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TOEFL Speaking Question 1

Independent Speaking (Describe, Opinion):

First, you will be asked to describe a place, event, person or activity from your personal experience.

Recall some of the most important and influential events and people of your life. Write out a detailed descriptive paragraph about each of them. Use words that convey a lot of information. The listener should be able to see, feel, hear, smell and taste your experience. For example, instead of saying "I went to boarding school for 3 years" you could say "I patiently endured that outdated boarding school for three wretched years". The second sentence helps the reader imagine what your experience was like.

Use active, punchy, descriptive verbs:

  • walk – march, trudge, dawdle, skip, limp, swagger, shuffle
  • love – cherish, value, admire, respect, esteem, fall for, enjoy
  • teach – mentor, prepare, guide, instill, enlighten, inform, introduce

Try using adverbs to dress up plain verbs:

I looked up at her expectantly every time she called my name in class.
She walked heavily towards me with tears in her eyes.
He waved his arms crazily for me to stop but I ignored him.

Choose adjectives that convey meaning about what you are describing.

  • good – exemplary, reputable, delectable, exhilarating, luscious, amusing, agreeable
  • interesting – engaging, fascinating, intriguing, provocative, odd, astounding, striking
  • important – meaningful, momentous, decisive, fateful, exceptional, crucial, eminent

Next you must give reasons why it is important to you, or how it has influenced you, or why you enjoyed it. Again, use highly descriptive words that explain your point of view in a few short phrases. Choose examples that illustrate how an event made you feel, or why a person continues to influence your decisions, or the ways that a place informed your early life. Make sure you have included enough information so that the listener can understand your point of view easily.

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