The TOEFL® iBT Speaking Section

The  TOEFL Speaking Section of the TOEFL® tests your ability to speak in English about a variety of general and academic topics. The Speaking Section is not included in either the Paper-Based TOEFL® or the Computer-Based TOEFL®. It is included in the Internet-based TOEFL®.

There are usually six questions in two parts on the Speaking Section of the TOEFL® iBT. The questions are presented only one time. You may take notes. The topics are both general and academic. There are two types of tasks included in the Speaking Section: two independent speaking tasks and four integrated speaking tasks.

The independent speaking task is a response to a question that asks for your opinion about a familiar topic. You have 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to respond.

The integrated speaking task is a response to a question about the content of a short reading passage, a short lecture, or both. You have 20-30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to respond. You may use notes while you speak.

Checklist for Independent Speaking

The talk answers the topic question.
The point of view or position is clear.
The talk is direct and well-organized.
The sentences are logically connected to each other.
Details and examples support the main idea.
The speaker expresses complete thoughts.
The meaning is easy for the listener to comprehend.
A wide range of vocabulary is used.
There are only minor errors in grammar and idioms.
The talk is within a range of 125-150 words.

Checklist for Integrated Speaking

The talk answers the topic question.
There are only minor inaccuracies in the content.
The talk is direct and well-organized.
The sentences are logically connected to each other.
Details and examples support the main idea.
The speaker expresses complete thoughts.
The meaning is easy for the listener to comprehend.
A wide range of vocabulary is used.
The speaker paraphrases, using his or her own words.
The speaker credits the lecturer with wording when necessary.
There are only minor errors in grammar and idioms.
The talk is within a range of 125-150 words.

Become familiar with the types of questions you will be asked.

If you are listening to the kinds of questions that you expect to hear, you will be more prepared to organize your answers. That is why it is so important to study the Strategies Section and take the Practice Test.

Develop a sense of timing for the short speaking answers. You will be speaking for only 45-60 seconds, and that isn’t very long to develop a complete answer. When you are answering the practice questions in the Strategies Section, set a timer for 60 seconds and begin speaking. When the bell rings, stop. Did you complete your thought, or did you have more to say? Always use the timer when you are practicing. Soon you will develop a sense of the timing for the questions, and you will know how much you can say in a short answer.

Practice using the telephone to speak. Call a friend to practice some of the speaking questions by phone. Speak directly into the phone. Ask your friend to confirm that you are speaking at a good volume to be heard clearly.

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