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 By Alina Mygou

TOEFL Speaking Test Types & Tips

1. General Suggestions
TOEFL speaking test has four questions in 2 types: Independent Tasks (Question 1) and Integrated Tasks (Question 2 - 4).

All questions in the speaking test are limited to 45 to 60 seconds, so you must control time in the practice.The whole speaking section takes about 17 minutes.

In Questions 2-3, candidates will read a short article in 45 seconds, the primary information in coming listing material and speaking questions.

In Questions 2-4, the candidates will listen to some listening materials. When listening, you may take notes by which to organize your answers. You have a certain amount of time to prepare before speaking.

Your speaking score is judged based on the following aspects: a guideline to practice and test.
  • Delivery: smooth, clear, and accurate pronunciation, rhythm in natural, and intonation in ordinary.
  • Language use: grammar and vocabulary accurately express the idea of ​​the candidates.
  • Topic development: answer questions clearly and thoroughly, state point of view, avoid ending speaking too early.
Note that the raters do not require a candidate to answer perfectly. Even in Good Score answers, occasional errors can be seen here and there in any three aspects.

Suggestion for Practice
In practice, pay attention to the following issues:
  • Your answer matches or covers the question
  • Answer clearly
  • By correct syntax
  • With accurate vocabulary
  • Your point of view has a clear expression
  • Answer sentence is complete
  • Right timing, don't waste time
You need to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and figure out what not good enough and why. For example, try to playback recording, pay attention to the following issues:
  • Speaking too fast
  • Speak too slowly
  • Too many pauses
Suggestion for Test
In the examination, you should express confidently:
  • Make full use of notes.
  • Read each question carefully.
  • Take full advantage of the time to prepare and organize answers.
  • Don't start until being asked.
  • Within the given time, as complete as possible to answer.
  • Ensure to align the microphone when speaking.
  • Keep your voice loud enough to let the raters hear clearly.
2. Question Types and Tips
Question 1
For Question 1, the candidate will see two hypothetical scenarios, views, or behaviors, and you need to choose the better one and give reasons. You should finish the answer in 45 seconds.

The usual topics in this question are involved with student, study, and school. For example, learning at home is better than in the library? Should students focus on specific major or multiple disciplines? Should first-year students live in school dormitories or live off-campus? Besides, candidates possibly see popular social topics in this question, e.g., the TV is for human benefit or bad?

You need to say what you agree with and explain your arguments. This question requires you to state your choice and explain. You need to organize the reason, explanation, and details to support the decision; express them clearly. It is a question about logic and speaking; which side you choose doesn't impact the final score. There are no "right" or "wrong" options in this question. The excellent rating is from clear logic, complete content, and clear expression.

The topic appears on the screen; its title will be read loudly. Then you have 15 seconds to prepare. During the time, you should organize your thoughts, and you can also write down some notes. But remember, do not write down the complete answer; just need some words and phrases to hint at the answer.

  • In practice, try to state views or options clearly and loudly, with various reasons, examples, and details.
  • Learn to use the word or phrase commonly used to express their views, such as: in my opinion, I believe.
More details and Samples of Question 1

Question 2
For Question 2, you will first read a short passage regarding campus life. Then you will listen to one or two people talk about the same topic as reading content. You need to answer the question of what you read and heard. Typical topics are similar to the quality of university education, rules and procedures, and plans of university, campus facilities, or campus life. All candidates can easily understand these issues. It does not require the experience of campus life in North America as background knowledge.

Reading materials are various but usually related to school. For example, it may announce the new parking regulations, a letter to discuss dormitory radio regulations or a proposal for building a new football stadium in the school newspaper. The material usually presents a plan and gives two reasons for support or opposition. It is concise, about 75 to 100 words, and you have 40 to 45 seconds to read. The exact time depends on the article's length.

Then you will hear dialogue or monologue based on the reading material. The listening material is about people, usually students, to discuss the topic of what you read. If there are two interlocutors, one will express a clear view - support or opposition, and explain reasons. The hearing material lasts 60 to 80 seconds.

After hearing the material broadcast, you have 30 seconds to prepare before starting 60 second answering time. The candidate needs to answer a question based on reading and listening. So, you need to use reading material and view and reason to support or oppose delivered from the dialogue, to organize your answer. This question does not require you to give your argument; you only state the interlocutors' attitude summed up the reason behind this attitude.

  • You can take notes to help answer, especially for what you heard.
  • Before answering, be clear about what the title needs and what it doesn't need.
  • Summarize information from reading and try to get the reason behind words. Reading material is for you to understand listening material, which isn't for the question directly.
  • When listening, pay attention to the attitudes of each interlocutor, which may support or oppose.
  • Through intonation, reread, and choice of the word as far as possible to determine the interlocutor's specific attitude.
More details and Samples of Question 2

Question 3
For Question 3, the candidate must read a short academic essay and listen to a lecture excerpt. Subsequently, answer questions based on the reading and listening material. Your answer time is 60 seconds.

This question's topics are in a wide range: life science, social science, natural science, and even anthropology. Although they are academic, the question does not assume you have related specialized knowledge of the subject.

Reading material is in the length of 75 to 100 words. It provides the necessary knowledge to understand the listening material. Usually, it will introduce concepts or terms in everyday scenes. Listening material is the key to the question, which contains refined details, and often adds a few examples, analogies. Or it offers a practical application of the concept in reading material. You need to integrate information in both reading material and listening material to give the right answer.

More details and Samples of Question 3

  • The views in reading and listening material maybe just similar or even different, take notes and write down the outline.
  • In practice, try to change with different words or sentences to express the contents of reading and listening.
  • In practice, try to list an outline of the essay quickly, then talk its summary.
Question 4
The last question is related to academics. At this question, a candidate will hear part of a lecture excerpt and answer problems based on listening material. The time allowed to answer is 60 seconds.

At question 4, this question's topic involves a wide range, such as life science, social science, natural science, and anthropology. Similarly, to answer this question does not require the candidate to have basic knowledge of the subject.

Listening material focuses on a topic that is of 60 to 90 seconds in length. Usually, a professor will define a concept, emphasize a problem, introduce a phenomenon at the beginning of the lecture, and then discuss some important aspects and features. A lecture will include illustrative examples to help explain the key ideas. The problems you need to answer are typically among the examples or critical views of the lecture.

  • Take note when listening; try to write down details of examples and key ideas.
More details and Samples of Question 4