TOEFL iBT Speaking Sample Q & A – FULL Test 6



Talk about a photograph or painting you have seen that was memorable. Explain what you liked or disliked about it.


Some people have one career throughout their lives. Other people do different kinds of work at different points in their lives. Which do you think is better? Explain why.


History Seminars Should Be Shorter

Currently, all of the seminar classes in the history department are three hours long. I would like to propose that history seminars be shortened to two hours. I make this proposal for two reasons. First, most students just cannot concentrate for three hours straight. I myself have taken these three-hour seminars and found them tiring and sometimes boring. Also, when a seminar lasts that long, people stop concentrating and stop learning, so the third hour of a three-hour seminar is a waste of everyone‘s time. Two-hour seminars would be much more efficient.

The woman expresses her opinion about the proposal that her friend Tim made in his letter to the newspaper. State her opinion about his proposal and explains the reasons she gives for her opinion.

W: I totally disagree with Tim’s proposal.

M: Why?

W: Well, look, Tim is my friend, but he is not a typical student. He stays up late partying every night, weeknights too.

M: If he parties every night, no wonder he can’t pay attention.

W: Yes, and most students aren’t like that. They come to class prepared and rested and they can concentrate.

M: So you are saying the problem is really Tim.

W: Yes. He was in one of my classes last year. And whenever I looked at him he was actually sleeping.

M: I guess if he is sleeping, he can’t really know what’s happening. What other people in classes are doing?

W: Right! And you wanna know what does happen in that last hour of the seminar? And in a lot of seminars that I have been in that’s when things get interesting.

M: Really?

W: Yes, that’s usually when students get really involved in a discussion and start exchanging important ideas. And if the history department actually did what Tim suggests, well, if they did that what would happen is you lose what might be the most worthwhile part of a seminar.


Explicit Memories and Implicit Memories

In everyday life, when people speak of memory, they are almost always speaking about what psychologists would call explicit memories. An explicit memory is a conscious or intentional recollection, usually of facts, names, events, or other things that a person can state or declare. There is another kind of memory that is not conscious. Memories of this kind are called implicit memories. An individual can have an experience that he or she cannot consciously recall yet still display reactions that indicate the experience has been somehow recorded in his or her brain.

Using the example of car advertisement, explain what is meant by implicit memory.

Ok, the first kind of memory, we’re all very familiar with this, right? You probably remember what you had for dinner last night? You have a conscious memory of last night’s dinner, so if I ask you “what did you eat last night?” you could tell me. But these other kind memories implicit memories, they work differently. Let’s take an example from the world of advertising. When you’re driving along the highway, you see plenty of billboards, you know, roadside advertisements. You certainly don’t remember them all, but they still affect you. Marketing researchers have shown, well to be specific, let’s say there’s a billboard on the highway advertising a car called the PANTHER. The ad shows a big picture of the car and above the car in huge letters is the name of the car PANTHER. A lot of people drive by the billboard. But ask those drivers later if they saw any advertisements for cars. Well, they’ll think about it and a lot of them would say “no”. They honestly don’t remember seeing any. They have no conscious memory of the PANTHER billboard. So you ask the same people a different question, you ask, ok, you ask them to name an animal starting with the letter P. What do you think they’ll answer, do they say pig? Pig is the most common animal that starts with the letter P, but they don’t say pig. They say panther. The billboard has an effect even though the drivers don’t remember ever seeing it.


The professor proposes two solutions to the problem the woman describes. Briefly, summarize the problem. Then state which solution you recommend and explain why.

M: Hi, Sarah, to what do I owe the pleasure of this office visit?

W: It’s my study group, Professor Wilson. We are not getting much studying done and you know none of us did very well on your last quiz.

M: Mm, what’s the problem?

W: Well, we’ve all become good friends and we joke around a lot instead of studying.

M: Mm, Sarah, let me ask you this: when do you meet?

W: Every Friday afternoon.

M: Have you thought about changing to another day? By the time Friday afternoon rolls around all of you are probably exhausted and all you want to do is relax and unwind. It’s hard to stay focused at the very end of the week.

W: Good point. Although things have gotten so out of hand and I’m not sure changing days would help. And we’d lose one or two people if we changed days. Friday afternoon is the only time everyone is available. But it’s worth considering.

M: OK, but just a second, another possibility is does your group have a leader?

W: No.

M: Well, if you had a leader that would help enormously. Someone to set an agenda in advance, email it to everyone before the meeting and then make sure when you meet that you stay focused on your goals. And since you seem to be concerned enough about the problem to have come to see me, I think that someone might be you.

W: I guess I can take on that role. But it sounds like work.

M: You don’t have to do it for the whole semester, Sarah. You can start it off and then perhaps some else can take over.


Using points and examples from the talk, explain the difference between active and passive attention.

One of the hardest parts of teaching is keeping your students’ attention. Now the key to doing this is understanding the concept of attention. Basically, there are two types of attention.

The first type is active. Active attention is voluntary. It’s when you intentionally make yourself focus on something, and since it requires effort, it’s hard to keep up for a long time. Ok, eh, let’s say you are teaching a biology class, and today’s topic is frogs, all right? You are standing in the front of a room and lecturing. “A frog is a type of animal known as an amphibian.” Well, this is unnecessarily going to keep students’ interest, but most of them will force themselves to pay active attention to your lecture. But it’s only a matter of time before they get distracted.

Now the other type of attention is passive attention when it’s involuntary. Passive attention requires no effort because it happens naturally. If something is really interesting, students don’t have to force themselves to pay attention to it. They do it without even thinking about it. So back to our biology lecture, you start talking about frogs, and you pull a live frog out of your briefcase. You’re describing it while you hold it up, show the students how long its legs are, and how they are used for jumping for example. Then maybe you will even let the frog jump around a bit on the desk or the floor. In this case, by doing something unexpected, something more engaging, you can tap into their passive attention and it can last much longer than active attention. As long as the frog is still there, your students will be interested.

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