TOEFL Q18: The American Industrial Revolution

Directions

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

At the beginning of the 19th century, the United States went through a time of rapid development, known as the Industrial Revolution. Several factors contributed to the revolution. Today, however, I’ll just focus on the development of water and land transportation systems. Before the Industrial Revolution, the only way to travel around the U.S. was on foot or horseback. As you can guess, this was not very efficient. So the country began the construction of canals. These man-made waterways made it possible to transport goods from the ocean to places as far away as Chicago with ease. The result of this was lower prices on goods and services. Of course canals could not be built everywhere. The nation needed a way to connect areas far from water with the rest of the country. Through the railway systems, trains could move even larger quantities of good than canals. They also made it possible to send raw materials from the rural South directly to the North. In this way, the railway systems lowered the cost of transporting goods even further. This, in turn, created more industrial development.

 

Question

Using points and examples from the lecture, explain the developments in transportation during the American Industrial Revolution.


Preparation time: 20 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds

Summarize

Use the chart below to summarize the lecture.

Guideline
Topic The speaker goes over the development of __ during the American Industrial Revolution.
Detail 1 The country built __ to transport goods to places far from the __. This resulted in __ on goods and services.
Detail 2 Canals could not be built __. S0 the nation built __. Trains could move __ of goods than canals. They also made it possible to send __ directly to the North.
Keywords canals, prices, railway systems, from the South to the North

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

The speaker goes over the development of water and land transportation during the American Industrial Revolution. Originally, people did not have an efficient way to travel around the U.S., so the nation constructed canals. These made it possible to transport goods to places far from the ocean cheaply. Later, the nation constructed railroads. Railroad trains could move even more goods than canals. Railroads also made it possible to transport raw materials from the South to the North easily. This lowered transportation costs further, allowing the U.S. to become more developed.

Further Study

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

Additional Expressions
rapid (adj) very fast
e.g. He had a rapid heartbeat after running.
development (n) the act of making something larger or more advanced
e.g. The construction of canals and railroads in the U.S. promoted economic development. [=growth]
contribute (v) to add to something
e.g. He contributed [=donated] one hundred dollars to the charity.
efficient (adj) able to work without waste
e.g. He was an efficient worker who outperformed his co-workers.
construction (n) the act of building something
e.g. Construction of the new bridge will begin in the spring.
man-made (adj) built by human beings; not natural
e.g. The government flooded the valley to create a man-made lake.
transport (v) to move something from one place to another
e.g. A van at the hotel transports guests to and from the airport.
quantity (n) a number; an amount
e.g. There is a large quantity of railroads across the U.S.
raw material (n) a basic material used to make something
e.g. Wheat and rye are the raw materials used by a flour mill to make flour.
rural (adj) of the countryside; not of the city
e.g. She lives in a rural area far from the city.
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TOEFL Q17: Getting a Job

Directions

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: Excuse me, professor Howard. May I speak to you for a moment?

M: Absolutely, Sherin. Come on in. Is everything alright?

W: Um, not exactly. You see, I’m a philosophy major. I really enjoy my studies, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to get a good job with a philosophy degree.

M: I understand. Have you thought about changing majors? You could study business management or accounting. Then you’d be sure to get a decent job right out of school. But if you do that, then it will probably take you another year to graduate.

W: Yes, I’ve thought about that. The problem is I’ll have take out a student loan if I study an extra year.

M: And I’m sure you don’t want that. Maybe you could get a minor in business? That way you will get some business knowledge and still complete your studies on time. Of course a business minor alone might not help you very much in getting a good job.

W: Gosh, this is such a tough decision. I don’t know what to do.

Question

The man gives two possible solutions to the woman’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

Summarize

Use the chart below to explain the problem and the solutions offered.

Guideline
The Problem The woman is worried that she will not be able to get a __ with a __.
Solution 1 Change her __.
Reason The woman can study business or __ and be sure to get a good job.
Solution 2 Get a __ in business.
Reason She can get some __ and still __ her studies on time.

Brainstorm

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

  1. State the problem
    • The woman is worried that she will not be able to get a good job with a philosophy degree
  2. What are the pros and cons of solution 1?
    • Pro: She will be more likely to get a job.
    • ConShe will have to take out a student loan.
  3. What are the pros and cons of solution 2?
    • ProShe can complete her studies on time.
    • Con: A minor in business is not good enough.
  4.  Your opinion
    • solution 1 is better 
  5. Come up with two reasons to back your opinion
    • Most good jobs require a degree in business.
    • She will be able to get a good job, which will allow her to pay off her student loans more easily.

