SPEAKING SECTION DIRECTIONS

The Speaking section measures your ability to speak in English about a variety of topics. There are six questions in this section.

In questions 1 and 2, you will speak about familiar topics. Your responses will be scored on your ability to speak clearly and coherently about the topics.

In questions 3 and 4, you will first read a short text and then listen to a talk on the same topic. You will then be asked a question about what you have read and heard. You will need to combine appropriate information from the text and the talk to provide a complete answer to the question. Your responses will be scored on your ability to speak clearly and coherently and on your ability to accurately convey information about what you have read and heard.

In questions 5 and 6, you will listen to part of a conversation or lecture. You will then be asked a question about what you have heard. Your responses will be scored on your ability to speak clearly and coherently and on your ability to accurately convey information about what you have heard.

You may take notes while you read and while you listen to the conversations and lectures. You may use your notes to help prepare your responses.

At the real test, you will not have a transcript. However, to help you analyze your score, we’re including the transcripts and key points below. Do not look at the transcripts before you complete the test.

Question 1

In this question, you will be asked to talk about a familiar topic. After you hear the question, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your response and 45 seconds to speak.

Get your timer ready!

What game do you enjoy playing? Describe the game, and explain why you like to play it. Include details and examples in your explanation

Preparation Time:    15 seconds
Response Time:        
 45 seconds

Question 2

In this question, you will be asked to give your opinion about a familiar topic. After you hear the question, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your response and 45 seconds to speak.

Get your timer ready!

Some people drive their own car to school or work. Others ride a bus, train, or other form of public transportation. Which do you think is better and why? Include details and examples in your explanation.

Preparation Time:    15 seconds
Response Time:        
 45 seconds

Question 3

In this question, 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. After you hear the question, you have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Read the following information from a college catalog.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES

Distance education courses at Valley Community College are regularly scheduled classes that must be completed by the end of the quarter. All online courses are taught by college faculty in conjunction with the related academic departments. Students will be required to participate in a “virtual classroom” online, conduct research, and complete assignments. Students must have daily access to a personal computer with word processing software and connection to the Internet. Students should expect to spend approximately 12–15 hours a week for any online course.

Now close the passage and listen to the recording. When you hear the question, begin preparing your response.

The adviser expresses her opinion about online courses. State her opinion and explain the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.

Preparation Time:    30 seconds
Response Time:        
 60 seconds

Question 4

In this question, you will read a short passage, then listen to a lecture on the same topic, and then speak in response to a question about what you have read and heard. After you hear the question, you have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Read the following information from a textbook.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

HOMEOSTASIS

Homeostasis is the tendency toward balance. In zoology, homeostasis is an animal’s ability to maintain body equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes. It is the body’s continuous balancing and re–balancing of the processes that maintain stability and restore
the body’s normal state when it has been disturbed. Homeostatic systems keep an animal’s internal environment within acceptable limits, even though the external environment may change. Homeostatic systems protect an animal’s body from harmful changes, such as changes in temperature or water level.

Now close the passage and listen to the recording. When you hear the question, begin preparing your response.

The professor describes the large ears of a rabbit. Explain how the rabbit’s ears are used in homeostasis.

Preparation Time:    30 seconds
Response Time:        
 60 seconds

Question 5

In this question, you will listen to a conversation. You will then be asked to talk about the information in the conversation and to give your opinion about the ideas presented. After you hear the question, you have 20 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

The students discuss possible solutions to the man’s problem. Describe the problem. Then state which solution you prefer and explain why.

Preparation Time:    20 seconds
Response Time:        
 60 seconds

Question 6

In this question, you will listen to a short lecture. You will then be asked to summarize important information from the lecture. After you hear the question, you have 20 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Using points and examples from the lecture, explain how the communication between babies and mothers is musical in nature.

Preparation Time:    20 seconds
Response Time:        
 60 seconds Do not look at the transcript and key points until after you finish the tasks.

Key points:

• The man is thinking of registering for an online course. •The adviser’s opinion about online courses is that they are not right for all students.

• One reason she gives is that online courses require students to be self–motivated and able to learn on their own, mainly by reading.

• Another reason is that online courses have a fairly high dropout rate.

• Another reason is that some students prefer going to class and interacting face–to–face with the professor and other students.

Now listen to a student as he discusses online courses with his academic adviser.

M: I want to take astronomy next quarter, and I was thinking of registering for the online course.

W: Have you ever taken an online course before?

M: No. But I have a computer, and it seems fairly easy to take a course this way.

W: Let me just point out a couple of things. First, you have to be able to learn on your own, mainly by reading. So you have to be self–motivated. There are a few online lectures, but mainly you have to read the information on a computer. You also have to keep up with a schedule, just as in any other class. So unless you’re self–motivated, online courses are generally not a good idea. In fact, there’s a fairly high dropout rate for online courses.

M: Hmmm. I didn’t know that. It seems like it would be so easy because you don’t have to be in class at a specific time.

