The Speaking Section -Questions Part II- TOEFL-iBT® (3/3)

The Speaking Section -Questions Part II- TOEFL-iBT® (3/3)

As you may see from the name, this post continues from a series from the Speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT. If you wish to read from the start of this section then click here to go straight there.

If you, however, wish to start reading from the start of the whole review of the TOEFL-iBT, then click here to start from the Reading section review.

If you have already read them, or are looking to continue with this passage, then go ahead.

As mentioned, we will be continuing with the remaining questions we have left from the Speaking section. So without further ado, here we go.

Question 3. Integrated 2

This question is very similar to the Integrated 1 question, as here we will also be integrating information from a text and audio.

The key difference is that here the content will be more academic-oriented and will involve topics of a common class in a university setting.

Timing

Just as in the last questions, we will be given the maximum time for preparation and speaking in the Speaking section. This shows how difficult this question is as we will have to integrate the given details efficaciously.

For this question, we are allotted 30 seconds to prepare our answer, and 60 seconds to speak.

All of those seconds will be of crucial importance, so we must take advantage of them.

Explanation

Here, we will be given a text of roughly 100 words in length. We will only be given 45 seconds to read this text just like our last question.

The text will be academic-oriented, as we are transported to a university setting. The topics mentioned can be of those covered in normal university classes, similar to those we have seen in the Reading section and the Listening section.

The text and audio will discuss topics of subjects such as Biology, Anthropology, Physics, Psychology, Astronomy, Social Sciences, Business, Art, etc.

For example, in a Business class, the professor may be discussing the key differences between Macro and Micro Economics.

After we finish reading this short text, we will have the audio. This audio will be less than 2 minutes long and it will continue on the topic of the tet before it.

This audio will develop a bit further or present an example to better illustrate what the text was mentioning.

Once we have heard this, we will be presented with the question which will ask that you summarize the topic mentioned in both the text and the audio.

Here we have to collect good arguments and points from both sources to explain the topic effectively. We must organize our ideas to avoid going in circles and getting distracted.

Here we have an example to help illustrate.

Example

Here is a sample text that will help us understand the text and the audio of this question.

Text:

Arthropods

Arthropods are some of the most common types of species on the planet. They are usually identified by having a segmented body with their jointed limbs. The segments of their bodies usually have an appendage. They also have an exoskeleton which helps fend of many dangers, but at the same time inhibits regular growth.

They are very rich in variety covering all the planet but have demonstrated to be very successful in dry environments. Many arthropods have been found in the families of insects, arachnids, and crustacean. 


Now let´s focus on the audio

Audio Transcript:

As you may know, arthropods are one of the most common species we can find on the planet. One study estimates that they represent approximately 80% of the living animal species.

Their sizes are quite varied, ranging from the microscopic to their larger counterpart, the Japanese Spider Crab, which has the largest span of any arthropods reaching more than 11 feet or 3,5 meters.

Arthropods thrive in the desert in comparison to other species. The scorpion is an example of this. Its body fully adapted to withstand the high temperatures and low humidity of these arid conditions. Strangely enough, the scorpion is one of the types of arthropods that doesn’t lay eggs, but rather gives birth to live baby scorpions after the eggs have hatched inside the mother´s body.

One of the main characteristics of the arthropods is their exoskeleton, which allows them to better defend themselves against the elements and predators. The exoskeleton also limits the loss of liquids. But it also has its downside, as the properties of the arthropod´s exoskeleton, doesn’t allow the creature to keep growing, so it has to invest a lot of energy into changing its exoskeleton periodically to permit more space to grow.

At times, this shedding of the old exoskeleton can transform the arthropods into what appears to be a new species. Such is the case of the butterfly, which goes through a few transformation phases in its lifecycle.

They will usually start as eggs, from which a small caterpillar hatches and begins to eat day in and day out. Then, the third stage, the chrysalis, where it forms a cacoon and waits to transform to its final form, an adult butterfly.

After this point, we will be presented with the expected question where we must integrate the information from both sources.

So, here is the prompt question:

Describe the main characteristics of an arthropod. Give examples of their features.

As usual with these integrated questions, we will be given those 30 seconds to prepare, so we must make haste.

We have to organize what we understood from both sources in the best manner we can.

Tip: As with the previous question, our opinion is not being asked here, so make sure NOT to place it anywhere in the answer or your notes.

Now we have to re-capitulate the information summoned by both sources. Focusing on the text, for now, we understand a few main things that you should have jotted down.

  • Arthropods are very common on the planet
  • They are doing well in dry environments
  • Their body is segmented
  • They have an exoskeleton with pros and cons

And from the audio we may grasp that:

  • They are very common, approx 80% of all species
  • They do well in dry areas – scorpion
  • Scorpions are one of the few that don’t lay eggs
  • Their exoskeleton defends them
  • Their exoskeleton limits growth so they shed it periodically
  • Butterflies change their exoskeleton in 4 stages

If you notice, some of these overlap, so we really don’t have to say them twice. Only small extra details are mentioned, going more specific. So when we say our answer, we must combine them as one.

Here is a prompt answer to help visualize better.

Sample answer.

According to both the text and the lecture, arthropods are one of the most common species on the planet. According to one study, they represent about 80% of the living species.

They are very rich in variety and are doing very well in dry areas compared to other creatures. The scorpion is an example of an arthropod that lives in dry areas. But also, they are one of the few that don’t lay eggs but live baby scorpions. Their eggs are hatched inside the mother´s body before they emerge.

