6 part TOEFL IBT Speaking-Must Read




Overview of the TOEFLiBT Speaking test:

  • 20 minutes to complete 6 tasks
  • 2 independent tasks—45 seconds to speak for each task
  • 4 integrated tasks—60 seconds to speak for each task
  • For all speaking tasks ,you have to speak into a microphone
  • All task prompts will appear on your computer screen and you will also hear a voice recording of the same task
  • In the integrated tasks reading texts will appear on your computer screen and you will have to listen to a recording of a lecture or conversation
  • Your voice recordings will be sent to the ETS for grading
  • Each task will be scored on a scale of 0-4 and your average score from all 6 speaking tasks will be presented on your final score sheet
  • 5-4.0 is a good score
  • You will graded for your English fluency,comprehension,tone and vocabulary

Challenges of the TOEFL iBT Speaking test

  • It is intimidating to speak into a microphone
  • You have only 45-60 seconds to speak on a topic
  • The Integrated tasks ask you to read and listen or only listen to a conversation and then respond. You have to read/listen and speak—you get only 60 seconds to speak. You may be able to prepare but unable to finish your task.
  • You have to avoid stammering, long pauses, reptitions and non-words like “Ummm”,”Errrr.”

TOEFL iBT Independent speaking tips with samples:

Task 1

Independent Task—15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak

Sample task 1 prompt

Talk about an experience in your life that made you feel embarrassed. Describe it and say why it was embarrassing.

Tips on approaching task 1

  • Read the prompt
  • Quickly note the keywords: embarrassing moment
  • Key vocabulary—embarrassing—means some incident that made you feel awkward, ashamed
  • Think of your school days/childhood days
  • You can also make a situation up
  • If you talk of anything away from the topic you are likely to lose scores
  • In case you cannot think of any embarrassing stories, then you can also say you do not recall any incident as such: the key here is to speak in a coherent manner on the topic and speak fluently for 1 minute
  • Talk as much as you can for 45 seconds even if you are not able to finish the task
  • Start speaking as soon as the microphone is turned on (this will be indicated on your computer screen)
  • Practice several topics with your friend or teacher
  • Speak into your phone and record your voice
  • See how much you can speak within 45 seconds and whether you can complete an idea or thought within 45 seconds.

Possible answers:

I remember overeating at a friend’s birthday party and then throwing up. I ate a lot of the cake which was my favorite chocolate cake. I was 10 years old. I was so sick that my friend’s parents had to rush me to the doctor’s and then take me to my home. I was embarrassed because I spoilt my friend’s party through my foolishness.


Icannot remember any embarrassing incident from my childhood or in the past .This may be because I stayed home most of the time and did not have any friends. I always felt shy and embarrassed going in front of a crowd and I could never participate in any class discussions although all my teachers encouraged me to come out of my shell.

The second example will not fetch you as many marks as the first but it is a good attempt at demonstrating that you know good English and that you have understood the task prompt.


Task 2

Independent Task—15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak

Sample task 2 prompt

Some Universities expect the students to choose a major field of study when they enter the school while other Universities wait until the 2nd or 3rd year before students deciding to choose a major field of study. Which do you prefer? Why or why not?

Tips on approaching task 2


  • Speaking task 2 will ask you to give an opinion on a particular statement.
  • Use 15 seconds to jot down some word—you must be definite in your choice—you either agree or disagree. In this example you have to have a preference.
  • Whenasked an opinion,it need not be right or wrong—just state your opinion and say why you support your statement.
  • Give as many examples as you can,in 45 seconds
  • Start talking as soon as the recording starts.
  • Talk clearly into the microphone.
  • Don’t be alarmed if you could not complete everything you thought about—just make sure you talk as much as you can for 45 seconds.
  • Do not go off topic—there is a tendency that we give a long introduction and go off topic—suddenly you realize that time has run out.
  • Use “I think ” or “My opinion is”—make your talk subjective—it is what you think


Possible answers:


I definitely prefer choosing a subject in the second year of University. This is because I would by then have settled down on Campus, understood what all my courses look like and which courses I would like to major inking the first year, I would have been too young and confused to have made a wise choice.




I think it is a good idea that students get to choose their majors in the first year of University itself. This will give them direction and focus and will also give them more time to work on these courses. If students had to choose their majors in the 3rd year then it would be too unsettling to make a sudden change and concentrate on getting good grades.


TOEFL IBT integrated speaking tips with samples

Task 3

Integrated Task —30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to respond/speak

A text on a university announcement is presented. Two people will discuss the announcement and give an opinion. You have to listen to the conversation, which is related to the text and summarize the opinion and speak about it.

You have to read the text, then a conversation between two people (usually a man and a woman) will be played out.

Sample text for Task 3

Sculpture Courses to Be Discontinued

University administrators announced yesterday that the sculpture program, a division of the art department, will be eliminated.” The main reason is a lack of student interest”, reported one administrator. “Although the number of art students has increased, fewer and fewer art majors are taking sculpture classes” Furthermore, the department’s only sculpture professor is retiring this year. “Given the art department’s limited budget,” the administrator explained,”it just doesn’t make sense to hire a new full-time professor to teach sculpture for only a handful of students.”


After you read this announcement you need to listen to a conversation between a man and a woman. One of them usually gives his/her opinion about the announcement. Sometimes both speakers disagree on the same point. You then have to narrate what you just heard in the conversation.

The prompt for task 3 will look like this:

The woman expresses her opinion of the university’s plan. State her opinion and explain the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.