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: The woman is worried that she will not be able to get a good job with a philosophy degree. The man suggests changing majors or getting a minor in business. Between these two solutions, I prefer the first one. For one, most good jobs today require a degree in business. A minor in business is not good enough. On top of this, the woman will be more likely to get a high-paying job. This will allow her to pay her student loan easily.

Solution 2: The woman’s problem is that her philosophy degree might not help her get a good job. The man first tells the woman to change her major. However, I think his second suggestion of getting a minor in business is better. First, the woman can graduate on time. She will not have to take out a student loan. I also feel that the woman should study what she enjoys. If she majors in business, then she might not be very happy.

Further Study

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

Additional Expressions
major (n) the main subject studied by a college student
e.g. He chose history as his major and French as his minor.
degree (n) a document given to a student who finishes college
e.g. He received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature.
accounting (n) the job of making financial records
e.g. He worked at an accounting firm after college.
decent (adj) good enough but not the best
e.g. They can’t afford decent [=adequate] housing.
graduate (v) to complete high school or college
e.g. He graduated from university last June.
take out (phr v) to get something through a process
e.g. They had to take out a second mortgage on their home.
loan (n) money borrowed and paid back later
e.g. He’ll need several more years to pay back the rest of his student loans.
minor (n) a second subject studied by a college student
e.g. She majored in chemistry with a minor in biology.
tough (adj) very difficult
e.g. She had a tough time in college.
pay off (phr v) to give all of the money that you owe for (something that you pay for over a period of time)
e.g. If I won the lottery, I’d use the money to pay off all my credit cards.
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TOEFL Q16: Teaching Rules

Directions

In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question four from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the text below out loud with the tutor.

Teaching Rules

One of the most important lessons students learn in school is how to follow the rules. Students learn how to share, to respect others, and to complete assignments on time. However, teaching students these ideas is sometimes difficult. As a result, teachers have to rely on a variety of strategies to help students learn to follow the rules.


Reading time: 45 seconds

Listening

Listen to a short conversation related to the reading.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

Let me tell you about my experience as an elementary school teacher and how I taught students to follow the rules. If you’ve been around young children, then you know that they love to ask “why?”. This is especially true of the rules. Young students need to know why a rule exists. Otherwise, they won’t follow it. This mean we should always explain the purpose of the rule after making it. I’ll give you an example to help you understand. I didn’t want my students to eat snacks in the classroom. So I made a rule against eating in class. At first the students didn’t follow the rule, but then I explained why I made the rule. I told them that I wanted to keep the classroom clean. Once the students understood the purpose of the rule, they followed it without a problem.

Question

The professor describes her experience teaching students to follow the rules. Explain how her experience relates to teaching rules.


Preparation time: 30 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds

Summarize

Use the chart below to explain the main idea and the key points of the lecture.

Guideline
Topic The lecturer explains how she taught her elementary students to __.
Detail 1 First, she explains that young children love to __. She says that young students need to know the __ of a rule. Otherwise, they will __ the rule.
Detail 2 The lecturer made a rule against __. The students did not follow the rule __. However, after she __ the purpose of the rule, the students __ without a problem .

Synthesize

Give a brief spoken response to the questions based on the announcement and the conversation.

  1. What does the reading passage say about teaching students to follow the rules?
    • The passage says that it is difficult and that teachers must rely on __.
  2. What rule did the instructor create in her elementary school class?
    • She created a rule against __.
  3. What strategy did the instructor use to get her students to follow the rules?
    • The instructor would __ of the rules to get her students to follow them.

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
The reading passage deals with teaching rules to students. It explains that teachers must use a variety of strategies to teach students the rules. In the listening, the lecturer claims that young children will not follow a rule if they don’t know why it exists. She gives an example to help explain. The lecturer made a rule against eating in class. At first, the students didn’t follow the rule. But after she explained the purpose of the rule, the students followed it without a problem.

