Recently, TOEFL has modified the pattern that TOEFL Task 2 campus conversations typically take. In this blog post, I will examine what this new type of task looks like. In an upcoming post, I will show you how you can answer it.
We are all familiar with the usual pattern as follows.
In the reading, there is a proposal to improve things around campus or an announcement from the university of a plan to change something. Then, we hear a conversation between a man and a woman about the change.
In this pattern, the person has either completely agreed or completely disagreed with the plan or proposal. Our job is to summarize the plan or proposal, the person’s opinion, and both reasons.
While we still usually see this pattern on the TOEFL test, ETS has added a third way the conversation could develop. In this new pattern, the man or the woman agrees with the main change and agrees with the first reason that is explained in the reading. However, they disagree with the second reason. Let’s look at an example.
Read this announcement from the university.
Changes to the Multimedia Department’s Library
The university board has decided to close the computer lab in the multimedia department’s library. This decision was taken because, according to a recent survey, a majority of students in this department own their own laptop and use it exclusively for their work. The library will continue to lend out laptops to students that do not have them.
In addition, the space that the computer lab currently occupies can be used to increase the number of books about multimedia that the library has to offer.
To summarize, we can say the reading makes these points:
|Type:||Announcement from multimedia college.|
|Plan:||They want to close the computer lab in the library.|
|Reason 1:||Most students have their own laptops.|
|Reason 2:||It will free up space so they can add more books.|
Now, let’s look at a transcript of a conversation between a man and a woman discussing the announcement.
|Male student||Have you heard about the computer lab?
|Female student||I sure have, and I think it’s about time.
|Male student||Why’s that?
|Female student||Well, they’re right that most students have their own laptops these days. Every year they’re getting cheaper and cheaper. Also, in our field, you need your own laptop so you can do the homework. Those old computers in the lab just weren’t being used.
|Male student||So you must be happy that they’re getting new books.|
|Female student||That is one thing that bothers me.
|Male student||What do you mean?
|Female student||Multimedia is such a changing field that by the time books are published, they’re already out of date. I mean, if you’re going to write a paper, you’d head to the Internet first for the latest information.
|Male student||I see what you mean.
|Female student||I think that extra space would be better used as a meeting room for group projects.|
As you can see, the woman agrees with the change and the first reason for the change. However, she doesn’t think it’s a good idea to buy more books, and she offered an alternative on how to use the extra space.
In my next post, I will show you how to answer this question.