SPEAKING SECTION DIRECTIONS

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

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!

Describe a person who has influenced you in an important way. Explain why this person has had an effect on your life. 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 get most of their news from the radio or television. Others read news on the Internet. Which source of news 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 student handbook.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

ATTENDANCE POLICY

Students are expected to attend all classes for which they are registered, including the first class session. Courses for which attendance is mandatory from the first session will be so noted in the class schedule. Instructors may set an attendance policy for each course, and it is the student’s responsibility to know and comply with individual course attendance policies. Students who fail to comply with the established attendance policy for a course forfeit the right to continue in the course and will be subject to an administrative withdrawal.

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

The woman expresses her opinion about the attendance policy. 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

THE GESTURAL THEORY OF LANGUAGE

Language is the systematic communication of ideas or feelings through symbols, gestures, or sounds. The production of speech sounds is not necessary for language. Many scientists believe that language developed earlier than speech. The gestural theory of language argues that human language evolved from gestures that were used for simple communication. Most people still use hand and facial gestures when they speak. Both gestural language and spoken language depend on similar neural systems. In fact, the area of the brain responsible for hand movements borders the area controlling the mouth.


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

Explain the gestural theory of language and how the examples given by the professor support the theory.

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 a problem that the man has. Describe the problem. Then state what you think the man should do, 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 direct and indirect competition in bird populations.

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 woman’s opinion about the attendance policy is that it is fair and justified.

• One reason she gives is that the instructor has the right to set the attendance policy.

• Another reason is that the instructor has to be there every day, and so should the students.

• Another reason is that participating in class is an important part of learning.

• Another reason is that students need to go to class because they can’t always understand everything on their own.

Now listen to two students as they discuss the attendance policy.

M: It looks like we’re going to be in the same biology class. I’m going to miss the first day because I won’t be back from vacation yet, so I’ll ask you for the lecture notes.

W: But you can’t miss the first day! Attendance is mandatory on the first day.

M: Oh, I don’t agree with that. It will be all right. That policy is unfair anyway.

W: It’s not unfair! The instructor has the right to set the attendance policy, and the right to kick you out of class if you don’t follow it. The way I look at it, if the instructor has to be there every day, then so should the students. That seems fair to me.

M: Oh, but the students can read and study on their own. It’s not important to go to class. The only thing that’s important is the examinations.

W: I disagree. I think it’s important to participate in class. That’s an important part of learning.

M: But you can learn what you need to know by studying on your own!

W: But how do you know you won’t miss something important? You can’t always understand everything on your own. That’s why you need to go to class. And that’s why there’s an attendance policy.

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

Key points:

• The gestural theory of language states that language first evolved as a gesture system before becoming vocal.

• The professor gives the example of primates that use gestures to communicate. This supports the idea that gestures are a form of language because they convey meaning.

• The professor discusses a study of dance, which showed a similarity between brain activity associated with leg movement and speech. This suggests that dance was an early form of language. Dance can communicate ideas and feelings, as language does.

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

According to the gestural theory, human language first evolved as a gesture system before it became a vocal system. There’s evidence to support this. Non–human primates also use gestures to communicate, and some of their gestures resemble those of humans. Chimpanzees use combinations of gestures and sounds to alert the group to the presence of danger or the availability of food.

New research supports the theory as well. In a study of dance, researchers measured brain activity in subjects as they performed various movement tasks while listening to music. The researchers found that, for every movement task, there was activity in the right half of the brain corresponding to the area in the left brain associated with speech. The researchers found that leg movement activates the brain in a way similar to speech production. This suggests that dance began as a form of communication. In other words, it strengthens the gestural theory of language evolution.

Dance can convey ideas clearly, so it probably functioned as an early form of language. Dance can communicate ideas and feelings. Dance is theatrical. It can tell stories. Early humans created dances to imitate animals and other humans, to tell stories about their lives, and to express emotions.

Explain the gestural theory of language and how the examples given by the professor support the theory.

Key points:

• The man’s problem is that his parents want him to take an internship at a bank, but he would rather accept an internship as a research assistant to his sociology professor.

• One solution is to take the internship at the bank to please his parents.

• Another solution is to explain to his father why he wants to accept the research internship.

• Opinions about the preferred solution will vary.

Listen to a conversation between two students.

W: So, will you be doing the internship at the bank next semester?

M: Maybe. I still haven’t decided. My parents want me to do it because they want me to go into banking. But Dr. Kim has asked me to be her intern.

W: Dr. Kim is your sociology professor, right?

M: That’s right. She’s doing a study of population growth, and she wants me to be her research assistant. It’s an honor to be asked. I mean, there’s only one internship, and several other students want it. I want it. But if I accept it, my parents will be disappointed.

W: Do you want your career to be in banking?

M: I used to think so, but now I’m not so sure. I’m more interested in working with statistics, you know, doing pure research.

W: Then you should do the internship with Dr. Kim. That way you’ll know for sure if pure research is what you want to do.

M: My father won’t be happy about it.

W: How do you know? Talk to him. Explain why the other internship excites you. Tell him it’s a great opportunity to work with Dr. Kim, and quite an honor for the professor to ask you. That might actually please your father. In the end, you have to do what makes you happy.

The students discuss possible solutions to a problem that the man has. Describe the problem. Then state what you think the man should do, and explain why.

Key points:

• Competition is the struggle over scarce resources. The lecture discusses direct and indirect competition.

• Direct competition is when a bird actively excludes others from getting resources. Examples are stealing food, establishing territories, and fighting.

• Indirect competition is when birds simply use up a resource so others can not use that resource. An example is a flock of geese eating all the food in an area.

Listen to part of a talk in a biology class. The professor is discussing competition in bird populations.

Competition is the struggle over scarce resources. Whenever there’s a limited supply of a resource—such as food, nesting sites, or mates—there will be competition. Competition can take place between birds of the same species or between birds of different species.

There are two forms of competition: direct and indirect. Direct competition is when a bird actively excludes others from getting resources. A common example is stealing. One bird may simply take food from another. Another example is establishing territories. Especially during the breeding season, birds maintain and defend some sort of territory. They form territories to defend resources like food, or to maintain access to good nesting sites, or to attract mates. Some birds compete directly by fighting, for example, when they compete for mates. Others fight over food. You can see this if you watch gulls feeding on the garbage at the local dump.

The second type of competition is indirect. Indirect competition is when birds simply use up a resource. When one species eats all the seeds or berries or grubs, this will prevent other species from using that resource. Indirect competition is less open than direct competition, but it can have just as great an influence on populations. For example, a flock of geese grazing in a field will gradually decrease the amount of food there. The larger the flock, the faster the food will be consumed, and this will reduce the amount of food available for other species.

Using points and examples from the lecture, explain direct and indirect competition in bird populations.