Everything you Need to Know about TOEFL Speaking and Improvement Tips

TOEFL Speaking

The TOEFL speaking portion takes 20 minutes to finish and includes 6 chapters, which are performed on a computer. It tests more than just your English speaking skills. It measures your capacity to read, listen to, and comprehend interviews of native English speakers, pronounce words accurately, use proper grammar, and handle your time efficiently. It also tests exam-takers test-taking techniques, such as the ability to stay focused and take brief notes.

It comprises learning conditions, both in and out of the classroom. It is the shortest portion of the TOEFL test; however, it is also the section where test-takers struggle the most. There are two categories of questions inside the TOEFL speaking section:

  1. Independent – tests your speaking skills (task 1)
  2. Integrated – tests other skills, such as reading, listening, and speaking, in addition to your speaking speakings (tasks 2 to 4) 

This section initially had 6 tasks, which was then narrowed down to 4 tasks. It comprises of 3 kinds of question formats that would take roughly 17 minutes in total to complete. For each question, you will be given a mark of 0 to 4. Your overall score will then be scaled to 30. You need at least 3 out of 4 for all speech activities to achieve a decent rating.

The score that you get for your speaking responses will be based on three factors: delivery, language use, and topic development. Delivery is how well you deliver your response as well as your pacing. Language use means how well you use vocabulary, and grammar can be used. Topical development applies to how well you responded to a question. It should naturally go from one thought to the next. Your responses must give details or explanations of the reason you gave. Below is a baseline of what grade to expect for an answer.

TOEFL Speaking Rubric

Score Reasons for Score
0 Haven’t said anything
Spoke in your own dialect
Give a totally off-topic answer
1 Said something somewhat related to the question
Plenty of pauses between words and phrases
Very difficult to understand
2 Somewhat answered the question
Lack of explanations and facts and/or got them wrong
Had problems with pronunciation, intonation, and pacing
Limited use of vocabulary and grammar
3 Answered the question reasonably well
Have to broaden a bit more on ideas or details
Speech is quite straightforward and ordinary
Some difficulties with pronunciation, intonation, and pace
Wide range of grammar and vocabulary used
4 Provided reasons with excellent support
All essential details are given precisely
Conveyed information in an organized way
Speak properly with little hesitation and good pacing
Appropriate choice of words and grammatical constructions

TOEFL speaking scoring guide

  • Weak: 0-9 points
  • Fair: 10-17 points
  • Good: 18-25 points
  • Excellent: 26-30 points

TOEFL speaking tips

Speaking in English, in a mic, under a time limit, in front of a room filled with many other students can be frustrating if you’re not prepared. Fortunately, you have time to practice and prepare for TOEFL speaking section. By understanding the speaking section format and applying some pacing strategies, you’ll be able to answer all six TOEFL speaking questions in the allotted time. Every year the test administrator adds new TOEFL speaking topics, and you can’t do anything to keep up with them aside from practicing and studying. Here are some you can do to boost your score for your upcoming TOEFL speaking test.

  1. Take notes – TOEFL lessons are lengthy. Making brief notes will allow you to stay focused on key ideas.
  2. Relax – Take a break of 10 to 15 seconds. Shut your eyes, sit quietly, and take some deep breaths.
  3. Stay focused – The testing place can be noisy with everybody talking at once. Practice talking in a room with distractions.
  4. Use a template – Develop a TOEFL speaking template with structure terms for each task to help you coordinate your response.
  5. Don’t Plagiarise – Templates may help, but be mindful. When you memorize statements and use them on the exam, your score may be canceled due to plagiarism.
  6. Block out distractions – When you can’t stay concentrated, try covering your ears and closing your eyes to clear your head.

Aside from the above-mentioned TOEFL speaking section tips, the only way to get ratings of 3 or 4 is to practice. Watching shows or movies in English is not going to help a lot. You need to keep on talking to improve. Preferably, you have a native English speaker with whom you can talk to, or maybe any friends or colleagues who are also practicing English. You may also practice at home using these alternatives:

Frequently Asked Questions

How to evaluate myself for TOEFL for speaking and writing?
For this section, it works fantastically to record yourself and playback for analysis. You would start to appreciate the difference between what you thought you said and how it actually came out. It also helps to listen to sample answers.

How to improve my speaking score on TOEFL?
Here are a few tips to improve your speaking score on the TOEFL Speaking test:

  1. Look for ways to learn English fluently.
  2. Listen to the radio and watch movies and television. Pay close attention to the sentence structure and the different accents or speech patterns used.
  3. Practice talking about different topics for a limited time without much planning.
  4. To learn pronunciation, stress, and diction in English, use books that contain audio recordings.

Is using templates for the TOEFL speaking section wrong?
This depends on what you call a ‘ template. ‘ If you mean monologues that your memory will be more or less word-proof, it is almost guaranteed to raise suspicions of your performance. Nonetheless, most TOEFL practice tests are usually a good idea, so that the question formats can be more relaxed. Even so, if you mean methods to construct your speech in such a way that you present the data more evidently and coherently, one could argue that this is not worrisome.

Is a timer displayed on the screen for TOEFL speaking?
Yes, it has. Time is essential in TOEFL, so if you are preparing for TOEFL, practice hard managing, and completing your speech in time.

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