TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies

 

 

These TOEFL test-taking strategies will help you to get the highest score possible. The day comes when you are ready to take the TOEFL iBT, right? So, what should you do as you complete the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections? Why type of TOEFL test-taking strategies do you need to know in order to score higher?

TOEFL test-taking strategies

With TOEFL test-taking strategies, generally speaking, you should not waste time reading the directions for any section of the TOEFL exam on test day.  Get familiar with the structure of the test BEFORE test-day. Most students will take a full-length four hour iBT practice test before test day. Taking a practice test will

  • Help them to become familiar with the structure of the TOEFL exam.
  • Familiarize them with the directions for all sections of the exam so they do not need to do that on test day.
  • Give students practice concentrating in English for almost five hours.
  • Provide a benchmark of their progress. Students often use the practice test score information to determine whether or not they are ready to take the official TOEFL exam.
  • Taking a practice will help you learn the TOEFL test-taking strategies that you need to know so that you can improve your score.

Email me at mbuckhoff@aol.com if you want to take one of these accurate, realistic full-length practice tests.  Indeed, taking a full-length four practice test are effective TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies.

 

TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies: Reading

TOEFL test-taking strategies

TOEFL test-taking strategies

Reading can be challenging for many simply because they are trying to read in a new language. Once you begin the reading section, consider the following TOEFL test-taking strategies.

Skim through the paragraphs in the first reading passage.  After each paragraph, jot down 2-3 words which explain what is happening. The idea here is to create a mind so you do not have to keep reading the passage over and over.

Then, go to the questions.  Read each question to find out what you need to do in order to answer correctly. Understanding how to answer each of these questions will help you move through the reading section much faster and more accurately on test day. The TOEFL test-taking strategies below will help you to navigate quickly through the reading passages.

Main idea: These TOEFL test-taking strategies will help you with main idea questions. “What is the main idea…?” asks you to identify the main point of ALL the passage.

As a result, skim thorough each paragraph. Pay attention to the first and last line.  Skim through the middle part of each paragraph quickly.

Then choose the answer which bests explains the purpose of the ENTIRE passage.

Be careful of answers which are too general or too specific. These are the TOEFL test-taking strategies for main idea questions.

Detail: There are also TOEFL test-taking strategies for the detail questions. “According to paragraph X, what is…..?” asks you to find some details from the passage.

In many cases, you will go to a specific paragraph to find some related information from the question.

Once you find the relevant information, choose an answer which best restates the information that you have just read.

Vocabulary: These TOEFL test-taking strategies will help you perform better with vocabulary questions. “The word ‘……..’ in the passage in closest in meaning to….?” requires you to understand vocabulary words you have never seen before.

Go into the passage to find the vocabulary word that you are trying to understand. Read the sentence before the word, the sentence using the word, and one last sentence after the word is used.

Then use the context to guess what the most likely meaning of the word is.

Be careful if you are identifying a vocabulary word you have already seen. In this case, the word may have an unusual meaning.  Look for an answer that expresses the most unusual meaning to that word.

Do NOT spend more than a minute answering this question. If you have no idea what the word means, make a guess and move on to the next question.

Pronoun referent question: These types of referent questions have TOEFL test-taking strategies.  “What does ‘it’ refer to in the passage?” asks you about pronoun referents such as “that,” “which,” “it,” “they,” and so on.

Once you identify the pronoun, go back to a previous part of that sentence or even the previous sentence to see what noun the pronoun is referring to.

In some cases, you might need to read ahead in the sentence or in the next sentence to identify which specific noun the pronoun refers to.

Implied detail: The TOEFL test-taking strategies here will help you with the inference type of reading question. “What does the author imply…..?” or  “What can be inferred about…..” represents an implied detail question.

Identify some key words in the passage to help you with TOEFL test-taking strategies. Then go to the passage to find those key words or related words.

Then you need to draw a conclusion about what is being said.

Choose the answer choice that is the most likely conclusion that can be drawn from what you read. Remember that the correct answer will NOT be directly stated in the passage.

Rhetorical:“Why does the author mention…?” is a rhetorical question.  In this case, you should try to understand how certain parts of sentences are related to other sentences. Doing this will improve your TOEFL test-taking strategies with rhetorical questions. Even you might have to look at how one word or idea relates to other words or ideas in other paragraphs.

Go to the passage to find some key words or related words from the passage.

Then try to see how these ideas relate to other ideas in that or another paragraph. Where you see this question will effect how you need to answer it:

      • 1st line of second paragraph: Consider how the information is related to the thesis of the first paragraph. For instance, does it provide a supporting point for the thesis?
      • 1st line of any remaining paragraphs: Consider how the information fits into the topic of the previous paragraph and into the passage as a whole. For example, does it add or contradict the topic of the previous paragraph?
      • Last line of any remaining paragraphs, consider how the information is related to the topic of that paragraph. Or, perhaps, the author might be transitioning to a new idea in the next paragraph.

Insert a sentence: Look at the four squares [♦] that indicate where you should add the following sentence. Then, apply these TOEFL test-taking strategies.

Study the sentence to be inserted for any key words in the beginning or end.

Look for ideas in the sentences after each insertion box to see if you see any ideas that connect back to the sentence to be inserted. For more practice with this type of reading question, go here.

Summary: This question type contains six answer choices. You will select three of the choices and drag and drop them next to the bullets.  The summary question type is worth more than one point.  To answer this question, use these TOEFL test-taking strategies to improve your TOEFL test-taking strategies with this type of question:

Carefully read the topic statement in the summary chart.

Read the passage, especially focusing on the most important points that relate to the topic in the summary chart.

