TOEFL Q11: A Club Meeting


In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question five from the TOEFL speaking test. Listen to a short conversation.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

W: Hey Jason, I heard that the famous environmentalist, Willian Jefferson, is going to give a speech at your club meeting. I can’t wait to listen to his lecture.

M: Don’t get your hopes up. Mr. Jefferson just called me and said that he might not be able to attend the meeting.

W: Oh no, what are you going to do?

M: I’m not sure. The meeting is tomorrow, and I don’t think I can find a replacement.

W: Hmm, you know, I have a friend who works as an environmentalist. Maybe she could give a speech instead? She isn’t famous, though.

M: Yeah, maybe that could work.

W: Or you could rent a documentary from the library. I know they have this fascinating documentary about river pollution. I think it would be perfect to show during the meeting.

M: That’s not a bad idea. I’ll think about it and let you know what I decide.


The woman discusses two possible solutions to the man’s problem. Describe the problem. Then state which of the two solutions you prefer and explain why.

Preparation time: 20 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds


Use the chart below to explain the main idea of the conversation.

The Problem The man’s problem is that the speaker for his club’s meeting __. He is worried that he will not be able to find a __.
Solution 1 The woman says that her __ can give a speech.
Reason Her friend is also an __.
Solution 2 Next, the woman recommends renting a __ from the library.
Reason They have a film about __. It would be __ to show during the meeting.


Use the following pointers as a guideline to refine your answer.

  1. State the problem
    • The man needs to find a speaker for his club meeting.
  2. What are the pros and cons of solution 1?
    • ProHer friend is an environmentalist
    • ConShe is not famous
  3. What are the pros and cons of solution 2?
    • ProRent a documentary on river pollution
    • ConIt’s not a speaker (different format)
  4.  Your opinion
    • I think the man should rent a documentary
  5. Come up with two reasons to back your opinion
    • It’s about river pollution
    • It should be interesting to the man’s club

Sample Answer

Reading great sample answers is one way to improve. Go over the sample answer with your tutor. Ask questions if you have any.

Sample Answer

Solution 1: In the conversation, an environmentalist cannot attend the man’s club meeting. The woman gives two possible solutions to the man’s problem. She suggests that her friend gives a speech or for the man to rent a documentary from the library. Of the two solutions, I prefer the first one. The woman’s friend is an environmentalist. She can give an informed speech at the man’s club meeting. She can also answer any questions the club members might have. For these reasons, I think the woman’s first suggestion is better.

Solution 2: The man in the dialog needs to find a speaker for his club meeting. The woman first recommends that her friend give a speech at the meeting or for the man to rent a documentary from the library. I like the second solution better. The man can rent the video quickly and be ready to show it right away. On top of this, the film is about river pollution, so it should be interesting to the man’s club. Overall, I feel the man should follow the woman’s second suggestion.

Further Study

Got more time? Here is a list of common vocab words related to the text you studied today. Go over each one with your tutor.

Additional Expressions
environmentalist (n) a person who is concerned about the environment
e.g. Ma Jun, a leading Chinese environmentalist, confirmed genuine changes appear to be taking place.
rent (v) to borrow; to check out
e.g. Do you want to rent a movie tonight?
club (n) a group of people who meet to participate in an activity
e.g. He attended an exclusive social club.
documentary (n) a program that tells facts about actual people and events
e.g. We watched a documentary on the early history of jazz.
attend (v) to be present at an event
e.g. My husband and I will both attend the banquet.
fascinating (adj) very interesting or appealing
e.g. Her paintings are fascinating.
replacement (n) something that takes the place of another thing
e.g. Is your old dictionary in need of replacement? [=do you need a new dictionary?]
pollution (n) dirt; litter; smog
e.g. Industrial practices have caused air and water pollution.
recommend (v) to say that (someone or something) is good and deserves to be chosen
e.g. A friend recommended this restaurant.
give a speech (exp) talk in front of an audience
e.g. Steve Jobs gave a speech at the Stanford commencement.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s