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.

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.

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.
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 transcript below. Do not look at the transcript before you complete the test.

Your responses will be scored on your ability to speak clearly and coherently about the topics. For some questions, your responses will be scored on your ability to accurately convey information about what you have read and heard.

Speaking

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 foreign country would you like to visit? Choose a country and explain why you would like to go there. Include details and examples to support 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!

In some schools, teachers decide what classes students must take. Other schools allow students to select their own classes. Which system 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.

A university has changed the hours that the swimming pool will be open to students. Read the following notice about the change.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

NOTICE OF CHANGE TO SWIMMING POOL HOURS

Due to an increase in the number of swimming classes being offered to both university students and the general public, the university must reduce the hours that the pool is open for the personal use of students. The main change is that the pool will be closed to university students on Monday and Wednesday evenings after 3:00 p.m. The pool will be available to university students from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. seven days a week, and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. The new pool hours will go into effect beginning on January 5.

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

The man expresses his opinion about the change in swimming pool hours. State his opinion and explain the reasons he 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

SOCIAL NORMS AND BEHAVIOR

Human behavior is motivated by social norms. Social norms are the “rules” that describe what is typical or normal for most people. Social norms motivate people by providing evidence of what behavior will be best. In other words, if everyone is doing it, it must be the thing to do. Social pressure to conform offers a shortcut to deciding how to act in a given situation. By seeing what other people do, and by imitating their actions, one can usually choose efficiently. The perception of what most others are doing influences one to behave similarly.

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

Use the examples from the lecture to explain how social norms influence human behavior.

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.

Briefly summarize the problem the speakers are discussing. Then state which solution you would recommend. Explain the reasons for your recommendation.

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, describe fears that young children experience, and explain how these fears help children.

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:

• Because of an increase in the number of swimming classes, the university will reduce the hours that the swimming pool is open for students’ personal use.

• The man does not like the change in swimming pool hours.

• One reason he gives is that the change will eliminate late afternoon hours, when he likes to swim.

• Another reason is that swimming classes don’t take up the whole pool; he suggests keeping half of the pool open for other people.

• Another reason is that it is not fair for the university to take away pool time; he suggests extending the morning hours to make up for the loss.

Listen to two students as they discuss the swimming pool hours.

M: What do you think about the new pool hours?

W: It doesn’t affect me much, since I only swim on weekends, and those times aren’t changing. What about you?

M: Well, it’s kind of a big change to the pool schedule. They’re completely eliminating times in the late afternoon, after three o’clock. That’s when I like to swim—right after my last class.

W: It looks like they’re adding more swimming classes in the afternoon and evening.

M: Yeah, but I don’t see why they have to close the pool to everyone else. A class doesn’t usually take up the whole pool. I don’t see why they can’t leave half of the pool open for people who just want to swim laps. It’s not fair to just take away our pool time like this. The least they could do is extend the morning hours. They should open the pool at seven instead of nine in the morning. That would make up for the time they cut in the afternoon.

W: You would go swimming at seven o’clock in the morning?

M: Sure. I’m a morning person—and what a way to start the day!

The man expresses his opinion about the change in swimming pool hours. State his opinion and explain the reasons he gives for holding that opinion.

Key points:

• Social norms are rules that describe what is typical for most people. Social norms motivate human behavior.

• The professor talks about a study in hotels, in which two different bathroom signs influenced whether guests would reuse their towels. The social–norm message was more effective than the environmental message. This illustrates how social norms influence behavior in a given situation.

• Another study showed that people were even more likely to reuse their towels when they were told that other guests in the same room had done so. This illustrates how social pressure motivates people to conform.

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

Let me tell you about an interesting study that took place in hotels. If you’ve stayed in a hotel recently, you’ve probably noticed a sign in the bathroom asking you to help save the environment by reusing your towels. You see, when towels are washed every day, a large hotel uses a lot of water and energy. So, many hotels are trying to reduce their costs and also help the environment.

