If you're studying, working, or immigrating to an English speaking country, you might be required to take the TOEFL iBT exam.

A kid frantically taking an exam.

The TOEFL iBT Speaking exam is different from your everyday speaking, and it requires dedicated preparation. Learn what the speaking exam is like and how to prepare specifically for the Integrated Speaking questions.

What are Integrated Speaking questions?

As the name of the question type suggests, it requires you to use a mix of English-language skills, such as listening, reading, and speaking. The Integrated Speaking questions are used for Questions 2-4 of the speaking exam. It could be:

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  1. You listen to a part of a lecture (usually about 2 minutes long). You're asked to explain a concept that was taught in the lecture.

  2. You have 15-30 seconds to prepare (you might want to use your writing skills here!).

  3. You speak your answer out loud for 45-60 seconds.

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  1. You read a short written passage for 45-60 seconds (it can be an announcement, an academic writing).

  2. You listen to a conversation or a lecture related to the topic (usually about 1 minute long). You're then asked to explain a concept that was taught in the lecture.

  3. You have 15-30 seconds to prepare (you might want to use your writing skills here!).

  4. You speak your answer out loud for 45-60 seconds.

Want to check out some examples?

The following websites offer example questions with listening materials!

How do I prepare for it?

Glad you asked!

Flaticon Icon Get familiar with the question format

Using the sample question resources like the ones shared earlier in this Byte, understand the structure of the Integrated Speaking questions so that there are no surprises.

Flaticon Icon Understand how it's scored

Just like any exam, it's important that you're answering the questions effectively. It requires a strong understanding of the scoring system.

You can check out the scoring rubric for the Integrated Speaking questions and understand what specific aspects of speaking the evaluators will be looking at.

Flaticon Icon Practice with someone

It's hard to evaluate your own speaking skills, so why not have someone to practice with!

You can of course practice with your family or friends, but you might want to consider getting a private tutor who specializes in the TOEFL Speaking exam. The exam uses such a unique way of speaking, and it's helpful to work with someone who understands the exam and the scoring system well.

Additional tips!

Oh wait, there's more! There are a couple of more ways you can prepare even further for the Integrated Speaking questions.

Have a plan

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As you've learned, there isn't much preparation time (20-30 seconds), so it's important that you have a plan/structure for the questions so that you know exactly what you are asked to answer! Your plan could include but not limited to:

  • As you read or listen to the question and related materials, pay close attention. Write down keywords.

  • Listen carefully to exactly what you're asked to answer.

  • Write down the outline of your answer, including a summary of your answer, reasons, and/or examples.

It's important to remember that you don't need to write down every single word of your answer. You most likely won't have time for it. Instead, focus on the outline, keywords, and key ideas that you definitely want to mention.

Learn useful phrases

A woman saying, When you're under pressure and put on a spot, you might draw a blank. To avoid such situations, you can learn someuseful transitional phrasethat will help you structure your answer and avoid that awkward silence.

  • First of all...

  • For example...

  • Additionally...

  • What I mean by that is...

  • In conclusion...

Quiz Time!

Flaticon Icon Meet Alex. He's applying for a university in Canada, and he needs to take the TOEFL Speaking exam. He reviewed the scoring rubric, feeling pretty prepared. Before he takes the exam, what else can he do to prepare?


Choose all the preparation tasks Alex can do.

Take Action

Now it's time to take what you learned from this Byte into practice!

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