Read each answer choice. Evaluate whether or not it is a major or minor factor related to the topic statement.

Eliminate any false or not mentioned statements.

Select the answer choices that are true or are the most important points as your correct answers.

Remember that you can get partial points. Also, remember that you can put your answers in any particular order.

Category chart:  Several TOEFL test-taking strategies for the category chart question will help you perform better. This type of question comprises 5-7 answer choices and two categories. You will need to drag and drop your answer choices into these categories.  In some cases, you will not need to use all the answer choices in answering the question.  Like summary questions, this question is worth more than more point.  To answer this question correctly, you need to understand the main point and most important points of the passage.  The answers to this type of question, consequently, are found throughout the passage.  Here are TOEFL test-taking strategies on how to answer the category chart question:

Pay close attention to the information provided in the schematic table.

Read the passage. Keep in mind the main points as they relate to the topics in the schematic table.

Read each answer choice. Determine whether it is true, false, or not mentioned.

Eliminate any false or not discussed answers.

Match the true answers according to their respective category in the chart.

Remember that you can get partial credit and that answers may appear in any order.

Useful TOEFL test-taking strategies links for reading

Useful TOEFL reading practice links

Useful TOEFL reading practice links

Here are some TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies links that will help you improve your TOEFL reading score. I will provide a brief description of each link.

TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies: Listening

TOEFL listening test taking strategies

TOEFL listening test taking strategies

Online TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies will introduce to you the six types of listening questions types. You will also learn the TOEFL test-taking strategies for answering each question type. Finally, you will complete a TOEFL listening practice test so that you can practice what you just learned.

These links will take you to additional TOEFL test-taking strategies at my web site to give you more practice with your listening comprehension skills:

Useful TOEFL test-taking strategies links for listening

Useful TOEFL listening links

Useful TOEFL listening links

TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies: 100 Speaking Topics

TOEFL speaking test-taking strategies

TOEFL speaking test-taking strategies

Lasting only 20 minutes, the speaking section challenges many students.  The speaking section is especially difficult if you are trying to score 26+. During this section, you will answer different kinds of speaking tasks. Once you hear the question, you will have about 15-30 seconds to prepare your response.  As you can see below, there are many possible types of questions that you may be asked. In addition, the TOEFL changes the question format almost yearly. As a result, there is no way for sure to predict what type of question you will be asked.

TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies for Independent Speaking Task

TOEFL test-taking strategies, of course, will help you to perform optimally on the speaking section.  Here are some general TOEFL test-taking strategies:

Do NOT use templates: You’ve seen templates for speaking and writing all over the Internet, right?

  • Templates reveal your limitations with your grammar, vocabulary, and topic development.
  • If you already knew how to structure your ideas, you would not need to rely on templates.
  • If you already had a good knowledge of vocabulary, you would not have to memorize formulaic expressions, around which you would frame your responses.
  • Since the templates are posted at Magoosh, Bestmytest, Prepscholar, and a 1000 other web sites, TOEFL iBT human raters can easily recognize when they are being used. You will receive a lower score consequently.

Students will use a template even if it does not fit the speaking task: When students send me speaking tasks for me to grade, they sometimes will use a template that they learned from another web site to answer a TOEFL practice question.  Then they end up not addressing the speaking task and score lower as a result.

Practice makes perfect: Instead of using templates, as you practice these speaking tasks, you will learn to develop your own unique organization and structure that sounds natural.  As you practice these tests, record yourself answering the tasks. Here are some general guidelines to help you:

  • With any TOEFL speaking task, you need to decode the task. Ask yourself, “How many parts are there to this speaking task?”
  • With each part of the speaking task, restate the prompt using slightly different words. For example, if you are asked, “What was your favorite course in high school?”, you could begin by saying, “The class I enjoyed in high school was….”
  • The examples that you provide in the independent speaking tasks should be precise. Avoid using general, impersonal examples!
  • Make sure that you use transition words to connect your ideas together.
  • You will need to provide reasons to support your points. As a result, only use two reasons to support your argument. However, if you find during your practice that you cannot provide two reasons plus specific examples for both in the 45 second time limit, then you should only provide one reason. Then, you spend 30 seconds or so using specific examples to support that one point.

TOEFL Independent Speaking Task 1–100 topics: Personal experience, Stating opinions, Three choices, and Giving Advice

Personal experience topics 1-10

Ten personal experience TOEFL speaking topics

Ten personal experience TOEFL speaking topics

1. What was your favorite course in high school? Why did you enjoy it so much?

2. Talk about an embarrassing situation that you had.

3. Explain a difficult decision that you had to make. Who helped you to make this decision?

4. Sometimes people experience an event that may change them in important ways. Describe an event which happened to you. How did it change you?

5. What is one thing that you have learned now that you wish you had learned when you were younger?

6. What is a difficult obstacle that you have had to overcome recently? Why was it so difficult to solve this problem?

7. What is your favorite holiday of the year? Why do you enjoy this holiday so much?

8. Many people look forward to summer. What is your favorite thing that you like to do during the summer? Explain why you like to do it so much.

9. What is the most important thing that you learned from your parents?  Explain how learning this has affected your life right now.

10. What is your favorite hobby that you like to participate in when you have free time? Explain why you like to do it so much.

Stating opinions topics 11-20

Ten state your opinion TOEFL speaking topics

Ten state your opinion TOEFL speaking topics

11. Is the smartphone a useful tool for education?  Give examples to support your opinion.

12. Should society ban gasoline powered cars? Use some examples to support your argument.

13. Is group study better than individual study? Why or why not? Give examples to support your explanation.

14. Is it OK to tell a lie as long as it does not hurt anyone? Use examples and details to support your argument.

15. Is exercising more important than having a healthy diet? Why or why not? Give some reasons and examples to support your position.

