For each exercise, record your spoken response.

At the bottom of the page you will find the audio transcripts. At the real TOEFL iBT test, you do not have access to the transcripts. We’re including them here so you can learn from them, but you should look at them after you complete the tasks.

Exercise 3.7.A

For this task, you will read a short passage about a campus situation, listen to a conversation, and then speak in response to a question about what you have read and heard. Do not look at the question until the conversation has ended. Do not look at the reading passage while you are speaking.

Read the following information from a university catalog.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

ON–CAMPUS HOUSING

Most first–year students live on campus, and virtually all of them have one or more roommates. Living on campus has many advantages, with varying accommodations available through the Housing Office. On–campus housing includes four apartment buildings and eight dormitories. With living units ranging from one–, two–, and four–bedroom apartments, to single and double dormitory rooms, students are close to classrooms and other campus facilities. The university also offers “specialty dorms” designated by academic major; these are good ways to meet people with interests similar to yours.

Now close the passage and listen to the conversation. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you answer the question. After you hear the question, begin preparing your response. You may look at the question, but NOT at the passage. You have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

The man expresses his opinion about the woman’s desire to live on campus. State his opinion and explain the reasons he gives for holding that opinion.

Preparation Time – 30 seconds
Response Time – 60 seconds

Exercise 3.7.B

For this task, you will read a short passage, listen to a lecture on the same topic, and then speak in response to a question about what you have read and heard. Do not look at the question until the lecture has ended. Do not look at the reading passage while you are speaking.

Read the following information from a textbook.

Reading Time – 50 seconds

DEPRESSION

Depression is a psychological disorder in which a person is overwhelmed by an emotional crisis. Symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and despair; loss of interest and pleasure in things; weight loss or weight gain; difficulty falling asleep or sleeping more than usual; lack of motivation; and loss of energy. A growing body of evidence suggests that several types of depression are linked to biological and environmental factors. In cases of mild or situational depression, the symptoms usually decline with a change of scenery or routine, or when the problem that caused the depression disappears.

Now close the passage and listen to the lecture. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you answer the question. After you hear the question, begin preparing your response. You may look at the question, but NOT at the passage. You have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

The professor describes seasonal affective disorder—SAD. Explain how SAD is an example of depression.

Preparation Time – 30 seconds
Response Time – 60 seconds

Exercise 3.7.C

For this task, you will read a short passage about a campus situation, listen to a conversation, and then speak in response to a question about what you have read and heard. Do not look at the question until the conversation has ended. Do not look at the reading passage while you are speaking.

Read the following information from a college catalog.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

THE PROGRAM SEMINAR

The program seminar is the primary mode of instruction for students at Central College. A program of study might involve 80 students and four faculty members, but most of class time is spent in small group discussions—the seminar. Seminar content centers on a theme or issue relevant to the program. For students, the close interaction with faculty and fellow students provides perspective through differing viewpoints, and depth through concentrated group effort. Students learn to express themselves and to work cooperatively—two traits that our graduates have found particularly helpful in their lives and careers.

Now close the passage and listen to the conversation. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you answer the question. After you hear the question, begin preparing your response. You may look at the question, but NOT at the passage. You have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

The woman expresses her opinion about seminars. State her opinion and explain the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.

Preparation Time – 30 seconds
Response Time – 60 seconds

Exercise 3.7.D

For this task, you will read a short passage, listen to a lecture on the same topic, and then speak in response to a question about what you have read and heard. Do not look at the question until the lecture has ended. Do not look at the reading passage while you are speaking.

Read the following information from a textbook.

Reading Time – 50 seconds

BOYCOTTS

Boycotts are a form of nonviolent protest, the practice of applying power to achieve sociopolitical goals, without the use of physical force. People who participate in a boycott refuse to buy, sell, or otherwise trade with an individual or business that they believe to be doing something morally wrong. The purpose of a boycott is to call attention to a wrong and to punish those responsible for the wrong. Usually, the punishment is economic, but sometimes it brings shame to the offenders. When a boycott is long–term and widespread, it can be a factor in causing social change.

Now close the passage and listen to the lecture. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you answer the question. After you hear the question, begin preparing your response. You may look at the question, but NOT at the passage. You have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Explain boycotts and how the examples given by the professor illustrate the concept.

Preparation Time – 30 seconds
Response Time – 60 seconds

Exercise 3.7.E

For this task, you will read a short passage about a campus situation, listen to a conversation, and then speak in response to a question about what you have read and heard. Do not look at the question until the conversation has ended. Do not look at the reading passage while you are speaking.

