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23/05/2015 07:05 # 1
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[Fshare]TOEFL iBT Speaking tips

TOEFL iBT Speaking tips


Ways to build ur general speaking skills:


  • best: speak with native speakers, English-speaking tutors or assistants.
  • join a club speaking in English about movies, music, travel & so on.
  • try starting ur own club & invite native speakers u know to join.
  • Practice is the key. During ur practice, imagine different scenarios where u're unfamiliar with.
  • Ask ur family members or friend to ask u something in English from newspaper or whatever - which basically to get u pumped up





  • Practice stating an opinion/preference within a 1-minute time limit.
  • Record urself & simulate the test conditions directly from day 1 (preparation time & recording time). I used the free software audacity
  • Keep recording the same response until u are completely satisfied with it (content, fluidity & timing)
  • Ask urself
    • Did I complete the task?
    • Did I speak clearly?
    • Did I make grammatical errors?
    • Did I use words correctly?
    • Did I organize my ideas clearly and appropriately?
    • Did I use the time effectively?
    • Did I speak too fast? Or too slowly?
    • Did I pause too often?
  • Monitor ur progress by keeping audio journal of ur speaking practice
  • Ask for feedback from friends, tutors or teachers.
  • Practice ur speaking skills on TOEFL Practice Online at and receive a score within five business days from certified ETS raters.
  • know the pattern of test: Before starting to answer à know what u are going to say.

-      use preparation materials (Barron's, Longman) à what to expect & which topics might occur.

-      speak about a topic , always keep a watch & time ur speech

-      make up ur mind in advance about certain topics (ur leisure activities, culture of ur country, history of ur country, certain films, actors, animals  ..)

-      keep conversing daily with everyone - ur family, friends … for few months before test.

-      see especially from Barrons CD how students speak & imitate their way of speech. Listen to conversations in listening section à get the hang of it à be very natural while constructing ur speech

-      essay questions + TSE topics in ETS official guide à answer = respond for 1-2 min without preparing immediately (>250 topics)

-      focus specifically in two aspects:

1) Hear + quickly read question à start brainstorming ideas before preparation time starts. More time, better preparation, better answer. Practice jotting down ur thoughts when practising. Organise ur thoughts in short, simple points.

2) avoid being distracted. Focus on urself, not other test-takers

-      speak as much as possible on day-to-day basis& fully aquainted with it

-      always speak aloud, do not just practise to speak in ur mind

-      Whenever u practice 4 kaplan tests (a must) à record ur own responses during the test as if u were actually taking the toefl & then compare ur responses to sample responses à necessary & sufficient practice



-      believe that u can do it

è dont doubt ur own ability to get a high grade. An answer lacking 'vigour' doesnt impress grader

-     not to dishearten from ur failures & don't expect much from results

-     focus & confidence à potray ur answer in a better manner. Dont worry about anyone else & their progress. Focus on urself. Panic&stress à hamper creative thinking

-      confidence comes with practice. more practice à less fear & doubt in urself



  • speak clearly & slowly & pronunciate slowly like speaking to idiots
  • do not repeat any sentence twice
  • not much pause, try to continue immediately
  • Imagine u're talking to friend. Speak naturally & without reflection. Don't worry about mistakes. Don't think about what u just said, JUST KEEP TALKING, bullshiting is OK! Pauses are ok! "Umm, ahhh" is OK! A wrong word is OK! What is important is natural, smooth, fearless, confident talk. Do that, without too much accent
  • How you answer is the key! Content is less important.
  • No long pauses (2 seconds or more) more than once per question or "Umm, ahhh". Not too fast or too short
  • recognised all the "uhms" & "aaahs" à slower but in more continuous way + able to think about what to say next
  • don't concentrate on pronunciation too much. if they understand what u are trying to communicate, it is just fine
  • be calm & confident in ur own ability à speak with a very consistent flow & no mental blanks.
  • convey ur ideas in a clear manner .... practise a lot à not stumble
  • speak fluently without pausing much
  • as for accent, speak as clearly as possible....Not necessary to imitate american accent
  • speak at a normal, consistent pace



  • answer question, give examples
  • give intro & conclusion
  • learn templates
  • respond in a structured manner.



  • manage time: Always use all or most of alloted time.

No 30-second answers for #1 & 2 & no 45 seconds answers for #3-6

  • talk throughout the given duration. Don't worry if u exceed time occasionally.
  • prepare well beforehand to utilize ur time: try adjusting ur answer within time frame
  • dont worry about not completing ur replies in 45 seconds. I didnt complete 2 of my replies & managed a 30 on 30!!