16. Should most general education classes be omitted at universities?  Use some examples and reasons to support your opinion.

17. Should red meat be part of most people’s diet? Give reasons and examples to support your opinion.

18. Because of harmful emissions, should fossil-fuel powered automobiles be banned? Why or why not? Give reasons and examples to support your assertions.

19. Is it Ok to pay someone to write your college papers? Why or why not?  Give examples and reasons to support your ideas.

20.  Is solar power an effective alternative to fossil-fuel electricity? Present some examples to support your opinion.

Three choices topics 21-30

10 three choice TOEFL speaking topics

10 three choice TOEFL speaking topics

21. Which of the following qualities is most important in a roommate? Honesty, respect, or cleanliness.

22. In your opinion who has the most influence on your life right now? Spouse, sibling, or parent.

23. Which human right is most valuable to you? Freedom of religion, the right to have free healthcare, or freedom of speech. Use examples and reasons to explain your choice.

24. Which natural disaster causes more damage to a city? A tornado, an earthquake, or a massive flood.

25. If you were stranded on a uninhabited lush island, which tool you would find most useful? A sharp knife, a firestick, or 10 meters of rope.

26. Which form of transportation do you find most useful in a large city? A car, a bus, or a subway.

27. Which invention has had more of an impact on people’s lives? The automobile, the computer, or the airplane.

28. What motivates employees to be more productive? Praise, monetary bonuses, or paid vacation time.

29.  Which job is most appealing to you? An airplane pilot, an accountant, or a teacher.

30. Which employee would you likely fire? One who often shows up late, one who complains a lot, or one who is lazy.

Giving advice topics 31-40

10 giving advice TOEFL speaking topics

10 giving advice TOEFL speaking topics

31. Your friend has a job interview tomorrow and is nervous. What advice would you give your friend to help him be calm?

32. Someone you know is preparing for an important biology exam. This exam requires a lot of memorization. What advice would you tell your friend so that he/she is well-prepared?

33. You have a friend from abroad who is coming to visit your city. What tourist attractions would you advise him to visit?

34. You have a sibling who is fat and wants to lose weight. What would you advise him/her to do to safely lose the extra pounds?

35. Someone you know doesn’t know what to major in.  What advice would you give him/her so that he/she can choose a career path?

36.  A friend you know needs to kick a roommate out of his apartment because your friend caught the roommate stealing. What advice would you give your friend in this situation?

37. You have a friend who wants to buy a gift for her boyfriend. However, your friend doesn’t know what to buy. What advice would you give her?

38. Your friend wants to ask his boss for a pay raise, but your friend doesn’t know how to do that. What advice would you give him?

39. Your friend is dating someone who smokes. However, your friend doesn’t like smokers. What advice would you give your friend.

40. Your friend is thinking of buying a new house. However, she is having trouble saving enough money for a down payment. What advice would you give her?

Task 2: Agree or Disagree, Preference, If / Imaginary, Description or Explanation, and Advantage and Disadvantage

Agree or disagree topics 41-50

10 agree or disagree TOEFL speaking topics

10 agree or disagree TOEFL speaking topics

41. Studying in a group is better than studying alone. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

42. Some say you should never let close friends borrow your car.  Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

43. Having a healthy economy is more important than environmental concerns. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

44. Cell phones should not be used in restaurants, movie theaters, and museums.  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

45. Some politicians argue that all people in a society should be given a living wage, even if some they are unwilling to work. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

46. Being direct and completely honest in a conversation will help you to make more friends. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

47. Your peers have more of an influence on you than your peers. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

48. Lowering taxes is much better than raising them. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

49.  You should never give advice to coworkers. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

50. If you have gas, you should fart in public places as long as you do not let others know it was you. Do you agree or disagree with this idea?

Preference topics 51-60

10 personal preference TOEFL speaking topics

10 personal preference TOEFL speaking topics

51.  Some people prefer to buy used cars, while others like to purchase new ones. Which do you prefer and why?

52. Some students work during their education to pay for their tuition costs. In contrast, others students take loans instead. Which do you prefer? Give specific reasons and examples for your choice.

53. When having difficulty in class, some students will talk to other students in the class to get help. However, other students will talk to the professor about the course during his/her office hours. Which do you prefer and why? Give some examples and reasons to support your preference.

54. Some believe that drug dealers should get a lot of prison time, whereas others believe that they not go to jail at all. What position do you prefer and why?  Be sure to explain why.

55. Some people think politicians should serve indefinitely as long as voters keep electing them.  On the other hand, others believe that these political leaders should be limited to only two terms or no more than eight years. What position do you prefer? Give reasons and examples to support your choice.

56. Some people believe that you should not be honest if it hurts someone else’s feelings.  Other believe that you should be honest no matter what. Which belief do you prefer and why? Give examples and reasons to support your belief.

57. Some people believe we should stop drilling for oil. Others, however, think we should keep drilling for oil since it is so vital to our economy. Which belief do you prefer and why? Give some reasons and examples to support your point of view.

58. Some believe that poor people should be given a base income of money monthly to help them pay their bills. Other think that poor people should not become dependent on monthly governmental payments. Which position do you prefer?

59.  Some states in the United States have banned using hand-held phones while driving. Other states have not enacted laws restricting cell phone use while driving. Which opinion do you prefer and why? Use examples and reasons to support your point of view

60.  Some believe that marijuana and other recreational drugs should be legalized. Conversely, others believe that these drugs are harmful and should never be legalized. Which position do you prefer? Use some reasons and details to support your point of view.

