HomeEnglish LanguageTOEFLA mistake students make in Prompt Three of the Speaking Section

A mistake students make in Prompt Three of the Speaking Section

This blog will discuss prompt three. I will also talk about a mistake students make, so read on.
Please note that the definition is only on the screen for 45-50 seconds. Then it disappears. It does not return to the screen at any time.
How do we find the definition?
TIP: The definition is not USUALLY in the first sentence. Sometimes it is, but it is rare.
THE TITLE WITHIN THE READING  (so if the title is “Hibernation” look for that word) THE TERMS “IS DEFINED AS” OR “IS REFERRED TO AS” OR “THIS IS KNOWN AS” or “INVOLVES” OR LOOK FOR THE BE VERB  (is or are) Obviously, in 45 seconds you cannot write a transcript– you can’t copy it. 
Sometimes, you will see a sentence that says “THIS is called XXXX (TITLE) OR “This is referred to as (TITLE)  In this case, the sentence before has the definition. Also you DO need to add more details from later on in the definition– especially the last sentence! 
NOTE: SOMETIMES THE BE VERB GIVES THE DEFINITION (is or are). Here is an example: 
                                        Scope Creep
Many companies offer services directly to clients, and they have a limit on what they are willing to do. Normally, this is understood before the work or project begins. Scope creep is when a client or customer expects more than the business planned to provide. This can cause conflicts between the client and the business. It is most common when there is no written agreement about the limitations of the duties that the business has agreed to.
-A client expects more than biz planned to provide
​-Can cause conflicts
Common when no agreement of limitations
TIP: Always add information from the last sentence, UNLESS THE LAST SENTENCE ONLY SAYS “THIS IS CALLED (TITLE)”

The big mistake that students make when they try to write the definition is they put it into their own words. For instance, for the prompt above, a student might try to paraphrase by noting  “Scope creep is when clients fight with a business.” This is NOT the actual definition.  “Conflict” is not exactly the same as “fight” in many instances. This is why I believe you should try to use the same words as you saw in the definition. I do not think it’s a good idea to try to use synonyms in prompt three. It can change the fundamental definition of the reading part. 
Here is another example (Note in the real test, there will not be parts that are underlined.)
Animals exist in many climates, some of which are very harsh during the winter. Therefore, they need strategies to survive, especially in places in which the winter lasts for many months.  A lot of animals survive by hiding and allowing their metabolism and heart rate to drop. This is known as hibernation and it helps animals get through long winters in which food is not readily available. Animals in a state of hibernation do not need to eat, because of the slowness of their metabolism. They often rely on stores of fat in order to survive the long winter. 

-Animals survive by hiding; heart rate + metabolism drop 
-Helps animals get thru winter 
​-Do not need eat, rely on fat to survive winter  
You may have noticed that my notes are not grammatically correct, and neither is my spelling.  Notes are not a transcript. I write them as quickly as I can. I have two lecture on YouTube about note taking. The links are here:

Then when you speak you would say,
“According to the reading, hibernation is when animals animals survive by hiding and allowing their metabolism and heart rate to drop; they do not need to eat but instead rely on their fat to survive the winter.”
Here is a full example with a transcript of a lecture:

                    The Actor- Observer Effect
In our daily lives, we interact with many other people as we go about our daily routines. The motives for the behavior of others is not always well understood.  We often understand our own motives very well, but completely misunderstand the motivates of other people. This phenomenon, called the Actor-Observer effect, occurs in everyday settings and can cause conflicts with people. It is believed to happen because we have a great deal of insight into our own behavior and motivations, but not a lot of insight into those of other people.

Sample notes:
-We understand our motives, not others
-can cause conflicts b/cuz we have insight into our beh.
not into others beh.
“Okay, here’s a couple of examples– from my own life. I was driving down the road the other day, minding my own business, at a regular speed. Suddenly, a car came driving up behind me. And wow — it was going REALLY fast. It scared me a lot! Then the driver suddenly pulled his car beside me and passed me – still going super fast!  Well, I thought to myself, what a terrible driver this person was. He was not only speeding, he passed me so quickly!! So, I decided he was a reckless driver — that he was irresponsible on the road. I even honked my horn at him in annoyance. 
Then, a week later, my daughter fell off her bike going down a hill and broke her arm. She was in terrible pain and she was screaming — plus, she had cuts on her face and legs. She was bleeding pretty badly.  She was clearly in a lot of pain and suffering. Well, of course, I wanted to get her to the hospital as fast as I could. So, I got in my car and sped down the road. I quickly pulled around every car that was going slower than me — of course, trying to get my daughter to the hospital. And, I thought this was reasonable — I did not think I was a bad driver — but that was because I knew that my daughter needed a doctor — I  knew why I was driving fast.”
Look again at the transcript. Read it out loud. Think of all the things the professor repeats OR mean the same thing. Here are just a few examples of repetition: 
It was going really fast / still going super fast / driving quickly/ Terrible driver/ reckless driver/ irresponsible on the road/ AND SO ON!  You do not have to repeat things that mean the exact same thing. You don’t have time to do this.
So, what are the main points? You can divide this lecture into two parts. These are my sample notes.
Part One:
The professor was driving, and a car came up behind him It was speeding and it scared the professor It pulled around him, and he decided the driver was reckless – honked his horn 
Part Two:
 Then the professor’s daughter fell off her bike, and was hurt with a broken arm and cuts,      
 and was bleeding
 He got in his car /  wanted to get her to the hospital as fast as possible
 He was speeding, and he pulled around cars
 But he did not think he was a bad driver because he knew why he was driving fast
Your timing should be:
15 seconds for the definition
20- 22 seconds for the first part
20-22 seconds for the second part
Obviously, this is not exact. You may take a few more seconds for one of these– but this is approximately what you should do.
In this way, you should be able to answer the question in sixty seconds.
Here is a sample response. Please read it out loud. Please practice until you can read this within sixty seconds. 
NOTE: A lot of the time, the professor will tell ONE long story or give ONE example. In that case, use 45 seconds for this.
“According to the reading, the actor-observer effect is when we understand our own motives, but we do not understand other people’s. This can cause conflicts, and it happens because we have insight into our own behavior, but not into other people’s behavior.  (15 seconds)
The professor gives an example from his own life. One day, the professor was driving, and a car came up behind him. It was speeding, and this scared the professor. It pulled around him, and he decided the driver was reckless. He honked his horn at the car. (20 seconds)
Later, the professor’s daughter fell off her bike. She was hurt with a broken arm and cuts, and she was bleeding.  He got in his car and wanted to get to the hospital as fast as possible. He was speeding and pulled around cars. But he did not think he was a bad driver, because he knew why he was driving fast. This is an example of the actor-observer effect.” (20 seconds)

Good luck on your TOEFL test.

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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