TOEFL Integrated Speaking: Preparation Tips, Format, Types of Questions

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TOEFL Integrated Speaking

The test of English as a Foreign Language is also popularly known as TOEFL. It is a test used to measure non-native speakers’ English language ability. This test is taken by all those who wish to study in English-speaking universities. The TOEFL exam consists of several rounds, out of which speaking is one of them. The TOEFL speaking test is the third round, right after the listening test. This round is conducted to test non-native English speakers’ ability to communicate effectively. In this blog, you will get to know about the TOEFL integrated speaking test, its structure, the type of questions which are asked and much more.

Name of the ExamTOEFL iBT speaking test
Full FormTest of English as a Foreign Language
Number of Questions Asked 4 different tasks 
Time Duration17 minutes

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Section: Exam Pattern

Following the listening test on the TOEFL is the speaking test. This test has the shortest running time: 17 minutes. The candidate is given four tasks to do within this time frame, each with its time limit.

The first activity is an independent one that requires the candidate to think of an answer and talk about it rather than read or listen. The remaining tasks are integrated, so the applicant must read, listen, or do both.

Speaking of scores, the TOEFL speaking test uses raw points, which are then scaled to a score between 0 and 30.

Check out the format of the TOEFL speaking test:

Task One: Independent 1 minuteSocial Issues
Task Two: Integrated Reading and Listening3 minutes Student life 
Task Three: Integrated Reading and Listening3 minutes Academics
Task Four: Integrated Listening3 minutes Combination of the previous two tasks

Types of Questions Asked in the TOEFL Integrated Speaking Test

Preparing for any can often be daunting sometimes but fear not as this problem can be solved. In the TOEFL speaking test, the candidate is provided with six tasks where they are judged based on how well they communicate in English. 

The candidate is provided with the following tasks:

  • General questions: 
  • Some popular questions
  • Choice-based same questions
  • Agree or Disagree questions
  • Preference type questions
  • Sample questions

Out of all these tasks, the first two are called independent tasks while the rest four are known as integrated tasks where one will be asked to give their opinions. 

Here are some sample questions which the candidate will be asked in the tasks:

Independent Tasks:

  • Which is your favourite book and why?
  • What is your favourite subject to study?
  • What do you think are the benefits of reading books?

Integrated Tasks:

  • Summarise the main points of the lecture based on its effects on society.
  • Based on the passage you just read, describe the merits and demerits of living in a large city.

Top 5 Tips to Ace TOEFL Integrated Speaking Section

To appear for the TOEFL speaking test, the candidate needs to be well-prepared. Below mentioned are some tips which will help you with the preparation.

Get Acquainted with the Format

One way to strategise your TOEFL preparation is by getting acquainted with the prescribed exam format. Understanding the format will give you a compressive idea about the test’s structure, pattern and the types of questions that may be asked. The TOEFL Speaking Section is segregated into four integrated tasks designed to assess an individual’s proficiency in the English Language. These are: 

  1. Independent Speaking Task: In this task, candidates will be required to speak on any given topic spontaneously for 45 seconds. One must be able to reflect their own ideas and opinions while answering.  Candidates will be provided with 15 seconds to prepare. 
  2. Integrated Speaking Task (Campus Situation): In this task, candidates will be asked to read a short passage or an excerpt from any newspaper or magazine. Candidates will then be asked questions related to the piece of information. 
  3. Integrated Speaking Task (Academic Courses): This task necessitates students to answer questions after reading excerpts or short passages on an academic subject. Furthermore, once a person has finished reading, they will be required to listen to chunks of a lecture on the same topic. 
  4.  Integrated Speaking Tasks (Academic Courses): This task entails students answering questions after listening to segments of longer lectures. 

Understand the Scoring Criteria 

Understanding the scoring criteria of the TOEFL Speaking Section will give you a solid idea about the elements that can be implemented to score higher. Those aiming to score higher in their TOEFL Speaking Sections must ensure that they focus on their general description, delivery, language usage and topic development. Perfecting these elements will enhance your chances of scoring higher in TOEFL Speaking Sections.

