TOEFL Speaking Topics: Types, Examples, Prep Tips

TOEFL Speaking Topics: Types, Examples, Prep Tips

One of the biggest hurdles international students face while applying to universities abroad is qualifying for the English language test.

This English test can be intimidating to some non-native English speakers, making it a challenging task.

However, with determination, dedication, and preparation anyone can excel in the TOEFL speaking test.

And what’s better than preparation? Guidance.

With effective tips and guidance, you will clear your TOEFL exam with great confidence.

Where can you begin? Right here!

Here’s what we’ve covered in this guide.

Table of Contents:

  1. TOEFL Exam: An Overview
  2. Decoding the TOEFL Speaking Test
  3. Diving Into TOEFL Speaking Topics
  4. TOEFL Speaking Questions
  5. Tips and Tricks to Clear the TOEFL Speaking Topics

TOEFL Exam: An Overview

The TOEFL exam is a standardized English test for non-native English speakers aspiring to study abroad.

The purpose of the TOEFL test is to ensure that non-native speakers are confident in the English language to communicate with their peers.

Along with communication, the test checks if you’re linguistically equipped to pursue an English course.

To measure this, the TOEFL-iBT exam measures a student’s ability in all four quadrants that are reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Decoding the TOEFL Speaking Test

The TOEFL speaking test is conducted within 15-17 minutes. Within this duration, you are given four tasks.

The 4 tasks are further divided into two sections:

Task 1 – Independent

Task 2,3,4 – Integrated

The 1st task examines the speaker’s ability to convey ideas clearly and coherently.

The following tasks 2 and 4 include reading a short passage, listening to academic course lectures or a conversation about campus, followed by answering questions based on the text and speech discussed in it.

Task 1 usually involves the candidate answering opinion-based questions on familiar topics.

Task 3 examines the student with a similar task such as listening to an academic course lecture and responding to questions based on it.

During the course of the test, you are allowed to make notes.

We highly recommend making notes as they come in handy in preparing your responses to any question.

Note: The preparation time given to the candidates is quite short, so taking quick notes will definitely help you.

The TOEFL speaking section responses are digitally recorded and later, evaluated by three to six raters.

After evaluation, scores are marked based on the student’s ability to read and listen.

Keep in mind that the use of good grammar, time management, note-making and clear pronunciation of words are key factors in the TOEFL speaking test.

TOEFL Speaking Topics

The TOEFL speaking tasks tests a candidate’s speaking abilities through a range of topics: art, lifestyle, food, culture, country, family, activities, science and technology, entertainment, and more.

There is a wide range of categories that could come up while taking the TOEFL speaking test. So, practice different types of independent speaking topics.

But, if you aren’t sure about where to start practicing, check out TOEFL’s official practice questions to gather material for your study.

Regular practice of various topics, along with a pronunciation drill and grammar polishing sessions can help you score outstanding marks on your TOEFL test.

TOEFL Speaking: Commonly Asked Questions

To help you get started with your practice, we have listed the commonly asked TOEFL speaking topics below:


TOEFL Speaking Topics


  • Describe one of the best moments of your life.
  • What was one of the most exhilarating experiences you experienced? Describe what was so special about it.
  • Failure is the key to success. What are your opinions on this?
  • Childhood is the happiest time in one’s life. Do you agree?


  • Describe some significant features of a restaurant you like.
  • What is your cuisine/food? Describe why you like it.


  • What kind of activities do you enjoy with your family members?
  • Who is the closest to you in your family? Describe them and explain why are they so dear to you.
  • Who do you feel is the most intelligent among your friends? Describe why.


  • Describe your favorite recreational activity and talk about why you love it.
  • Describe what you enjoy as a hobby.
  • Do you agree that students should learn inside the classroom only or do they learn more outside the classroom?

Science and technology

  • Do you feel that smartphones and other electronic gadgets are as helpful as they claim to be or are they mere distractions?
  • Which smartphone application do you think is the best for students?


  • Talk about an important national holiday in your country.
  • Which place in your country would you recommend to a foreign friend? Describe why you would recommend that place.


  • Do you prefer watching entertainment programs or educational programs?
  • Tell us about your favorite show.


  • What subject was your favorite in school?
  • Talk about a teacher or guide who had the most positive influence in your life.
  • Do you agree that male and female students should have separate residence halls?

With these topics, you can kickstart your preparations right away.