W: Believe it or not, the main reason that students drop out is they miss going to class. They miss the face– to–face contact with the professor. So, if interacting with the professor and other students is important to you, then you should consider taking a regular classroom course.

The adviser expresses her opinion about online courses. State her opinion and explain the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.

Key points:

• The rabbit’s ears are part of a homeostatic system that maintains the rabbit’s body temperature.

• The rabbit can adjust the amount of blood flowing through its ears to increase or decrease heat loss.

• When the rabbit’s body temperature increases, the blood vessels in the ears expand and fill with blood so that heat can escape from the ears. This cools the rabbit’s body.

• When the rabbit’s body temperature decreases, the blood vessels in the ears constrict, sending blood to deeper parts of the body. This reduces heat loss.

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

One example of a homeostatic system is temperature control, by which some animals can maintain a constant internal body temperature. The large ears of a rabbit are an amazing device in homeostasis. The rabbit can regulate the amount of blood flowing through blood vessels of its big ears. This adjusts heat loss to the rabbit’s surroundings and maintains the stability of the rabbit’s body temperature.

The control center for body temperature is the brain, and nerve cells in the skin do much of the work. Here’s what happens. When the rabbit’s body temperature increases, because of exercise or hot surroundings, the rabbit’s brain notices the change and it sets out to bring the temperature back to normal. So the brain turns on the body’s cooling system. In the rabbit’s ears, the blood vessels expand and fill with warm blood. Heat is then able to escape from the surface of the skin on the ears. This causes the rabbit’s body temperature to drop, and the brain can then turn off the cooling system.

On the other hand, when the rabbit’s body temperature decreases because of cold surroundings, the brain turns on the body’s warming system. Blood vessels in the ears constrict and get narrow, and send blood from the skin to deeper parts of the rabbit’s body. And this reduces heat loss from the ears.

The professor describes the large ears of a rabbit. Explain how the rabbit’s ears are used in homeostasis.

Key points:

• The man is concerned about his grade in geology. He needs to pass the course, but he does not have enough time to study.

• One possible solution is to get a tutor. The woman recommends her former tutor.

• Another solution is for the man to reduce the amount of time spent on other activities, such as sports.

• Opinions about the preferred solution will vary.

Listen to a conversation between two students.

W: Hi, Jim. How’s your quarter going?

M: Well, to be honest, not very well. I just got my geology test back and I’m afraid my grade was not very good. I was expecting it to be higher. I’m disappointed, too, because I like my professor, and I need to pass this course.

W: Oh. Would it help if you got a tutor? I can recommend someone, a graduate student who knows a lot about geology. He was my tutor last year, and it really helped. I learned how to study better. I can give you his phone number.

M: I don’t know. The main problem is I just don’t have enough time to study. My other activities—mainly sports, and student government too—those things are taking up too much of my time. That means I have less time for geology.

W: Well, maybe this is a good time to cut down on some of your activities. Can you give up anything—any of your sports—the least important, at least for a while?

M: I don’t know. That would be tough.

W: But you need more time to study. You’d only have to give up something temporarily, just until you can improve your grade.

M: Ugh. I need to do something fast because I can’t fail the course.

The students discuss possible solutions to the man’s problem. Describe the problem. Then state which solution you prefer and explain why.

Key points:

• The communication between babies and mothers is musical because there is a shared sense of timing.

• A baby can make sounds with a musical inflection when he’s “talking” with his mother.

• Just as one musician will lead another in a performance, a child will often lead the earliest “conversations” with his mother.

• Babies and mothers use a special musical language called baby talk.

• Babies develop a large vocabulary of meaningful sounds. Different meanings are expressed by changes in intonation, rhythm, and timing—all characteristics of music.

Listen to part of a lecture in a linguistics class.

The communication between a baby and his mother has many of the same features as communication in music. One feature is timing. A mother and a child have a shared sense of timing, both before and after the child is born. The mother and child sort of “swing” together in a common rhythm.

By the time he’s two months old, a baby can make sounds with a musical inflection when he’s “talking” with his mother. Just as one musician will lead another in a performance, a child will often lead the earliest “conversations” with his mother. This interplay is musical in the way it connects two people in an exchange of sounds. It shows that a child has, from the very beginning, an ability to communicate with his mother. The child recognizes his mother’s voice. He also learns very quickly how to use his own voice in various ways.

The communication between babies and mothers develops from the intense daily contact between them. The mother creates a special language for her child—baby talk—a very special, very musical language. Several studies show that babies understand the patterns of baby talk, and will respond appropriately—by using facial expressions, movements, and their voice.

Babies develop a large vocabulary of meaningful sounds long before any of those sounds become real words. The meaning lies in the music of the sounds—different meanings expressed by changes in intonation, rhythm, and timing—all characteristics of music.

Using points and examples from the lecture, explain how the communication between babies and mothers is musical in nature.



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