What You Need to Know in Integrated Speaking

I just answered an email from a student who was concerned about Integrated Speaking. The student wondered if you get to see the Integrated Speaking question before you listen to the audio track. For the record, you don’t get to see the question early on—you’ll need to listen to an audio track (and sometimes also read a short article) before you see the question.

Now, here’s the good news: if you have a good understanding of the structure of the TOEFL Speaking section, you won’t need to see the question to know what’s expected of you. While the Independent Speaking questions for Speaking Task 1 can vary, the Integrated Speaking questions are always basically the same. This is because the Integrated tasks—Speaking Tasks 2 through 4— have the same structure on each exam.

Rita has made an excellent, colorful chart of all four speaking tasks: the Independent one and the three tasks that are Integrated. Below, I’ve made a simpler chart to go with it. This chart describes the content of each Integrated task. Then it explains what you’ll need to know in order to answer the question.

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The tasks will always appear in the same order on the exam, and they’ll always have the same structure. Of course, the subject matter within a task’s framework will be different with each exam or practice session. But don’t be distracted by all those changing different details—this really is a predictable set of tasks. Study the chart above carefully, and you’ll always be prepared for whatever Integrated Speaking throws at you.


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