Furthermore, students can always rely on YouTube channels to prepare themselves for the TOEFL speaking section.

YouTube channels that can help you prepare for TOEFL

Some of the Youtube channels that will help you prepare for the TOEFL are:

The best books for TOEFL preparation are:

Types of Speaking Questions in the TOEFL Exam

Adding to the list of topics, students also need to prepare for the TOEFL independent task.

This task has different question types, such as:

  • Three-choice questions
  • Preference questions
  • Advantages /disadvantages questions
  • Agree /disagree, and more.

To prepare for such TOEFL speaking question types, look at the sample questions below:


TOEFL Speaking question types

Sample Questions

Three choice questions

  • Which of the following qualities is the  most important to you while choosing a roommate? Cleanliness/ Friendliness/ Quietness
  • Which out of the three smartphone functions do you think is the most beneficial to students? Taking pictures/ Listening to podcasts/ Browsing.
  • Three kinds of activities will be offered by the International student’s office on a special day. Which one would you prefer? International Food/ International Film Festival/ International Music Festival.

Preference Questions

  • Some universities expect the students to choose a major field of study when they enter the school; while other universities wait until the second or the third year before students decide to choose a major field of study. Which do you prefer? Why or why not?
  • Which one do you prefer? To buy the newly-released e-product as soon as possible or to wait for a while and then decide whether you want to buy it or not.
  • Some people prefer buying new books while some people would like to buy used books, what is your opinion?

Advantages/Disadvantages questions

  • Many students are asked to evaluate their professors at the end of the semester. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
  • Your university is planning to allow students to watch TV in their dormitories. What is your opinion and why? What are the advantages and disadvantages of watching TV in dormitories? Include reasons and examples to support your response.

Agree/ Disagree type questions

  • Do you agree or disagree with the statement that female and male university students should have separate residence halls?
  • Do you agree or disagree that it is important for young people to learn some domestic skills like cooking, sewing and taking care of children?

Description/ Explanation type question

  • Some people think that those children who do not want to keep learning a musical instrument course should be required to keep learning the course; While others think that those children should be allowed to make decisions by themselves. What is your opinion and why? Use examples and details in your explanation.
  • 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?

The TOEFL speaking topics are usually similar to the ones mentioned above.

Hence, practicing the mentioned TOEFL topics can lay the ground for your responses when you face the test.

Make sure you learn to organize your thoughts to express them effectively.

Tips and Tricks to Clear the TOEFL Speaking Topics

The best way to prepare for any test is to learn from others’ experiences. So, here are a few suggestions for TOEFL speaking topics to get a good score:

  1. Sound confident. Recording yourself might help you build confidence.
  2. The more we practice, the finer we get. Practicing your English will help you improve your fluency and pronunciation while speaking.
  3. Use your imagination and build scenarios. Putting yourself into a context similar to that of the exam to prepare yourself to steam off some pressure.
  4. Get your grammar right. It is equally important in writing as well as speaking. A wrong grammar can put off an entire sentence.
  5. Try building your vocabulary and conducting regular grammar checks online while practicing.
  6. You must also work on your choice of words while communicating, to display a sense of professionalism and style.

Suggested Read: Improve your English speaking skills

Students should remember that the TOEFL speaking topics and TOEFL speaking questions are based on things that we have encountered at one point in our lives.

If you need help preparing yourself for the TOEFL speaking test, discuss your concerns with a SelectRight professional

The key to clearing your exam is hard work, consistency and effective English-speaking practice.


Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Are TOEFL speaking questions difficult?

Ans: TOEFL speaking questions are based on fairly common scenarios. However, answering the questions could be difficult because of the language barrier and the limited time given to answer.

  1. What are the kinds of questions asked for  TOEFL speaking questions?

Ans: The TOEFL speaking questions are of several types including preference type questions, agree/disagree, advantage/disadvantage questions and more.

  1. What range of scores is a good score for TOEFL speaking?

Ans: A point range between 26-30 is a good score for TOEFL speaking. Scoring between 18-25 point range is a medium score that also counts.

  1. Are TOEFL-speaking topics easy to answer for Indians?

Ans: The TOEFL speaking topics are familiar and easy to understand. Indian students who come from English medium backgrounds will not have a difficult time, considering they polish up on grammar and pronunciation.

  1. Do the TOEFL scores expire?

Ans: The TOEFL scores are valid only for 2 years.