TOEFL - Independent Speaking
Overview and Tips
- You only have 15s to prepare. Jot down some ideas.
- Speak for the full 45s
- There will be a timer in the title bar.
- Practice with your phone
- Do not give an outline (I have two reasons, X and Y).
- Most example answers do not include one, and it takes too much time.
- Focus on content and transitions.
- This is a speaking test - use informal speech.
- Especially, use contractions (it’s, they’re)
- Example responses avoid formal signalling like “In summary” - these are for writing
- Practice using the right tense, conditionals
- Do you prefer = I prefer
- Would you prefer = I would prefer
- Why did you X = I Xed because
- Why are you Xing? = I am Xing because next year I will Y
Study Tips for all speaking (independent AND integrated)
- Record yourself speaking.
- Transcribe yourself and look for problems
- Do the same speech again and again - faster and smoother
- See http://www.ets.org/s/toefl for example answers
- Don’t repeat to fill time
- add something
- Practice filling the time with new content until you get it right
- Speak clearly and fluently, but not too quickly
- No repetition (all the way through without repeating)
- Pronunciation & Intonation
- Language use
- Accurate Grammar/Vocab, rather than complicated.
- A few minor errors OK
- Topic development
- State opinion clearly at beginning
- Give at least two reasons/examples/details
- Be clear
- Connect your ideas (For example, etc)
Examples and practice
- ETS Official Guide 6th edition
- Practice Test 1 (p250-253), answer is Track 26, explanation p300
- Practice Test 2 (p348-350), answer is Track 44, explanation p395
- Practice Test 3 (p446-449), answer is Track 70, explanation p496
- Practice Test 4 (p546-549), answer is Track 93, explanation p598
- Other practice questions
- Some students whose parents do not live close rent their own apartment. Others prefer to live in a dormitory. Which do you think is better and why? Use details and examples in your response.
- Some students prefer to study in a coffee shop, others at home. Which method you think is better and why? Use details and examples to support your choice.
- Some people prefer reading electronic books. Others think that traditional paper books are still best. Which do you think is better and why? Use details and examples to support your choice.
- Some student like to take a variety of subjects. Others prefer to concentrate on one topic. Which do you think is better and why? Give details and examples to support your response.
- Do you like to try new restaurants, or at eat the same place all the time? Use details and examples to support your response.
- Do you prefer eating out, or eating it? Use reasons to support your response.
- Would you prefer driving to school, or walking? Use reasons to support your response.
- Would you like to live in a big city or a small town ? Use reasons to support your response.
BASIC Arrangement (make your own)
- I think…
- My first reason is….because…
- My second reason is… for example….
- Not all links work in speech.
- Here are some safe ones.
- Start collecting your own list!
- I have a number of examples that show….
- My first example is
- My second example is
- For instance
- for example
- …such as
- In particular
- One particular…
- because, so, as a result,Due to X, Y
- the reason I prefer X is Y
- This is important to me because X
- But in reality
- Although X, Y
- On the other hand
- … whereas
- Despite that
Signal additional point
- I also want to mention.
- Another reason is
- In the future, I
- Next, I hope to
- What this means is
- All in all
- From this you can see that
- In the end
- In brief
- On the whole