Lesson 4 of 10 - Learn How to Answer Q2
Perfect TOEFL Speaking 10-Day Challenge
My Speaking Score’s Perfect TOEFL Speaking Challenge is a 10-day task-based course that shows you how to combine a foolproof approach called the Grid, with My Speaking Score’s automated scoring tool to earn a perfect score on the TOEFL Speaking section. In the wrong place? Go to lesson 3.
Lesson 4 - Perfect Q2
You should have recorded and submitted your "speedy" response. How was it? Did your score increase? Did your new speed impact other dimensions? If you are still not seeing the score you need, do not worry. The answer is to keep practicing, and keep progressing through this course. Let’s take a break from Q1 and focus on Q2.
Please share your experience in the comments so we can learn from you!
The Q2 Grid - what is it and how to use it to organize and deliver a perfect TOEFL Speaking response to Q2
How to answer Q2
Organize and structure your response to any Q2, quickly
Practice Task (with transcript)
Response analysis (with transcript)
» To get the most out of this lesson, consult page 55 of Perfect TOEFL Speaking.
How to answer Q2
In Lesson 2, you learned that the Grid is the best way to organize and deliver a response to Q1. (Actually, the Grid works with all TOEFL Speaking Questions - as you will soon see).
When used correctly, the Grid also becomes a template to guide your time and transitions. Let’s use this powerful response framework to master Q2.
1. Prepare the Question 2 Grid now
Use a blank landscape page (in the real test, prepare your Grids before the Speaking section)
In the top left square, jot "S" to remind you to add the main idea of the reading
In the bottom left square, jot "B1,2" to remind you to add the 2 benefits in the reading
In the top middle square, jot "B1" to remind you to describe the student's first opinion
In the top right square, jot "B2" to remind you to describe the student's second opinion
During the 30-second preparation time for Q2, use your semi-complete Grid to jot some details that will help you structure your response. Your completed response links together numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6 in the Grid above.
This linked response is called your response flow.
2. The Q2 Grid Tactic
First 20s - summarize the reading's main idea and 2 main points
Next 20s - summarize the student's first point about the reading
Final 20s - summarize the student's second point about the reading
3. Begin the Q2 task
Take notes as you read and listen. Jot the appropriate information in the appropriate square of your grid.
Tip: only jot down absolutely essential information - chances are you are writing down too much
When you see the prompt for Q2, continue filling in your Grid. Jot specific ideas about what you want to say.
4. Deliver your response
Take a deep breath and begin speaking when you hear the 'beep'. Watch your time on the screen - you should be transitioning to a new Grid column every 20 seconds.
Question 2 format: The (man/woman) expresses (his/her) opinion about the (reading). Briefly summarize the (reading). Then state (his/her) opinion about it and explain the reasons (he/she) gives for holding that opinion.
Column 1 - Reading Summary: idea - 2 points - setup (20s)
Establish the main idea in the reading
An article in the campus newspaper [main idea].
State the two main points in the article
The author claims that [point 1] and [point 2].
Set up the student's opinion
The [man or woman] in the conversation vociferously [agrees or disagrees] with the [main claim] for 2 reasons.
Column 2 - Conversation Summary: reaction 1 - explanation - example (20s)
State the student's first reaction
First, the [man or woman] claims [point 1] is [opinion].
Explain what the student means
S/he thinks [explanation].
State the example the student uses
For example, [example].
Column 3 - Conversation Summary - reaction 2 - explanation - example (20s)
State the student's second reaction.
Second, s/he claims [point 2] is [opinion].
Explain what the student means.
S/he thinks [explanation].
State the example the student uses.
For example, [example].
Tip: it’s pretty safe to assume the student's reaction to the article will be negative, but be prepared for a positive reaction.
University Should Build a Parking Lot for the Humanities Building
I think the university should consider building a parking lot near the humanities building. Right now there's only street parking available, and it isn't enough. Whenever I look for a spot to park in the street near the humanities building, I can't find one. A parking lot for the humanities building would solve that problem. Also, there's a wooded area behind the building that would make an ideal location for the parking lot. The university could just clear away the trees and build a lot - the space is already there for it.
Sincerely, Joe Simmons
M: Hey, Mary. Did you see this? You think he’s right?
W: No. I don’t agree with him.
M: How come?
W: Well, because it’s not like the street out front is the only space you can park. You can also park at the dining hall, which is only a couple of blocks away or the library, which is a few blocks in the other direction. He doesn’t mention that.
M: That’s true. I guess there are other lots nearby.
W: Yeah, so there’s not really a need for it. Students may have to walk a little but that’s ok. I don’t think there always needs to be a spot right outside the building you’re going to.
M: That’s true.
W: But the other problem I have with it is even if they went ahead with his idea, it’s the location he suggests. They can’t just clear away those trees, that’s one of the only wooded areas left on campus. We don’t have many trees here and they should preserve the ones we have.
M: Yeah, it is pretty.
W: Well, yeah, and sometimes students like to sit out there in the shade on a nice day to study or read under the trees. They should leave it alone, not destroy it to make away for something we don’t need.
Question 2: The woman expresses her opinion about the letter-writer’s proposal. Briefly summarize the proposal. Then state her opinion about the proposal and explain the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.
Notice how the response below follows the Grid framework almost exactly. (This response earned a 3.88 from the speech assessment tool on My Speaking Score.)
An article in the campus newspaper agues the university should build a new parking lot near the humanities building. The author claims that there are few available spots there now and there is plenty of space for parking behind the building. The woman in the conversation strongly disagrees with this proposal for two reasons.
First, the woman claims that parking in front of the humanities building is not the only option. She thinks the author is conveniently forgetting that there are lots of alternative parking options on campus in nearby locations. For example, students can park at the nearby library or dining hall.
Second, she claims that the author's proposal is unnecessarily destructive to the campus environment. She thinks that cutting down one of the only wooded sanctuaries left on campus is a complete shame, and the university should reject the proposal to build more parking and instead preserve the trees. For example, she says students enjoy hanging out and studying in the shady areas there.
Homework - Assignment 4
Re-read the high-scoring response to the Q2 task above, out loud. Can you read it in 60s?
Next, when you're ready, head over to My Speaking Score, and complete Q2 in your current Practice Test (in Practice Mode). Be sure to use the Grid, but feel free to “cheat” on the prep time - we’re focusing on organizing and structuring high scoring answers at speed. We will work on optimizing your prep time soon.
Focus on structure and time management.
Recommended Test Mode: Practice Mode
login to your account on My Speaking Score
go to the test library in your Dashboard
use Practice Mode
choose any test
go to Question 2 and prepare with the Grid
respond as well as you can
submit for Analysis
examine your results
take as long as you need to prepare your answer
do not write too much in the Grid - most notes are useless - jot only the absolute essentials (and don’t be afraid to use doodles or even words from your first language)
we want this score to be "valid" so no do-overs
*** END OF LESSON 4