If / imaginary topics 61-70

10 imaginary "if" TOEFL speaking topics

10 imaginary “if” TOEFL speaking topics

61. Imagine that you won a sum of 10 million dollars in the lottery.  In addition, you were required to donate 1/2 of those winnings to either a local hospital or a school. Which one would you donate the money to and why?

62. If you had to make one change about your past, what would that change be? Explain how making that change would have affected your life.

63. If you were granted one wish right now in your life, what would you wish for and why? Be sure to use some examples and reasons to support your answer

64. If you had a chance to learn a new language other than your first language and other than English, what language would you like to learn? Why would you want to learn that language?

65. If you were a doctor and were given unlimited funding for research, which disease would you most likely work to find a cure.  Why would finding a cure for this disease be beneficial for society?

66. If you could make one change about your country, what change would you want your country to make. Why would making that change be important?

67. If you could eliminate one recent invention in our civilization, what invention would you get rid of? Why would you want to eliminate that invention?

68. If you could pick any profession in the world, what job would you most likely want to have? Why would having that job be important for you?

69. If you were an astronaut and had the power to visit one planet in our solar system, which planet would you want to visit? Why would visiting that planet be important to you?

70.  If you had to will power to get rid of one unhealthy food from your diet, which food would you eliminate?  Why would getting rid of that food make you more healthy?

Description or explanation topics 71-80

10 describe and explain TOEFL speaking topics

10 describe and explain TOEFL speaking topics

71. Describe a person you know. Then explain why he/she is important to you.

72. What is a hobby that you like to do when you have free time? Explain why you enjoy this hobby so much.

73. What is an important skill that all students should learn before graduating from college. Explain why that skill is important in the workplace.

74. Describe a place you visited when you were younger. Explain a favorite memory you had while visiting that place.

75. What is an important skill for workers in the 21st century? Explain why learning that skill is so important.

76. Describe a place in your city that you would like tourists to visit. Then explain why these tourists should visit this place.

77. What is a difficult class you took when you were in high school? Explain why it was so hard for you.

78. Describe an activity that you like to do with your friends or family. Then explain why you like this activity so much.

79. Describe a main dish that you and your family enjoy.  Explain why you like eating this food so much.

80. What is a difficult obstacle or challenge that you have had to overcome? Explain why it was difficult and how  you overcame it.

Advantage and disadvantage topics 81-100

20 advantage and disadvantage TOEFL speaking topics

20 advantage and disadvantage TOEFL speaking topics

81. Some people are making most of their friends online without ever meeting these individuals in person. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of social interaction?

82. The government wants to build a military near your community. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a military facility near your neighborhood?

83. A professor has decided to let students grade the last oral presentation in his/her course. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having students, not the professor, grade each other?

84. A company wants to pay workers according to their productivity instead of paying them hourly. What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this?

85. Some cultures encourage their residents to have parents arrange marriages for their children. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having arranged marriages?

86. Some tourists like to go on a vacation without a specific plan.  What are advantages and disadvantages of a spontaneous vacation?

87. Some consumers prefer to pay cash for everything they buy. What are advantages and disadvantages of avoiding the use of credit cards when purchasing new items?

88. Some say that people who sell drugs should not go to jail very long.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of the early release from prisons of criminals who sell drugs?

89. Many political leaders want to increase taxes on the rich up to 70% of their annual income, especially those who are millionaires or billionaires. What are the advantages and disadvantages of taxing the ultra-rich?

90. Los Angeles is considering making drivers pay additional taxes based on how many miles they drive each year. What are advantages and disadvantages of this consideration?

91. New homes should be required to install solar panels on their roofs so that the new owners can get clean energy from the sun. What are advantages and disadvantages of having this new mandate?

92. Some believe that we should have a wall at the southern border of the United States in order to stop the flow of illegal immigration. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this policy?

93. The city council has notified you that officials plan to build an elementary school right outside of your neighborhood. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having an educational facility near where you live?

94.  Your city wants to install cameras in major intersections all throughout town. The cameras will be used to issue traffic citations when drivers go through red lights without stopping. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having these traffic cameras installed?

95. In order to decrease obesity, some believe that an extra tax should be placed on sugary beverages such as Coca Cola and Pepsi. What are the advantages and disadvantages of taxing these sugary drinks?

96. In many graduate programs, professor encourage the students to teach many of the classes. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having students lead the discussions?

97. Some believe that all residents in a community should be required to grow some of the vegetables and fruits that they eat. What are the advantages and disadvantages requiring residents to have gardens?

98. Some think that scientists and doctors should be able to use genetic engineering to help parents choose the hair color, eye color, and even the height of their children. In addition, genetic engineering, some claim, can eliminate hereditary diseases.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of genetic engineering?

99.  Some countries place cameras on major freeways so that officials can send speeding tickets to reckless drivers. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having these cameras on freeways?

100. Some couples decide to move in together before they decide to marry. What are advantages and disadvantages of living with your boyfriend or girlfriend before marrying?

TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies for Integrated Speaking Tasks

Four integrated speaking tasks will test your speaking ability in four areas.

Integrated Speaking Task 3: Reading, Listening, Speaking–Campus-Related

Typically, on this speaking task, you will a reading 100 word passage about a new policy on a university campus. Then a student or students will discuss the new policy. As you take notes, you should focus on 1) and what the policy is according to the reading passage and 2) what the students’ opinions are about the new policy. I advise that you take some notes on a sheet of paper.  On the left column of the paper, focus on the most important points from the reading passage.  On the right hand column of the paper, focus on the most important points from the listening passage.

