The Test of English as a Foreign Language (or TOEFL) is essential for any student who is thinking of attending university in the United States. Why? Most schools in America require that international students sit for the TOEFL as part of their admissions process. The TOEFL includes four sections, one of which is Speaking. Like many future test-takers, you may be wondering, “How can I prepare for the TOEFL speaking section?” If so, review these tips:
Study a sample Speaking section
Begin by reviewing a practice exam to familiarize yourself with the structure of the TOEFL Speaking section and the types of items that you can expect to answer. This portion is divided into six tasks that involve reading, speaking, and listening, with a short period of time to respond to each one. Reviewing the tasks in advance can help you make the most of your testing time, as well as help you identify areas that may require additional prep.
Create a study schedule
Once you have completed the above step, create a study schedule. Set aside one or two hours each day to read sample passages, to take notes on said passages, and to speak your answers aloud into a recorder or to a study partner. It may also be useful to jot down a list of words, phrases, and topics to practice in the future.
Familiarize yourself with academic and conversational English
While it is important to understand the English that is spoken in an academic setting, it is also helpful to familiarize yourself with conversational English. To do so, watch English-language films and television shows, read English-language books, magazines, and newspapers, and converse with friends who are fluent in English. You may soon gain a better understanding of the appropriate use of idioms and casual speech.
Learn how to think and speak “on your feet” in English
During the TOEFL, you may have a general sense of how you wish to answer a question, but you may find that you need to deviate from this plan. As you practice, experiment with answering tasks with and without a detailed outline. How can you limit your anxiety if you must go “off-plan”?
Find a language mentor
Find a language mentor—for instance, an instructor, a friend, or someone in the media like a news anchor or a radio host—whose voice you enjoy. Note his or her tone, inflection, and phrasing, and keep them in mind as you develop your own English speaking style.
Consider the test day details
Before your TOEFL session, familiarize yourself with the location of the testing center. Double-check that you have the appropriate identification, as well as anything else that you will need for the exam. Eat a balanced meal before the test, as food and drink will not be allowed in the testing room.
The TOEFL is an important exam, but with the right preparation, you can position yourself to have great success. Good luck!
Niki Bridges is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.