Table of Contents
- What is TOEFL?
- Understanding the TOEFL Speaking test format
- Four tips to excel in TOEFL speaking
- In conclusion
What is TOEFL?
The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, is an exam that evaluates the English speaking ability of non-native speakers. This test is taken by aspirants who wish to study abroad, and is accepted by 11,000+ international universities across 190 countries. In order to ace this exam, you need to have good English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Most students can easily score well in those first three sections. But it is TOEFL Speaking that gives them a run for the hills.
If you’re also scared of scoring low in TOEFL speaking, don’t worry. We have shared all the details you need to nail this section of the exam in this blog. Read on!
Understanding the TOEFL Speaking test format
Before proceeding with the tips, let us understand the test format of the speaking section.
The speaking section of the test takes 17 minutes to complete, and has 4 different tasks. These tasks are divided into two main categories, namely-
- Independent Speaking – 1 task
- Integrated Speaking – 3 tasks
Sections to practice for TOEFL speaking
Here are the 4 main sections of the speaking test. You will find a spectrum of templates available for each of them online-
|Task type||Sub-category||Preparation time||Response time||Task description|
|Independent Speaking||Choice||15||45||You will be presented with two situations or opinions and asked which one you prefer and why.|
|Integrated Speaking||Read/Listen/Speak –|
|30||60||You will need to summarize the speaker’s opinion within the context of the reading passage.|
|Integrated Speaking||Read/Listen/Speak –|
Academic course (general/specific)
|30||60||Here, you will have to combine and convey important information from the reading passage and the lecture excerpt.|
Academic course (summary)
|20||60||You should summarize the lecture and demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the examples and the overall topic.|
While independent speaking deals with questions based on your opinions on various topics, integrated speaking includes questions from the short audio clip or passage being read to the student.
A little more about the speaking test format
The independent speaking round includes questions based on your personal life. For example, you can be asked about your favorite TV show, an incident that changed your life, your home country, and so on. Hence, you must know how to formulate your answers swiftly.
What’s more interesting in TOEFL Speaking is the integrated round, where you have to be a bit analytical. Whatever you hear and whatever you read will have to make collective sense. Only then will you be able to speak with precision and clarity.
Overall, the TOEFL speaking can be confusing to grasp at first, but regular practice can help overcome this hurdle.
Four tips to excel in TOEFL speaking
1. Adopt the habit of making notes
Incorporate note-making into your daily routine to ensure you do not falter on exam day. It matters more in the integrated round, as you have to pen down the crux of the audio clip and the passage to cook up a cohesive speech.
What can you do?
Certainly, note-making isn’t a leisurely cup of tea. So, to sharpen your note-making skills –
- Start listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
- They do not have to be based on heavy topics; because the main focus here is to learn how to write down notes simultaneously.
- A good way to quicken your pace is to concentrate on specific keywords. Instead of writing whole sentences, you can write down specific words to help you remember the topic.
- Another tip for note-making is to create your shorthand. It may consist of symbols, acronyms, or anything that helps you understand the material better.
2. Record and time yourself
Another tip to hone your TOEFL speaking abilities is to hear it yourself. Wondering how? Well, take out your phone, open the recorder application, and record yourself speaking. It will help you analyze how you speak and how long you can talk at a stretch.
How can you do this?
- Although various speaking topics are available, sharing your thoughts on one of these subjects also work fine here.
- Again, the main objective of this exercise is to record yourself so you can analyze your speaking skills.
- The recording is crucial as you can play it back and notice your mistakes. It can help you figure out better ways to summarize these passages.
- Along with recording yourself, we advise you to set a timer as well.
- You get a minute each in both the sections, so being on time is key to scoring well.
3. Practice your pronunciation
Pronunciation is a big concern for many students. Especially with certain words being pronounced differently than one might expect, it is common to get nervous. However, this shouldn’t hamper your TOEFL Speaking test at any cost.
How can you ensure this?
- Speak English every day. Don’t speak the language only while solving speaking practice questions, but inculcate a habit of communicating in it more often.
- By all means, record yourself while speaking. It can help in circling the snags.
- Focus more on the difficult words. After you know which ones to focus on, put more effort into incorporating them into your conversations.
- Moreover, you can look out for them in any audio material you might be listening to.
- Always keep it simple. You don’t want to use heavy language to impress the examiners. It is best to keep your vocabulary simple and to the point.
4. Practice speaking on various mundane topics
One of the best ways to prepare for the nerve-wracking TOEFL Speaking topics is to speak on mundane subjects. Thinking about essential topics or day-to-day events and speaking about them can build a strong base.
How can you go about this?
- An excellent way to go ahead with this exercise is to write down some mundane topics on chits of paper and put them inside a bowl.
- At random, pick one up, give yourself 20 seconds to think, and then try to talk about it for a minute.
- In the beginning, you can go easy on yourself and deal with topics like “Family,” “Food,” “Education,” etc.
- Gradually, you can take suggestions from TOEFL Speaking practice test and add them to your roster.
- TOEFL aspirants can use these tips to excel in the test.
- You can practice the tips above from the comfort of your home.
- However, if you are still skeptical, you can certainly seek help and enroll in TOEFL Speaking lessons.
You can always contact us if you are looking for TOEFL speaking test preps.
Liked this blog? Read more: Improve your IELTS exam score with these tips!
Question 1: What are the marking criteria for TOEFL speaking?
Answer: Certain factors formulate your speaking score. These include the content (what you say), the delivery (how you say it), how well you structure your short speech, and how relevant your answer is to the question.
Question 2: How long should I prepare for TOEFL?
Answer: Ideally, a duration of one to two months should be more than sufficient for you to prepare. Writing essays and going through TOEFL speaking sample answers can significantly help you improve your score.
Question 3: What is a good TOEFL score range?
Answer: Different institutions have different score requirements. Therefore, there is no fixed score range for TOEFL per se. But all in all, anything between 90 and 100 out of a possible 120 is considered very good!