Mohan pd.
Mohan pd. Author of The Coders Blog. Also a professional fullstack javascript developer working with various tech company and client around world.

Effective note taking for new TOEFL speaking format in 2019

Sep 06, 2019 · 4 minutes
Effective note taking for new TOEFL speaking format in 2019

Recently, I have attended a TOEFL exam after Aug 1 2019 changes. As per my experience, I have applied some note taking and planning tactics in speaking section which really help me which I am gone share here. Although, I am not a instructor or involved with any kind of institution who prepare student for TOEFL exam. In this article, I am sharing my experience about the new TOEFL speaking format.

First change I notice, there was only 4 question on speaking section whereas before Aug 1 there use to be 6 question on speaking section. I think, answering speaking section completes faster compared to previous TOEFL format.

Let go through my planning, note taking style and answering style for those four question which help me a lot and I believe is effective.

TOEFL Speaking Question 1

This question ask you about your opinion. Two topics are presented and you have to choose one of the topic and explain it; Why you prefer topic ?.

Note taking for trick

For this question, you only have 15 seconds to prepare your answer. So without proper planning, it is difficult to answer it properly. So you can use planed note format below:

   Reason 1 [R1]: First reason to support topic.

   Example 1 [E1]: First example, [ better to provide one]

   Reason  [R2]: Second reason to support topic.

   Example 2 [E2]: Second example.[If you can think relevant example]

Answering format first question

In the answer below, you have to replace the reason and examples. Using this trick, you can save a lot of time in planning and can come up with better idea.

    In my opinion ………………for few/two reasons.
    Firstly, ……. [R1]
    For example .... [E2]
    Secondly, …….[R2]
    For example……[E2]
    That’s why....

Clear and coherent speaking is important while delivering the answer.

TOEFL Speaking Question 2 [30s preparation & 60 second for answering]

You will read an announcement . It might be university notice, particular content from university news paper etc. It will be a paragraph long and reading time varies as per content length. It mainly deal with some changes and mostly present two reasons for the changes.

Note taking trick from reading

      Reason 1:
      Reason 2:

Following the notice, you will hear the conversation between two student, mostly male and female, discussing on the same topic, student mostly disagree idea presented on the notice. In some conservation, they might support idea present in the notice. So, you have to find two reason from the conservation which support/disagree the passage. So here are the note taking trick.

  Male         |      Female
   Opinion:    |
      Reason 1 |
      Reason 2 |

Q. Describe the student’s opinion and the reasons he/she gives for.

    The reading states that……..(change)….
    The man‘s opinion is that……..this is a great/bad
    He provides two reasons:
    First…..(first reason)…….
    Second……..(second reason)…….
    That’s why…………he thinks that….great/bad idea

TOEFL Speaking Question NO 3.

Its about summarizing the reading and passage presented in the question. Idea in a passage is arranged as below.

It is important to understand how idea is organized in the passage so that you get most out of it.

      T: Camouflage
      D: Summary definition

Similarly, lecture will go as follow. Mostly provide example about the reading content.

    Ok, let talk………..spider… Netherland
    forest…..brown ….

Note Taking Format
    T:   (Reading)
    D:  (Reading)
    E: Keywords/Specific example (from listening)

**Q: Using the example of the lecture, explain the title of the article **

Answering technique

      The lecture is about……..(title)……… which the passage defines as………….
      The professor provides an example of ……….to illustrate this…….
      He/she states that………….
      And so, this example clearly illustrates………

Time is crucial in this question. Sometime question will only ask you to explain about example and skips passage summarizing part. Summarizing passage idea will kill time and there are chances you might not have enough time for explaining example. So make sure you read the question properly.

TOEFL Speaking Question 4 [30s, 60s ]

In this question, you will hear the lecture about academic topic. Lecture will be about 2 minute long and lecture will mostly organized as below.

    Topic- general definition
        Subtopic 1: definition, example
        Subtopic 2: definition, example

Note taking format

    Topic- Thermoregulation
      Subtopic 1: fat, example-whale
      Subtopic 2: evaporation, rodents

Q. Using points and examples from the talk, explain the two types of thermoregulation presented by the professor.

Answering format
      In this lecture, the professor talks about thermoregulation. He describes two ways that animals control their internal temperature. The first way is through fat. The professor gives an example to illustrate this about whales. The second kind of way that animal control its internal temperature is through evaporative cooling. The professor gives an example to illustrate this about rodents.


This format help be a lot to prepare my TOEFL but limiting yourself with this is not good idea and if you still think you can speak or include more idea then it’s up to you.

That it, let me know if you find any mistake in article. Also you can share your trick in the comment below.

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