This post is part of our TOEFL “How To” Series. You can find the other posts here:
Many students email Magoosh, asking how they can improve their TOEFL Speaking. We have a lot of posts that cover different aspects of speaking practice. This post will give a summary of all the best activities for speech improvement.
General Speaking Skills:
- Build your vocabulary. Search out, study, memorize, and use new vocabulary. Synonyms are specially important. Use synonyms to demonstrate that your language has a good range and is not repetitive or limited.
- Use correct English intonation. Be sure to understand the basic rules of English intonation. Be able to make your own choices with English intonation. Learn to naturally emphasize the words and phrases you feel are most important.
- Pronounce the sounds in English correctly. Learn, understand, and be aware of the different mouth movements in English pronunciation.
- Answer the whole question. Learn to both read and listen to TOEFL speaking questions critically. Plan, outline and speak answers that address every question point. For this skill, you may want to check your answers with a teacher, tutor, or classmate. A second set of eyes or ears may be able to see an aspect of the question that you didn’t address.
- Plan and structure your answer. You have a very short period of time to jot down notes and a basic outline for your TOEFL speaking answer. But you should never skip this step. Organizing your answer correctly helps you think more deeply about speaking. Good organization also boosts your TOEFL score. You should also consider studying a TOEFL Speaking template.
- Know the different tasks. There is one independent speaking task. The remaining three tasks are integrated: TOEFL Speaking Task 2, TOEFL Speaking Task 3, and TOEFL Speaking Task 4. Make sure you understand the differences between each of the four tasks.
Review and use official TOEFL Speaking materials. Practice answering questions and review sample speaking answers from ETS resources. Be sure to check out the official TOEFL website and the ETS practice books. You can also do TOEFL-like practice questions from unofficial sources.
Do other less test-specific practice to build on your overall speaking skills. Kate covers several good skill practice activities here. You can also look at my list of general speaking practice for the TOEFL.