TOEFL Speaking Test: Everything You Need to Know

Even though the TOEFL Speaking section is the shortest in the TOEFL, many test-takers struggle with it the most. If you are not prepared, speaking in English into a microphone, under a time limit, in a room full of others taking the test too might be stressful. 

Fortunately, you have plenty of time to prepare! You will be able to answer all four speaking questions in the allocated time if you comprehend the TOEFL Speaking section’s framework and certain time-management tactics. 

Let us go over everything you need to know about acing the TOEFL Speaking section in this guide. Read on. 

What is TOEFL?

Students applying to colleges and universities in English-speaking countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), a standardized academic English test. 

The TOEFL is primarily a set of tests, the most well-known of which are the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials. The TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program), TOEFL Junior, and TOEFL Primary exams are part of the TOEFL series. 

Other TOEFL forms are only available at students’ schools. In April 2021, the TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based Test or Paper-Delivered Test) will be phased out.

The TOEFL iBT is a three-hour test that determines whether candidates are ready to enroll in an educational institution in an English-speaking country

Before taking the TOEFL, many students study for 3 to 6 months. In comparison to the other tests, the TOEFL Essentials exam was created to be a less academically oriented, less challenging English test.

The TOEFL consists of four parts: 

What Should You Know About TOEFL Speaking?

The TOEFL Speaking part has four tasks and lasts about 17 minutes. You will not be conversing with a person. 

Instead, you will listen to recorded conversations and talk into a microphone to answer. You are given 15-30 seconds to prepare for a response, and your responses should be between 45 – 60 seconds long. 

Following your exam, TOEFL examiners will listen to your responses. Each question is given a score ranging from 0 to 4. Your overall TOEFL Speaking section score is calculated by adding these scores and scaling them from 0 to 30. The TOEFL Speaking accounts for 25% of your total TOEFL score (out of 120).

The TOEFL Speaking evaluates your ability to communicate effectively in a classroom context. You will be scored on how well you respond to each question, as well as your ability to speak clearly and eloquently, including your vocabulary and grammar.

How is the TOEFL Speaking Section Calculated?

ETS, the TOEFL’s governing authority, has created a TOEFL Speaking score rubric that clearly shows the score ranges and performance levels. 

TOEFL test-takers are aware that the first speaking task, also known as the TOEFL independent speaking task, encourages candidates to express their own opinions based on their thoughts and ideas. 

The TOEFL Speaking score is evaluated on three factors: 

  • Delivery: Is the candidate able to communicate smoothly and effectively about the topic, including flow, pronunciation, timing, and intonation?
  • Use of Language: How well does the candidate employ grammar and vocabulary?
  • Topic Development: How well does the candidate integrate their ideas and thoughts to articulate the arguments surrounding the topics?

Types of TOEFL Speaking Questions

The purpose of the TOEFL Speaking Test is to assess your ability to communicate effectively in English in academic settings. It consists of four tasks that are modeled after real-life events that you might encounter in and out of the classroom.

Task 1: Independent Speaking Task

When responding to this task, you must rely only on your thoughts, views, and experiences.

Agree-Disagree Questions

This type of question asks whether you agree or disagree with a given statement. It also entails you to give specific examples and provide justifications for your responses. 


Do you agree with the following statement or disagree with it? 

“If people do not wear masks during a pandemic, they should be penalized.” 

Be careful to include specifics in your response.

Explain whether you agree or disagree with the following statement:

“In the next decade, robots will replace the majority of occupations.” 

Then, throughout your argument, include particular details.

Do you agree with the following statement or disagree with it? 

“Children should learn autonomous living skills at a young age.”

To support your answer, give concrete arguments.

Do you agree with the following statement or disagree with it?

“Taking images of strangers without their consent is disrespectful.”

To support your answer, give concrete arguments.

Explain why you agree or disagree with the following statement: 

“Video games should not be allowed for children.” 

Then, in your argument, provide concrete details.

Do you agree with the following statement or disagree with it? 

“Learning online is more effective than learning in a traditional classroom.” 

Make careful to include specifics in your response.

Do you agree with the following statement or disagree with it?

“Learning online is more effective than learning in a traditional classroom.” 

Make careful to include specifics in your response.

Explain whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: 

“Politicians should be limited to a single 2-4-year term.” 

Then, in your argument, provide concrete details.

“Teachers should be compensated based on how much their students learn.” 