They are recognized by having a segmented body and an exoskeleton. This shield allows them to have a good defense against predators, but it also limits their growth. They have to invest constant amounts of energy into shedding their old exoskeleton to create a new larger one for them to grow into.

Sometimes the new exoskeleton makes them look like a new species. One example of this is the butterfly, who goes through 4 transformation stages in its life: They start as an egg, continue into a small caterpillar then into the chrysalis, and finally into an adult butterfly.

Reading this at a moderate pace should take you just under 60 seconds to complete. You can evaluate how fast you´re talking if you finish way earlier or too late.

When we see what is mentioned in the text, we can see that it hits all the points we had from the text and the audio. It goes about in a similar order in which the information was given.

Tip: As with the previous question, our opinion is not being asked here, so make sure NOT to place it anywhere in the answer or your notes.

It is important to stay focused on the main arguments of the text and audio. It is a plus if you mention all the details, primary and secondary, but if you focus on the primary details, it is still possible you may get the perfect score.

Now we will continue with the final question of this section.

Question 4. Summary

This is the final question of this short yet intensive section. In this section, we will not be asked to integrate, but as its name suggests, we will be asked to summarize the information that is presented to us.

We will only be receiving an audio, so it is important that we take hefty notes.

Timing

Here we will also be given plenty of time to talk but our preparation time will be reduced.

For this question, we are given 20 seconds to prepare our answer, and 60 seconds to speak.

Why cut those 10 seconds of preparation? well, we won´t be asked to integrate any information, just summarize what we hear. So the information that we need to process is reduced.

Explanation

Summarizing is very important in the TOEFL-iBT. But it is more important in this specific question.

Here we will be presented with an audio of anywhere between 2 and 3 minutes. This audio will be explaining to us how a particular process works.

The process in question can be very varied, as it can be related to university life, a natural process, or even how a machine works.

Here are some potential topics:

  • How to get a library card
  • Internship registration
  • The process of condensation
  • Photosynthesis
  • How computers communicate through WiFi
  • The relationship between a battery and an alternator
  • And many more…

It is important that we understand the stages of this process a that is where the main focus will be in.

A process like condensation has several stages, so we have to be sure that we understand those stages and have some of the characteristics of it.

Let´s check out an example to help us see better.

Example

Here we are presented with a transcript of the audio.

Audio Transcript:

The Chemistry in Cookies

Professor: When analyzing how something as simple as a cookie is made, we will find many changes occurring at different stages of the cooking process.

Focusing on what happens in the oven, we can start by noticing that as the temperature rises, the cookie goes through many transformation processes.

The first change is in shape. This happens once the emulsion breaks down. Remember than an emulsion is when two fluids that normally repel each other are combined. In this case, butter which combines water and fat. The water starts breaking away from the fat as the butter melts, hence, the shape of the dough slides into a circumference.

At about 144 degrees Fahrenheit, the proteins in the eggs, which are usually coiled up individually, start to stretch out, tangling with other proteins. This is how the eggs change to an almost solid phase when being cooked.

Then when the temperature reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit, water evaporates forming bubbles that push the dough outwards. This leaves plenty of pockets of air, as the water vapor finds its way out of the mixture.

After that, more pockets of air continue to form. This time, due to the effects of Bicarbonate sodium, or baking powder. All of these air bubbles make the cookie lighter, and as more humidity leaves, it also gets crunchier.

One of the final phenomena is called the Maillard reaction, which occurs above 310 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when the sugars and proteins form structures in a ring formation. This helps reflect light differently and gives the cookie its distinct brown color.

At this point, the cookie is fully cooked and ready to be enjoyed.

So here we just saw the transcript of the audio. After this point, we are presented with the question and are then asked how we can summarize it.

In these 20 seconds, we must be sure to capture the main steps in the process of cooking cookies. We should have been able to put them in our notes in the way they were presented.

We will not that temperature is fundamental, hence we should give our answer with the rising temperature as the main guide.

We can choose not to do it in this order, but this will be easier, as we will avoid jumping from one reaction to another.

Here we will see a sample sentence to help visualize.

Sample answer

In the lecture, the speaker explains how the chemical reactions occur at different stages of the cooking process of a cookie.

As the temperature rises, the cookie´s shape shifts to a more oval form as the emulsion of water and fat within the butter, which holds the dough in place, breaks down.

When the temperature is around 144 degrees, the proteins in the egg form a more solid form. And at 212 degrees water starts to evaporate leaving empty bubbles that expand the dough outwards.

Then bicarbonate sodium creates more small bubbles of air which make the cookie lighter and crunchier.

Finally, at 310 degrees, the Millard reaction changes the sugar and protein structures that help reflect light and give the cookies a distinct brown color. After this, the cookie is cooked and we can eat it.

If we collected good notes, we should have been able to jot down many of the details, specifically the temperatures.

It should take about 60 seconds to read this text at a moderate pace. Keep in mind how the structure of the Sample Answer follows that of the audio we heard originally.

Tip: We may hear a word that is completely new to us in the explanation of this process. If we know it is an important word, then we must just write down what we understand and pronounce it as best we can. For example, the Millard Reaction.

By this point, we have covered all the questions of the Speaking Section of this test. Every question has its own set of guidelines that can be easily understood through practice. After all, that is what makes things perfect.

Hoping these tips and guidelines have been able to help you out to better understand this section.

Be sure to read our other posts to get an even better insight into the other sections of the TOEFL-iBT and more.

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