New TOEFL Speaking Section in August 2019

The New TOEFL Speaking Section in August 2019 will be different from what it is right now. This TOEFL lesson will explain what changes are occurring and how the current TOEFL speaking section will be different from the new speaking section emerging in August 2019.  I will introduce you to the four question types: independent speaking task 1, integrated speaking task 2, integrated speaking task 3, and integrated speaking task 4.
New TOEFL Speaking Section

The Current TOEFL Speaking Section before August 1, 2019

Old TOEFL Speaking Section

The speaking section consists of six speaking tasks:

  • Independent speaking task 1: Personal preference
  • Independent speaking task 2: Paired choice
  • Integrated speaking task 3: Listening, reading, speaking–campus-related
  • Integrated speaking task 4: Listening, reading, speaking–academic
  • Integrated speaking task 5: Listening, speaking–campus-related
  • Integrated speaking task 6: Listening, speaking–academic

You will spend 20 minutes completing this section of the TOEFL exam.

The New TOEFL Speaking Section in August 2019

New TOEFL Speaking Section
New TOEFL Speaking Section in August 2019

After August 1, 2019, the TOEFL speaking section consists of four tasks:

  • Independent speaking task 1: Paired choice
  • Integrated speaking task 2: Listening, reading, speaking–campus-related
  • Integrated speaking task 3: Listening, reading, speaking–academic
  • Integrated speaking task 4: Listening, speaking–academic

Since independent speaking task 1 and integrated speaking task 5 have been eliminated, you will finish the speaking section in 17 minutes.  According to ETS, students’ scores in the new shorter version of the speaking section with 4 tasks have been compared to the current longer version of the speaking section with 6 tasks.  According to them, there is no statistical difference in the scores. Therefore, whether you take the longer or shorter version of the speaking section, your speaking scaled score of 0-30 points should remain the same.

However, ETS is using the sum total of 4, not 6 tasks, to mathematically calculate your overall score out of 30 points. As a result, you have no room for error.  For example, look at the following possible scores out of 4 and the corresponding percentages out of 30 points:

  • 4, 4, 4, 4 = 16/16 or 30/30 points
  • 4, 4, 4, 3 = 15/16 or  28/30 points
  • 4, 4, 3, 3 = 14/16 or 26/30 points
  • 4, 4, 4, 2 = 14/16 or 26/30 points
  • 4, 3, 3, 3 = 13/16 or 24/30 points
  • 3, 3, 3, 3 = 12/16 or 23/30 points

As you can see from the calculations above, no combination of scores lower than 4 will give you 26/30 points. Read this post to understand what you need to do in order to score 4.0 on the TOEFL speaking independent task. In addition, in this article, you can learn what you need to do to score 4.0 on the three integrated speaking tasks. You goal is to aim high at scoring 4.0 on all speaking tasks. Hopefully, if you do score 3.0 on 1 or 2 tasks, you will still be able to reach 26+.

New TOEFL Speaking Section: Independent speaking task 1

ETS refers to this task as the personal preference or paired-choice speaking task. However, this task has morphed into many question types with the question getting longer in recent years. Here are some possibilities of this type of question:

Personal preference:

Which school would you rather attend?

  • A smaller school with smaller classes sizes and more personal interaction with the professors.
  • A larger school with more computer facilities and more opportunities for extracurricular involvement.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

Agree/disagree:

Professors should lecture when they teach and then wait until the end of class for questions. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Use reasons and examples to support your answer.

If/imaginary:

If you could change one thing about your personality, what would you want to change?  How would changing that one character trait make you a better person.

Description/Explanation:

Describe a place in your town that you think tourists would want to visit. Explain why they should visit that place.

Advantage/Disadvantage:

Some students like to study in the library when they are preparing for an exam. Others prefer to study at home when they put together their study guides for their tests. What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying at home for an exam?

Use details and examples in your answer.

To see 100 of these speaking question types for your practice, follow the link to an article I wrote called TOEFL Test-Taking Strategies.

New TOEFL Speaking Section: Integrated speaking task 2

TOEFL integrated speaking task 3 (reading, listening, speaking–campus-related) contains a short 100 word reading passage.  The topic is campus related. For instance, the reading passage may contain an announcement about changes a cafeteria is making. Or, the reading passage may explain some proposed changes to final exam week. Whatever the topic, you can be sure it focuses on some issue in a university setting.  After the reading passage, you listen to a student or two students discuss the proposed changes. Typically, the speaker(s) agree/disagree with the changes and explain why. After the conversation, the narrator explains the speaking task. Lastly, you have 30 second to plan your response and 60 seconds to speak.

New TOEFL Speaking Section: Integrated speaking task 3

TOEFL speaking integrated task 3 (reading, listening, speaking–academic) contains a reading passage about an academic concept that you might find in a university class.  For Instance, you could read a 100 word passage about the law of supply and demand, a concept that you would read in an economics class.  Then, in the lecture the professor gives an example to further clarify the idea.  Then the narrator will give you the speaking task. Lastly, you will have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to deliver it.

New TOEFL Speaking Section: Integrated speaking task 4

TOEFL integrated speaking task 4 (listening, speaking–academic) includes a lecture.  The professor will typically define an academic concept. Then h/she gives two examples or details about it. After, a narrator gives you the speaking task.  You have 20 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

New TOEFL Speaking Section: Mock Test, model response, and test-taking strategies

To familiarize yourself with these integrated speaking tasks, you should take a mock test. Practice recording your response using your phone or another electronic device. Then compare your response to the model.  Lastly, review the specific test-taking strategies for each question type.  You can do all this and more for free: CLICK HERE

Free TOEFL Speaking Resources

Free TOEFL Speaking Resources
Free TOEFL Speaking Resources

To help you improve your speaking abilities, take advantage of one of the most comprehensive TOEFL speaking resources web page ever assembled in the Internet.

  • Students just like you have already scored 26 on the speaking section. Read the motivational stories of how they did it.
  • A TOEFL speaking mentor is waiting right now to listen to, evaluate, and provide feedback on your speaking practice test. Learn how you can get your speaking practice test evaluated for free.
  • Do you know the tips and tricks to score high on the speaking section?  These free TOEFL speaking resources will tell you what you need to do to score high.

Follow the link to start your TOEFL speaking journey for free: https://onlinetoeflcourse.com/toefl-learning-videos/toefl-articles/free-toefl-speaking-resources/

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff
Michael Buckhoff

Michael Buckhoff, http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

mbuckhoff@aol.com

4 thoughts on “New TOEFL Speaking Section in August 2019

  1. Thanks for the clarification. I am going to introduce your new video in one of my blog posts, so my readers can benefit from your experience of taking the new TOEFL exam.

  2. Yeah, I think that is the safest assumption to make. How can we guess anything but a strictly mathematical conversion?

    However, it is important to note:

    1. The old chart was not a strict mathematical scaling up. The math didn’t work! That was never explained, so maybe there is still some secret sauce.

    2. Sometimes ETS adjusts everyone’s scaled score up or down a little bit if the test was deemed too hard or too difficult that week. This will also make the scaling non-mathematical.

    3. Don’t know if the new score report will include four separate categories, which would make sense… or three separate categories, which would be weird since one of the categories would be worth more.

  3. Thanks for the link. Can you take a look at the conversions I did to convert the speaking scores out of a total of 16 points to get a percentage score out of 30 points?

    For example, if a student gets scores of 4, 3, 3, 2, which is a total of 12 points or 75% (12/16), then 75% of 30 is 22.5% (30 x .75%). Hence, I should round up to 23/30 points, right? Am I doing this correctly?

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