TOEFL example notes for integrated speaking task 3

TOEFL example notes for integrated speaking task 3

Integrated Speaking Task 4: Reading, Listening, Speaking–Academic

Similar to integrated speaking task 3,  you will read a passage and then listen to a lecture. However, this task is academic and much more difficult than integrated speaking task 3.  Typically, the reading passage will introduce an academic concept. Then the speaker will use an example to further illustrate the idea. When organizing your notes,  take the definition and any other relevant information and write it down on a sheet of paper much like you did with integrated task 3. In addition, you should pay close attention to the example that the professor gives in the lecture. Jot down that information in your notes.

TOEFL integrated 4 example notes

TOEFL integrated 4 example notes

Integrated Speaking Task 5: Listening, Speaking–Campus Related

During task 5, typically, you listen to passage. The first speaker explains a problem that s/he is having.  Moreover, the second speaker will present two solutions.  At the end of this passage, you will be asked to summarize the two solutions and then explain which one you think is more beneficial and why.  On a sheet of paper, identify what the problem is. Furthermore, write down two solutions the second speaker gives.  You should also be thinking about which solution you find more useful. During the preparation time, you can jot down in your notes which solution you like. Finally, write two reasons why you like that solution.TOEFL integrated 5 examples notes

TOEFL integrated 5 examples notes

 

Integrated Speaking Task 6: Listening, Speaking–Academic

Similar to the structure of TOEFL integrated speaking task 4,  a professor will define an academic concept. In addition, the speaker will use two specific examples to further clarify the concept.  Or, the professor will explain two support points to elaborate on the concept more.  As a result, you need to get down in note form the definition plus the examples or details that the professor provides.

TOEFL integrated speaking 6 example notes

TOEFL integrated speaking 6 example notes

To help you more with the structure and organization of the integrated speaking tasks,  check out these additional TOEFL test-taking strategies: Getting the Main Idea of TOEFL Passages + Integrated Speaking and Writing Templates

Do NOT forget that you should not copy and use the templates from my web site or from anyone else’s. Use these example templates to see how to structure the ideas. Then you should create you own unique templates that you can use for each integrated speaking task.

 

Hire a TOEFL speaking mentor. He can help you reach 26 much faster than you think.

TOEFL speaking mentor will help you reach 26 much faster!

TOEFL speaking mentor will help you reach 26 much faster!

  • If you want a TOEFL speaking mentor to give you feedback on how you are doing as you practice these 100 topics, I will be that mentor.  For only $45, you can e-mail me your audio recording of these speaking topics daily. I will listen to, evaluate, score, and provide audio feedback so you can understand your delivery, language-use, and topic development problems. I will correct all of your errors until you are not making them anymore. Then you know you are ready to take the TOEFL exam.
  • After you join, your first week of practice is free! You can send me a practice test every day for 30 days; each time I will provide you feedback so you can monitor your progress. Your subscription also includes unlimited access to all 700 of my vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking lessons.
  • Join Now so you can start sending me your speaking practice!

Below are additional helpful links for your speaking practice:

Useful TOEFL speaking links

Useful TOEFL speaking links

Useful TOEFL test-taking strategies links for speaking

Get example templates for integrated speaking tasks 3-6.

English TOEFL speaking test practice: These TOEFL test-taking strategies will help you learn how you can begin practicing with a mentor your TOEFL speaking today for only $45 monthly.

TOEFL integrated speaking practice: Learn why paraphrasing is important during the integrated speaking tasks.

Free TOEFL speaking resources: Get access to all the free resources that you need, including being able to get ONE speaking practice test evaluated by a TOEFL speaking mentor with more than 25 years of experience. In short, this link takes you to many TOEFL test-taking strategies to help you reach 26+ on the speaking section.

High TOEFL speaking score: Learn the TOEFL test-taking strategies that  Bruno used, after having taken the TOEFL five times, so that he finally scored 28 on the speaking section.

Speaking and Writing Transitions:  Learn TOEFL test-taking strategies representing the different kinds of connecting words that you can use to improve your speaking and writing skills.

TOEFL Tips to Score 26:  Learn a tried and proven method to help you reach your target score of 26.

TOEFL Vocabulary for speaking and writing tasks.  Get a 261 page eBook containing 1,700 college-level words. Learn 50 of the most important reporting verbs for your integrated speaking and writing tasks. This e-book will explain TOEFL test-taking strategies that you can use when  you see unfamiliar words on the TOEFL exam.

Paraphrasing with voice markers:  Learn TOEFL test-taking strategies called voice markers and how these words can help you to more coherently organize your integrated speaking and writing tasks.

TOEFL speaking integrated task 4 tips and tricks.

Complete a free TOEFL speaking practice test: Learn how to complete a speaking practice and get feedback from a TOEFL speaking specialist. Your feedback from this practice test will teach you TOEFL test-taking strategies to help you score higher.

Using appositives in your TOEFL speaking tasks: Learn how to appositives to advance your grammar.

Four language tips for TOEFL speaking.

Two pronunciation sounds you must master!

TOEFL speaking and writing: keep your words clear and precise.

This student’s practice test scores 26+ for three reasons: Listen to a practice test that scores 26+.

TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies: Writing

TOEFL writing test-taking strategies

TOEFL writing test-taking strategies

TOEFL test-taking strategies for independent writing task.

This is a personal experience writing task. Therefore, you are creating content. Furthermore, you need to be as organized as you can.  Here are some important TOEFL test-taking strategies to score higher.

