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How to Improve TOEFL Integrated Speaking, Part 1

Today, we’ll look how to improve TOEFL Integrated Speaking responses. With hard work and practice, you can perfect your approach to these complicated tasks.

One of the hardest parts of TOEFL Integrated Speaking is content development and word choice. It takes careful thought to blend so many different ideas– ideas from the passages, ideas from the speakers, and your own thoughts.

One of the best ways to master this balancing act is to revise the content and wording of your own Integrated Speaking responses. While “re-dos” are not allowed on the TOEFL exam itself, you can learn a lot and really build your skills by doing this.

To examine and revise your wording and content, you don’t even need to make a second recording. You can just type out the things you said, and then re-write them.

To give you an idea of what this TOEFL Integrated Speaking revision activity looks like– and why it’s helpful– I’m going to show you an example. Below is a Speaking Task 3 response from a real Magoosh student, followed by a revised version. (The student and I came up with the revisions together.)

Read the revisions carefully. What changes were made to the wording of this TOEFL Integrated Speaking Response? What can you learn from these model revisions? And how might you revise your own responses so that you can improve your TOEFL Integrated Speaking?

Speaking Task 3 Response: First Version

(Note: The original question for this response appears on the third exam in Official TOEFL iBT Tests. The prompt contains a letter to a university newspaper suggesting that history seminar classes should be shorter. This passage is followed by a conversation two students have about the letter.)

The reading talks about a student proposal. It says that the history seminars are too lengthy and need to be shortened from 3 hours to 2 hours.  

The female student disagrees. She said that the student proposal is quite  personal ideas. This student who is called Tim spent his time enjoying himself at parties until late in the evening. As a result, he is quite sleepy during history seminars and that ‘s why he has presented this proposal.

Another reason is that the last one hour of each history seminar is very productive. By reducing the length of seminar many students will miss some important information.   For those reasons, the female student disagrees with Tim’s proposal.

Speaking Task 3 Response: Revised Version

The reading talks about a proposal that history seminars be shortened from 3 to 2 hours. The female student disagrees. She says the student proposal is completely personal. It was made by her classmate Tim. Tim only has trouble staying awake in history seminars because he likes to party late into the night.

The woman then points out that the last hour of each seminar is very productive. So if the seminars are shorter, students will miss important information. For those reasons, the female student disagrees with the Tim’s proposal.

The Takeaway on How to Improve TOEFL Integrated Speaking

I would like to again thank the awesome anonymous student that made these revisions and shared them with the Magoosh TOEFL Blog. Carefully studying these changes will help you understand why the revisions were made, and how to improve TOEFL Integrated Speaking.

But it may also help to read some commentary on the revisions. In part two of this post, I’ll provide you with my commentary on the changes the student made.

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