TOEFL Integrated Speaking Tips, Part 1

The Integrated Tasks on TOEFL Speaking are very unique. Together, these four tasks involve reading, listening, and recording a speech into a microphone. In this post, we’ll look at tips on how to deal with the readings in TOEFL Integrated Speaking.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Tips: The readings in TOEFL Speaking Tasks 2 and 3

TOEFL Speaking Tasks 2 and 3 are the first two Integrated Speaking Tasks (Task 1 is Independent Speaking). Many students find these first two tasks especially challenging, because they involve both a reading passage and an audio track. With the right approach, however, these tasks can be mastered.

The real trick here is to not to rely very much on the text. In Integrated Speaking, the passage is not as important as the audio track. The passages in these tasks should really be treated as an introductory guide to the speech or conversation. In other words, the Task 2 and Task 2 readings provide context for the audio, but the audio itself is the thing you need to focus on and summarize. All relevant points from the reading will be repeated in the audio.

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Take Speaking Task 2. In this task, you need to explain the extent to which a student agrees or disagrees with a short passage about campus life. Because the students in Task 2 are responding directly to the announcement, they will repeat every relevant part of the written university bulletin while they discuss it. So even if you weren’t able to fully understand the written university bulletin in the time limit, you still get a chance to review the bulletin’s key ideas when they’re repeated in the audio track.

Similarly, in Speaking Task 3, the professor will reference all the important key points from the academic passage. So again, as long as you understood the reading on a very basic level, you’ll have the context you need in order to understand and summarize the lecture. And if you’re worried you missed a key idea from the reading, the key idea will be repeated and explained in more detail by the speaker.

So remember,  the only thing you need to understand in the reading passage is the main idea. In your spoken response, you should be able to summarize the passage in a single sentence– something like “The university has announced that…” or “The passage talks about (something), which is defined as (give definition).” The rest of your TOEFL speech should focus on what the speaker said in relation to the passage.

The takeaway

On the TOEFL, Integrated Tasks place more importance on listening than on writing. This is even true in the Integrated Writing Task. But Integrated Speaking places an especially high importance on listening. The passages really do just provide secondary support for listening comprehension. And one of the TOEFL Integrated Speaking Tasks– Task 4– doesn’t even have a reading component. In my next post on this subject, I’ll give you some tips for handling the listening in all four Integrated Speaking Tasks.

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