TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies (Updated on Aug 9, 2019)

Table of Contents

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: An Overview

These TOEFL integrated speaking strategies, which are updated for the Aug 1, 2019 new format, will familiarize you with tasks 2-4.  First, task 2 is reading, listening, and speaking. The reading and listening passage focuses on a campus-related topic. You read a short 100 word passage. The reading passage focuses on a problem or issue related to a situation at a university. Then a narrator introduces the context or setting.  Once the conversation is complete, the narrator states the speaking task.  Finally, you have 30 seconds to plan your response and 60 seconds to deliver your speech.

Second, task 3 presents information on an academic topic. Then you hear an excerpt from a lecture that relates to the reading passage. Typically, the listening passage gives some examples to further illustrate the concept discussed in the reading passage. You have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to deliver your response.

Third, in task 4, you listen to an academic topic. The topic is about a term or some type of concept.  Moreover, the professor uses some examples and details to illustrate the topic. Your task is to  summarize the most important points in the lecture. Furthermore, you need to show how the examples and details relate to the topic. Like integrated task 4, the language is very formal. You will have 20 seconds to prepare a response and 60 seconds to speak.

TOEFL integrated speaking strategies
TOEFL integrated speaking strategies

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: A Quick Glance at the Rubrics

TOEFL iBT integrated speaking rubrics
TOEFL iBT integrated speaking rubrics

As you can see, the TOEFL integrated speaking rubrics divide into four categories: general description, delivery, language use, and topic development.  Read over each category carefully. It is important to understand how you are graded.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: Scoring of the  Tasks

Independently and anonymously, highly trained iBT human raters score your integrated speaking tasks. In fact,  up to six different raters may be used to score your speaking tasks.  Using different raters minimizes possible bias and makes your score more accurate. Therefore, these human raters will assign each task a score from 0-4.  Then that raw score is mathematically converted into range of 0 – 30 points.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: iBT Human Raters’ Qualifications

TOEFL integrated speaking strategies such as understanding how you are scored will help you to prepare effectively. All speaking raters complete extensive training. After that, they have to pass a speaking certification test. Finally, they are qualified to score your speaking tasks.

Furthermore, ETS requires human raters to pass a daily calibration test. If they do not pass that calibration test, they are not allowed to score any speaking tasks on that day. What about a human rater who has not scored any speaking tasks in 4+ months?  He/she will need to re-certify before being allowed to score any official TOEFL iBT speaking tasks. In a nutshell, you should feel confident that your speaking scores are reliable and accurate. Therefore, if you are not happy with the score you receive, you can request a review. However, most likely you will get a similar score : (

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: General Description Category

TOEFL integrated speaking general description category
TOEFL integrated speaking general description category

A closer look at the general description category reveals that you should directly and completely answer the speaking task. In addition, you need to speak clearly. In fact, your speech should be easy for others to understand. Moreover, you should be speaking without too many unnecessary pauses or interruptions. Your sentences and overall response should be connected.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: Delivery Category

TOEFL integrated speaking delivery category
TOEFL integrated speaking delivery category

Looking at the delivery/pronunciation part of the rubric indicates that you should use clear speech. In addition, your speech needs to be fluid. Fluid means that you are grouping words together within thought groups of 4-5 stressed words. Then you are linking those 4-5 words together with no pauses. If you pause after 1-2 individual words and do not link them together, you are not fluid. Similarly, sustained speech refers to putting together a string or words without too many awkward pauses and hesitations.

In addition, during your integrated speaking responses, you may have some minor pronunciation problems with certain complex academic words. Furthermore, you may have some trouble with a few awkward pauses and hesitations. This is especially true since you are trying to remember the most important points from the reading and listening passage.

Nevertheless, despite your minor problems with pronunciation, the TOEFL iBT human raters should be able to understand what you are saying.  Be warned! Many students have many problems with delivery. However, they do not know that they have problems because they are unable to diagnose their own issues. As a result, hiring a qualified speaking mentor, as you can learn here, can increase your chances of finding and eliminating your pronunciation issues.  Furthermore, getting professional feedback on your pronunciation will decrease your chances of ending up in TOEFL Hell, a place you do NOT want to visit.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: Improving your Delivery

Improve your pronunciation. It is 1/3 of your TOEFL integrated speaking score.
Improve your pronunciation. It is 1/3 of your TOEFL integrated speaking score.

I wrote an article a while back at Quora.  This article includes specific exercises to help you improve every possible area of your pronunciation, as you can see here.