Express if you agree or disagree with the statement in question. 

Then, in your argument, provide concrete details.

“Digital texts should take the role of libraries.” 

State if you agree or disagree with the statement in question. 

Then, in your argument, provide concrete details.

Paired-Choice Questions 

This type of question asks you to choose from a given set of options and elaborate on your answers. 


When it comes to buying daily needs, some people like to go to a supermarket and buy everything at once, while others prefer to go to a grocery store and buy everything at once.

Which would you choose and why?

Consider the possibility that you’ve been accepted to two distinct universities. One university is well-known for its outstanding academic curriculum, but it is also very pricey. Another, on the other hand, is a lesser-known institution that has offered you a scholarship. 

Which university do you want to attend and why?

Your university is going to award a 5000-dollar scholarship. Students with good grades or students in need of financial aid, in your opinion, should receive the scholarship. 

Give specifics and instances to back up your response.

Some individuals believe that risk-taking campaigners, such as rock climbers and skydivers, must be brave, while others believe that they are simply foolish. 

Which point of view do you agree with and why?

Some people prefer to acquire new electronic goods such as cellphones as soon as they are launched by their manufacturers, while others prefer to wait a few months. 

Which do you think is better?

To back up your answer, give some examples and specifics.

Some people believe that historical places should be available to the public, while others believe that they should only be open to professionals and academics. 

Which do you believe is the superior option?

Which of the following attributes do you believe is most important in a new roommate: quietness, kindness, or cleanliness?

Give specifics and instances to back up your response.

Some people believe that students should choose their own courses, while others believe that teachers should make the decision for them. 

Which point of view do you hold, and why?

Should we maintain historic structures or replace them with new ones in city development?

Give specifics and instances to back up your response.

‘Good Idea’ Questions

In this type of question, you are given a statement, and you need to express whether it is a ‘good idea.’

Furthermore, you need to give supporting details on whatever response you have. 


According to some health experts, all liquids should be avoided in one’s diet save water.

Do you believe that only drinking water is a good idea?

Give explanations and examples to back up your claim.

Without adult supervision, teenagers should not be allowed to use the Internet. 

Is this, in your opinion, a good idea? Why do you think that is? 

In your response, include details to back up your claim.

All young men and women should be forced to serve in the military for two years for their countries. Is this, in your opinion, a good idea?

Why do you think that is?

In your response, include details to back up your claim.

It should be compulsory for everyone to study a second language. 

Is this, in your opinion, a good idea? Why do you think that is? 

In your response, include details to back up your claim.

Minors under the age of 18 should not be imprisoned if they commit a crime.

Is this, in your opinion, a good idea? Why do you think that is?

In your response, include details to back up your claim.

Tasks 2-4: Integrated Speaking Task

These tasks ask you to use your English language abilities: listening and speaking, or listening, reading, and speaking – in the same way, that you would in or out of the classroom.

You will listen to a brief notification, article, or message. It will either describe or propose a change that is currently taking place. There will be two justifications given for the adjustment (or should be made). It will take 45 seconds for you to read it.

Following that, you will hear two students discuss the reading. One of the students will support the change, oppose the change, or have a split opinion (occasionally). They will present two reasons for supporting or opposing the proposal. The grounds for the modification described in the reading will be addressed for these reasons.

Lastly, you will be asked to summarize what you have read and heard after hearing the chat. You have 30 seconds to prepare your answer before speaking for 60 seconds.

Example 1:

More help is desperately needed at the library. The librarians are completely overworked and worn out. They have to go around exhausted, attempting to assist pupils, and everyone ends up waiting an inordinate amount of time. The library becomes overburdened, and no one wins. Despite the presence of some student workers, they are of little value. Because they have no idea what they’re doing, the librarians must do all of the job. The school should hire more professional librarians as soon as feasible to help with our overburdened library. Remember, finals are coming up soon, and we need a fully functional library before then!


Sue Smith

Example 2:

How does an Ivy League university like University of California get away with being so casual about recycling? Only ten recycling bins were found during a recent check across campus by volunteers from the University of California Environmental Watch group. The students, on the other hand, counted 30 vending machines, the majority of which sell plastics, cans, and glass bottles. There was only one paper recycling bin found. This implies that nearly all of the paper dumped on campus, even in U of C housing, is thrown away in regular garbage. When questioned why there are no paper recycling containers on campus, U of C president James Wicker stated that the recycling business the institution uses does not now recycle paper. Wicker cited university money as an issue when asked why another provider isn’t used.

