TOEFL Speaking Section - Returning To Basics


TOEFL SPEAKING SECTION is the shortest section in TOEFL but many test-takers have great difficulty dealing with it. This is mainly because they do not make the necessary preparation for the test. If you are not prepared and you don’t have even the slightest clue what kind of questions you are going to have you won’t be able to answer. But if you are well-trained and you know the different types of questions you are going to get, then it will become less stressful to cope with.

The TOEFL IBT is a three-hour test that determines the candidate's English level and knowledge. The Speaking part has four parts and lasts 17 minutes. You will not be having a conversation with another person. You will listen to recorded conversations and talk into a microphone to answer. You will be given 15 seconds to prepare for a response and 45 seconds to answer if the questions are INDEPENDENT QUESTIONS. Also, you will be given 45 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to answer if the questions are INTEGRATED ones.

The TOEFL SPEAKING evaluates your ability to communicate effectively in a classroom context. You are going to be evaluated on how well you respond to each question, as well as your ability to speak clearly and eloquently, including vocabulary and grammar.


1-When you answer different questions you have to avoid repeating the same words over and over varying the vocabulary as much as possible.

a) Some test-takers use the word ‘’LIKE’’ a lot.

Example: In my opinion, black color is better than white color. I think like this because I like it a lot. I mean, like everyone I like it.

b) Some others tend to use ‘’I mean’’   

Example:  Learning languages is very important. I mean, everyone has to learn it nowadays. You understand what I mean, right?                                                                                            


2-Use discourse phrases like ‘’ as a result ‘’, ‘’consequently’’, ‘’moreover’’ and ‘’therefore’’ to link ideas.

3-Use a mix of simple and complex sentences.

4-Avoid using idioms because they sometimes tend to ruin what we are implying on a specific topic.

To conclude, the TOEFL SPEAKING score is evaluated on three factors:

DELIVERY- the test-taker has to communicate smoothly and effectively his ideas on the topic he is talking about, including flow, pronunciation, timing, and intonation.

USE OF LANGUAGE- how good the grammar and vocabulary are.

TOPIC DEVELOPMENT- Integration of ideas and thoughts in expressing his/her arguments on the topics given.