Before I get to all of the hints, tips and strategies that I want to share with you, I need to introduce the TOEFL Speaking section.

The TOEFL Speaking section is often the most difficult section of the TOEFL test.

Why?

Well, speaking is an active skill, and for many TOEFL test takers, they’ve ONLY learned English through books and listening exercises – both of which are passive skills.

This difficulty is increased by a couple unfortunate aspects of the TOEFL Speaking section:

1. When taking the TOEFL Speaking section, you must speak to a computer, NOT a real person.

2. In the TOEFL classroom you are surrounded by other people who are also taking the test, and answering various questions on the TOEFL. This distraction can be very difficult to deal with.

But not to worry. Through this blog, you will learn all of the necessary things so you can ACE the TOEFL Speaking section, and move on in life.

TOEFL Speaking Questions

There are six different types of speaking questions on the TOEFL.

Speaking questions 1 and 2 are INDEPENDENT speaking tasks – meaning you do not listen or read anything before answering them.

Speaking questions 3, 4, 5, and 6 are INTEGRATED speaking tasks – meaning you listen or read (or do both!) something before answering the question.

In this article, I will give a brief overview of each question. In future articles, I will provide more details on HOW to answer each question, as well as possible topics you may encounter.

Speaking Question 1:

Speaking question 1 is an independent speaking topic. You are asked an open-ended question (for example,”What is your most important possession? Describe it and say why it is so important”) and then you have 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak.

Speaking Question 2:

Speaking question 2 is ALSO an independent speaking topic. But, unlike speaking question 1, you must choose between two different options. An example question is: “Do you prefer indoor or outdoor activities? Please provide details and examples to support your response.” Again, you have 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak.

Speaking Question 3:

Speaking question 3 is the first integrated speaking task. First, you read a general announcement about an activity at a University. You have 45 secondsto read this announcement. Then, you listen to a dialogue between two people ABOUT the announcement. Once you are finished with both activities, you have 30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds for your answer.

Speaking Question 4:

Speaking question 4 is somewhat similar to speaking question 3, but, instead of an announcement, we read and listen to material from an academic lecture. First, you have 45 seconds to read a short passage about a certain academic topic. Then, you listen to a more-specific lecture about the same topic from the passage. Once you are finished with both activities, you have 30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds for your answer.

Speaking Question 5:

Speaking question 5 is a bit different than 3 or 4. In speaking question 5, you do NOT read anything. Instead, you ONLY listen to a dialogue between two people. Once you finish listening to the dialogue, you have 20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to speak.

Speaking Question 6:

Speaking question 6 follows in the same footsteps as speaking question 5. In speaking question 6, you do not read anything. Instead, you ONLY listen to a LECTURE about a specific topic. Once you finish listening to the lecture, you have 20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to speak.

Just like the other TOEFL sections, the speaking section is graded out of 30.