Free TOEFL iBT Speaking Practice Tips & Preparation for Students
When studying for the TOEFL many students are especially nervous about the iBT speaking section of the test. English learners should keep in mind that they will be scored on vocabulary, fluency, pronunciation and structure. In fact, since the TOEFL iBT speaking exam tests whether students can function in a university environment the way you organize your answers will improve your scores.
To score 4, you need to demonstrate fluency and not just the ability to communicate well. Thus, students should aim for a coherent response that is highly intelligible.
The speech pace should have a good flow and pronunciation (sounds and intonation) should be clear. Students should practice speaking English out loud frequently while in preparation for the TOEFL iBT. The student needs to demonstrate effective use of vocabulary, grammar, and general fluency with a coherent clear progression of ideas (this is where structure comes in).
In order to speak coherently during the exam, you’ll also need to practice TOEFL iBT listening. After all, you’ll need to easily understand what’s being said in order to respond. Below you will find four tips that will help you succeed in the TOEFL iBT speaking section:
- Find a list with TOEFL iBT sample questions. First, write down your answers; then read them out loud. Pronunciation is an important part of the TOEFL iBT score. Make sure that you enunciate clearly and that you use intonation. Speak with determination. Don’t sound bored or as if you just want to get it over with. Before you start speaking take a couple of breaths to calm yourself down in preparation for TOEFL iBT.
- Practice your answers ideally with a teacher who can correct your English and give you advice on vocabulary. Make sure to take a [TOEFL iBT speaking practice test](https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/prepare/quick_prep/) to prepare for the exam.
- There are six questions in the speaking section. Provide enough content so that you can prove your level of fluency. About 100 words should be fine. Time your response (question 1 & 2: 15 seconds prep time; 45 seconds response time; question 3 &4: 45 seconds reading time; 30 seconds prep time, 60 seconds response time; question 5 & 6/listening: 20 seconds prep time; 60 seconds response time) when you practice your answers.
- Focus on vocabulary. Practice with websites and books that teach you vocabulary with synonym/antonym exercises and in context. Read about topics that might come up in the TOEFL iBT test. Study your phrasal verbs and memorize a number of very common idioms.
- The TOEFL speaking section has two types of questions: independent and integrated. Independent speaking topics are about personal experiences, ideas, and opinions. Integrated speaking topics are about academic topics. The latter test reading or listening with your speaking skills. Thus, practice listening comprehension with different types of English and reading comprehension with a TOEFL practice book. Whether you will be able to answer integrated TOEFL iBT questions successfully will also depend on how well you can find the main ideas in a lecture and text. Practice critical reading skills and become and excellent note taker before you take the TOEFL test. On the other hand, the independent tasks test how well you can communicate clearly.
- To increase fluency listen to radio programs such as [www.npr.org](http://www.npr.org), read articles in the Washington Post, New York Times and other major publications and write summaries. Pay extra attention to the vocabulary and how it is used. Then reproduce your summaries verbally. Practice paraphrasing sentences from the articles and radio programs.
- Watch TV shows and movies about university and college life. Ideally, shows that have segments with lectures. Take note of the vocabulary used. Imitate the speakers with a focus on pronunciation and vocabulary.
- Watch TED talks about academic topics. Read the transcripts. By listening to the radio and watching TED talks, you’ll be able to improve your listening comprehension and learn about current ideas. TED talks are one of our favorite TOEFL iBT listening tips!
- For the independent task, ask your teacher to provide you with vocabulary specific to the topics that usually come up in that section.
Incorporate these tips into your TOEFL iBT practice and you will boost your TOEFL success.
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