Example 3:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which a person has obsessive thoughts and responds to them with compulsive activity or rituals. OCD sufferers usually characterize their obsessions as constant thoughts or urges that create a lot of stress. These are distinct from the everyday pressures that the normal individual faces, such as work or money difficulties, in that they are the result of the imagination. While the majority of OCD sufferers acknowledge that their fears are unfounded, they are unable to stop the thoughts from reoccurring, and they compensate by doing certain repeated acts. A true OCD sufferer spends a significant portion of their day combating the disorder in addition to these symptoms and responses. The question of whether the condition should be categorized as a psychological or biological disorder is still being debated.

Example 4:

Person 1: Hey, Lisa, in your dorm room, do you and your roommate have a recycle bin? I’m quite sure I’ve dumped a water bottle in your trash previously.

Person 2: Of course. Why do you inquire of Mark? Are you wondering where you may get one? They should have these in the housing office, I believe.

Person 1: No, it isn’t. My roommate and I both have one, and we throw it out with our trash once a week. It’s simply that I read an article today in the university newspaper that said that none of the dorms on campus recycle.

Person 2: I read that piece as well. I agree that the author didn’t double-check her information. However, she made a valid point concerning the lack of recycling paper bins. What kind of institution, after all, passes through more paper than a university?

Person 1: That’s correct. And, as is always the case, the budget is to blame.

Person 2: What I don’t get is how they can charge us student dues for things like live entertainment, which many people don’t utilize, but not for things like recycling.

Person 1: You might want to write a letter to the editor about it. I, for one, wouldn’t mind contributing a few dollars per year to help the environment and save a few trees.

Person 2: Maybe, but I’m not sure how many other pupils are as enthusiastic as you are.

How to Improve Your General Speaking Skills?

English is currently spoken in many nations and cultures, and being able to communicate well in it will help you advance in your work and social life. The more fluent in English you are, the more engaging, entertaining, and intelligent conversations you will be able to have. 

It allows people to enrich their lives by traveling, learning, and working abroad, not just in the United States but also in many other English-speaking countries.

Here are the best ways how you can enhance your general speaking skills:


  • Participate in public speaking activities. It will be tremendously advantageous not only to your English but also to your self-confidence.
  • Watch English films and try to replicate their facial expressions. When they speak, pay attention to their intonations.
  • Make a recording of yourself and listen to how self-assured you sound. Check to see whether you need to work on your pronunciation.
  • To increase your confidence, choose an English-speaking discussion partner or an instructor. Include what you have acquired from them into your everyday talks.
  • Practice speaking English with your friends, family, and coworkers before taking the test. Practice as much as you can with as many people as possible.
  • Make use of technology. A variety of apps and programs are available with a single click.


  • Don’t feel compelled to learn everything at once. English as a second language is a skill that must be honed over time.
  • Avoid using terms and phrases with which you are not at ease. Your sentences’ cohesion will suffer as a result of this.
  • Don’t rely just on what you find on the internet. Learn how to sort through them and choose just the ones that come from reputable sources.
  • Don’t be concerned about your TOEFL speaking exam. As long as you are preparing well enough, you will be fine. 

How Can I Improve My Speaking in TOEFL?

Before taking the TOEFL, you will have plenty of time to practice and prepare. With many tools around, there are numerous strategies to improve your TOEFL speaking skills.

We have gathered a list of the most effective and tested ways for preparing for the TOEFL speaking test to help you earn a high score. Concentrate on all four areas because they will determine how you will be graded.

  • Study the structure of the test. 

Take a look at the test’s structure first to know what you will be doing on the day of the exam. But, more importantly, by considering the format of the TOEFL Speaking exam, you may begin to consider the best strategy to prepare for it.

  • Understand the scoring criteria. 

Make sure you understand the key criteria for evaluating your performance to enhance your speaking skills for this test. 

Realizing the main areas that you need to focus more on before taking the TOEFL Speaking will give you the advantage you need. 

  • Learn the various tasks. 

One independent speaking task exists. TOEFL Speaking Tasks 2, 3, and 4 are combined into one. Make certain you grasp the distinctions between the four duties.

  • Make your own system for taking notes.

When Reading and Listening in the TOEFL Speaking integrated tasks, as well as when preparing, taking notes is essential. 