In the study, researchers created two different signs for the bathrooms. Some rooms got a sign with a standard “green” message about saving the environment. Other rooms got a sign telling guests that most of their fellow guests had reused their towels.

And what do you think happened?

Well, the results confirmed what experts in persuasion had long believed. For towel reuse in hotels, social pressure beats “green” values. The social–norm message was about 25 percent more effective than the environmental message.

The results were even more remarkable in a follow–up study that tested different variations on the social–norm message. Telling guests that others who had stayed in the same room had reused their towels worked better than saying that other guests at the same hotel had done so, even though all the rooms were alike.

Use the examples from the lecture to explain how social norms influence human behavior.

Key points:

• The woman is considering which math class to take. She would like a statistics course, but the class is full. She may have to take calculus instead.

• One possible solution is to register for both statistics and calculus and get on the waiting list for statistics.

• Another solution is to talk to the instructor of the statistics class and try to persuade the instructor to let her in.

• Opinions about the preferred solution will vary.

Listen to a conversation between two students.
M: So, have you registered for next semester yet?

W: Not yet. I’m still thinking about what math class I should take. I’d like statistics, but the class is already full. So it looks like I’ll have to take a different math course, like maybe calculus. But statistics would be more useful for what I want to do in graduate school.

M: If you really want the statistics class, why don’t you register for it and get on the waiting list? Then if someone drops it, you might get in.

W: Do you think so?

M: Sometimes you get in a class from the waiting list. You could register for both statistics and calculus. You’d be put on the waiting list for statistics, but if you also register for calculus, you’ll be sure to get into one of the classes. Then, if an opening comes up in statistics, you can drop calculus. If it doesn’t, then at least you have calculus for backup.

W: I guess I could do that. Another thing I could do is … I might go and talk to the instructor of the statistics class. Sometimes instructors make exceptions to the rule. If I can convince him that I really want the class, and I need it for graduate school, maybe he’ll let me in, even though the class is full.

M: It’s worth a try. Whatever you do, good luck!

W: Thanks.

Briefly summarize the problem the speakers are discussing. Then state which solution you would recommend. Explain the reasons for your recommendation.

Key points:

• Fears in young children are normal. Fears help children solve issues of change and development, and get attention and help from parents when needed.

• The fear of falling is shown as a clasping motion that the baby makes when he is uncovered, surprised, or dropped. The baby cries out, which attracts a parent’s attention and gets help.

• The fear of strangers alerts the child to a new situation. •Fears appear during periods of new and rapid learning, such as when children learn to walk. New independence brings new things to fear, such as dogs, loud noises, and strange places.

• By overcoming fears, children acquire confidence in their own new abilities.

Now listen to part of a lecture in a psychology class. The professor is discussing children’s fears.

All children experience periods of fear. Fears are normal, and they help children solve issues of change and development. Fears also call parents’ attention to a child’s situation so the parent will provide extra support when the child needs it.

The fear of falling is built into each newborn baby in the form of a clasping motion. A baby will make this motion when he is uncovered or surprised, or when he is dropped suddenly. His arms shoot out sideways and then come together as if to grab anything or anyone nearby. The baby usually cries out when he makes this motion. The startled cry attracts a parent’s attention. Thus, even from birth, a baby is able to use this natural fear of falling to get help.

Another fear that babies have is the fear of strangers, a natural fear that alerts the child to a new situation. Anxiety around strangers is one of the earliest signs of fear in babies. In studies that filmed babies as they played with adults, it was shown that even at one month old, the babies could distinguish between their mother, father, and strangers, and they showed this with clear differences in their own responses.

Fears appear during periods of new and rapid learning. At one year old, and all through the second year, a whole new world opens up when children learn to walk. They will both value and fear their new independence. At the same time they learn to run away from their parents, children also find new things to be afraid of—dogs, loud noises, strange people and places. Fears help children adjust to their new independence. By overcoming their fears, children acquire confidence in their own new abilities.

Using points and examples from the lecture, describe fears that young children experience, and explain how these fears help children.