How To Prepare For The TOEFL Speaking Test

The speaking section of the TOEFL is the third section of the test. Before the speaking section begins you will get a customary 10-minute break. Use this time to relax yourself. At the beginning of the speaking section, you will be instructed to wear your headphones. Remember that you will have to keep your headphones on throughout the section.

The TOEFL speaking test takes about 20 minutes to complete. It consists of six tasks. The first two tasks are independent tasks which require you to speak about familiar topics. You don’t have to read or listen to anything. The last four are integrated tasks which require you to read and / or listen to a passage and then speak about it. Your success in the speaking section, therefore, depends upon your ability to generate ideas quickly and speak clearly from notes.

General strategies for success on the speaking section

Learn how to speak from notes

On the speaking test you won’t get enough time to prepare a transcript of your answer. So jot down your ideas in fragments. Just make sure that they make sense to you and that you can prepare meaningful sentences from them.

You must practice making sentences from notes while preparing for the test. Some students practice by writing out complete sentences and then reading them aloud. This method is useful for improving your pronunciation, but it is unlikely to raise your score on the speaking test where what matters is your ability to speak clearly and concisely from fragmented notes.

Organize your thoughts

Although you only need to speak on the speaking test, your answers must still be in the organized form. They should be brief. You are not supposed to spend more than one minute on an answer. So make your point quickly.

Use conversational vocabulary. That doesn’t mean you can use slang, but idioms are perfectly acceptable. Use the kind of vocabulary that you would normally use in a serious but friendly conversation about an academic subject.

Use short, simple sentences

Spoken English is very different from written English. Nobody uses long, complicated sentence patterns in spoken English. Your answers must still be grammatically correct and organized, but keep your sentences short. Each sentence should contain just one or two clauses.

Vary your vocabulary

If you repeat the same words, it will make your speech monotonous. It also shows that your vocabulary is limited. So when you discuss the same idea, use the same word in different forms. Note that a word can exist in several different forms – it can an adjective, an adverb, a verb or a noun. You can also use synonyms which are words having similar meanings.

Remember that the same idea can be expressed in very many ways, but variety requires a large vocabulary and good grammar skills. While practicing for the test, try saying the same thing in different ways using the same set of notes.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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