Exams Know-how

TOEFL Speaking Section: Tips, Strategies, Scores and Questions of TOEFL Speaking


Students aspiring to study abroad must polish their English speaking skills. This will give them confidence to speak fluent English within their college campus as well as with the natives. And in order to assess their English speaking skills, the TOEFL Speaking section is designed.

This is the third and shortest section in the TOEFL Exam, summing up to 17 minutes in length. It is planned and designed in a way to measure your effectiveness of how well you can speak English in an academic environment based on Personal experience, Campus situations and Academic subjects. 

Overview of TOEFL Speaking Section

Number of Tasks

4 tasks

Time Duration

17 minutes

Score Range

0 - 30 (Scaled Score)

0 -16 (Raw Score)


TOEFL Speaking Tasks

The above-mentioned four tasks are based on real-life situations which you might encounter in a classroom, campus or personal environment. In order to answer these speaking tasks, you will be provided a headset. Further, you are allowed to speak and record your responses in the given time frame into your microphone attached to your headset. You get time to speak your response depending on the task type. And to deliver your speech effectively, you get a few seconds to plan and prepare your response. 

All your responses are recorded and sent to the ETS for scoring purposes. In order to ensure fairness and accuracy, your speaking responses are scored by a combination of AI scoring and certified Human Raters.   

Now, let’s understand the types of tasks that are there in the TOEFL Speaking section.

Tasks in TOEFL Speaking Section

TOEFL Speaking broadly consists of two tasks types, ie. Independent Speaking Task and Integrated Speaking Task. 

Independent speaking task is about sharing your personal opinion on a general topic. Whereas, by Integrated speaking task it means that you are required to combine and link in order to respond the following combination of English language skills: 

  • Listening and speaking

  • Listening, reading and speaking

Task 1: Independent Speaking Task      

Preparation time: 15 seconds

Response time: 45 seconds

In the Independent speaking task, you are asked a general question on a topic and you have to give your personal opinion or view about that. Here, you will not be given any reading or listening passages. You have to answer purely based on your personal experience. This question tests your ability to think quickly and how well you can express your thoughts in English. 

Further, you will be given 15 seconds to think and plan your response. You are then required to speak and record your response of 45 seconds into the microphone and submit it.

Task 2: Integrated Speaking Task

(Reading, Listening & Speaking)

Preparation time: 30 seconds

Response time: 60 seconds

This integrated speaking section is about Campus Situations. Here, you are required to summarize and combine information from two sources, ie. a reading passage and a listening conversation. 

To answer the question, you will be asked to read a passage and listen to a conversation on the same campus-related topic. You will then get 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak your answer into the microphone. 

Task 3: Integrated Speaking Task  

(Reading, Listening & Speaking)

Preparation time: 30 seconds

Response time: 60 seconds           

Task 3 is about an academic subject or an important academic concept from a first-year college textbook. Here, you get a reading passage about an academic subject and you have to listen to part of a lecture on that same subject. You will then be given 30 seconds to plan and prepare your response well and 60 seconds (1 minute) to speak your answer. 

Task 4: Integrated Speaking Task

(Listening & Speaking)

Preparation time: 20 seconds

Response time: 60 seconds 

Task 4 is also related to academic subjects where you have to listen to part of a lecture and speak your answer. Note that, you will not be given any reading passage in this task. 

Further, you will be given 20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds (1 minute) to speak your answer well. Generally, you will be asked to provide a summary of the lecture through your answer.   

Next, let’s explore this video featuring actionable tips and tricks to score well in the TOEFL speaking section.

What topics are there in TOEFL Speaking?   

TOEFL Speaking topics are from a variety of fields, such as, physical science, life science, social science, literature, history and art. But don't worry, you do not need to have any prior knowledge of these topics in order to answer the questions. As, these questions are only meant to test your English language skills and how logically you structure your sentences. 

Tips & Strategies to crack TOEFL Speaking Section

A few winning strategies are being shared below that will assist you in preparing well.

  • Take quick notes: There is a lot of information you listen to during the speaking tasks and surely you cannot remember all of it. So, it is very important that you roughly jot down a few key phrases or words that will help you stay focused on the main idea of the topic. You can then review your notes during preparation time and prepare your response.   

  • Answer your questions fully: Always try to express your ideas as clearly as possible. Make your statements complete with proper connection between one idea to the next to convey your opinion effectively.

  • Good delivery of speech should be prioritised: If you speak without any hesitation and your speech is clear and fluid with good grammar then your chances of scoring high will increase. Also, the speed of your speech should be at a normal pace, natural and should not sound like you have memorized anything.    

  • Make use of correct pronunciation: It is important that you pronounce words correctly. You can improve in this area by creating a list of at least 10 difficult words everyday and try pronouncing it. Also, use these words into 5 different sentences. This will improve your pronunciation as well as vocabulary. 

  • Manage your time wisely: During preparation days, make sure to time yourself while speaking. This will help you understand how much time you need to answer a question. Also, try getting used to the actual time for answering the questions in the exam.

  • Take ample practice tests: Practicing is always the best way to achieve the desired score. Thus, practice a variety of mock tests, sample papers and solve last years' question papers. For some free resources, you can refer to the following Practice Tests provided by the ETS:

Further, in order to accurately deliver your speech, you must practice and develop your English language skills and speed up. Good grammar, well-structured sentences and clear speech result in an outstanding score. Thus, practice is the ultimate key to success. Good luck on your TOEFL!  

Frequently Asked Questions by Students on TOEFL Speaking (FAQs)

Q1. Is TOEFL Speaking hard?

Ans. One cannot say that the TOEFL Speaking section is hard. As with the right technique and practice, you can crack this section. Do keep the following things in mind while solving the speaking section:

  • Develop an extensive vocabulary

  • Get a strong hold of your grammar

  • Structure and connect your sentences well

  • Clearly express your ideas

Q2. How can I get a score of 26 in TOEFL Speaking?

Ans. With practice and dedication you can definitely score 26 in TOEFL Speaking. Follow an organized study plan that includes amounts of speaking practice. Also, your basics must be clear and your note-taking technique needs to be great. In this way and with extensive practice, you can score 26 in TOEFL Speaking.

Q3. How can I practice TOEFL Speaking?

Ans. You can practice TOEFL Speaking by taking practice tests given on the official ETS website. Also, you can practice by solving previous years’ question papers and a good amount of sample papers.

Q4. How can I speak in the TOEFL Speaking section?

Ans. To speak in the TOEFL Speaking section, you are provided a personal headset. And to record your response, you are required to speak into the microphone which is attached to your headset.      

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