  • You need about a 100 word introduction, as is explained in this lesson, to frame this type of response.  In addition, you will need to create a sharply focused thesis.  I have some example thesis templates that you can try out. However, please remember that you should create your own thesis statements and not just memorize mine: CLICK HERE.  In this other lesson  (Mastering the Art of the Three-Point Thesis), I will explain to you how to create a three-point thesis.
  • As you move through each body paragraph, make sure that you use topic sentences (See examples of how to do this) which restate one of the points mentioned in your thesis.
  • You should have an effective overall connection, as you will read here, of each paragraph as they relate to other paragraphs. In addition, you need to make sure that each paragraph is tightly framed. To also help you, consider using specific transition words (You can get a good list on this web page) to make it easier for TOEFL iBT human raters and eRater to understand.
  • Make sure you end your essay with a conclusion. Learn how to write strong conclusions for the independent and integrated tasks: CLICK HERE,
  • To get many more helpful links with both integrated and independent writing practice, go to my Free TOEFL Writing Resources web page.

100 TOEFL Independent Writing Topics

On the independent writing task, you will see three different kinds of questions: agree or disagree, explain both sides, make an argument from multiple sides. Below are 100 sample writing topics that you can start practicing today. By practicing these topics right now, you will learn  TOEFL test-taking strategies to help you to improve your writing.  The TOEFL test-taking strategies that you learn will also help you develop better control of your grammar and vocabulary. Finally, practicing these topics will help you learn TOEFL test-taking strategies to help you improve your topic development.

Agree or disagree:

33 agree or disagree TOEFL writing prompts

33 agree or disagree TOEFL writing prompts

1.Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “Nuclear power is a useful source of energy for the future.” Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

2. “Higher education should only be allowed to good students.”  Do you agree of disagree with this statement? Give reasons and examples to support your point of view.

3. “In order to find new cures for cancer, doctors should be allowed to perform medical experiments on humans.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea?

4. “The government in a country should pay for all healthcare services.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Use some examples and reasons to support your ideas.

5. “It is much better to attend a small university than a large one.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your argument.

6. “Professional athletes, musicians, and actors should not be paid million of dollars a year.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and details to support your point of view.

7.  “The government should provide free college education to those who want to attend.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Provide reasons and details to support your argument.

8.  “Drug dealers should be put to death.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea?  Provide some reasons and details to illustrate your argument.

9.  “Countries should ban smoking.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Make sure that you provide some examples and reasons to support your points.

10.  “Universities should ban sports activities so students can on concentrate on academics.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Present some reasons and examples to support your assertions.

11. “Governments should require companies to pay their employees a living wage.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some reasons and examples to support your argument.

12.  “Texts and other distracted driving activities should be banned.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Use some reasons and examples to support your opinion.

13.  “Doctors should not be allowed to put their patients to death when the patients request it.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view?

14. Do you agree or disagree with the following idea?  “Smokers who get lung cancer should be able to sue the cigarette companies for monetary damages.” Give reasons and examples to support your point of view.

15. “Imposing a tax on sugary drinks, candy, and on other forms of junk food will effectively decrease the obesity problem in society.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some reasons to explain your point of view.

16.  ” Television should be allowed to show cigarette and alcohol advertisements.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

17.  Do you agree or disagree with this idea? “Homeowners should have limits on how much garbage they create weekly.” Give some reasons and examples to support your point of view.

18. “Governments should set aside a considerable amount of money for space exploration.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some reasons and examples to support your point of view.

19. “Every country in the world should be limited in how much pollution it creates each year.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some reasons and examples to support your point of view.

20.  “Smartphones should be banned from all college classrooms.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

21. “Getting an online education is much better than taking traditional classes.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

22. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view. “Science classes are much more beneficial than art and music courses.”

23.  “College students should not be required to attend classes.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

24. “Many places in the United States have banned smoking in outdoor places such as concerts, parks, and beaches.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

25.  “Playing sports in college can be just as beneficial as taking academic classes such as math and science.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

26. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view. “Some suggest that working from home can be just as effective as having the employee show up for work in person.”

27. “Many suggest that technological progress such as the Internet, smartphones, and self-driving cars has a positive effect on our civilization.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

28. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view. “Women should get exactly the same pay as men for doing exactly the same job.”

29.  “Movies can tell us a lot about the culture where these movies are made.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

30. “It is more important to invest money in a business rather than in a house.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

31.  Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view. “Building a university in your hometown would have a positive effect.”

32. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view. “High school children should be required to wear uniforms.”

33.  “Changing your job frequently will have a very positive effect on your life.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Give some examples and reasons to support your point of view.

Explain both sides:

33 TOEFL advantage and disadvantage example prompts

33 TOEFL advantage and disadvantage example prompts

34. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of attending a large university versus a small one.  Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

35. Many people nowadays are turning exercise in order to maintain their health. Compare running versus riding a bicycle as a viable form of exercise. Then explain which form of exercise you prefer. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

36.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of eating at home versus eating at restaurants? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

37.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a woman boss versus having a man boss. Which type of boss would you prefer to work for? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

38.  Compare the advantages of living in a big city versus living in the countryside. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

39.  What are the advantages of living in a colder climate versus living in a warmer one. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

40.  You are a boss working at a large company, and you need to hire a new worker. What are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an older (40 years old+) or a younger worker (25 years+)? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

41. What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting your news from the newspaper versus the television? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

42. You live in a town with a lot of traffic. In addition, you need to drive a distance of 25 kilometers to get to work.  What are the advantages of taking the bus versus driving. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

43. Every day, we communicate with others at home, at work, or with our friends. Compare the advantages of face-to-face communication versus electronic texting with our smartphones. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

44.  Some believe that changing jobs often is beneficial. In contrast, others prefer to work at one job their entire lives.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these two preferences. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

45.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of parents’ financially supporting their children, even when they get married. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

46. What are the advantages and disadvantages of trying new things? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

47. To achieve success, some people like to takes risks in life. In contrast, other people believe success is obtained through careful planning.  What are the advantages for these two opposing attitudes toward success? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

48.  Some believe that a person should make decisions alone. In contrast, others believe that a person should consult friends and family when making decisions. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two ways of thinking? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

49.  A company is choosing to donate some money. What are the advantages of donating the money to either the arts or the environment? Then explain which area you would want the money to go to. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

50.  Some believe that earning a lot of money is important. However, others believe that earning just enough money is preferable.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each philosophy regarding money.

