When I first started to teach the TOEFL test a number of years ago, I always struggled with the TOEFL speaking task 4. Not only was it the most difficult for my students to complete, but it was also very difficult for me to teach. Then I realized a couple of basic steps to master this question. Read on to learn what these steps are and how to get a perfect score on this question.
Obviously we need to take notes for EVERY speaking question on the TOEFL. The English Simple TOEFL program explains exactly how to take notes on each one of the speaking questions. For speaking task 4, you need to take notes in a column format. It looks like this:
Notes are especially important on this question because they allow us to focus on what is important. Which leads me to my next step…
The TOEFL Speaking task 4 is called an “Integrated” question. They use this term because you must “integrate” both a reading section and a listening section. This is a little misleading, though, as most of the time the QUESTION asks you how the LECTURE illustrates the TOPIC. This means that while you need to identify the topic, the majority of the important content is found in the LECTURE. So, what do we need from the reading? I’m glad you asked…
The reading usually has the TOPIC in bold and clearly labeled. Write that down. Then move on to the text. Find what you think is the DEFINITION of that TOPIC. Write that down. And now, you’re pretty much done with the reading. You are welcome to read the rest of the content, however the TOPIC and the DEFINITION of the TOPIC are the only things that really matter from the reading. Once you have that you’re ready to listen for the REALLY IMPORTANT content, the details and examples from the LECTURE.
To wrap it all up, the three things you need to remember to get a perfect score on the TOEFL speaking question 4 task are:
Adam is the founder and lead instructor for the English Simple TOEFL program. He’s taught English and TOEFL for over ten years, and developed curriculum all over the world. TOEFL is his business, but helping people is his passion. His “office” is always open, so feel free to drop him an email with any questions, complaints, compliments, or funny jokes. He speaks French, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian. But you gotta write him in English – you’re prepping for the TOEFL!