Not everybody has the gift of the gab; becoming an articulate speaker of English is bound to have a few challenges. While steady and continuous practice is often hailed as the panacea in such cases, it is better to work with a certain direction and practice. Here are some of our tips for the TOEFL® Speaking Test.
How is the Speaking Test structured?
The Speaking section of TOEFL doesn’t require an individual to rely on a prosaic understanding of vocabulary to get through. Instead, it emulates real-life situations that a student might come across and bases its judgment on how well the individual can handle the said situation. The general atmosphere of such encounters is based either in or out of the classroom.
Question 1: Independent Speaking Task
The emphasis is laid on the test taker with opinions, and substantial arguments being produced by the individual themselves. The question will be played by audio or you can rely on the text given on the screen. There will be a preparation time of 15 seconds followed by 45 seconds of answering time.
Questions 2-4: Integrated Speaking Tasks
In the second stage, the candidate has to read a short passage about some detail involving campus life. This will be followed by a listening exercise based on the same topic. The listening stage usually involves two people having a conversation with opposing arguments.
During the initial stage of passage reading candidates will have 45 seconds to read a 100-word paragraph while the audio clip can be between a minute to 80 seconds. The paragraph will not be featured again so it’s best to make a few notes on the side. A 30-second preparation time is then given during which the candidate can arrange the necessary details, followed by a 60-second speaking time.
The candidate is given a total of 17 minutes to complete the TOEFL Speaking Section.
Popular Examples of the Independent Speaking Tasks
- How did you deal with the pandemic and lockdown situation?
- Which study method do you prefer, online courses or traditional classrooms?
- Do you prefer to study at home or in a library?
- Do you like to work out or meditate?
Tips that you can use to ace the Listening test
- Start using a timer
The TOEFL speaking exercise with its stringent rules and time allotments might seem a little difficult to get into and you’d mostly be right. So, keeping that in mind try using a timer to help you get used to the time limit of each question while also helping plan each response so that they neither overshoot the specified time limit nor do they fall short of the requirement.
As mentioned earlier the Independent Speaking task has 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to answer and for the Integrated Speaking task, you get 30 seconds of prep time and 60 seconds to deliver your answer. It may seem tedious but the payoff is huge.
- Following a specific pattern of answering
More often than not, it is the process of starting a response that is the hardest. The nagging doubt about coming up with the right introduction leaves a candidate distracted during the answering phase of the test.
Instead of fumbling so at the last minute, prepare a few readymade introductions that can be used for each question. Besides preparing such introductions make it a point to try and use the same introduction every time. Having a standard template of sorts gives you a lot more breathing room to focus on the body of your speaking assignment.
- Record, Replay, Repeat
Recording yourself during practice helps improve pronunciation and articulation. During practice sessions, you can take a recording of the attempt and play it back to see how well (or how terribly) you’ve performed. Monitoring your speech patterns also makes it easier to see if there are any possible mistakes that need to be rooted out.
- Specific Phrases to be used in certain situations
Learning specific phrases can help with fluency and avoid any last-minute efforts to try and recollect. Different phrases can be used in response to the nature of the subject. Using such phrases at the beginning of a sentence helps reduce the monotony of having to rely on a handful of words.
Phrases for multiple reasons:
- Because of…
- Given that…
- One cause for that is…
Phrases for presentation:
- My first point concerns…
- Next, I’ll focus on…..and then we’ll consider…
- I’d like to draw attention to…
- Involving Body Language During Speaking
There are times when we get stuck during our speech and end up gesticulating to try and find the exact word. Instead of flailing wildly, it would be better to try and use body language as an aid to speaking. In cases where we are trying to convey an action or present an expressive idea, using your body language to convey the matter goes a long way in showing not just how fluent you are but also how well-acquainted you are with the language. If you are an “actions speak louder” individual then utilizing your body language will come in handy and recollecting slightly difficult words might be made easier as well.
A person who relies on using their body language manages to get the information across better than someone who is limp with their physical expression.
Now go out there and try using some of these methods to improve your oratorical prowess. If they do fare well for thee, do let us know in the comments below. For more similar content visit our website here.