Tips For The TOEFL Speaking Section

Overview: TOEFL Speaking Section

If you get to the speaking section in the TOEFL test, it means that you are almost done reaching the target score you desire. You still need to concentrate and get the score you need altogether. Some students need to especially get a high score in this part. For that reason, you need to remain entirely focused during this section. I will try to give you some strategies that will be helpful for you to get 26+ in the speaking section. By applying these TOEFL Speaking tips you will also avoid some of the common mistakes that most of the students do on the TOEFL test.

TOEFL speaking will not only assess your ability to speak in English. However, it will evaluate your proficiency in reading and listening as well. Your use of grammar, time management, and note-taking skills will also play crucial roles in getting the score you need. During the speaking section, your voice will be recorded. Your speech, then, will be uploaded to the system for further assessment. It means that you are not speaking with someone. It is more like you are getting your voice recorded. Therefore, you don’t need to worry so much or be anxious about whether you will speak with a native speaker. That is not the case in the TOEFL speaking section. Let us now take a look at the TOEFL Speaking tips by starting off with each question type.

Speaking Questions in TOEFL

There are four tasks in the TOEFL speaking section. Each of these tasks requires a different approach for you to tackle. During the speaking section, you will give your opinions, restate a conversation and a letter, talk about a specific topic in the lecture, and summarize the whole lecture. It might sound scary, and a bit long, but the entire speaking section will only take 17 minutes. For the timing, it is almost 10% of the whole test. This makes it not lengthy but more challenging to give your answers within a given time.

There are two types of questions in the speaking part. Task 1 will be about the independent part, and task 2 will be about the integrated part.

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Task 1 in the TOEFL Speaking Section

  • The question in the first task will be a general question for which you will state whether you agree or disagree with the given statement.
  • The topics will not be specific. They are generally related to daily life issues or topics.
  • After the question, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your response.
  • Tip 1: quickly think about whether you agree or disagree and choose one reason why you think so. Also, think about a detailed example related to your reason and write some keywords regarding that on your sheet.
  • Tip 2: Do not spend so much time in the introduction; spend more time on your examples.
  • Tip 3: Try to use different vocabularies during the development part of your speech and do not repeat your ideas over and over again. 
  • Tip 4: Try to speak clearly and fluently throughout 45 seconds in the TOEFL Speaking task 1.

Task 2 and Task 3 in TOEFL Speaking

  • Task 2 and Task 3 in the speaking section of TOEFL are pretty much the same. They both consist of reading and listening
  • The only significant difference between these tasks is that in task 2, the topic is about a problem at the university. There will be an announcement or letter written to the university. During the listening part, there will be a conversation between 2 students, and they will state whether they agree or disagree with the proposal. However, in task 3, there will be a lecture, and you will hear some examples or experiences of the professor regarding this topic.
  • You will have 30 seconds for preparation and 1 minute to speak for both of the tasks.
  • Tip 1: During the reading passage, write down the title on your notes, skim the paragraph, find two reasons, and write them down. You don’t need to understand the whole paragraph and read them. Gain time by skimming the paragraph and get only those two reasons.
  • Tip 2: Write down why they disagree/agree with the letter. Write down only the keywords, not the whole sentences.

Task 4 in the TOEFL Speaking Section

  • In this task, you will only have the listening part. There won’t be any reading part here. The listening will be about a lecture.
  • Tip 1: At the beginning of the listening part, write down the topic and explanations of it. You will use it as an introduction to your speech. So, stay focused at the beginning and do not note everything down. Wait until they reveal what the topic is about and its explanation.
  • Tip 2: Most of the time, the lecturer will provide two examples regarding the topic. Make sure you catch these two examples. Name them and give a brief introduction to each of those examples. Afterward, try to provide as many details as possible for each example part. In the end, provide a quick conclusion.

Extra TOEFL Speaking Tips

  • Using different vocabularies will set you apart from your peers and eventually to help you get more score.
  • It is true that your speech will consist of an introduction, development, and conclusion. However, try not to dwell on the introductions so much.
  • Note-taking is vital. Do not write whole sentences down. Type only the most important keywords.
  • Manage your time well. Try not to exceed 15-20 seconds for the introduction part of your speech
  • Give a natural pause for 0.5-1 second when you switch from introduction to the development and from the development part to the conclusion.
  • Try to stress some of the words when necessary.
  • Do not speak fast. That will prompt possible mispronunciations.
  • If you will run out of time, but you still have additional details to talk about in the integrated tasks, do not stop and switch to the conclusion. Carry on talking about those details.

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