 Apart from that, you can incrementally improve your chances of scoring higher in the said section by implementing the following elements in your answers: 

  • a) Relevancy: Individuals must stick to the point and give relevant and appropriate answers. 
  • b) Fluency: Candidates must be fluent and spontaneous while answering the questions. One must avoid using long pauses as it can break the natural flow of speaking. 
  • c) Pacing: Candidates must keep the pacing of their answers balanced. Speaking too fast or too slow can seem off-putting to listeners. 
  • d) Structure: Candidates should structure their answers properly. Well-organised and structured answers are easier for listeners to comprehend. 

Have a Plan

TOEFL aspirants often make the rookie mistake of sitting for the TOEFL Speaking Section without a streamlined action plan. Having a streamlined plan of action can give you a solid idea about tackling each of the tasks with ease. The following pointers will help you ace your Independent and Integrated Speaking Tasks. 

Independent Speaking Task: 

  • Read the passages or excerpts elaborately. 
  • It is advised to go with the answers that come to you instantaneously. 
  • Avoid overthinking
  • Structure your answer 
  • Maintain your composure while speaking 

 Integrated Speaking Task: 

  •  Read the passage or excerpt carefully. 
  • Understand the crux of the passage. 
  • Listen to the audio segments with the utmost attention. 
  • Understand the gist of the audio segment.
  • Structure your answer. 
  • Summarize your responses. 

Incorporate Useful Phrases

Incorporating phrases in your answers can enhance your chances of scoring higher in the TOEFL Speaking Section. The use of phrases amidst your answers will give the examiners an idea about your fluency in the English language. Not only that but phrases can also help you mend those awkward gaps and pauses and make your answers sound more fluent and seamless. Here are some of the most common phrases used in TOEFL Speaking Sections. 

TOEFL Speaking Phrase(s)Meaning 
First of allMost Importantly 
For one thingUsed for giving a reason for something.
Point is thatThe meaning of something
For instanceFor Example 
In other wordsTo explain something more clearly

Practice is the Key 

The TOEFL Speaking Section may seem daunting or challenging at first, but once you get a hang of its structure and pattern and have practised adequately, you will be able to ace the section with flying colours. There are some tried and tested ways you can prepare effectively for the TOEFL Speaking Section. They are: 

  1. Recording yourself while speaking will give a consolidated idea about your shortcomings.
  2. Start listening to radio broadcasts or reading newspapers to improve your chances of scoring higher in the Integrated Speaking Tasks and Independent Speaking Tasks. 
  3. Set a timer while speaking. Setting time constraints will help you work on your timing and pacing.  

Best Books For TOEFL Speaking Section

To master the TOEFL Speaking Section, you must consult the best available sources. The following books will equip you with adequate knowledge of the TOEFL Speaking Section. You can refer to such books to ace the said section. 

Name of the Book(s) Author/Publisher Book’s Price (Paperback Editions)
TOEFL iBT Prep Plus 2020-2021Kaplan INR 4,555.00
TOEFL IBT Pamela J.SharpeINR 2,865.00
Official TOEFL iBT Tests Volume 1, Fourth EditionETSINR 2,532.69

 So that was all about the TOEFL Integrated Speaking Section. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the blog.

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What is an integrated speaking test in TOEFL?

In TOEFL, a speaking test is conducted which is the third task after the listening task. In this section, the candidate is asked to listen, read or sometimes even do both.

Is the TOEFL speaking test hard?

The speaking test in the TOEFL is said to be one of the most difficult sections. This section can be very hard for several native speakers. 

Is the TOEFL speaking test harder than the IELTS speaking test?

Compared to TOEFL, IELTS speaking is considered to be quite easy. Many students find IELTS easier than TOEFL. 

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