In addition, in my article TOEFL Delivery Tips, you can learn how word stress, sentence rhythm, and thought groups and blending are important. Improving your pronunciation in these three areas will improve your TOEFL speaking score.

Furthermore, I have a TOEFL Pronunciation Resources Web page, which has abundant resources for you to practice.

Lastly, from Catholic priests from Mexico to professors and doctors from China, I have been an accent reduction coach to 1000’s of clients over the last 30 years.  For a small payment of $45, you will hire me to be your accent reduction coach, as you can learn more about here.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: Language-Use Category

TOEFL integrated speaking language use category
TOEFL integrated speaking language use category

Observing this language-use rubric shows some important skills:

During the integrated speaking tasks, you are combining information from reading and listening passages.  This will definitely require you to use some fairly long, complex sentences.

Example sentence for integrated speaking task 3:  The author in the reading passage explains a concept called procedural memory, and the speaker in the lecture shares two personal experiences to further illustrate the academic concept.

Are you comfortable using 15 to 30 word sentences when you speak. Do you how to combine sentences using coordinators, subordinators, and transition words? Do you know how to embed voice markers into your sentences as you explain information from reading and listening passages.  Remember if you have to rely on templates to complete the speaking section of the test, you are NOT ready.   All the example sentences that you will see here will have embedded voice markers into the sentences. Indeed, you need to learn how to use these voice markers when you speak.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: Improving your Grammar

Improve your grammar. It is 1/3 of your integrated speaking score.
Improve your grammar. It is 1/3 of your integrated speaking score.
Use Basic and Advanced Grammar

Important TOEFL integrated speaking strategies involve your being able to use simple, compound, complex,  and compound/complex sentences when you are speak.

Simple Sentence

Simple sentences consist of one subject and one verb. They are typically used when you want to state the main point of a reading or listening passage. Put another way, simple sentences work well when you want to emphasize an important idea without combining it with any other sentences.  Furthermore, depending on the content and the number of phrases you use, simple sentences can be short or long.

Example short simple sentence: The reading passage introduces an economic concept called inflation.

Example long simple sentence: The speaker, a professor with more than 25 years of experience in biology, chemistry, and fossil studies, explains three specific theories regarding the extinction of dinosaurs: sex, drug, and disaster theories.

Compound Sentence

Compound sentences consists of two independent clauses joined by a conjunction such as “and,” “but,” “or,” “so,” “yet,” and “for.”  Therefore, this type of sentence includes two subjects and two verbs.  The compound sentence is very useful. It helps you introduce the most important points in reading and listening passages.

Compound sentence for the integrated speaking task 2 introduction:  The reading passage discusses a new policy about bicycle parking on a campus, and in the listening passage, two students react to the new policy. 

Compound sentence with the integrated speaking task 3 introduction: The author in the reading passage introduces an academic concept called photosynthesis, and the speaker in the lecture uses two details from her personal experience to further illustrate the idea.

Complex Sentence

Complex sentences involve using a dependent clause such as a noun, adjective, or adverb clause + an independent clause.  Below are some examples:

Complex sentence with adverb clause: Inflation, as the reading passage suggests, refers to the increase of goods and services over time.

Complex sentence with an adjective and adverb clause: Bats, which sometimes have difficulty finding their young when they return to the cave, feed other baby bats not related to them, informs the speaker in the lecture.

Complex sentence with noun clause: The speaker in the lecture asserts that most terrestrial animals have protective mechanisms to make it more difficult for predators to find and eat them.

Compound/Complex Sentence

As you can guess, this type of sentence uses compound and complex sentences together.

Example compound/complex sentence: The author in the reading passage who argues that businesses can be successful asserts that employees should read all documents in their entirety, that they should attend all meetings, and that they should skip the steps of the writing process, and the speaker in the lecture contradicts those three assertions.

Follow these TOEFL integrated speaking strategies to improve your use of both basic and advanced grammar:

Speak with Natural or Automatic Expression of Ideas

These TOEFL integrated speaking strategies will help you understand why your speech should be near-native speaker like or natural. Your speech should be natural and automatic.  In other words, the grammar and the vocabulary that you use should be similar to those of native speakers.  Below are some examples of unnatural speech:

Unnatural: *In the lecture, the speaker discusses how it can determine how much time tree have by looking at its circles once if the tree has been sliced.*

Natural: In the lecture, the speaker discusses how to determine the age of a tree once it has been cut by looking at its concentric rings.