51.  You may have some friends who are super smart. Other friends you know may be funny. Discuss the advantages of having smart and funny friends. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

52. By taking an extra load of courses each term, some students finish their bachelor’s degree in an amazing two years.  Other students take more time and finish their bachelor’s degree in the normal four years of study. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two methods of study? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

53.  Some first-time homeowners will  save up money so that they can pay cash for their houses. On the other hand, others will take out bank loans so that they can buy their homes.  What are the advantages toward these two approaches of purchasing homes? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

54.  Many workers prefer to work for  companies. Others, however, prefer to be self-employed, so they start their own businesses. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of jobs? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

55. Some cities try to preserve some of the older, historic buildings.  Other cities, conversely,  destroy these old buildings and replace them with more modern ones. What are the advantages and disadvantages toward old and new buildings? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

56.  In many elementary school classrooms, teachers assign homework to students.  In other cases, teachers prefer to not assign much homework at all.  What are the advantages and disadvantages toward this homework policy? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

57.  Some parents introduce to their 3-8 year old children a foreign language. Other parents wait until their children are 14-17 years of age before introducing them to a foreign language. What are the advantages toward introducing a foreign language to children in these two age groups? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

58. Some people like to travel alone. On the other hand, others like to go on trips led by tour guides. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of going on these two types of trips. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

59. Some schools allow boys and girls to study together in the same classroom.  Other schools, however, separate the genders into boys-only and girls-only classrooms. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of classrooms. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

60.   The automobile was invented more than 100 years ago.  Shortly thereafter, the airplane was invented. Compare these two modes of transportation. Then explain which one has contributed more to the development of our civilization. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

61. When you attend a dormitory in a university, sometimes you are allowed to select your own roommate. In other cases, university officials will assign you a roommate. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having these two types of roommates? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

62. Students who attend universities will decide where they will live. Some of the students prefer to live on campus in dormitories. Other students, in contrast, prefer to live off campus in apartments. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of living arrangements?

63.  Before big exams, some students like to study in the library. Other students prefer to study at their dorm or apartment. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each study location. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

64. Everyone likes to learn new things.  Some of these people like to learn by doing. Others prefer to learn more by reading. Compare these two methods of learning. Then explain which form of learning you prefer. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

65.  Many people enjoy reading as a hobby. Some people, therefore, like reading nonfiction books (news events, documentaries, and biographies). Others, however, like reading fiction (short stories and books). Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of reading nonfiction and fiction books. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

66.  Some students like to attend lectures in which the professor does most of the talking. In contrast, other students like to attend classes which are more student-centered classrooms. In student-centered classrooms, students do most of the talking.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both types of classrooms. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Make an argument from multiple sides:

33 TOEFL argument from many sides writing prompts

33 TOEFL argument from many sides writing prompts

67. Most of us wish we were more humorous, had more intelligence, or could show more empathy toward others. If you could learn one valuable personality trait, which trait would you want to learn. Explain why this personality trait would be important for you. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

68. What is the most important quality of a good friend? Explain why this quality is most important in a friendship. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

69. What is one thing that you would like to change about your city? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

70. Choosing a university is an important selection that students must make. In your opinion, what is the most important quality that you must consider? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

71. If you could choose any place to visit in the world, which location would you want you visit. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

72.  Inventions such as the airplane, the automobile, and the Internet have bigly impacted civilization. Which invention has impacted our society more?  Your answer is NOT limited to the inventions listed in this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

73.  While students attend universities, they will have to complete a large number of homework assignments. What is the most important strategy for completing these challenging and time-consuming assignments? Use specific reasons and examples to explain why your homework strategy is so important.

74.  During your life, you will have some overcome many obstacles. What is one obstacle that you had to overcome? Explain why overcoming this challenge was so difficult. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

75.  Everyone wants to achieve success whether it is in academics, work, family, or friendships. What is one quality that you feel is necessary for a person to be successful in all of these areas of life? Explain why this quality is so important in helping a person to be successful. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

76.  In relationships among lovers and friends, there is a term called a deal breaker. A deal breaker refers to something that abruptly ends almost any relationship. In your opinion, what is a deal breaker that you think would automatically end a relationship. Explain why this deal breaker would be so damaging. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

77.  When students finish college, they will search for a job so that they can earn a living wage. What is a dream job that you would love to have? Explain why you want that job so much. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.  

78. There are many different ways to learn a new language. What do you think is an effective way to learn a new language? Explain why that method is so helpful. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

79. Many argue that parents have a tremendous influence on their children’s mental growth and development. What is the most important thing that you have learned from your parents? Explain why being taught this one thing has been so important in your life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

80. Nowadays, we have many useful conveniences in our households that make it easier for us to complete our day-to-day tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and entertaining ourselves. What is the single most convenient thing that you have in your living space? Explain why this one thing makes it easier for you to live your life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

81. A tourist has one week to visit your country. What location do you think the tourist should visit? Explain why visiting that place would be so important. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

82. Describe a custom that you would like people from other countries to adopt. Explain why it would be important to adopt this custom. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

83.  During our lifetimes, we will make many friends. What is the most important quality in a choosing a friend? Explain why this quality is so important in a friendship. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. 