Further Study

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

Additional Expressions
lesson (n) something learned
e.g. I’ve learned my lesson; I’ll never do that again!
respect (v) to act politely toward others
e.g. The students respect the principal’s honesty.
rely on (phr v) to need something
e.g. My mother relied on me for financial support.
variety (n) a number of different things
e.g. The company sells a variety of gardening products.
experience (n) something that has happened to someone
e.g. The best way to learn is by experience.
especially (adv) particularly; very
e.g. He was especially concerned about the terms of the contract.
exist (v) to be real
e.g. She believes that ghosts really do exist.
purpose (n) a reason
e.g. The purpose of the new resort is to attract more tourists.
create (v) to make something
e.g. The President has announced a plan to create new jobs.
claim (v) to say that (something) is true when some people may say it is not true
e.g. The man claimed he was my long-lost uncle.
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TOEFL Q15: Laptop Loaning Service

Directions

In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question three from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the text below out loud with the tutor.

Laptop Loaning Service for Students

Effective the first week of March, the school will begin loaning laptops to students. By offering this service, the university hopes to make the computer labs less crowded. The service will also give students greater flexibility in where they choose to study. To borrow a laptop, visit any university computer lab and show your student I.D. card to a computer center employee.


Reading time: 45 seconds

Listening

Listen to a short conversation related to the reading.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

W: What do you think about the school’s plan to loan laptops to students?

M: In all honesty, I’m not convinced that the plan will be successful.

W: Yeah, I feel the same way. I think the school should use the money for other things.

M: Oh, for sure. Like the desktop computers in the computer labs. Most of them are really old and need to be updated.

W: Yeah. I once tried to do an assignment for a design class in the computer lab, but I couldn’t because the computers were too old to run the program I needed.

M: Exactly. I’m also worried that the service in the computer labs will deteriorate. There will probably be a lot of students checking out these laptops. Because of this the staff probably won’t have time to answer questions or to help students if they have any problems.

W: I hear you. I just hope the school will reconsider its plan before it’s too late.

Question

The man expresses his opinion about the school’s announcement. Explain his opinion and the reasons he gives for holding it.


Preparation time: 30 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds

Summarize

Use the chart below to explain the woman’s opinion about the announcement.

Guideline
Main Idea The man in the conversation is __ that his school ’s plan to loan laptops to students will be successful
Reason 1 For his first argument, the man states that the school needs to buy __ for the computer labs. He says most of the computers in the labs are __.
Reason 2
The man also worries that service in the computer labs will __. He feels the employees will be __ to answer questions or to help students with computer problems.

Synthesize

Give a brief spoken response to the questions based on the announcement and the conversation.

  1. What does the university hope to do by loaning laptops to students?
    • The university hopes to __.
  2. What does the man say about the computers in the computer labs?
    • He says that the computers are __.
  3. What does the man say about the workers at the computer labs?
    • The man says that the workers will be too busy checking out laptops to __.

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
The speakers are discussing their school’s decision to allow students to borrow laptops. The man is not convinced the plan will work. The man gives two arguments to explain his opinion. His first argument is that the computers in the labs are too old. The man believes the school should buy some new computers instead of laptops. He is also worried that the service in the computer labs will deteriorate. He thinks the staff will be too busy renting laptops to help students using the labs.

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
crowded (adj) filled with people or objects
e.g. The library was so crowded today I couldn’t find an open space to study.
flexibility (n) an ability to change easily
e.g. He shows remarkable flexibility as an actor. [=he can play a wide range of roles]
employee (n) a worker
e.g. A good boss listens to his employees.
convinced (adj) completely persuaded by something
e.g. I was never fully convinced of his innocence. [=I always believed that he might be guilty]
purchase (v) to buy
e.g. He purchased a new suit for one hundred dollars.
assignment (n) a job someone has to do
e.g. My assignment was to clean the equipment. [= They gave me the assignment of cleaning the equipment.]
run (v) to operate; to use something
e.g. You should run the engine for a few minutes before you start driving.
deteriorate (v) to become worse
e.g. Her health continues to deteriorate. [=decline]
check out (phr v) to borrow something
e.g. He checked out [=took out, borrowed] a book on farming from the library.
 loan (n) an amount of money that is given to someone for a period of time with a promise that it will be paid back : an amount of money that is borrowed
e.g. He’ll need several more years to pay back the rest of the student loan.
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TOEFL Q14: Notes vs Lectures

Directions

In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question two from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the question below out loud with the tutor.