Because you are short on time, you will not write down whole sentences. Instead, write down the key words because they summarize the essential points. Symbols are one tool you might use while taking notes. As long as you understand them, you can create your own symbols.

  • Practice.

The only way to increase your English language speaking abilities is to practice speaking. Remember that TOEFL Speaking is merely an exam to assess your ability to communicate in English. 

The more you practice speaking English and the more you practice TOEFL Speaking section responses, the faster you will progress.

TOEFL Speaking Test Preparation Tips (What to Expect on Test Day)

Here are some ideas and tactics to help you perform at your best in the TOEFL speaking test and earn your desired TOEFL score


  • Eat and rest well before the day of the test. 

Make sure you have had a good night’s sleep and eaten well. This will help you stay focused during the exam.

  • Prepare everything you need.

Make it a point that you have everything you need for the TOEFL test, whether you are taking it at home or at a testing facility. 

Because the TOEFL is a computer-based test, no paper and pencil are required. You may, however, bring a clear bottle of drinking water with you if you are thirsty.


  • Structure your response well. 

You just have a few minutes to jot down thoughts and a basic plan for your TOEFL speaking response. This stage, however, should never be skipped. 

Correctly organizing your response allows you to think more thoroughly about communicating. Your TOEFL score will also benefit from good organization. 

  • Respond to the entire question.

Learn how to critically evaluate and listen to TOEFL speaking questions. Prepare, outline, and deliver responses that address each question point. 

You might wish to double-check your answers with a teacher, tutor, or classmate for this skill. A second pair of eyes or ears may be able to pick up on a detail of the question that you overlooked.

  • Pronounce the words correctly. 

Bear in mind that pronunciation differs from the accent. You can enhance your pronunciation by focusing on sounds that do not exist in your native tongue, as these are frequently mispronounced. 

Reading aloud or listening to native speakers and then trying to emulate them can help you improve your pronunciation. Record yourself speaking on your own to see how close you are to the correct pronunciation.

  • Manage hesitation using natural stops and pauses. 

Fluent communication, or speech that flows naturally, is something that takes time to master. Even when you are unsure what to say, fluent speakers can find their words quickly. This is also linked to vocabulary, as hesitations frequently occur when you are unable to find the words you need.

  • Be creative.

The TOEFL is a test, but it is not a test of ultimate truth. Whatever question is posed to you, remember that you can respond in any way you want as long as your English is impeccable! Top TOEFL Speaking tip: Prioritize displaying your English over conveying your true feelings.


  • Relax.

We realize you have put in a lot of effort up to this point. It is now time for you to take a rest. Unwind and relax. 

Give yourself a break. Go shopping, see a movie, or eat at your favorite restaurant.

  • Accept the outcome positively.

Wait patiently for the outcome, and whatever it is, accept it cheerfully. If you obtain your goal score, prepare and plan for what comes next. If you do not, it is okay. You are free to take it again whenever you are ready. 

Additional FAQs – TOEFL Speaking 

How Can I Practice for TOEFL Speaking?

There are a lot of ways how you can prepare for the TOEFL Speaking test. You just have to be resourceful. Make use of all the accessible resources out there. Visit and explore websites that offer online TOEFL speaking practices. 

Furthermore, enhance your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, which are also key in getting a high mark in TOEFL Speaking. 

What is a Good TOEFL Speaking Score?

The TOEFL Speaking exam has four proficiency levels: Good, Fair, Limited, and Weak. To be in the Good level, you need to get a score of 26 out of 30

However, anything above the median (22 out of 30) is considered an excellent TOEFL Speaking score. Any score that meets all of your school’s TOEFL score standards is a good TOEFL Speaking score for you as well.

Is the TOEFL Speaking Section Difficult?

The TOEFL Speaking section consists of a 20-minute flurry of reading, listening, taking notes, and (most importantly) speaking. There is a lot to accomplish during this part and keep care of, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. 

Many test-takers cited this as one of the most challenging aspects of the TOEFL since it was impossible for them to concentrate and offer their own response in a room full of other people conversing. 

However, if you prepare well and enough before taking the TOEFL Speaking, there is no reason to worry. Practice is the key.  

Additional Resources – TOEFL Speaking 

Additional Resources – TOEFL Speaking 

There are thousands of resources available to help you prepare for the TOEFL speaking test these days. We have made it easier for you by providing a list of our top websites for studying for the TOEFL speaking test.