Personal Preference


In this task, you will be required to answer a question related to your experience.  You will have to support your response with either reasons, details, or both

Preparation time: 15 seconds

Response time: 45 seconds

Tutorial Video


Grammar & Vocabulary Tip

Complex Grammar for TOEFL Speaking: Personal Preference Task

Focus: Adjective Clauses in the Passive Voice with Academic Verbs

These adjective clauses contain academic verbs in the passive voice.  This is considered complex language, and using these phrases can raise your grammar and vocabulary score.  They are best used at the beginning when introducing your topic.  For example:

Adjectives clauses in the passive voice with academic verbs:

Which is considered

Which is associated with

Which is characterized by

Which is located in/on

Which is influenced by

Which was written by

Which is related to

Which is used in

Which is classified as

Which is based on

Which is derived from

Which is required for

Which is used in

Which is made of

Which is regarded as

Which is known as

Who is known for


What is your favorite city?

My favorite city in America is New York for the following reasons.  New York, which is located on the east coast, is a place of much immigration, and therefore is represented by a diversity of cultures.

Who is someone you admire?

One of the people I most admire is Dr. Martin Luther King, who is known for his involvement in the civil rights movement

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is On the Road, which was written by Jack Kerouac.

If someone were visiting you from another country, what would you cook them?

A food I would cook for a visitor is lasagna, which is considered a typical dish in an Italian-American household.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is hamburgers for the following reasons.  Hamburgers, which are considered a typical American meal, have a lot of protein…

What is your favorite movie?

Answer: My favorite movie is Do the Right Thing, which was directed by Spike Lee.


Pay attention to how the speaker uses discourse markers of time to connect the story together.  Also, notice his use of adjectives to describe his feelings about graduate school

When I was in graduate school, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it.  It was a new experience.  And so of course I had to work very hard.  I had not been in class for some years.  Going back to class was really a new experience, frightening, intimidating.  Every night I sat at the typewriter and worked, thought to myself, “Am I going to make this?”

So one day I was in the cafeteria, eating lunch, and I was eating salad, and I bit on an olive pit.  Pulled the olive pit and a tooth out of my mouth…right here.  The tooth was out.  The same afternoon, I played soccer.  It was one of the great soccer matches of my life.  We played against a very tenacious, Japanese team.  And I played the goalie on the German team.  The end result was 0-0.  I had not let in a single ball.  It was a great game, but during the game, I broke my little finger.  Now I had a missing tooth and a  broken finger.  After the game, I went to the doctor, had my finger set in a splint, and I came home to my room.  That night, wearing glasses, I dropped something, bent over and in bending over, lost my glasses, they fell to the floor and one of the lenses broke.  So, in the same day, I had a missing tooth, a broken finger, and I had broken eyeglasses.  And I sat down and cried.  I thought this was it.  It was not meant to be.  But something told me I had to go on.  I did.  And here I am.  I graduated from graduate school.

Student Samples


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