Some students like to take notes during class while other students prefer to concentrate on the lectures. Which do you think is better and why? Include details in your explanation.


Preparation time: 15 seconds l Response time: 45 seconds

Warm-up

Choose a question at random from the list below. Answer the question right away without making notes. Try to speak for at least 10 seconds.

  • How do you usually study for your classes?
  • What would the teacher think if you sat in class without taking notes?
  • In what ways can taking notes make it harder to concentrate?

Brainstorm

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

  1. Brainstorm before you choose your position
    • Taking notes:
      • allows you to easily review class material
      • it lets teacher know you are paying attention
    • Concentrating on the lectures:
      • allows you to more fully focus on the material
      • you can participate more easily when not taking notes
  2. Choose your position
    • Taking notes: I prefer taking notes in class rather than concentrating on the lectures.
  3. Come up with 2 reasons to back up your argument
    • I cannot remember the whole lecture without taking notes.
    • If I don’t take notes, the teacher will think I don’t care about the class.
  4.  Give concrete example to one of the reasons
    • Notes become crucial when studying for tests and exams. 
  5. Conclude with your argument
    • I think that overall taking notes can lead to better grades than simply concentrating on lectures.

Sample Answer

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

Sample Answer

Taking notes: I prefer taking notes in class rather than just concentrating on the lectures. To begin with, notes make it easier to study. I can easily look at my notes to review the material covered in my classes. After all, it’s almost impossible to remember every part of a lecture. Furthermore, notes become crucial when studying for tests or exams. I think overall taking notes is better than simply concentrating on lectures.

Concentrating on the lectures: Most students take notes in class. I however, am convinced that concentrating on the lecture is better. One reason is that I can focus on the material being presented. When I take notes, I get distracted. By focusing only on the lectures, I can understand the material better. Concentrating on the lectures also allows me to participate more easily. I can think about the lecture and ask the teacher questions. This way, I remember the material long term, so I don’t have to study as much outside of class.

Further Study

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

Additional Expressions
material (n) something used in doing a particular activity (usually plural)
e.g. She left her writing materials at home and was unable to take notes.
distract (v) to cause (someone) to stop thinking about or paying attention to someone or something and to think about or pay attention to someone or something else instead
e.g. Students are easily distracted, especially when they’re tired.
review (v) to study or look at (something) again
e.g. She reviewed her notes for the speech.
concentrate (v) to think about something : to give your attention to the thing you are doing, reading, etc.
e.g. All that noise makes it hard to concentrate.
grade (n) a number or letter that indicates how a student performed in a class or on a test
e.g. I received a satisfactory grade on my TOEFL test.
engaging (adj) very attractive or pleasing in a way that holds your attention
e.g. The Lord of the Rings is a very engaging story.
participation (n) to be involved with others in doing something: to take part in an activity or event with others
e.g. He noted a lack of participation in the group activity.
record (v) to write (something) down so that it can be used or seen again in the future: to produce a record of (something)
e.g. Be sure to record all your business expenditures.
handwriting (n) the way a person’s writing looks
e.g. Her handwriting is nearly impossible to read.
transcribe (v) to write down (something that is spoken)
e.g. The senator’s speech was transcribed.
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TOEFL Q13: Favorite Personal Possession

Directions

In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question one from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the question below out loud with the tutor.

Describe your favorite personal possession. Explain why it is your favorite. Include details in your explanation.


Preparation time: 15 seconds l Response time: 45 seconds

Warm-up

Choose a question at random from the list below. Answer the question right away without making notes. Try to speak for at least 10 seconds.

  • What are some devices that you always carry with you? 
  • Which pieces of technology could you not live without?
  • What are some ways that you like to relax?

Brainstorm

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

  1. Introduction
    • My favorite possession is my cell phone
  2. Come up with supporting ideas
    • it allows me to send text messages
    • it also provides entertainment
    • it allows me to communicate with others
    • I can watch television programs with it
    • I can call friends and family members
    • I can download and play games
  3. Come up with details to explain two of your supporting ideas
    • communicate with others: I use my cell phone to call and send text messages to my friends and family members.
    • provide entertainment: I can play games on my cell phone.

