Question 1 normally covers a familiar topic. Examiners could ask you about anything, but there are usually five main categories that this question will address. The first category may feature the so-called “Your favourite”. For example – “What is your favourite season of the year?”
The second option is when they ask you about “Your best”. It could be phrased as “Who is the best teacher you have had and why were they the best?”
The third type asks you about “The most interesting/exciting/influential…” For instance – “What is the most interesting movie you have ever seen?”
The fourth option is very common and it is when they ask you to describe something.
The last type of question will ask you to agree or disagree with a statement. You should remember to always explain the reasons behind your answer and to use details to support it.
Developing your response
Kathy recommends that test takers use two supporting reasons, because the Educational Testing Service (ETS) mostly looks for topic development. This shows that you have developed your answer. Your answer should also be cohesive. To establish this, you need to use transitional devices, such as “in addition”, “moreover”, “however” and so on.
How to use preparation time
After they ask you the question, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your answer. It is a good idea to just pick two points of discussion and develop your answer according to them. For example, if they ask you where you enjoy going on holiday and why, your time would be enough to think of a destination and two supporting reasons why you enjoy going there.
Tips to improve speaking
First of all – practise within the time limit! Use a stopwatch and use only 15 seconds to prepare your answer and only 45 seconds to speak. It would also be very helpful if you have a native speaker listen to you and make sure they can understand everything you say. Clarity and intelligibility are very important.
Check out: Improving Your TOEFL Reading Skills (Video)