Are you looking into studying abroad? Starting your career in a new country? Immigrating to a new country?
If that's what you're working on, there's a good chance that you need to take TOEFL iBT test as a requirement. The TOEFL iBT Speaking Exam is very unique and can be challenging to prepare for.
Learn how you can better prepare for the TOEFL iBT Speaking Exam!
Understand the test
A speaking exam is very different from everyday speaking, so it's important that you know the structure of the exam! In the TOEFL iBT, there are 4 questions:
Question 1: Independent Speaking Task — you're asked to come up with your response entirely based on your own thoughts, ideas, and experiences when responding.
State whether you agree or disagree with the following statement. Then explain your reasons using specific details in your argument. Teachers should assign daily homework to students.
Questions 2–4: Integrated Speaking Tasks — in everyday life, you need to combine your listening, speaking, and reading skills when communicating. This task mimics that reality.
First, you listen to a conversation between 2 people. Then you're asked to answer "The woman expresses her opinion of the university’s plan. State her opinion and the reasons she gives for holding that opinion."
First, you listen to a 1.5-2 minutes long lecture. Then you're asked to summarize it.
ETS (the organization that offers TOEFL exams) has a series of videos you can review to get a sense of what those questions look like!
Now that you know what to prepare for, it's time to think of the practice strategies that work for you! Here are some ways you can prepare for it:
Have a practice buddy
Find someone (ideally a fluent English speaker) who will give you honest feedback!
Join a practice group
You can usually find a few social gathering groups where both fluent English speakers and English as a second language speakers get together and practice English together.
You can use websites like MeetUp to find a local group that works for you.
Find a private tutor
If you're looking for something that's personalized just for you, a private tutor can create a tailored lesson plan! You can find a list of recommended tutors from TOEFL iBT's website.
Enroll in a prep course/program
If you prefer a structured program, do better with assignments and deadlines, or enjoy learning with others, a prep course/program might be right for you.
Work on test prep guides/books
If you prefer self-guided learning, there are a lot of resources online or on paper that you can utilize. TOEFL iBT offers some self-study courses that you might be interested in!
Whatever you choose to do, it's important to spend most of your practice time actually speaking. The best way to improve your speaking skills is...to speak a lot!
Which of these practice methods are good ways of preparing for the speaking exam?
Use English regularly
Taking an exam is nerve-racking for anyone, and it's even harder when you're taking the test in your second language.
That's why it's important that you use English regularly! This includes not only the exam prep but also everyday speaking. It allows you to get used to speaking English, lower your anxiety, and build up your confidence!
It's time to get ready for the exam!