Speaking Section of TOEFL

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The speaking section of the TOEFL is the 3rd section of the test. Although it is the shortest section which is of only 17 minutes, it tends to be the hardest section for a lot of TOEFL test takers. The speaking section contains four speaking tasks with one task being the independent task and the three tasks being the integrated task. The Speaking section makes up the shortest part of the TOEFL test. But keep in mind, shorter does not necessarily mean easier. 

You will be asked to complete all the 4 tasks of this section by speaking into a microphone, which means everything which you speak will be recorded there. Later the recordings are sent to the official test grader, who will evaluate your responses. Your responses in each task are scored on a variety of different aspects such as grammar, language use, flow, etc from 0-4.

Duration 17 minutes
Total Task 4


Difference Between Integrated and Independent TOEFL Speaking Tasks

The TOEFL Speaking section consists of two types of questions. They are “integrated” questions and “independent” questions. 

  • According to the topics, Integrated TOEFL speaking topics deal with academic topics while independent speaking topics are all about your personal experiences, opinions, and ideas.
  • As the same suggests “integrated” topics are a mixture of reading and/or listening with speaking, which means answering to these topics usually depends on how well you can find the answers in a lecture or text. Opposite to that, the independent questions focus only on how well you are at speaking, rather than how well you grab the incoming information. 

Tasks of Speaking section of TOEFL

The independent and integrated tasks are further divided into 4 speaking section tasks. Let us know what are they and how to prepare for it:

TOEFL Independent Speaking Task 1

You will be given 15 seconds to prepare for your answer and 45 seconds will be given to speak. Usually speaking, the speaking task 1 questions may be of these 4 styles

  1. Agree and Disagree
  2. Preference
  3. Three choices
  4. Advantages and Disadvantages

The question may be of any style but the format of the tie remains the same.  The Preference and Agree or Disagree question styles are asked more compared to other styles of question. These 2 question types are pretty common so you must practice these questions more while preparing for the TOEFL speaking task 1. The question style, Three choices, and Advantages and Disadvantages are less common but prepare them as well. These four styles of question are what students have been asked mainly since the new TOEFL change. However, it is possible that you may be asked the old question styles, which are:

  • If / Imaginary
  • Description or Explanation

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 2

  • In TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 2 you will be asked a question based on the passage and conversation.
  • First, you will be asked to read a given passage which is either about a student's letter or any campus announcement.
  • You will have 50 seconds to read the given passage.
  • Next, you will have to listen to a conversation of two students discussing their opinions based on the passage you have just read.
  • Ensure to take notes while you are reading the passage and listening to the conversation.
  • The question may ask you to present an opinion of the student and state the reasons for having that opinion.
  • You will be given 30 seconds to prepare your answer and 1 minute to speak about it

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 3

  • In this task first, you will be given an academic article about a general concept to read.
  • You will be given 50 seconds to read that article.
  • After reading the academic article, you will have to listen to a short lecture given by a professor.
  • Make sure to write down important points during reading and listening.
  • For preparing an answer, you will be given 30 seconds and for speaking, you will be given 60 seconds which means 1 minute.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4

In  TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4 you will have to listen to a professor lecturing a class. After the lecture, you will be asked a question related to the lecture you have just listened to. Ensure to take notes while you listen to the lecture which will help you answer later. 20 seconds will be given to think and 60 seconds to speak the answer.

Tips for TOEFL Speaking section 

This section tests the test taker's ability to speak effectively in an academic environment. Candidates would be given a score on the basis of the way of delivery of their answer, ability to speak clearly and coherently, and above all their grammar and vocabulary. 

  • Many times candidates could run out of content before the time is up. At that time you can then discuss the things that may or may not be true, that time you should trust your gut instincts more than anything. The exam does not require you to only present the facts. Hence, candidates should not stop talking until the time gets over.
  • The important tip to score high in this section would be to take notes during the reading of the passage and listening to the audio clip. Many times, candidates find this section bit difficult because candidates are required to read, listen and then speak in this section, so it is better to take notes to answer later.
  • Candidates should keep in mind that there may be a difference in opinion in the passage they read and the audio they listen to. The difference could become a part of your answer. To be able to speak maximum in this section, candidates are required to support their statements with evidence from the audio clip or the passage.
  • Candidates are advised to listen carefully to the audio and note down only important aspects of the conversation, which they could use later on for their answering the question, as writing down all the information would be time-consuming and you lose some important points during it.
  • Candidates are required to practice and solve as many TOEFL test papers as possible. Solving a lot of practice papers and question papers can help the candidates towards achieving a good TOEFL Score.

So, now you are totally informed about the speaking section of the TOEFL and also we have mentioned all the tips and tricks you can take advantage of and crack the speaking module well and score high.

All the best..!!