Read the following announcement from a college bulletin.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

COMMUNITY COURSE IN THEATER

Members of the community are invited to join students in the Baxter College Theater Arts program in a fully staged college theater production. In this course, you will learn theory, methods, and an analysis of theater production in acting or technical theater. You will assist with scenery construction and costumes, box office procedures, and lighting and sound systems during the production of a play. The instructor has extensive experience in the performing arts and is director of the college’s Theater Arts program. This course is not open to full–time or part–time students of Baxter College.

Now close the passage and listen to the conversation. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you answer the question. After you hear the question, begin preparing your response. You may look at the question, but NOT at the passage. You have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

The man expresses his opinion about the theater course. State his opinion and explain the reasons he gives for holding that opinion.

Preparation Time – 30 seconds
Response Time – 60 seconds

Exercise 3.7.F

For this task, you will read a short passage, listen to a lecture on the same topic, and then speak in response to a question about what you have read and heard. Do not look at the question until the lecture has ended. Do not look at the reading passage while you are speaking.

Read the following information from a textbook.

Reading Time – 50 seconds

THE IMPACT OF SLEEP ON LEARNING

People learn better if they learn smaller bits of information over a period of days than if they learn a large amount all at once. This is because periods of sleep between sessions of learning will help people retain what they learn. Sleep has at least two separate effects on learning. First, sleep unifies memories, which protects the memories against later interference or loss. Second, sleep helps to recover lost memories. Brain activity during sleep promotes higher–level learning, such as the ability to learn language.

Now close the passage and listen to the lecture. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you answer the question. After you hear the question, begin preparing your response. You may look at the question, but NOT at the passage. You have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Click to see the prompt. (Get your timer ready!)

Explain the impact of sleep on learning and how the example given by the professor supports this idea.

Preparation Time – 30 seconds
Response Time – 60 seconds

Do not look at the transcripts until after you finish the tasks.

Now listen to a student and her adviser as they discuss campus housing.

W: Next semester, I’d like to live on campus. My best friend from high school will also start school here, and the two of us want to share a room in the dormitory.
M: Okay, but are you sure you want to room with your friend from high school?
W: Of course. We were best friends last year.
M: You know, this might sound strange, but generally we don’t recommend that you share a room with your best friend.
W: Really?
M: It could work out, but a lot of times it can destroy a friendship. The reason is that knowing someone— even being best friends—isn’t the same as living together. A better idea might be to live on the same floor as your friend—in the same “neighborhood,” so to speak—but have someone else for a roommate. This way, you’ll preserve your friendship and also get to know new and interesting people.
W: That does sort of make sense.
M: Or you could live in a dorm with others of your academic major. You’ll meet people with similar interests and develop relationships that can benefit you later, in your professional life.
W: I need to think about this. Thank you for your advice.

The man expresses his opinion about the woman’s desire to live on campus. State his opinion and explain the reasons he gives for holding that opinion.

Now listen to part of a lecture in a health class.

How many of you get the winter blues? You know what I mean. It’s when you feel sleepy or sad, or you don’t have any energy on these short winter days. Well, if you experience the winter blues, it’s not just in your imagination. The condition known as seasonal affective disorder—or SAD—is linked to changes in the amount of daylight at different times of the year. People with SAD have repeated bouts of depression during the fall or winter, when the periods of daylight are shorter.

Research suggests that SAD is related to the body’s biological clock and to changes in body temperature and hormone levels. So, when your body doesn’t get enough sunshine, the result is symptoms that are similar to those of a major depression, but usually not as severe. Typically, you have no energy and just want to sleep more, or you eat more carbohydrates and gain weight.

The symptoms usually disappear when the hours of daylight increase again in the spring. That is, the symptoms go away when the underlying problem—the lack of sunlight—goes away. There’s also a treatment for SAD that uses a special light that will fool your body into thinking it’s getting sunlight.

The professor describes seasonal affective disorder—SAD. Explain how SAD is an example of depression.

Now listen to two students as they discuss seminars.

W: I just transferred here from another college, and we didn’t have seminars there. I don’t think I’ll like seminars.
M: How do you know you won’t like seminars, if you’ve never had one before?
W: Well, the program seminar reminds me of the class discussions we had in high school. I didn’t like those discussions because two or three students always did all the talking. Everyone else in the class had to listen to what the big talkers had to say. There was never a chance for the shy or quiet people to speak up and say what they were thinking. So, most of the discussions were pretty boring.
M: But the seminars at this school aren’t like that. Sometimes one or two students lead the discussion, but usually everyone participates.
W: I’d rather listen to what the professor has to say. After all, it’s the professor who has the knowledge. It’s the professor who’s supposed to teach us, not the students.
M: I think you’ll change your mind about seminars after you see what they’re really like.

