The audio transcripts and the key points are below. At the real TOEFL iBT test, you do not have access to them. We’re including them here so you can learn from the transcripts and the key points, but you should look at them after you complete the tasks.


Exercise 4.2.A

For this task, you will write a response to a question about a reading passage and a lecture. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you write your response. Your response will be scored on the quality of your writing and on how well you connect the points in the lecture with points in the reading.

Typically, an effective response will have 150 to 225 words.

Reading Time – 3 minutes

Members of the city council of a small city are considering a plan to develop a strip of land in the downtown area, between a lake and bay. Currently, the area contains several unoccupied buildings scheduled for demolition, vacant lots between buildings, and a small
wooded area on the lakeside. The plan calls for the construction of several blocks of mixed–use buildings up to six stories in height. All street–level spaces will be for commercial and retail use. The upper stories will be devoted mainly to residential use. City planners have
determined that development of the land will beautify and improve the area, which will motivate people to live and shop downtown.

The development will help solve the city’s growing need for residential space by providing much–needed housing in the downtown core. The plan includes more than one hundred condominiums, two apartment buildings, and four blocks of townhouses. Many of the residential buildings will have the added attraction of rooftop recreational facilities, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and restaurants. The project will rejuvenate the area and turn it into a desirable place to live, thereby attracting more people to live downtown.

The project will benefit the city economically in several ways. The construction phase will create numerous jobs in the building trades. Upon completion of construction, the area will attract a variety of small businesses, such as restaurants, bookstores, art galleries, clothing boutiques, and specialty shops. These businesses will provide hundreds of new jobs, as well as attract residents and tourists to the downtown area. This growth in economic activity will benefit the city through additional revenue from the sales tax.

Now listen to the recording. When you hear the question, begin your response. You may look at the reading passage during the writing time.

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they oppose specific points made in the reading passage.

Writing Time – 20 minutes

Key points:

•The lecture states that the development plan would destroy the view; critics want to preserve the land as a park for the entire community to enjoy. This opposes the point in the reading that the development plan will beautify and improve the area and attract people downtown.
•The lecture states that the proposed new housing would benefit only upper income people. This opposes the point in the reading that the project will help solve the city’s need for more residential space.
•The lecture states that the plan would benefit only a few people economically at the expense of the environment. This opposes the point in the reading that the project will benefit the city economically in several ways.

Exercise 4.2.B

For this task, you will write a response to a question about a reading passage and a lecture. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you write your response. Your response will be scored on the quality of your writing and on how well you connect the points in the lecture with points in the reading.

Typically, an effective response will have 150 to 225 words.

Reading Time – 3 minutes

Psychology is a natural science that describes and explains the physiological and sensory aspects of human behavior. It studies the causes, conditions, and immediate consequences of sensations and emotions. Psychologists view the human mind as a function of the brain. Thought is a result of chemical and mechanical laws that govern brain action. All human cognition is the result of physiological processes that can be observed and measured. A variety of computational models provide tools for studying the functional organization of the mind.

Because psychology is a natural science, it is based on objectively verified facts and the application of the scientific method. Psychologists conduct controlled experiments in a laboratory in order to support their basic assumptions and develop theories. Experimenters use several types of measurements, such as rate of response, reaction time, and level of neural activity in various areas of the brain. Psychologists use inductive methods to derive general principles from specific facts. They aim to acquire a body of facts and laws about the human mind.

Psychology has a number of related subfields, all of which are primarily concerned with the biological bases of behavior and mental states. For example, behavioral neuroscientists use animal models, typically rats, to develop theories about the neural and cellular
mechanisms of human behavior. Cognitive neuroscientists study the neural aspects of psychological processes in humans. Neuropsychologists study specific aspects of mental impairment caused by brain damage or disease.

Now listen to the recording. When you hear the question, begin your response. You may look at the reading passage during the writing time.

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they contrast with specific points made in the reading passage.