At times you will have short pauses as you recall information from the reading and listening passages. However, you should minimize those pauses as much as you can.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies to Help You Speak More Naturally and Automatically
  • Do NOT focus too much on TOEFL Practice Online. Just completing practice tests over and over will not help you learn to speak more naturally and automatically.
  • Avoid using speaking templates from Noteful, Magoosh, TOEFL Resources, or any other web site. Integrated template-driven speaking responses are not natural. See sample introductions for integrated speaking tasks 2-4.  However, do not try to memorize any of these examples! You must learn to create your own templates.
  • Spend about 45 minutes daily reading and listening to academic passages. Furthermore, improve your note-taking skills by jotting down the most important reading and listening points. In addition, use your notes to write a 150 word summary of the passages. Finally, record yourself delivering a 60-second response.
  • Find opportunities to speak English with native speakers. The more you speak with native English speakers, the more natural and automatic your speech will become. Spend at least 10-12 hours a week talking with native English speakers.
  • Join a Toast Masters group near you, attend the meeting, and diligently deliver your assigned oral presentations.
  • Spend 2-3 hours each week listening to music at You Tube.  Write down the words to the songs, identify new vocabulary and grammar, and try to use what you learn in everyday conversation as you practice English.
  • Utilize these TOEFL Speaking Resources, as you can find here, so you begin get more exposure to speaking English.
Have Effective Word Choice

Choosing the right word is not easy, especially when you are trying to paraphrase ideas from conceptually-dense academic reading and listening passages for integrated speaking tasks 4 and 6.  Below is a list of academic words that are frequently confused. Make sure you do not misuse any of these words.

Frequently confused words 1-10

1. Adoptive:  (Adjective) The consequence of the adoption of someone else’s child. She is the adoptive mother of her husband’s two sons.

Adopt: (Verb) To legally take custody of another’s child and bring it up as one’s own. California allows same-sex couples to adopt children.

2. Adverse: (Adjective) harmful; unfavorable. Higher taxes have an adverse effect on our economy.

Averse:  (Adjective) Having a strong dislike; strongly opposing something.  The current president of the United States is averse to illegal immigration.

3. Affect: (Verb) Have an effect on something; make a difference to. The dry air began to affect my breathing.

Effect: (Noun) A change resulting from action or cause. The 8.5 earthquake had devastating effects on Juneau, Alaska.

4. Ambiguous: (Adjective)  Unclear or inexact; having a double meaning.  Avoiding ambiguous words in academic writing improves your communication with your audience.

Ambivalent:  (Adjective) Having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas toward someone or something.  Not sure whether to end it or to continue it, Susan has ambivalent feelings about her long-term relationship with Thomas.

5. Amoral: (Adjective) Lacking a moral sense; paying no attention to the rightness or wrongness of something.  Kentaro, never taught right from wrong from his parents, grew up to be an amoral man.

Immoral: (Adjective) Not conforming to accepted standards. Many claim that the Iraq was immoral and unwinnable.

6. Appraise: (Verb) Assess the value or quality of.  Experts appraised the painting at $359,000.

Apprise: (Verb) To tell someone; to inform. After the deadly fire, officials apprised the deceased victims families of what had happened.

7. Augur:  (Verb) Foresee or predict a good or bad outcome; to be a sign of a likely outcome.  Several nuclear proliferation summits between the United States and North Korea did not augur significant and long-lasting peace agreements.

Auger: (Noun) A tool used for boring holes in wood or in the ground. Construction workers used an auger to drill holes into the long redwood boards.

8. Censure: (Verb) Express severe dislike or disapproval of, especially doing so formally.  The politician who yelled, “You lie!” during President Obama’s State of the Union address was officially censured by congress in the House of Representatives.

Censor: (Verb) To examine a book, magazine, movie, and so on officially and to suppress unacceptable parts of it. To prevent contraband and other illicit items, prison officials censor all mail prison inmates.

9. Climactic: (Adjective) Exciting or thrilling and acting as a climax to a series of events.   The movie’s climactic scenes had all audience members on the edge of their seats.

Climatic: (Adjective) Relating to climate. Current climatic conditions suggest a gradual warming, thereby causing the polar ice to melt at an alarming rate.

10. Complement: (Noun) Something that completes or brings to perfection.  In classic rock and roll, the electric guitar is a perfect complement to the drums and the bass guitar.

Compliment: (Noun) A polite expression of praise or admiration. By asking me to participate in the graduation ceremony, my boss had paid me a great compliment.

Frequently confused words 11-20

11. Continuous: (Adjective) Happening without interruption.  The Sierra Nevada Mountains form a continuous chain from central to northern California for hundreds of miles.

