What to do and what not to do during the TOEFL Speaking Test

At the beginning of the TOEFL Speaking section, you will be asked to adjust the microphone on your headset. You will also be asked to give a short sample of your speech in order to adjust the recording equipment to your voice. Note that this preliminary exercise is only used to make sure that the computer can record your voice properly. It does not count towards your final score. This adjustment is automatically done and you will be informed when it is complete.

You have to complete six tasks in the TOEFL speaking section. The first two speaking tasks are independent. You will be asked to speak about familiar topics. You will get 45 seconds to give each independent answer.

The remaining four speaking tasks are integrated. An integrated speaking task requires students to listen to and/or read material before you speak. You will be given 60 seconds for each integrated task.

Remember that in the speaking section you have to stick to the preset timing. That means you will be given a certain amount of time to complete each task and when that time is over, you have to move to the next question even if you haven’t finished the previous one.

General Speaking Strategies

Use familiar vocabulary

Use the kind of vocabulary you would normally use during a friendly conversation about an academic topic. You are not supposed to sound like a professor and hence there is no need to use long, unfamiliar words or sentences.

Use short and simple sentences

Spoken English is different from written English. While speaking we use a casual and relaxed style. This reflects in our choice of words and sentence patterns. Long sentences are very unusual in natural speech. Instead people use sentences with one or two clauses.

While giving your answers opt for sentences that are not very complex. Instead use shorter sentences that would make your speech more natural. Your answers must still be descriptive.

Avoid repetition

Use different forms of the same word to discuss similar or related topics. By using different words you not only make your answers more interesting but also demonstrate your range of vocabulary.