TOEFL Speaking Test

What Does the Speaking Section of TOEFL Test and How?

Speaking is a very important communication skill. The TOEFL has to be taken up by non-native English speakers who want to study in an English speaking country. This test is aimed at knowing the level of English communication skills of the examinee, as it is essential for survival in a country where English is the language of communication. TOEFL speaking test evaluates the speaking communication skill.

Speaking Section

The TOEFL speaking test is to evaluate you on how you can respond to questions orally, how well you can participate in discussions both within and outside of class, how clear you are in your ideas and how well you can state your opinions and ideas in a discussion. It also tests your ability to communicate in official situations like in a library, bookstores or other similar places and if you can summarize a topic that you have read or heard.

The TOEFL speaking test is for approximately 20 minutes. There are 6 questions in this section. You have to answer these questions into a microphone. This is recorded and will be sent for evaluation to the ETS's online scoring network. Both the independent and integrated tasks are administered in this section. Of the 6 questions, 2 questions will be on familiar topics and are independent speaking tasks. The other 4 will be about short readings, lectures and conversation and are integrated tasks wherein you have to combine your reading or/and listening skills to show your speaking skills.

You will be given time to prepare your answer and you will be marked on your language delivery, language use and topic development.

Speaking Tasks- Independent

The first 2 tasks are independent speaking tasks. In this you are expected to give the answer to the question wholly based on your ideas and opinion. You are given 15 seconds to prepare for the answer after the question is asked. You should give your answer by speaking for 45 seconds. Since you will be speaking based on your opinion alone, this is an independent task.

Speaking Tasks - Integrated

There are 4 questions that come under the integrated task. The first two (question numbers 3 & 4) fall under the read-listen-speak category. Here you will be given a short passage for reading. A conversation or part of a lecture related to the topic you read will be played to you for listening. With the information you have gathered and understood from reading the passage and listening to the audio, you are expected to answer the questions. The time given for reading the passage is 45 seconds, for preparation it is 30 seconds and the time given for the answer is 60 seconds.

The last of the TOEFL speaking task consists of 2 questions in the listen and speak format. You have to listen to a part of a conversation or lecture and respond to the questions. For this the preparation time is 20 seconds and response time is 60 seconds.

Tips for the Speaking Task

  • You are allowed to take notes for all the tasks in the TOEFL speaking test. Note taking is very useful while preparing your answer or response.

  • Use the whole time to give your response. If your response time is 60 seconds, speak at least for 55 seconds.

  • Speak clearly and coherently

  • Give reasons for your responses

  • Start your response with a short introduction

  • Practice for this section by speaking and recording it. Ask an English teacher or tutor to review it.

  • After you receive the review, correct your mistakes and try to incorporate the ideas given in your subsequent practice tests.


The scoring is done by an online scoring network. 3-6 raters rate each of the speaking tasks. The scores fall in the 0-30 range

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