Continual: (Adjective) Happening frequently with intervals in between. During the spring, Kansas City schools are disrupted by continual tornado practice drills and warnings.

12. Councilor: (Noun) Someone who is a member of a council. The city of Hesperia has twelve councilor members, all of whom make decisions affecting their residents.

Counselor: (Noun) Someone who gives guidance on personal or psychological problems. Most high schools have at least two counselors to give academic and vocational advice to their student bodies.

13. Credible: (Adjective) Believable or convincing.  Credible evidence suggests that the rapid melting of the glaciers in many parts of the world points to climatic changes due to greenhouse gases emitted by cars and factories.

Creditable: (Adjective) Deserving acknowledgment and praise.  The Dallas Cowboys gave a creditable defeat to the New Orleans Saints, one of the best teams in the National Football League.

14. Definite: (Adjective) Clearly stated or decided; not vague or doubtful. Before Kent lost his job, he had definite plans to travel to Europe for three months.

Definitive: (Adjective) A conclusion or agreement done or reached decisively and with authority. Unfortunately, after extensive testing, doctors reached a definitive diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer.

15. Defuse: (Verb)  To remove the fuse from an explosive device; to reduce the danger from the tension of a difficult situation. Peace activists are trying hard to diffuse the tense situation at the Gaza Strip between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Diffuse: (Verb) To spread over a wide area or among a large number of people.  The Apple iPhone has diffused rapidly among people all over the world.

16. Desert: (Noun) A waterless area. The Mojave Desert in California receives 2-4 inches of annual rainfall.

Dessert: (Noun) A sweet course eaten at the end of  a meal. One of my favorite desserts is strawberries with ice cream.

17. Discreet: (Adjective) Careful and circumspect in one’s speech or actions, especially to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage. The supervisor made some discreet inquiries into why Larry was often late to work.

Discrete: (Adjective) Individually separate and distinct.  Speech is not produced as discrete units but as continuous sounds.

18. Draw: (Verb) A picture or diagram by making lines and marks. Kate draws pictures of animals when she gets bored at school.

Drawer: (Noun) A box shaped storage compartment without a lid, made to slide horizontally in and out of a chest or some other piece of furniture. Separating and folding your clothes and then putting them into drawers will make it easier to find what you want to wear later on.

19. Egoism:  (Noun) An ethical theory that treats self-interest as the foundation of morality. One of the key points in his business ethics class is egoism.

Egotism: (Noun) The practice of talking and thinking about oneself excessively because of an undue sense of importance; acting like Donald Trump. Many people do not like friends who show egotism.

20. Envelop: (Verb) Wrap up, cover, or surround completely. When the cold front drifted in, the entire town was enveloped in fog.

Envelope: (Noun) A flat paper container with a sealable flap, used to enclose a letter or document.  Prior to the wedding, the soon-to-be-married couple purchased 250 envelopes so that they could mail thank-you notes to the guests at the reception that gave them wedding gifts.

Frequently confused words 21-30

21. Exceptionable: (Adjective) Open to objection; causing disapproval or offense. His stubbornness is the most exceptionable part of his personality.

Exceptional: (Adjective) Unusual; not typical. Unusually good; outstanding. Student writers with vocabularies of more than 30,000 words exhibit exceptional language-use abilities.

22. Fawn: (Noun) A young deer in its first year. The mother deer takes care of its fawn for at least one year.

Faun: (Noun) One of a class of lustful rural gods, represented as a man with a goat’s horns, ears, legs, and tail. Romans once worshipped fauns as a god who could bring them fertility.

23.  Flaunt: (Verb) Display something in a bragging way, especially in order to provoke envy or defiance. People who win lotteries are eager to flaunt their money.

Flout: (Verb) Openly disregard a rule, law, or convention. Many companies still flout basic tax laws so that they can have an financial advantage over their competitors.

24. Flounder: (Verb) Struggle or stagger helplessly or clumsily in water or mud; Struggle mentally; show or feel great confusion.  Even though Cade did well on the verbal portions of the state exam, he floundered on the mathematics section.

Founder: (Noun) A person who establishes an institution or settlement. Michael Buckhoff is the founder, owner, and materials writer for “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.”

25. Forego: (Verb) Precede in place or time.  John, eager to play soccer with his friends, discovered that all the activities had forgone his arrival.

Forgo: (Verb) Omit or decline to take something pleasant or valuable; to go without. Since Lana had eaten such a huge meal, she decided to forgo dessert.

26. Grisly: (Adjective) Causing horror or disgust. The defendant was convicted of the grisly crime of cutting his victim’s head off and then cooking and eating the skull.

