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 1

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 product or crop that is important to your country or region. Explain why this product is important. 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!

Some students learn better when they attend a class in a room with a teacher. Other students learn more from online courses. Which system of learning do you think is better for students, and why? Include details and examples to support 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 e–mail message to students at a university.

Reading Time – 45 seconds

NEW FEE FOR COMPUTER LAB

The Director of Student Services announces a new fee concerning the computer lab in the Meade Technology Center. Beginning in the fall semester, all full–time and part–time students will be assessed an additional $50 per semester on their tuition bill. The fee will help to defray the cost of upgrading and remodeling the computer lab, including installation of 60 new work stations, a fully–equipped conference room, and the hiring of additional support staff. There will also be extended hours of operation, starting on September 1, when the lab will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, seven days per week.

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 new fee. 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 – 50 seconds

AESTIVATION

Aestivation is a state of dormancy in which an animal’s metabolism decreases in response to high temperatures and arid conditions. Also known as summer torpor, aestivation is characterized by inactivity, a slow heart rate, and slow respiration. Animals enter aestivation in order to survive long periods of high temperatures and scarce water supplies. The primary physiological concerns for an aestivating animal are to conserve energy, to regulate body temperature, to retain water in the body, and to prevent extreme drying of the cells and tissues. Aestivation is common in many invertebrates, but also occurs in some vertebrates during periods of heat and dryness.


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

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

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 man’s problem. 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, explain some of the reasons for including engineering in the basic education of 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:

• The man opposes the new fee. The fee will help to pay for the cost of remodeling the computer lab.

• One reason he gives is that all students have to pay the fee, whether or not they use the lab. He does not use the lab. He believes it is not fair to charge students who do not use the lab.

• Another reason is that there are already too many fees. Tuition just increased, and parking fees will also increase.

Now listen to two students as they discuss the new fee.

M: Did you read the e–mail about the new fee?

W: Uh … I’m not sure. What new fee?

M: Next fall we have to pay an extra fifty dollars for the computer lab!

W: Really? Well, they are remodeling the building. They have to pass some of the cost on to us.

M: Yeah, but the fee applies to everyone—to all students—whether or not we actually use the lab. Why should everyone have to pay? What if you never use the lab? I don’t go there. A lot of people don’t. Everyone has their own laptops or tablets, or a phone with Internet.

W: Not everyone. I use the computers in the lab. I need the big screen for the work I do.

M: But it’s not fair to charge everyone the lab fee. They should charge just the people who use the computers there.

W: Well, we have to pay for lots of things here that we never use.

M: That’s the truth. There are already too many fees. Our tuition just increased by twenty percent. I hear the parking fees are going up too, and who knows what else. This school is getting too expensive. You should see the complaints on the website.

W: Yeah, I can imagine.

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

Key points:

• Aestivation is a state of dormancy (inactivity) in which an animal’s metabolism decreases in response to hot, dry conditions. Aestivation conserves energy, regulates body temperature, prevents water loss, and enables survival.

• The professor gives the example of land snails, which escape heat by moving into the shade or by climbing tall plants, posts, or walls. The snails remain inactive until moisture returns.

• The professor gives the example of the burrowing frog, which buries itself in the ground and enters a state of dormancy. Some frogs cover their skin with waterproof mucus to prevent water loss. Some frogs store water in their bladder.

• The professor gives the example of a desert lizard that escapes the heat by moving to an underground burrow. It remains inactive to conserve energy when food and water are not available.

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

Many animals have to cope with hot, dry conditions. Land snails, for example, have various ways to cope. Some snails simply move into the shade or crawl under piles of debris. Others climb up tall plants—bushes or trees—and some will even cling to man–made structures like fence posts or brick walls. The snails remain inactive until moisture returns.

Some animals deal with desert habitats or seasonal droughts. One example is the burrowing frog of Australia. During periods of hot, dry weather, this frog buries itself in the sandy ground and enters a state of dormancy. Some burrowing frogs cover their skin with a waterproof mucus, which prevents water loss. Some frogs store water in their bladder, which enables them to survive until the next rainy season.

Another example is a desert lizard of North America called the chuckwalla. This lizard is well adapted to desert conditions. During the hottest parts of the day, it escapes the heat by moving to an underground burrow—usually a crevice under the rocks—where it can stay cool. The lizard can remain inactive in its burrow, conserving energy, for weeks or months at a time, when food and water are scarce. It doesn’t eat or drink until moisture and food return.

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

Key points:

• The man’s problem is that he would like to change his academic major to communications, but his current school does not have a communications department. He does not want to move to another city.

• One possible solution is to design his own program at his current school. He could do independent study in communications with the help of a faculty adviser.

• Another solution is to consider the communications program at the art college in a nearby city.

• Opinions about the preferred solution will vary.

Listen to a conversation between two students.

W: So, what are your plans for next year?

M: Well, for one thing, I’m changing my major. I’m thinking of it anyway. I’d like to study communications.

W: Really? I thought you liked political science!

M: Not as much as I thought I did. My project last quarter made me think communications is a better fit for me. But the only problem is, this school doesn’t have a communications department, so I’d have to transfer to another school.

W: Oh.

M: But … I like this city—and this area—and I don’t want to move.

W: Have you ever thought of designing your own program here? You could do independent study—an independent learning contract—here, at this school, where you develop your own program, with a faculty adviser. You would design projects around your area of interest—in your case, communications. You have to find the right adviser, though, someone who will agree to do it.

M: Huh. I’ve never done independent study before. W: You know, another thing, there’s a communications program at the art college in Newton. It’s only forty miles from here, just a short commute by train. My friend goes to school there. She’s a communications major. Some of their courses are online. You should go to their website and check it out.

M: I didn’t even know Newton had an art college.

W: Media, design, writing—all of that. Good school, I hear.

M: Well, I need to do some research.

Briefly summarize the man’s problem. Then state which solution you would recommend. Explain the reasons for your recommendation.

Key points:

• One reason for including engineering in the basic education of children is that the problem–solving perspective of engineering matches how children naturally learn. When young children play, they build things, test things, and take things apart to understand them. Children are natural engineers.

• Another reason is that problem–solving skills are necessary for the twenty–first century. Students need experiences with engineering and technology. They need to know how things are made and how things work. Studying problem solving and the design process will prepare students for their careers and for life.

Listen to part of a lecture in an education class.

Many educators believe that engineering should be included in the basic education of every child. There are several good reasons for this.

First, engineering is based on a problem–solving perspective that matches how children naturally learn. Engineering is essentially problem solving, and if you watch young children at play, you will see a natural process of problem solving. Children make things. They build bridges and dams and towers. They test them by they knocking them down. They take things apart to understand how they work. If you watch young children interact with the world around them, you will see that children are natural engineers. Engineers identify problems and design solutions. Engineers build and test prototypes. They evaluate the performance and design of their solutions. Children do all of these things naturally, and this is why education should be structured around the design process.

Second, another reason for engineering education is that problem–solving skills are necessary for the twenty–first century. Young students need experiences with engineering and technology if they are going to succeed in the world they live in. Society depends on engineers to design the things that affect our daily lives. Engineers design where we live, how we communicate, how we travel, and even what we eat. All students—whether or not they go on to university, or go on to become engineers—everyone needs to know something about how things are made and how everything works. Students will be better prepared for their careers—and for life in general—if they can apply the design process to understand and solve the problems of the twenty–first century.

Using points and examples from the lecture, explain some of the reasons for including engineering in the basic education of children.



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