Sample answers for Questions 1 and 2 for the TOEFL

In the previous blog post, I covered how the independent speaking responses are scored on three criteria: DELIVERY, LANGUAGE, and TOPIC DEVELOPMENT.

Now, let's examine two sample responses for the questions which were posted. Here is question 1 again.

Talk about a time when you successfully accomplished something you thought was impossible.

These were the notes which I took within the 15-second time limit. I used abbreviations in order to write down more information.

NOTES: passed environ sci class 1. diff professor 2. friend dropped out finally passed

Based on my notes, this was the answer I gave for this question.

Here is the structure for this answer.

First, you should:

- answer the question

- provide a first reason

- give details for that first reason

- talk about your second reason

- give details for that second reason

- include a conclusion if you have enough time

Click here to hear the recording for this answer: The first thing I did was make a sentence to identify the specific event for this question. If I had to talk about a time when I successfully accomplished something I didn't think was possible, it would definitely be when I passed my environmental science class in college.

After stating the particular event, I went on to talk about my first reason. And the first reason for this was that the professor was really difficult, notoriously difficult.

After stating my first reason, I gave a detail.

And there were lots of reviews of him online where he would just arbitrarily give a bad grade.

Then, I moved on to my second reason. And the other thing was that my friend dropped out of that class.

Finally, I provided details for my second reason. And we were originally going to take that class together, but her schedule had to be changed suddenly, and then I felt really alone and worried about my own grade. Luckily, with a lot of hard work, I was able to pass, but not with a stellar grade.

Now, let's take a look at question 2.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Stress affects people's ability to make good decisions. Give reasons and details for your explanation.

Here are my notes: disagree 1. think about a prob. more deeply 2. find a better solution

Here is the transcript for the following answer which follows the structure which I introduced. Click here to listen to the sample answer for question 2.

Answering the question: Personally, I don't think that stress affects people's ability to make good decisions. In fact, I think that it can actually help people make better decisions.

First reason:

And one reason why I think this way is that it can help you think about a problem more deeply.

Detail for first reason:

For example, I'm an English teacher and when my students have trouble with particular aspects of grammar or pronunciation, it makes me feel a bit stressed, but in a good way because it makes me analyze my students' mistakes more closely.

Second reason:

And the other thing is that stress can help people find a better solution.

Detail for second reason:

Actually, since my students were having trouble with grammar, I created flashcards for them so that they could memorize the information more easily and also study more conveniently with their smart phones.

If you have been preparing for the TOEFL, think about how you've structured your answers. Did you adequately answer the question? Did you provide reasons and details? Was your pronunciation clear and was your answer free from grammatical mistakes?

Keep these things in mind when you evaluate your answers. Then think about how you can improve your answers and record yourself again.

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