84. In the 21st century, people are becoming busier in their personal, academic, and professional lives. Of course, with this comes responsibilities. As a result, people are starting to feel more stress compared to people who lived many years ago. What is the best method of reducing stress? Explain why this method is so effective in reducing the stress that many people feel. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

85. Many of us have free time after work or school. Some of us like to watch television, whereas others like to read books.  Other people may like to go shopping.  What is one thing you like to do when you have free time. Explain why you like to do this activity so much. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

86. What is something that you are thinking about buying? How will buying this item improve the quality of your life? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

87. Choose a friend or family member who is important to you. Explain how this person has influenced you to become the person you are today. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

88.  Who is a political or religious figure that you admire? Explain why you admire this person so much. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

89.  Choose a memorable class that you took either as a high school or college student. Explain what you learned from this class and why it was so enjoyable to you. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

90. What is something that you have not done yet but would like to accomplish?  Explain why accomplishing that one thing will benefit your life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

91.   What is one change that your hometown can make that would benefit you and your friends? Explain why this change would be so beneficial to your community. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

92.  What is a difficult decision that you have had to make? Explain how making this decision has benefitted your life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

93.  There are many worthy causes that financially-abled people cannot donate to: cancer centers, homeless shelters, hospitals, educational facilities, and so on. Choose a cause that you think people should donate to. Explain why donating to this cause is important. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

94.  Nowadays many social media applications exist online that people can use to communicate with others. What social media application do you like to use? Explain how using this application has improved your life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

95.  During their lives, people make mistakes sometimes and improve their lives consequently from these problems. What is a valuable lesson that you learned from a mistake that you made in your life? How has learning this vital lesson improved yourself as a person? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

96. Describe a classmate who had an important influence over you in high school or college. Explain why this classmate was so important in your life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

97.  What is the most important quality in a professor who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at a university? Explain why this quality is so important to his/her students. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

98.  There are many problems in the world such as war, environmental issues, hunger, crime, unemployment, and so on. What is one world problem that you would like solved? Explain how solving this world problem would benefit everyone on Earth.

99. What type of music do you like to listen to? Explain why you enjoy listening to this type of music so much. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

100. Suppose you could travel back in time to experience a different period. Which period of time would you like to travel back to? Explain why you would like to experience that time period. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

TOEFL test-taking strategies for integrated writing task.

The structure of the integrated writing task is somewhat similar to what are already learned with integrated speaking task 4. However, this time you are spending about 20 minutes writing your response. The first step is to take accurate notes on both the reading and the listening passages.  Take your notes in a way so you can align reading point 1 with listening point 1, reading point 2 with listening point 2, and reading point 3 with listening point 3.

TOEFL integrated writing example notes

TOEFL integrated writing example notes

Once you are done taking your notes, you are ready to write this response by following these TOEFL test-taking strategies:

  • Your introduction should be about 25 words. Your purpose is to connect the main point of the listening and reading passages, as you learn in this lesson.
  • There are some TOEFL test-taking strategies regarding how you organize your paragraphs. Keep each body paragraph around 100 words.  Use 1/2 of the paragraph to explain a main point from the reading. The other 1/2 of the paragraph should explain a main point from the lecture, as you see this structure being used in this lesson.
  • Use transition words in key junctures of each paragraph.  For example, you could use a transition words such as “first,” “second,” or “third” in the first line of each body paragraph. Then you can use a transition word of contrast such as “in contrast,” “however,” and “on the other hand,” as you transition from your reading summary to your listening summary. Learn on this web page how to use these important connecting words. Using transition words are important TOEFL test-taking strategies for help you improve the organization.
  • Make sure that you frame your integrated writing task from the author’s and speaker’s points of view. In other words, with these TOEFL test-taking strategies, you should be using voice markers to acknowledge these sources. You acknowledge this information, as you can see in this lesson, by using TOEFL reporting verbs. Put another way, you should be writing from the third person point of view.
  • Finally, make sure that you write a short sentence concluding your response.  See an example conclusion for the TOEFL integrated writing task.

Useful TOEFL test-taking strategies links for writing

A few weeks back, I created a free TOEFL writing resources web page. This web page will list 30 additional links to articles I wrote:

  • Grammar Practice
  • Depth and progression of ideas
  • Thesis statements
  • Model responses
  • Organization
  • Practice

Go to my free TOEFL writing resources web page!

Get a TOEFL writing mentor to grade the writing practice tests you complete.

Hire a TOEFL writing mentor today

Hire a TOEFL writing mentor today

Hire a TOEFL writing mentor. He can help you reach 24+ a lot faster than if you go it alone. If you practice with a TOEFL writing mentor, you will learn theTOEFL test-taking on this web page very quickly. For only $45 monthly, you can begin completing any of the 100 topics and then sending them to a TOEFL writing mentor to be scored. I will be that TOEFL writing mentor.  You can send me ONE independent or ONE integrated writing practice every day. I will read, evaluate, and score them so that you can monitor your progress. Your $45 payment also enrolls you in STEALTH, “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.”  After I read and score each of your writing practice tests, I will recommend specific TOEFL test-taking strategies to help you score higher based on your weaknesses.

 

Michael Buckhoff and some of his TOEFL students at California, State University, San Bernardino

Tell everyone you know about this free TOEFL test-taking strategies web page. I hope that you can improve your TOEFL score. I also hope that you can improve your reading, listening, speaking, and writing subtotal scores after learning and practicing these TOEFL test-taking strategies.

TOEFL students picture 2019

TOEFL students picture 2019

May the next TOEFL test you take be your last!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

http://onlinetoeflcourse.com