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
Of all my possessions, the one that is the most special to me is my cell phone. For starters, my cell phone allows me to communicate with other people. I use my cell phone to call and send text messages to my friends and family members. I also like my cell phone very much because it keeps me entertained. Whenever I’m bored, I can play games on my cell phone. For these reasons, my cell phone is my favorite personal possession.

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
possession (n) the condition of having or owning something
e.g. She came into possession of a rare silver coin.
personal (adj) belonging or relating to a particular person
e.g. She kept her dearest personal belongings locked in a safe.
entertain (v) to provide or be entertainment for (someone)
e.g. Our father’s stories entertained us.
cherish (v) to feel or show great love for (someone or something)
e.g. She cherishes her friends/family.
remind A of B (exp) to cause (someone) to remember (something)
e.g. I reminded him of his promise to help me. [=I reminded him that he had promised to help me]
value (n) the amount of money that something is worth : the price or cost of something
e.g. The company’s stock continues to decrease in value.
priceless (adj) extremely valuable or important
e.g. The Mona Lisa is priceless.
useful (adj) helping to do or achieve something
e.g. The cell phone is a useful invention for staying connected with the world.
convenient (adj) allowing you to do something easily or without trouble
e.g. It might be more convenient to use a calculator, rather than adding the numbers yourself.
device (n) an object, machine, or piece of equipment that has been made for some special purpose
e.g. The spy had planted a hidden recording device in the room.
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TOEFL Q12: Animal Science

Directions

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

Now I want to tell you a little bit about animal behavior. Animals use something called display behavior to interact with other members of their species. To explain, I’ll talk about two animals known for their display behavior: the monkey and the peacock. We’ve all seen monkeys at the zoo yelling, seemingly for no reason, but this is actually a display behavior. You see, monkeys yell at other monkeys to gain advantages. Suppose a monkey has found some food. Another monkey also sees the food and wants it as well. In this case, the second monkey will give out a warning yell. This scares the first monkey away from the food. By using display behavior, the second monkey was able to get a meal. Perhaps the most famous example of display behavior comes from peacocks. Male peacocks are well known for their beautiful plumage. It is beautiful to look at, but it serves another purpose. Any idea what this could be? Yes, exactly. It attracts female peacocks. During mating season, male peacocks walk around to show off their plumage. Those with the most beautiful plumage can attract the most females. So, this behavior does not mean much for other animals, but it is essential behavior in peacock mating.

 

Question

Using points and examples from the lecture, explain display behavior.


Preparation time: 20 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds

Summarize

Use the chart below to summarize what you heard.

Guideline
Topic The instructor discusses __. She illustrates this by talking about __ and __.
Detail 1 Monkeys __ at each other as display behavior. If one monkey finds food, another monkey will give out a __. This yell __ the first monkey away from the food.
Detail 2 Male peacocks have __. The purpose of it is to __. Male peacocks will show off their plumage during __. Those with the __ attract the most females.
Keywords monkey, warning yell, food, peacock, plumage, attract female

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

In the lecture, the instructor talks about the display behavior of animals. She illustrates this by mentioning the display behavior of monkeys and peacocks. First, the instructor claims that monkeys yell at each other as a form of display behavior. If one monkey gets food, another monkey will give out a warning yell. This scares the first monkey away from the food. The instructor then talks about the plumage of male peacocks. She explains that male peacocks use their plumage to attract females. Those with the best plumage attract the most females.

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
interact (v) to talk or do things with others
e.g. They’re quiet children who don’t interact much.
plumage (n) feathers that cover the body of a bird
e.g. The peacock has colorful plumage.
species (n) a group of animals that are similar
e.g. There are approximately 8,000 different species of ants.
yell (v) to say something very loudly
e.g. We saw people yelling for help.
gain (v) to get something that one wants
e.g. What do you hope to gain from this?
advantage (n) something that helps make another thing better
e.g. He enjoys an unfair advantage over us because of his wealth.
purpose (n) the reason why something is done or used
e.g. The purpose of the new resort is to attract more tourists.
mating season (n) the time of year when animals produce young
e.g. During mating season these whales will travel from the northern polar hemisphere towards the equator.
central (adj) main; most important
e.g. The novel’s central [=main] character is an orphan.
scare away (exp) to frighten someone or something away from someone or something
e.g. The bear scared away a lot of people from the campground.
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