How to answer ‘Agree/Disagree’ questions

     The speaking section of the exam is where you are tested for several things:

  1. Accuracy of English
  2. Speed of speaking
  3. Thinking time (pauses)
  4. Variety of grammar used
  5. Pronunciation.

     These are the main elements that the examiner will be assessing when they listen to you speaking.

      (If you take the test via computer, a real person will listen to the recording).

      Therefore, you have to demonstrate your control/ability in these things to ‘show’ to the examiner.

       Do not think ‘I know this, the examiner will know what I mean.’   It is your responsibility to show them that you can do things                   correctly. The computer based test will not give you any interaction with the examiner, therefore  you cannot ask him/her to                   ‘repeat the question’ or ‘clarify the question’ (as in IELTS). You therefore have to be ‘correct’ going into the test.

Changes to the format were introduced on 1st August 2019.

On August 1st, TOEFL made a few changes to the TOEFL in an attempt to make it easier on test takers. One of the biggest changes was removing speaking task 1 and speaking task 5 from the test. Below you can see the new speaking tasks.

Speaking Task 2 is now Speaking Task 1
Speaking Task 3 is now Speaking Task 2
Speaking Task 4 is now Speaking Task 3
Speaking Task 6 is now Speaking Task 4

If you have done the test in the past, please ensure that you know about, and understand the changes.

The independent speaking section is as follows:

TOEFL independent speaking is in the third section of the TOEFL test. Although it is the shortest section, it tends to be among the hardest section for a lot of TOEFL test takers. The reason for this is most people go into the speaking section unprepared, so having said that, let’s start preparing you now.

The independent speaking section consists of two speaking tasks, which are independent of each other. The independent tasks are based on your personal opinions and experience and gives you 15 seconds to prepare an answer and 45 seconds to speak.

They are based on your personal opinions and experience and gives you 15 seconds to prepare an answer and 45 seconds to speak.

This means that in order to prepare, you need to:

  1. Take/make notes
  2. Abbreviate the notes
  3. Use bullet points/words
  4. Decide how to open your answer.

For this part of the test, because you are going to give your opinion about a topic or question, you need to be able to decide quickly (it is better to give your real opinion, because it is easier to answer than an opinion you do not agree with).

Question types (the questions are not in a specific order).

  1. Agree or disagree  (Do you agree or disagree with kids having cell phones?)
  2. Preferences. (Some students prefer to study in the morning, and others prefer to study at night).
  3. Choices. (Do you prefer to watch movies, on(1)TV, (2)a computer, (3)a cellphone?)
  4. Advantages & disadvantages (What are the advantages/disadvantages of working while you study at university?)


Many people think that students study course materials more effectively by taking exams, while others think that students learn more effectively through doing other activities like completing projects, which one do you think is more effective? (Preference)

“Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should help their parents with household chores as soon as they are old enough. Use details and examples in your response.” (Agree/Disagree)

In the following video we have provided an example of how to answer the ‘Agree/Disagree’ question above.

We have also have a list of prepared expressions that you can use in the exam, for this question type.

How to answer 'Agree/disagree' questions