The woman expresses her opinion about seminars. State her opinion and explain the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.

Now listen to part of a lecture in a history class.

Cesar Chavez was a labor union organizer who used nonviolent action to achieve the goals of fair pay and better working conditions for farm workers.

When Chavez organized a union of grape pickers in California, some of the farm owners refused to accept the union. This led Chavez to organize a nationwide boycott of grapes. Workers stopped picking grapes, and the grapes started to rot on the vines. The boycott got a lot of attention. People from all over the country—public officials, religious leaders, and ordinary citizens—all went to California to march in support of the farm workers. As a result of the boycott, some grape growers signed agreements allowing their workers to join the union, and the workers began to pick grapes again.

On another occasion, Chavez called for a boycott of lettuce produced by growers without labor unions. People from all parts of the country refused to buy lettuce. Some even protested in front of supermarkets.

These boycotts hurt the grape and lettuce growers economically when people stopped buying their products. But even more importantly, the boycotts hurt the reputation of the growers. The boycotts forced the growers to accept labor unions and to improve conditions for farm workers.

Explain boycotts and how the examples given by the professor illustrate the concept.

Now listen to two students as they discuss the theater course.

M: This course isn’t open to students! That means we can’t take it. Don’t you think that’s strange?
W: Not really. This course is for people who live in town, people who don’t go to college.
M: I don’t think that’s right. We pay tuition and fees, so we should be able to take any course we want at this school.
W: But this is a chance for other people to learn about theater. It’s a community class.
M: But it’s not fair. What if I want to learn about theater, too? I’m a full–time student. I’m not in the Theater Arts program, but I’d love the chance to work on a play. The instructor is the director of the theater program. I would enjoy taking this course just for fun. But I can’t because I’m a student! It doesn’t make sense!
W: Hmm. Maybe you should go talk to the dean.
M: I think I will. Maybe I can convince him that this rule discriminates against students.

The man expresses his opinion about the theater course. State his opinion and explain the reasons he gives for holding that opinion.

Now listen to part of a lecture in a psychology class.

We have new evidence that sleep improves our ability to learn language. Researchers have found that sleep improves the ability of students to retain knowledge about computer speech—even when the students forget part of what they’ve learned.

The researchers tested college students’ understanding of a series of common words produced by a computer that made the words difficult to understand. They first measured the students’ ability to recognize the words. After that, they trained the students to recognize the words and then tested them again to measure the effectiveness of the training.

One group of students was trained in the morning and tested twelve hours later, at night. During that 12–hour period, the students had lost much of their learning. The students were then allowed a night’s sleep, and were retested the next morning. When they were tested again in the morning, their scores had improved significantly from the night before.

The researchers were amazed by the loss of learning the students experienced during the day and then recovered after sleeping. The students forgot what they learned during the day because they listened to other speech or thought about other things. The results of the study are fairly clear: a good night’s sleep is good for learning. Even if information is forgotten, sleep helps restore a memory.

Explain the impact of sleep on learning and how the example given by the professor supports this idea.

Extension

1

Listen to your recorded response to one of the speaking tasks in Exercise 3.7.A through 3.7.F. Analyze and evaluate your response by answering the following questions:

a. What key points does my response make? Do these points accurately convey information from the conversation/lecture and reading?

b. What examples, explanation, or details does my response include? Does this information successfully develop the key points?

c. Is my response coherent? Would it be easily understood by other listeners?

d. Does my response answer the question effectively? Why or why not?

e. How can I improve my responses for this type of question in the future?

2

Share and discuss your recorded response to one of the speaking questions in Exercises 3.7.A through 3.7.F. Work in a group of three or four students. Listen to each student’s recorded response. Discuss each student’s response by answering the following questions:

a. What key points does the speaker make in the response? Do these points accurately convey information from the conversation/lecture and reading?

b. What examples, explanation, or other details from the conversation/lecture are included? Do they successfully develop the speaker’s points?

c. Can the response be easily understood? Why or why not?

d. Is the response coherent? Why or why not?

e. Does the response answer the question effectively? Why or why not?

Make suggestions that will help each student improve in the future.