5 Mistakes to Avoid in TOEFL Speaking Preparation

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Mistakes to Avoid in TOEFL Speaking

The TOEFL Speaking test accesses candidates’ English speaking skills in an academic environment. This section of the TOEFL exam contains four different tasks which resemble the real-life situations students can encounter in their classroom or in day-to-day life. In order to perform well in the speaking section preparation, candidates need to avoid common mistakes. In this article, we will discuss some of the 5 mistakes to avoid in TOEFL Speaking preparation. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in TOEFL Speaking

While appearing or taking the TOEFL Speaking test, a lot of candidates make common mistakes, which hampers their overall performance on the test. Common mistakes that are need to avoid during the TOEFL Speaking test preparation are insufficient preparation, incomplete responses, neglecting eye contact and body language, etc. It is essential that candidates avoid these mistakes so that they don’t face negative impact. 

Also Read: 30 Important TOEFL Sample Speaking Questions

Insufficient Preparation

Lack of preparation can lead to disorganized and unclear responses. A lot of candidates or test-takes appear for the TOEFL Speaking test with insufficient preparation. Candidates need to practice responding to a variety of TOEFL Speaking prompts, work on structuring their answers, and practice speaking fluently and confidently. 

Candidates must aim to achieve a satisfactory score on the test by practising from the official TOEFL study sources and sample questions. These materials closely reflect the actual exam and provide valuable practice. Take the time to complete full-length practice tests to simulate the test conditions.

Ignoring the Prompt

Ignoring the prompt is a critical mistake to avoid in the TOEFL Speaking test. Make sure to fully understand the prompt and address all aspects of the question. Deviating from the prompt or failing to address all parts of the question can result in a lower score. Take the time to read and understand the prompt carefully, identify the main points or keywords in the prompt that you need to address in your response, stay focused on the prompt and avoid going off on tangents or discussing unrelated ideas.

Before you start speaking, take a few moments to plan your response. Consider how you will structure your answer and what main points or arguments you want to include. Candidates must manage their time effectively to ensure that they have enough time to address all parts of the prompt.

Unorganized Answer

The other common mistake made by a lot of test-takers is the unorganized answer. Before you start speaking, take a few moments to plan your answer. Consider the main points or arguments you want to include and the order in which you will present them.

Structure your response with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Use appropriate transition words and phrases like “firstly,” “in addition,” “however,” “on the other hand,” and “finally” can help guide your listener through your response. 

Limited Vocabulary & Grammar Errors

Limited vocabulary and grammatical errors won’t improve your scoring on the TOEFL Speaking test. Candidates must strive to use a range of vocabulary words and grammatical structures to showcase their language proficiency. Avoid repetitive language and grammatical errors that can hinder your score.

Candidates need to work on expanding their vocabulary by learning new words and phrases. Review and study English grammar rules to improve your accuracy. Try to read English books and articles to expose yourself to a wide range of vocabulary. Pay attention to the context in which new vocabulary words are used. Use surrounding words, phrases, or sentences to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Neglecting Eye Contact & Body Language

Maintaining appropriate eye contact with the camera or your imaginary listener will help you in scoring better on the TOEFL Speaking test. This is a sign of confidence and engagement. Also, be aware of your body language. During the TOEFL Speaking test,  try to maintain eye contact with the camera or your imaginary listener.

You need to build confidence by visualizing a listener, using facial expressions and giving an appropriate smile when required, and using appropriate hand gestures to enhance your spoken words. Gestures can help emphasize important points, illustrate concepts, or add clarity to your ideas. 


What does TOEFL stand for?

TOEFL stand for the Test of English as a Foreign Language, which is a standardized test to measure a candidate’s proficiency in the English language. This test is conducted by the Education Testing Service.

How many questions are there in the TOEFL Speaking section?

The TOEFL Speaking Test consists of 4 questions. In the given questions, there will be topics to speak about within the given time.

What is the application fee for the TOEFL test?

The application fee for the TOEFL test is USD $195 (INR 16,000 approx.). The TOEFL application fee is non-refundable.

To avoid these mistakes, practice consistently, seek feedback from teachers or native English speakers, and familiarize yourself with the TOEFL Speaking rubrics to understand what the examiners are looking for.

English language certifications are instrumental in securing admission to leading universities. Many of them require that you score the predefined marks so that you can be eligible to apply. In any case, a high score increases your chances of admission. Build a plan with Leverage Edu‘s Leverage Live classes and our top trainers and strengthen your English score as well as your application so that you can secure your spot in your dream college. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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