The first task at the test center

By the way, the first thing you are supposed to do at the test center is to test your microphone. Since the TOEFL involves listening and speaking, if the headset doesn’t work properly (which is often the case!) it will disrupt your calm and negatively influence your motivation, thus possibly lowering your score. Hence headset check. You are asked to say something for that purpose. Maybe I should refrain from revealing the exact prompt here, but anyways, there are four types of test takers in this case.

  1. those who repeat the prompt until the beep is heard (which indicates the headset is working normally)
  2. those who repeat the response (I live in … I live in… I live in…) until the beep
  3. those who read aloud what the screen says
  4. those who respond to the prompt on their own

This does not affect your score at all, but I like to respond to the prompt on my own. I belong to Group 4.

Below is what I say (The prompt is always the same, and so should the response be).

I live in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Since it is located in the temperate zone, it has a warm climate. I like this climate partly because I was born and raised in the northern part of the country, where it often snows. One main feature of Tokyo is its function as a world financial center just like New York and London. In the center of the city, we have hundreds of banks and securities firms. It is therefore a very international city where you can see many foreigners. Tokyo is also a cultural center of Japan. We can enjoy Kabuki in the theater just adjacent to the business district.

Just a reminder. I cannot complete this prepared speech. By the time I say New York, I hear the beep and the screen changes. I have never said London … just yet.

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