—and you would then be asked which of the two opinions you agree with.
This question will always ask you to state what your choice or preference or opinion is and to explain why—in other words, to support your answer with reasons, explanations, details, and/or examples. It is important that you respond to all parts of the ques¬tion, and that you are clear about what your opinion is and give reasons that will communicate why you have made the choice you did. It does not matter which of the two actions, situations, or opinions you choose, and, as with Question 1, there is no "right" or "wrong" answer. Your response will be rated not on which of the alternatives you choose but rather on how well you explain your choice by supporting it with reasons and details.
Like Question 1, this question will appear on your computer screen and be read aloud at the same time by the narrator, and you will be given 15 seconds to prepare an answer. You should use this time to think about what you want to say, organize your thoughts, and jot down some notes if you feel this will be help¬ful. But remember, you should not try to write out a full answer—just a few words or phrases that may help remind you of the direction you want to take in giving your response.
One good exercise would be to state an opinion or a preference and then present supporting reasons clearly and with detail.
Study and practice words and expressions commonly used to express opinions, such as:
In my opinion ...
I believe ...
2. Some students study for classes individually. Others study in groups. Which method of studying do you think is better for students and why.
Preparation Time: 15 Seconds
Response Time 45 Seconds
After you hear the question, you will be told when to begin to prepare your response and when to begin speaking. As with question 1, a "Preparation Time" clock will appear below the question and begin to count down from 15 seconds (00:00:15). At the end of 15 seconds you will hear a short beep. After the beep, the clock will change to read "Response Time" and will begin to count down from 45 seconds (00:00:45). When the response time has ended, recording will stop and a new screen will appear alerting you that the response time has ended.
In answering a question like this one, it is important that you begin by clearly stat¬ing what your opinion is: do you think it is better for students to study for classes individually or do you think it is better for them to study in groups? If you do not begin by stating your opinion, it may be difficult for someone listening to your response to understand your reasons for holding that opinion. As for the reasons you give in support of your opinion, they can vary widely and may be based on your own experience and observations. For example, if the position you take is that it is better for students to study alone, you might say that when students meet to study in groups, they often waste time discussing matters that have nothing to do with their class work. You might continue this explanation by contrasting the inefficiency of studying in a group with the kind of productivity a student can achieve when studying alone. If you have personal experi¬ences that help illustrate your point, you might want to include them in your expla¬nation. If so, you should be clear about how they illustrate your point. Or perhaps you want to take the opposite position, that it is better for students to study in groups. In that case, you would explain the advantages of group study and the disadvantages of studying alone. Perhaps you think that the more capable students can help the less capable students when students study together. Or perhaps you have found that stu¬dents who study in groups often share each other\'s lecture notes and this way they can make sure everyone understands all the material that has been covered in a course. There are any number of good reasons for either choice. In fact, it may be your opinion that in some cases it is better to study in groups and in other cases it is better to study alone. If that is the opinion you would like to express, you should explain—with reasons, examples, and/or specific details—why group study is better in some cases and individual study is better in others. Here again, there is no "right" or "wrong" answer to a question like this. The important thing is to clearly commu¬nicate to the person who will be listening to your response what your opinion is and explain the reasons you have for holding it.
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