  • coming back to topic, use words (coming back/where i was/as i was lost …)
  • use connectors (first, second, additionally...) + put them at beginning à no need to change the order SVO



  • Don't worry about academic side of it. Just speak! They are listening to how u speak = accent + use of grammar + vocab + style (smooth & natural, halting, labored, etc....). Just answer something, anything, but try to speak relaxed & natural & do not stress about right answer, or even getting "cut off" by the end of the recording.
  • The point is to speak English, there is no right/wrong answer.
  • They really do not care what u answer, they care HOW u answer. Giving perfect answer is STUPID! DUMB! IGNORANT!
  • Know that ur audience is An American Rater à answer so An American will understand.
  • Don't try to give a sophisticated answer or focus on special grammar.
  • need some key facts about ur favourite film, actor … à redirect a question to a topic for which u have come up with ur key words in advance.
  • Do not try to sound too sophisticated. E.g: choose between "fiction" & "non-fiction" books à not need to weigh advantages & disadvantages of both. Just take a stand + use examples
  • always easier to talk about an example than about a subject in general

à prepare a list of such examples in advance

  • all u can speak is 4-5 sentences à do not elaborate too much on 1 point
  • in 15 sec before speaking, collect as many points & reasons for question & then elaborate while speaking
  • Opinion questions: state ur opinion & then give reasons why it is so.



  • really difficult to use grammar correctly when speaking. Use simple sentence construction consisting of SVO. E.g: talk about ur favourite movie: I like "lost in translation" because it is very emotional....





  • TV programs: CNN news, News with Katie Couric & how it’s made (discovery channel) à summarize (orally) after watching
  • Read short article (100–200 words) & outline only major points     à summarize orally
  • Find listening & reading material on same topic à similar/different views (from Internet/ library). Take notes or create outlines and:
    • Orally summarize both à orally synthesize by combining the materials & explaining how they relate.
    • State an opinion about the ideas & information
  • Follow ETS guide à answer directly to question.
  • they are testing ur speaking AND ur reading & listening

à correctly reflect what was written & said

  • just jot down main points à then just repeat




Which type of movies you like?

I love to watch comedy movies for several reasons. First of all, life is becoming hectic. Comedy movies give lot of relaxation. When I go to movies I don’t want to think, I just want to relax. Secondly, one can go with anybody, family, friends and children. Everyone enjoy comedy movies. Recently I watched “Night at the museum”. It’s a hilarious movie. I enjoyed it. It’s become my favorite comedy movie. Finally laughing and relaxing are really good for health.

Notes: Comedy movies – relaxation – go with anybody – some movie example (Night at the museum).

Fiction or non-fiction books?

I prefer fiction to non-fiction books because they allow me to dive in another world....& u continue speaking about this kind of book & may give example


"What was your happiest moment in your life?"

Begin by saying: My happiest moment was when I got through the entrance exam for engineering. It was really tough & when I saw I did well I was delighted because I would surely get a grad seat in the best college..." If u still have time, add "so this was my happiest moment"


Task 3: The man doesn’t agree with the announcement about building new library for several reasons. First of all, he thinks…. he mentioned…Finally..

Task 4: Lecturer talks about concept of “dealing with multiple choices”. He explained by taking example of buying jeans.

Task 5:

  • The women has to choose between taking French class & helping her sister in coming summer. I think it would be better, if she chooses to take French class for several reasons… (Even before listening to conversation I decide to go with the first choice, so that I can note down points that supporting first choice).
  • In the listening passage, the man & woman are dicussing about the predicament of woman. Her problem is...........The man suggested her 2 possible solutions. First solution is.............and the second solution is.............In my opinion she should..........(ur suggestion). This is because ........(reason)
  • Report a problem:

+ just state in which situation the person is

+ state possibilities the friend suggests + not give advantages & disadvantages they provide.

+ give ur opinion: after u summarized suggestions, u directly state: I think suggestion A is better because...& now u come up with advantages & disadvantages the people used.

+ if u have time, just state: I had a similar problem & I was able to solve in this & that way.

Task 6: Professor talked about benefits of new x-ray machine.


-      go to test centre early & be the first test-taker.

-     Start the speaking before the rest à lesser chatting at the background

Sources (TestMagic forum)


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