Writing Time – 20 minutes

Key points:

•The lecture states that psychology is a social science. This contrasts with the point in the reading that psychology is a natural science.
•The lecture states that psychology studies the overall processes of mental activity, including how these processes influence human behavior and society. This contrasts with the point in the reading that psychology focuses on the physiological and sensory aspects of human behavior.
•The lecture states that psychology is based on the subjective interpretation of phenomena and on knowledge by description. This contrasts with the point in the reading that psychology is based on objectively verified facts and the application of the scientific method.
•The lecture states that all subfields of psychology study the interaction of mental processes and social behavior. This contrasts with the point in the reading that all subfields of psychology study the biological bases of behavior and mental states.

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

Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.

You all know about the city planners’ proposal to develop the land between the lake and the bay. Well, I’m part of a citizens group that’s organizing to protest the proposal. There are a number of reasons to oppose the plan. One reason is that the development would destroy the view from across the lake to the bay. We propose an alternative plan that calls for converting the land into a park and common space for the entire community to enjoy. We believe the land belongs to everyone, not just the developers, and a park will preserve the area’s natural beauty, which is our most valuable resource for attracting people downtown.

Another reason to oppose this development is, the proposed housing is all upscale condominiums and apartments, which would be too expensive for most people. None of the housing is geared toward middle– and low–income people. It’s just crazy—not to mention unfair—that most of the workers in the new shops and restaurants won’t be able to afford to live in the neighborhood.

Finally, it’s important to know that the plan is heavily backed by the construction industry. Building contractors, developers, and real estate companies would make a lot of money, but what about everyone else? More importantly, at what expense to the environment? The land in question borders the lake. The economic success of a few people should not be balanced against the environment. Development would mean that all the trees near the lake would be cut, meaning the loss of habitat for urban wildlife. And most of us agree that the city needs more green space, not less.

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they oppose specific points made in the reading passage.

Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.

Psychology is a social science. How do we know this? Well, first of all, psychology studies the relationship between the human mind and social behavior. Psychology studies the overall processes of mental activity—not just the physiological processes but how these processes influence human behavior and society. Psychology assumes that any given behavior or mental process affects and is affected by interrelated biological, psychological, and social factors. Psychologists seek to understand how humans come to perceive, understand, and interact with their environment. They work to develop generalizations about human consciousness and social
interaction.

Second, as a social science, psychology is based on the subjective interpretation of phenomena and on knowledge by description. Everything is subject to interpretation, so it’s impossible for psychologists to derive objective facts about the human mind. Psychologists use both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as both inductive and deductive reasoning in describing human behavior. They structure experiments to gather data and then examine this data for patterns that lead them to develop new theories.

Third, all subfields of psychology study the interaction of mental processes and social behavior. Some subfields are purely social science, such as social psychology and organizational psychology. Other subfields, such as cognitive psychology and developmental psychology, have a natural science base and a social science application. The common thread in all of these subfields is the integration of mental processes and human behavior.

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they contrast with specific points made in the reading passage.

Extension

1

With your teacher and classmates, discuss symbols, shortcuts, and abbreviations that will help you take notes quickly while you are listening.

2

Review your response to the writing question in Exercise 4.2.A or 4.2.B. Analyze and evaluate your response by answering the following questions:

a. What important points from the lecture does my response convey?

b. What examples and explanation does my response include?

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

3

Share and discuss your response to the writing question in Exercise 4.2.A or 4.2.B. Work in a group of three students. Make copies of your response, and give a copy to everyone in your group. Read and discuss each student’s writing. Answer the following questions about each:

a. What important points from the lecture does the response convey?

b. What examples and explanation does the response include?

c. Does the response answer the question effectively?

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

4

Obtain permission to make a recording of a real college or university lecture. (Topics in history, anthropology, sociology, and psychology are good choices.) Bring your recording to class. In class, everyone listens to three minutes of the recording. While listening, everyone takes notes about the important information in the lecture. Don’t try to write down everything. Write only the key words and phrases that you think are important to remember. Then break into groups of three or four students each. Compare your notes with the notes taken by the other students in your group. Listen again to the same three–minute recording. In your group, try to agree on the key points of the lecture. Write a summary of the lecture. Choose a student to read your group’s summary to the whole class.

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