Grizzly: (Noun) An animal or a large race of the brown bear native to North America. Grizzly bears lives in mountainous regions where there is cold weather and ample space to forage for food.

27. Hoard: (Noun) A stock or store of money or valued objects.  In olden days, pirates used to bury their hoard of gold in secret places.

Horde: (Noun) A derogatory name for a large group of people.  Lenny was surrounded by a horde of bothersome relatives.

28. Imply: (Verb) Strongly suggest the truth or existence of something that is not expressly stated. Through his body language and tone, the professor implied to his students that he was upset about something.

Infer: (Verb) Deduce or conclude information from evidence and reasoning rather than from direct statements.  Because of the professor’s demeanor, the students inferred that he was bothered by something.

29. Its: (Determiner or possessive adjective) The dog had walked for quite a while before realizing that one of its legs had been injured.

It’s: (Contraction) It’s been a tiring day of grading essays and attending boring meetings.

30. Loath: (Adjective) Reluctant; unwilling. John was loath to complete his writing project because he thought it was a waste of time.

Loathe: (Verb) To feel intense dislike or disgust for.  John loathed his English composition class.

Frequently confused words 31-40

31. Loose: (Adjective) Not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached.    Jane liked to wear her hair loose.

Lose: (Verb) To be deprived of or cease to have or retain. After being shot in the abdominal area, the victim died because he had lost so much blood.

32. Luxuriant: (Adjective) Rich and profuse in growth; lush.  I would have more luxuriant vegetation around my house, but California charges too much for my water usage.

Luxurious: (Adjective) Very comfortable, elegant, or enjoyable, especially in a way that involves great expense.  A religious temple in Redlands, California has luxurious marble floors in its entryway.

33. Marital: (Adjective) Relating to marriage or the relationship of a married couple.  Marital infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce.

Martial: (Adjective) Of or appropriate to war; warlike. Due to his martial bravery, the soldier was awarded the highest medal of honor.

34. Militate: (Verb) Of a fact or circumstance; be a powerful or conclusive factor in preventing something. Their differing conversation styles will militate against the couple ever reconciling.

Mitigate: (Verb) Make less severe, serious, or painful. To help mitigate misery in Hesperia, Michael decided to start a homeless shelter.

35. Naturism: (Noun) The worship of nature of natural objects. A convert to naturism, Jenna often went to nudist beaches along the California coast.

Naturist: (Noun) A person who worships nature or natural objects; a person who goes naked in designated areas; a nudist. Some naturists like to frequent nudist camps.

36. Officious: (Adjective) Assertive of authority in an annoyingly domineering way, especially with regard to petty or trivial matters. The officious security people questioned everyone who came into the Starbucks store.

Official: (Adjective) Relating to an authority of public body and its duties, actions, and responsibilities. The university’s official logos are copyrighted, so they cannot be used without explicit permission.

37. Ordinance: (Noun) A piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority. Palm Springs has a city ordinance preventing billboards being larger than 2 x 3 meters.

Ordnance: (Noun) Mounted guns; artillery.  The gun was a new piece of ordnance the military had not owned before.

38. Palate: (Noun) The roof of the mouth, separating the cavities of the nose and the mouth in vertebrates. The “ch” and “sh” sounds are produced in the vocal tract when the tongue touches the palate as the air is forced out.

Palette: (Noun) A thin board or slab on which an artist lays and mixes colors. The artist had a palette of colors from which he could paint the portrait.

39. Pedal: (Noun) Each of a pair of foot-operated levers used for powering a bicycle or some other vehicle powered by the legs. Bicycles have two pedals that a rider uses to propel himself forward.

Peddle: (Verb) To sell goods.  On the streets of Los Angeles, I often see vendors peddling an assortment of merchandise.

40.  Perquisite: (Noun) A thing regarded as a special right or privilege enjoyed as a result of one’s position.  Being the CEO has many perquisites, one of which is company-sponsored airfare to anywhere in the world.

Prerequisite: (Noun) A thing that is required as a prior condition for something else to happen or exist.  College Algebra is a prerequisite to taking Calculus.

Frequently confused words 41-50

41. Perspicuous: (Adjective) Clearly expressed and easily understood;  lucid. Successful companies give perspicuous explanations to potential customers about how their products work.

Perspicacious: (Adjective) Having a ready insight into and understanding of things. The perspicacious reporter concluded that there was evidence indeed that the political leader had taken illegal campaign funds from another country.

