TOEFL Speaking: Sectional details, Question Types, and Score

    Rachita Mitra Rachita Mitra
    Content Curator

    English language proficiency tests appear nonetheless difficult to the non-English speaking people, so is TOEFL. If we talk about the most difficult part of TOEFL, without a second thought it will be TOEFL speaking. Speaking in English simply get in the nerves because the speakers have a different mother tongue. Let’s understand TOEFL speaking section in detail:

    TOEFL Speaking Section: Doables

    As the name suggests, the candidates here need to speak in English. There will be 4 tasks in this section and the question will get tougher from question number 1 to question number 4.

    The reason why this section appears the most difficult one is – here, the candidates do not speak alone, they communicate with the examiner. In simpler words, the TOEFL speaking section is a conversational round where the candidate will communicate with the examiner in English in simple to complex topics.

    The examiner can have a different accent and different level of fluency, so the candidates must be familiar with different accents to understand the questions and answer.

    Duration of TOEFL Speaking

    The time for the entire TOEFL speaking section is 20 minutes.

    TOEFL Speaking Section: Question Type and Task Details

    Total number of tasks in this section is 4. The test-takers can find 2 questions in this section namely independent speaking task and Integrated speaking task.

    TOEFL independent speaking task and Integrated speaking task

    TOEFL independent speaking task asks the candidates to speak own

    • Ideas
    • Perceptions
    • Views
    • Opinions
    • Experiences

    The candidates can get 15 seconds to prepare the answer and they have to speak for 45 seconds for the independent speaking task.

    On the other hand, the integrated tasks ask the test-takers to show listening, reading, and speaking skills English. Here the test-takers will

    • Listen to a conversation and answer
    • Listen to a lecture and answer
    • Read a passage and the answer

    The preparation time for each integrated speaking question is 20-30 seconds. For each question, the candidates have to speak for 60 seconds. Naturally, these tasks are much difficult compared to the independent task.

    Question Types of TOEFL IBT Speaking in more Detail

    For more details on TOEFL independent Speaking task and TOEFL integrated speaking task, continue reading

    TOEFL Independent Speaking Task – Question Types

    Independent Speaking Task 1 asks general questions and the question types can be:

    • Agree and Disagree
    • Preference
    • Three choices
    • Advantages and Disadvantages
    • Imaginary
    • Description

    Preparation time: 15 seconds

    Speaking time: 45 seconds

    For each of these question types, a candidate will be given a sentence, a scenario, or a situation. Based on this, the test-taker needs to provide a clear-cut answer. For this task, candidates can be asked 1 or more questions.

    TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task – Question Types

    There are 3 integrated speaking tasks and each question has a different requirement. Check the details below:


    TOEFL Speaking Topics

    TOEFL Speaking Topics are mostly unpredictable, however, some of the topics for the TOEFL Independent speaking task 1 include:

    • Personal experience
    • Preference
    • Personal opinions
    • Favorites

    The topic of all the TOEFL Integrated speaking tasks will be necessarily academic. So, candidates, knowledge on the subject will be an added advantage here.

    TOEFL Speaking Score

    The score range of each speaking task is 0-4. This is the raw score for TOEFL speaking. In the TOEFL speaking section, the raw score range is 0-16 (4 marks*4 tasks).

    These raw scores are converted with the help of a score converter to obtain a scaled score of TOEFL Speaking section out of a 30. This scaled score is TOEFL sectional score for Speaking and this scaled score is used at the time of calculating TOEFL overall score.

    Check the table below to understand the score conversion process:

    TOEFL Speaking: Raw ScoreTOEFL Speaking: Scaled Score

    TOEFL Speaking Statistics

    Indian candidates secured an average score of 24 in TOEFL speaking section in 2018. It is the same as in 2017.
    In 2018, speaking mean score of the males is 20 and for females, it is 20.9.  Males who took the test for immigration secured the highest Mean score in TOEFL speaking (21.2). Female applicants of immigration scored 21.8. The same feature was seen in 2017 too. 


    The mean scores of TOEFL speaking show that securing a higher score in this section is possible. Following TOEFL speaking tips can help here.

    TOEFL Preparation Tips

    As the test-takers of TOEFL are mostly from the non-English speaking countries, they normally struggle much in the TOEFL speaking section. That’s why we have a few TOEFL preparation tips:

    Concentrate While Listening

    At the time of listening to the lecture or conversation, concentrate solely on the audio. Don’t get diverted at any cost. Listen to the details and try to block distractions in every possible way.

    Take Notes

    Even after the utmost concentration, it’s not possible to remember everything you read or listened to. So, don’t forget to take notes. These notes will help you to prepare the answers to TOEFL integrated speaking.

    It is quite natural you cannot note the entire lecture. You have to note the important keywords and phrases that can help you to prepare the answer. It needs a thorough practice of note-taking. You can check this to understand the tricks of note-taking.

    Do not include the points you did not note because it may make your speech irrelevant. Also, paraphrase while speaking, otherwise the content may appear plagiarized.


    TOEFL speaking is all about confidence and practice. The in-English speakers are hesitant of speaking – you have to come out of it. For this, there is no better alternative than speaking English at home on different topics. Speak without thinking about mistakes. At the time of speaking take care of

    • Grammar
    • Vocabulary
    • Pronunciation
    • Speed of speech
    • Fluency
    • Intonation
    • Topic development and relevance to the topic
    • Connection of ideas

    Do not use the words or phrases, which you have not understood fully.

    Make Habit of Reading and Listening

    Find out reading passages and lectures with different accents on different academic subjects from the internet and speak on it. Make it a habit.

    You can pick a random academic topic or you can practice with TOEFL speaking practice sets where reading passage and audio are attached. A few TOEFL practice papers come with answers. This can help the test-takers to prepare their answers rationally so that they can achieve a better score.

    Different Accent is Cool

    It will not be a problem to have a different accent because TOEFL examiners will judge you only on the correctness of your speech. So, don’t get nervous because of your accent, just make sure to speak clearly and make your voice audible.

    Achieving a good score in TOEFL speaking is possible, so work hard!

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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