The audio transcripts and the key points are at the bottom of the page. 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.

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

Get your timer ready!

Abstract Expressionism was a movement in painting that emerged in New York City in the 1940s and attained prominence in the following decade. It emphasized personal expression, individuality, and freedom from convention.

Abstract Expressionism valued the act of painting itself, including the accidents and discoveries that can occur during the process of painting. For this reason, it is sometimes called action painting. The expressive method of painting was considered as important as the finished product. Artists typically applied paint rapidly and with force. They valued improvisation and painted spontaneously, without planning or sketching in advance.

Abstract expressionists gave special attention to surface qualities of paint, such as brushstroke and texture. They sometimes applied paint with large brushes—dripping, splattering, or even throwing it onto a canvas. They used various tools, including their hands, to spread the paint. Some artists applied multiple layers of paint, filling the entire canvas with broad brushstrokes and thick globs of color.

Abstract expressionists had a preference for dramatically large canvases. Painters rejected easel–bound canvases for over–sized surfaces that were often placed upon the floor. Their approach to space meant that all parts of the canvas played an equally important role in the total work. Huge canvases suited the heavyweight, tragic, and emotional themes. Bold use of color and texture contributed to a painting’s sense of power and movement.

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

The lecture discusses the painter Jackson Pollock. Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they illustrate specific points made in the reading passage.

Writing Time – 20 minutes
Get your timer ready! Do not look at the transcript and key points until after you finish the task.

Key points:

•The lecture states that Jackson Pollock painted as a form of self–expression. This illustrates the point in the reading that Abstract Expressionism emphasized personal expression, individuality, and freedom.

•The lecture states that Pollock was influential for his process of creating art; his devotion to the act of painting led to the term “action painting.” This illustrates the point in the reading that Abstract Expressionism valued the act of painting itself.

•The lecture states that Pollock controlled the drip to give his paintings a special character. This illustrates the point in the reading that artists gave special attention to surface qualities of paint, such as brushstroke and texture.

•The lecture states that Pollock’s “all–over” paintings filled the entire canvas. This illustrates the point in the reading that all parts of the canvas played an equally important role in the total work.

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

One of the leading artists of Abstract Expressionism was the painter Jackson Pollock. Like other artists of the movement, Pollock painted as a form of self–expression. Several qualities distinguish Pollock as one of the greatest American artists.

First, he was influential not just for his art but for the process of creating it. His devotion to the act of painting led to the term “action painting.” He painted his huge canvases on the floor. This was so he could work around and over the big canvas. Pollock felt more at ease on the floor. He could walk around the painting, work from all four sides, and literally be in the painting. His technique was sort of a dance with the canvas. As he danced around the borders of the canvas, he spattered the canvas with sprays and drips of paint.

Second, Pollock controlled the drip to give his paintings a special character. His technique was to hold the brush a foot above the canvas and then throw lines of paint in the air so the paint would fall on the canvas. He performed this gesture skillfully, and each painting would literally grow from this controlled drip. Pollock’s trademark drip made his paintings immediately identifiable as his work.

Third, a lot of Pollock’s paintings were called “all–over” paintings because the paint fills the entire canvas. In these paintings, the enormous canvas is filled with a series of lines, curves, and loops—twisting forms of color that suggest movement—an effect created entirely by the skillful gestures of the artist’s brush.

The lecture discusses the painter Jackson Pollock. Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they illustrate specific points made in the reading passage.