42. Principal: (Adjective) First in order of importance; main.  His principal income source comes from peddling refurbished iPhones.

Principle: (Noun) A  rule of belief governing one’s behavior. My father has three principal principles governing his life: honesty, integrity, and charity.

43. Proscribe: (Verb) Forbid, especially by law. Automatic machine guns are proscribed by US law.

Prescribe: (Verb) Advise and authorize the use of a medicine or treatment for someone, especially in writing. Since she was having anxiety, Dr. Thompson prescribed Valium to calm her nerves.

44. Regretful: (Adjective)  Feeling or showing sorrow or remorse, usually for having done something perceived as wrong. Lisa was regretful after yelling so much at her teenager.

Regrettable: (Adjective) Giving rise to sorrow or remorse; undesirable; unwelcome. It is regrettable that so many people die each year in the US due to gun violence.

45. Shear: (Verb) Cut the wool off of sheep of some other animal. After workers shear the wool off of the sheep, they bring the fabric to market.

Sheer: (Adjective) Nothing other than; absolute.  When he and his family went to Disneyland, they had nothing but sheer delight as they went on all the rides.

46. Stationary: (Adjective) Not moving or not intended to be moved.  When you encounter a rattlesnake, remain stationary and do not make any sudden movements.  Then you should slowly back away facing the snake.

Stationery: (Noun) Writing paper, especially with matching envelopes. When you get married, you need to purchase some stationery so that you can mail thank you notes to all your guests who gave you gifts at your wedding.

47. Titillate: (Verb) Stimulate or excite someone, especially in a sexual way. Titillating someone for a few minutes can enrich the sexual intercourse experience.

Titivate: (Verb) Make small enhancing alterations to something; make oneself look attractive.  Before she went to the prom with her boyfriend, she titivated her hair.

48. Tortuous: (Adjective) Full of twists and turns.  The road up to Lake Arrowhead is tortuous.

Torturous: (Adjective) Involving or causing severe pain or suffering. A medical condition known as kidney stones can causing torturous lower back abdominal pain.

49. Turbid: (Adjective) A cloudy liquid thick with suspended matter.  I do not like swimming in turbid rivers because I can not see what is below me in the water.

Turgid: (Adjective) After 33 days of light rain, the turgid river began overflowing its banks.

50. Unexceptionable: (Adjective) Not open to objection. Many Americans hold the unexceptionable belief that all men are created equal.

Unexceptional: (Adjective) Not out of the ordinary; usual. Never having won a single debate in his entire life, John truly possesses unexceptional speaking skills.

Frequently confused words 51-54

51. Unsociable: (Adjective) Not enjoying or making an effort to behave sociably in the company of others. John is so unsociable that he has only one friend in the entire world.

Unsocial: (Adjective) Causing annoyance and disapproval in others; antisocial.  The unsocial behaviors of young teenagers create tension in their families and friendships.

Antisocial: (Antisocial)  Contrary to the laws and customs of society; devoid of or antagonistic to sociable instincts or practices. His antisocial behavior caused him to end up in prison.

52. Venal: (Adjective) Showing or motivated by bribery; corrupt.  Hungry for power and money, many politicians become venal at some point in their careers.

Venial: Denoting a sin that is not regarded as depriving the soul of divine grace; pardonable; forgivable.  Even though what he did was wrong, he still committed a venial act.

53.  Wreath: (Noun) An arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems used for decorations or for laying on a grave. My wife and I always hang a Christmas wreath on the outside of our front door in December.

Wreathe: (Noun) To envelop, surround, or encircle. The professor’s desk was wreathed in holly and pine combs.

Minimize your Minor Systematic Errors

In most cases, you cannot self-correct these types of errors. These TOEFL integrated speaking strategies can help you minimize certain grammar errors that may lower your score. First, recognize certain kinds of systematic errors. Second, listen to your integrated speaking practice tests to see which of these errors you are having the most trouble with. Third, consult a TOEFL speaking mentor who can help you correct the errors that you are having. Grammatical word endings, determiners, auxiliary verbs, and prepositions can be specific problems with which you are most likely having.

Grammatical Word Endings

There are eight grammatical word endings that you should be using when you speak: comparative, superlative, possessive, third person present singular, plural, past, past participle, and progressive.

Ending Function Example
-er Comparative Susan is taller than Jane.
-est Superlative Susan is the tallest of all the women in her class.
-s Possessive Susan’s bicycle was repaired at the shop yesterday.
-s Third person present singular Susan bicycles to school daily.
-s Plural Susan purchased her books at the bookstore.
-ed Past Susan visited her grandmother two weeks ago.
-ed Past participle Susan has lived in Oak Hills for three years.
-ing Progressive Susan is completing an MA Degree in Sociology at California State University, San Bernardino.

