What You Need to Know about TOEFL iBT Independent Speaking Task One

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Don’t panic! TOEFL iBT speaking is challenging no doubt, but, if you understand the general instructions, what you will be asked to do, and how you will be graded, you will be more than ready to tackle this section of the test.

What instructions do I need to be aware of when performing the speaking tasks of the TOEFL iBT? 1. The directions for each question are spoken. They are not printed on the page. It is important that you listen carefully to these spoken directions.

2. You may take notes as you listen to the conversations or lectures. You should use your notes to help you prepare your response.

3. To most effectively use the preparation time, you should plan your response. Think about the important ideas you want to convey in a simple, organized fashion.

4. Do not begin speaking until you are told to do so.

5. Answer each question as completely as possible in the time allowed.

6. Speak directly into the microphone at an appropriate volume. Raters may not be able to score your response if volume is too low.

What do I have to do on the independent speaking tasks of the TOEFL iBT?

On this type of speaking task, you will be asked to speak about a person, place, object, or event that is familiar to you. After you hear the question, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your response and 45 seconds to speak. You will hear the directions and will NOT be able to read them.
How will I be graded on these the independent speaking tasks of the TOEFL iBT?
I designed the following rubrics based on the requirements of the TOEFL iBT speaking section. Your goal is to score 4.0 or 30/30!

4.0 Addresses the topic clearly and responds effectively to all aspects of the task.

Explores the issues thoughtfully and in depth.

Has barely detectable accent; pronunciation is almost like that of a native speaker; rare isolated mispronunciations, but no evident patterns of error.

Exhibits superior fluency in speaking skills. Speaker does not stumble or stutter as if he is trying to find the right word to say.

Using ideas supported by apt reasons and well-chosen examples, speaker has coherently and logically organized. ideas.

3.5 Clearly addresses the topic, but may respond to some aspects of the task more effectively than others.

Shows some depth and complexity of thought.

Has obvious accent and pronunciation variations, but these do not interfere with understanding and rarely distract the listener.

Exhibits strong fluency in speaking skills. Speaker rarely stumbles and stutters as if he is trying to find the right word to say.

Generally supporting ideas by apt reasons and well-chosen examples, speaker has mostly coherently and logically organized ideas.

3.0 Addresses the topic, but may slight some aspects of the task.

May treat the topic simplistically or repetitively.

Is intelligible to most native speakers; accent and pronunciation variations are somewhat distracting to the listener but usually do not prevent understanding.

Exhibits adequate fluency in his speaking skills, but the speaker sometimes stumbles and stutters as if he is trying to find the right word to say.

Using some ideas supported by reasons and examples, the speaker has coherently and logically organized ideas.

2.5 Distorts or neglects aspects of the task.

Lacks focus, or demonstrates confused or simplistic thinking.

Is somewhat intelligible to native speakers who are accustomed to conversing with non-native speakers; frequent pronunciation variations distract the listener and also prevent understanding.

Exhibits limited fluency in his speaking skills, and the speaker often stumbles and stutters as if he is trying to find the right word to say.

Uses generalizations without details or uses details without generalizations; ideas show an inadequate coherent and logical organization.

2.0 Indicates confusion about the topic or neglects important aspects of the task.

Lacks focus and coherence, or often fails to communicate his ideas.

Is very difficult for listener to understand, even one accustomed to conversing with non-native speakers; constant repetition needed.

Exhibits little or no fluency in his speaking skills, and the speaker often fails to communicate his ideas.

Ideas have very weak organization, too little development, and simplistic generalizations without support.

1.0 Suggests an inability to comprehend the question or to respond meaningfully to the topic.

Is unfocused, illogical, incoherent, or disorganized.

Has minimal pronunciation proficiency; listener understands only occasional words.

Exhibits no fluency in his speaking skills.

Ideas are undeveloped and lack relevant support.

Into which of these categories do you think your speaking falls?

For more information, go here:

Michael Buckhoff’s “7 Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT

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1 thought on “What You Need to Know about TOEFL iBT Independent Speaking Task One”

  1. Pingback: TOEFL iBT Speaking: Do You Regularly Record Your Voice? - Better TOEFL Scores Blog

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