The speaking section of the TOEFL tests your ability to speak in English. This section has six questions, broken
into independent and integrated tasks. The tables below show you the two independent questions and the four
TOEFL Speaking Strategies
The strategies and tips below will help you succeed on the speaking section of the TOEFL.
Manage your time.
You are expected to speak for a set amount of time, normally about 1 minute. Don’t speak for too long, and definitely don’t say too little. Manage your time so you have an answer at the right amount of time.
You must elaborate and say enough to receive a good score. Think about the differences in these three
What is your favourite sport?
- “I don’t have a favourite sport.”
- “I like baseball.”
- “I like baseball. I play every Saturday on a team. I am the pitcher. I have played for the last 5 years.”
The third answer is much better because it is detailed.
Plan your introduction before you speak.
A perfect introduction sentence will make it clear what you are talking about. It will also give you confidence.
You can use the question words in your introduction, like these examples:
- “My favourite movie is…”
- “I prefer to live in a big city.”
Stay on track.
Focus on the question and don’t discuss ideas that are not directly related.
Use transitional words.
These will make your speaking more organized and allow the listening to follow your ideas.
These show you understand the question. They also help the listener better understand your ideas.
Use a conclusion.
Wrap up with a concluding sentence. These are some examples:
- “That is why I enjoy reading.”
- “That is why mathematics was my favourite class in
This is an academic test, so your language should be formal. Don’t use slang, idioms, or clichés.
Use the intended grammar structure.
For a perfect score, you are expected to use complex grammar structures. Recognize the grammar in the question and use it. Some may ask about the present, others the future, past, or a hypothetical situation.
Keep your answers in the consistent verb tense.
Don’t lose track of the tense you are using. If you are speaking in the past, use past tense verbs. Don’t let yourself jump all over the place by making verb tense mistakes.
Use descriptive words when describing things.
Instead of saying “good”, use words like “incredible” or “exceptional”. Increasing your vocabulary will help.
Don’t worry about little mistakes. Even native speakers make these mistakes.
It may be an important test for you, but you need to relax to speak well. Smile, breathe, and speak with confidence.
Say something even if you are lost.
If you don’t understand the question, forget what you want to say, or are lost, say something. You can always score some points. Remember, something is better than nothing.
Speak clearly and loudly.
This is not the time to be shy. Speak up so you can be heard properly on the recording. Remember, you are speaking into a microphone, so you don’t have someone listening to you who can ask you to repeat something you said too softly. Speak up.
Avoid long windups, unnecessary words, and hesitations. Only say what needs to be said.