TOEFL iBT Independent Speaking Task One: People and Places

Michael Buckhoff’s “7 Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT

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On this type of speaking task, you will be asked to speak about a person, place, object, or event that is familiar to you. After you hear the question, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your response and 45 seconds to speak. You will hear the directions and will NOT be able to read them.

Speaking about a Person
1. When speaking about a person, you have to think of ways to describe
  • What this person looks like
  • Why this person is important to you
  • How this person has helped you to solve a problem
  • What this person has taught you

The following is an example of this type of TOEFL iBT speaking task:

Who has had the most influence in your life? Giving specific examples, explain why.
You will listen to and read the speaking prompt. Here is a sample response of how you could answer this question:The person who has influenced me the most

This talk is effective because

  • The student has addressed the topic clearly and has responded effectively to all aspects of the task.
  • By giving some examples (i.e., “the garden,” “help with math, science, and English homework”) , the student has explored the issue thoughtfully and in depth.
  • The student is mostly intelligible.  Although there are rare isolated mispronunciations, there are no evident patterns of error.
  • Without stumbling or stuttering, the student exhibits superior fluency in speaking skills.
  • By including a thesis statement (i.e., “He taught me the value of hard work and the importance of an education.”) and by including topic sentences in the developmental paragraphs of the talk which restate the key points mentioned in the thesis, the speaker has coherently and logically organized. his ideas.

Speaking about a Place

2. When speaking about a place, you have to think of ways to describe
  • What this place looks like, where it is located
  • Why this place is important to you
  • What activities you like to do at this place
  • What makes the place unique from other places you have visited

The following is an example of this type of TOEFL iBT speaking task:

Giving some specific examples to support your ideas, describe a place you visited when you were a child.

What is your favorite memory while visiting this place?

You will listen to and read the speaking prompt.

Here is a sample response of how you could answer this question:

A favorite place and memory I had as a child

This talk is effective because

  • By giving some physical description of Hawaii and by focusing around the specific experience of learning how to surf, the student has addressed the topic clearly and has responded effectively to all aspects of the task.
  • The speaker gives some specific descriptive examples (i.e., “Palm Trees,” “white sand,” “blue ocean,” and “warm moist air”) so that the listener can picture a little bit of what Hawaii looks like. Additionally, the speaker lists in chronological order how he learned how to surf. Thus, the student has explored the issue thoughtfully and in depth.
  • The student has a barely detectable accent; his pronunciation is almost like that of a native speaker. Although there are rare isolated mispronunciations, there are no evident patterns of error.
  • Without stumbling or stuttering, the student exhibits superior fluency in speaking skills.
  • By including a thesis statement (i.e., “I remember distinctly when I went to visit the beautiful island of Hawaii when I was a child. It was the first time I ever attempted to surf.”) and by including topic sentences in the developmental paragraphs of the talk which restate the key points mentioned in the thesis, the speaker has coherently and logically organized. his ideas. Particularly useful is how the speaker uses time markers “first,” “then,” “also,” and “finally” as a way to chronological organize the steps in which his father taught him to surf.

For more information, go here:

Michael Buckhoff’s “7 Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT

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2 thoughts on “TOEFL iBT Independent Speaking Task One: People and Places

  1. I have a problem with effective planning my speach just est.45 sec in advance.
    I know the goal is to know the outline before u start and slowly develop your idea but i always lack concentration in such cruicial moments.
    Is there a trick to cope with that?

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