Online TOEFL Sample Questions


Online TOEFL sample questions can help you get used to the ETS’ official exam.  In this article, you will see sample independent speaking and writing tasks. In addition, you will see models of how you should answer these types of questions.  Seeing model responses will give you an idea of what you need to do so you can get the highest score possible:

Online TOEFL sample questions

Online TOEFL sample questions

Online TOEFL Sample Questions:  Paired-Choice Independent Speaking Task

In this type of TOEFL speaking question, you will be asked to choose between (or among) 2-3 choices.

Sample question:  What do you think is better: studying alone or studying with a group? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

General  Tips when answering this type of question

  • Restate the speaking prompt in introduction of your response
  • Choose one of the choices, and do NOT try to discuss both options.
  • Use personal examples to explain your ideas. If you do not have any personal examples, make some up.
  • Avoid the “you” or second person point of view. 

Online TOEFL Sample Questions: 45-Second Model Response

Audio response:

Listening script: I prefer to study alone since I have fewer distractions and since I can study more efficiently.

First of all, studying alone has fewer distractions.  For instance, last semester, I prepared for a vocabulary final exam. Since I was studying alone, I was not distracted. If I had been studying in a group, I would have been distracted by others.

Second of all, I also prefer to study alone since I can do my homework more efficiently. I spent about 2.5 hours, for instance, preparing for my vocabulary final exam. Having no one else to talk to, I wrote down each word plus its definition onto notecards.  I did not have to engage in small talk with anyone, so I finished preparing for this test much more efficiently than if I had been studying with others.

Therefore, my personal preference is to study alone.

Online TOEFL Sample Questions: Independent Writing Task

This writing task will ask you to draw on your personal experience. Further, you will need to explain whether you agree or disagree with some type of idea.

Sample Question: “Not complaining when you have difficulties is a good rule to follow.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

General Tips when answering this type of question

  • Restate the writing prompt as part of your thesis.
  • Repeat each key point from thesis in topic sentences of body paragraphs 1-3.
  • Use a specific example in each body paragraph to develop your argument.
  • Use transition words in each body paragraph so it is easy to understand how your ideas are connected.
  • Avoid the “you” or second person point of view.

Online TOEFL Sample Questions: Five Paragraph Model Response


People respond to adversity differently. During a difficult ordeal, some people may choose to complain about their difficulties. They believe that complaining about these obstacles will help them persevere. On the other hand, other people choose not to complain about their difficult situations.  They think showing negativity will only compound their difficulties. Personally, not complaining will ultimately foster better relationships at work, it will help me to avoid being depressed, and it will make me a more productive person. Therefore, I wholeheartedly agree that it is wise not to complain when I have difficulties.


First of all, if I do not complain about my difficulties, I can have better relationships at work.  To illustrate, I have a colleague where I work who complains a lot about other co-workers.  Last week, for example, she overheard a conversation of two colleagues who were discussing whether or not it was necessary to build a wall at the Mexico/California border.  She was offended that the one colleague was in favor of having a wall built, so she complained to her boss about the conversation that she overheard.  Eventually, since she complained a lot about a lot of things, she could not get along very well with other co-workers. Unfortunately, her negativity got her fired since she did not have good relationships with others at her job.

Second of all,  complaining about my difficulties will only make me sadder.  Last month, I had a car accident while driving to work. The accident was my fault, so I had no one to blame but myself. However, I did not complain about the car wreck since I knew it would not change the outcome of what had happened. I also did not complain because verbally displaying this type of negativity makes me sadder.  When I complain, it makes me concentrate so much on the difficult situation that I forget about all the positive things happening in my life. For example, even though I had that car accident, I had a good job, a beautiful family, and a wife who supported me. As a result, I did not complain about the car accident because it would have only made me sadder.

Finally, I prefer not to complain too much because it affects my productivity. For illustrate, if I had complained a lot about the car accident, I would have neglected my family.  My son wants me to read to him every night before he goes to bed. If I had complained a lot about the car accident, I might not have read to him that night.  Perhaps, I might not have emptied the garbage or mowed the lawn that day. When I complain, I become negative. When I am negative, I do not feel like doing chores around the house nor do I feel like being sociable with my family or my spouse. Complaining, therefore, limits my productivity.


To sum up,  I agree that it is a good rule not to complain much about the difficulties I face. Rather, being positive will help me to get along better with others at work, it will help me to avoid depression, and it will help me to be a more productive individual.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,

Online TOEFL Preparation Course