Tips on approaching task 3

  • Here, the conversation is more important than the announcement
  • Read the announcement carefully before listening to the conversation, as the discussion will be about the announcement.
  • Take down notes as the speakers speak
  • Read the prompt carefully: woman’s opinion; reasons—you have to list all the reasons. Take down notes according to the question prompt. If you note down everything in the conversation you will be wasting time as you have only 30 seconds for this.
  • Start your sentences like: according to the man/woman…The woman’s opinion about the announcement is that….; the reasons she gives is…; she thinks….; the woman feels that…
  • Use indirect speech
  • Be objective. Do not give your opinion. You should only summarize what you hear in the conversation


Possible answer:

The woman feels that the University’s discontinuing of sculpture courses is all wrong. The University’s reasons that there are low enrollments in scultpture is because they are asking the students to take more and more of painting and drawing classes, leaving them no time to take sculpture. Also if the budget is poor they could hire a part time professor or a professors in the art department who can teach sculpture. She feels that art majors require a variety of classes and sculpture classes should not be discontinued.


Task 4

Integrated Task —30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to respond/speak

Here, you have to read an academic passage and listen to a lecture on the same topic. You will then get a prompt in which you have to summarize what you read in the text and heard in the lecture.

Sample text for Task 4

In psychology, the feeling of complete and energized focus in an activity is called flow. People who enter a state of flow lose their sense of time and have a feeling of great satisfaction. They become completely involved in an activity such as money or prestige. Contrary to expectation, flow usually happens not during relaxing moments of leisure and entertainment, but when we are actively involved in a difficult enterprise, in a task that stretches our mental or physical capabilities.

Transcript of the lecture:

I think this will help you get a picture of what your text book is describing .I had a friend who taught in the physics department, Professor Jones, he retired last year…Anyway, I remember…this was a few years ago…I remember passing by a classroom early one morning just as he was leaving, and he looked terrible: his clothes were all rumpled, and he looked like he hadn’t slept all night. And I asked if he was OK.I was surprised when he said that he never felt better, that he was totally happy. He had spent the entire night in the classroom working on a mathematics puzzle. He didn’t stop to eat dinner, he didn’t stop to sleep…or even rest…he was that involved in solving the puzzle. And it didn’t even have anything to do with his teaching or research; he had just come across this puzzle accidentally, I think in a mathematics journal , and it just really interested him ,so he worked furiously all night and covered the blackboards in the classrooms with equations and numbers and never realized that time was passing by.

The prompt for task 4 will look like this:

Explain flow and how the example used by the professor illustrates the concept.

Tips on approaching task 4

  • Read the text—spend about 30 seconds
  • Take down notes as you listen to the lecture
  • Read the prompt—take down only what you need to answer the question prompt.
  • Start speaking as soon as the recording box opens
  • Speak full sentences and with clarity
  • Speak using indirect speech….”the professor says that….”;”he gave an example of how…”
  • Be objective—you do not need to give your own opinion

Possible Answer

The feeling of complete and energized focus on an activity is called flow. People lose their sense of time but feel very satisfied. The professor in the lecture gives an example of his friend who stayed up the whole night in his classroom solving a mathematics puzzle. He didn’t eat, sleep or rest the whole night. Although he had not slept the whole night…he said he was very happy. He hadn’t realized that time had passed by.This puzzle was not even work related. This was a perfect example of a person in a state of flow as illustrated by the professor.


Task 5

Integrated Task —20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to respond/speak

Listen to a conversation and summarize it

Two speakers could be discussing a problem and proposing some solutions. You will be asked to narrate the problems and evaluate the solutions.

Sample prompt for Task 5

Describe the man’s problem and the two suggestions that the woman makes about how to handle it.What do you think the man should do, and why?

Tips on approaching task 5

  • You have to listen to a conversation and summarize it
  • Take down main points only—you have only 20 seconds to prepare
  • Start by introducing the topic: The man’s problem is that….
  • Use third person speech: the woman feels that there could be two solutions to the problem
  • Structure your speaking task with an introduction, body and conclusion
  • Answer all the points in the task: in this case one problem and two suggested solutions


Possible answer


The man feels that the parking fees being hiked for graduate students who do not live on the campus is unfair. He needs to study for long hours in the library and he will not get any transport to go back home if he did not get the car. The woman offers him two solutions. She said that maybe he could look for accommodation on the campus itself.it is cheaper and he should advertise it.If he still wanted to live outside the campus, she suggested that there are many early morning buses, so maybe he could come in the early hours by bus to use the library and leave on time in the afternoon and study at home later. That way, he would not have to drive and not spend on parking fees and end up saving a lot of money.

Task 6

Integrated Task —20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to respond/speak

Listen to a lecture and summarize it

Sample prompt for Task 6

Using points and examples from the talk, explain how archaeologists must take the origins of amber and coral into consideration when caring for them

  • Take down notes quickly.
  • Start your speaking for each task by introducing the topic.
  • While summarizing, include every relevant point. You can speak a lot in 1 minute.
  • For the integrated tasks, you should structure your speaking with an introduction a body and a conclusion.
  • Be clear and explain everything in a cogent manner. Do not stammer, stutter and take long pauses. A few interruptions and mistakes are okay.
  • The examiners want to know whether you have understood the topic and whether you can express well in English.
  • When practicing for a task, always know how much you can speak for a minute. How many short sentences can you include? Take down notes accordingly

Possible structure of a summary

Opening sentence:

“In the lecture in an archaeology class, the professor talks about gems .He says that some gems are durable while others like coral and amber are fragile.”

Body of the lecture

“Amber is formed from…..

Coral is another organic gem…”


“Since amber is formed from tree sap and coral from skeletons in the sea, they are organic and must be cared for, or they will disintegrate.”

May 25, 2018

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