As you do your speaking practice, make an effort to remember to use these grammatical word endings.


Determiners are noun markers. Therefore, they occur before nouns. Look through the chart to familiarize yourself with six types of determiners that you will be using in your integrated speaking tasks.

Minimize your problems with determiners
Minimize your problems with determiners

Confusing “A” and “An”: Use “A” before a word that begins with a consonant sound; use “An” before a word that begins with a vowel sound.

  • I purchased a delicious meal yesterday.
  • The professor handed out an assignment during class.

Countable and countable nouns:  “The” can be used with countable and uncountable nouns.  Other pairs of determiners such as “fewer,” “less,” “many,” “much,”  “number,” and “amount”  are restricted to either countable or uncountable nouns.

  • “The” + countable noun: John completed the assignment without too much effort.
  • “The” + Uncountable noun: The sugar purchased from the supermarket had an expired expiration date.
  • “Fewer” + countable noun: So far I have had fewer assignments this semester than the last one.
  • “Less” + uncountable noun: My math class is assigning less homework this semester compared to the last one.
  • “Many” + countable noun:” Southern California saw many rain events this year.
  • “Much” +countable noun: Southern California experienced much more rain this season compared to the past several years.
  • “Number of” + countable noun: There were an incredible number of cars on Interstate 15 on Friday.
  • “Amount of” + uncountable noun: A large amount of traffic on Interstate 15 on Friday caused everyone to slow down to two miles per hour.

Using two determiners in a row: Do NOT use two determiners in a row.

  • Incorrect: I liked playing with my a basketball.
  • Correct:
  • I liked playing with my basketball.
Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs, or helping verbs, occur before the main verb. These helping verbs can occur in many different verb tenses. Make sure you do not forget to use these helping verbs when you speak.  Look over the list to get familiar with different types of auxiliary verbs.


In addition, you should familiarize yourself with modal auxiliary verbs.  Modals are used before the base form of the verb “must go.”

Modal Auxiliary Verbs
Modal Auxiliary Verbs

Common problems with modal auxiliary verbs

1. Do NOT use an infinitive after modal verbs.

  • You must finish your homework today.
  • You must to finish your homework today.

2. Do NOT try to conjugate modals.  Use the base form of a verb after a modal.

  • She had to pay her tuition before she could register for classes.
  • She musted pay her tuition before she could register for classes.
  • The advisor was able to remove a registration hold after her financial guarantee cleared.
  • The advisor was to can remove a registration hold after her financial guarantee cleared.

3. Use “not” or “‘n’t” after the modal verb to make it negative. Do NOT use “don’t,” “doesn’t,” or “didn’t” before the modal.

  • Students can’t bring weapons of any kind to California State University, San Benardino.
  • Students don’t can bring weapons of any kind to California State University, San Benardino.

4. Adverbs such as “always” and “only” occur after modals.

  • Students should always finish their research papers by their required deadlines.
  • Students always should finish their research papers by their required deadlines.
  • Students must only study in the library until midnight, at which time the facility closes.
  • Students only must study in the library until midnight, at which time the facility closes.

Prepositions introduce noun phrases. These noun phrases may consist of determiners, adjective, adverbs, and nouns.  Look over the following list and sample sentences using some of the more common prepositions in the English language.

