The TOEFL speaking task 3 is the first question where you have to “synthesize” content and different types of information. Synthesize means the “action of combining different elements to work together”, basically it means you have to combine different types of media together to get information and report on it.
With the TOEFL speaking question 3, you need to synthesize reading, listening, and speaking to give a solid answer and get the best score. Here are the three most important things to remember for the TOEFL speaking task 3
The short reading isn’t as important as the audio conversation. The purpose of the reading is really just to introduce the topic of the conversation. Does that mean you should skip it? No. Any extra help to give you a better understanding of the conversation is a good thing. But remember, speaking question 3 DOESN’T ASK YOU TO TALK ABOUT THE READING, and because of this you don’t need to pay much attention to the reading.
Almost 100% of the time this question format has two people, a man and a woman, discussing some change in a university setting. It would be helpful to know who you need to focus on and talk about in your answer before you hear the conversation, but they don’t tell you. How do we fix this problem? Well, typically the person who does the MOST talking is the one the test will ask you to speak about.
Note taking is the KEY to the entire TOEFL test because being able to organize the information will help you with both comprehension AND delivery of your answers. This includes all sections of the TOEFL, not just the speaking. This is especially important on the TOEFL speaking section where you have questions with MULTIPLE SOURCES OF INFORMATION. We have a complete section of the English Simple Online program to teach you a powerful note taking strategy.
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!