  • about:  The movie was about a man stranded on an island who eventually resolves to devise of different ways of getting rescued.
  • above: When asked whether or not the president had obstructed justice, the man replied, “That question is above my pay grade.”
  • across: The legendary quarterback could throw a baseball across the pond separating my house from his.
  • after:  After dinner, we decided to play a game together.
  • against: Some democratic politicians are against any enforcement on the border between the US and Mexico.
  • among: The students discussed among themselves about whether or not to postpone their final project in chemistry class.
  • around: When I was a kid, I used to run around my neighborhood for exercise. In fact, one time I ran twelve miles around my neighborhood in the pouring rain.
  • at: Work typically starts at 7:00am in my office in which I grade papers and check email.
  • before: Before Christmas, my wife and I like to get all our shopping done.
  • behind: My third grade teacher had a paddle behind her desk as a gentle reminder that any children who acted out would get hit on the backside 2-3 times.
  • below: Holding my breath, I can dive 2-5 meters below the ocean’s surface for 15-30 seconds at a time.
  • beside: Tom has his alarm clock beside the bed on an end table.
  • between: A peninsula is a narrow strip of land between two bodies of water.
  • by: By next fall, Hiroko will have completed her graduate studies.
  • down: My best friend Brookes Fogleman lived down the street from me, and we used to play together every day until he moved when we were second graders.
  • during: During the springtime, unstable weather brings fluctuating temperatures, wind, and intermitten rain.
  • except: Except for Kent, all the students will be attending the play.
  • for:  Sally went to the store for some bread.
  • from: My most prized gift is a custom-made Hickory chest from my father
  • in: My best childhood memories are in my  house with my parents on Pemberton Avenue in Tupelo, Mississippi.
  • inside:  Kids at Mesquite Trails Elementary school stay inside their classrooms during recess when they have inclement weather.
  • into: The police walked into the band while it was being robbed.
  • near: My house is located near the top of Cajon Pass.
  • of: Many cars are made of steel, plastic, and fiberglass.
  • off:  Because the student was off topic, the professor would not answer her question.
  • on: I always place my students’ completed work on my desk on my offices so that I know it needs to be graded.
  • out: After the verbal argument, he threw all her belongings out the door.
  • over:  Due to torrential rains, the water spilled over the levee into the reservoir.
  • through: To get the library, the student decided to take a short cut by walking through the park.
  • to: On the way to Las Vegas we stopped at the Old Man exhibit.
  • toward: During a solar eclipse, never point your eyes toward the Sun.
  • under: I can hold my breath under water for almost three minutes.
  • up:  The boat tiringly went up the river in search of treasure.
  • with:  My son is going to Disneyland with his friend Madyson.

Ten Common Errors with Prepositions

Prepositions are complex aspects of English grammar. Therefore, to help you master prepositions, your main goal is to increase your exposure to English.  The more you read and listen to English, the more exposure you will get to prepositions and every other aspect of English grammar.  Furthermore, make sure you are speaking as much as possible with native speakers.  Finally, as you practice your speaking, pay close attention to ten common errors that you may be having with prepositions.

1. Arrive at or in

  • We arrived to Carol’s house later on in the day.
  • We arrived at Carol’s house later on in the day.
  • We arrived in Los Angeles two weeks ago.

2. At night

  • Steven and Jane often go out in the night.
  • Steven and Jane often go out at night.

3. Look for or wait for

  • Mark was waiting me at the bus stop.
  • Mark was waiting for me at the bus stop.
  • Lana has been looking for a new job for the last three months.

4. For [period of time]

  • I’ve been living in Oak Hills since five years.
  • I’ve been living in Oak Hills for five years.

5. In [months and years]

  • It’s my anniversary on October. 
  • It’s my anniversary in October

6. Live/work/study in [cities and countries]

  • I live at Oak Hills.
  • I live in Oak Hills.

7. On [days and dates]

  • I will run a 5K in Saturday.
  • I will run a 5K on Saturday.

8. It depends on

  • Depending of what you want, we can choose among several restaurants.
  • Depending on what you want, we can choose among several restaurants.

9. Welcome to

  • The professor spent a few minutes welcoming the students in her class.
  • The professor spent a few minutes welcoming the students to her class.

10.  Married to

  • I have been married with my wife for 25 years.
  • I have been married to my wife for 25 years.

Improving your Vocabulary

Having both basic and advanced vocabulary is 1/3 of your overall score.
Having both basic and advanced vocabulary is 1/3 of your overall score.

Having a wide range of college-level vocabulary makes it easier to explain important points from reading and listening passages. Expanding your vocabulary and learning synonyms and antonyms will help you to perform better during the integrated speaking tasks.

Expanding your Vocabulary

Scoring higher than 26+ on the speaking section  requires that you know and can use at least 1,500 to 2,000 vocabulary words.  You can use TOEFL Practice Online all day long. However, if you do not improve your vocabulary, you will get stuck from 20-24 points on the speaking section. To break the 26+ speaking barrier, you will need to improve your vocabulary. There is no easy way to improve your vocabulary. It will take hard work over an extended period of time to make long-lasting improvements in this area.

  • Spend time reading for about 45 minutes every day. Read magazines, newspapers, and books.
  • In addition, spend 30 minutes daily listening to news, history, science, and documentary programs.
  • Finally, as you do your reading and listening practice, take copious notes.  Use your notes to write 250 word summaries of the passages. Also, use your notes to orally summarize the most important points in these passages.  As you write and give summaries of these passages, you will be actively using new words that you are encountering. As a result, this type of integrated speaking practice will help you to increase your vocabulary.

In addition, you should begin an arduous vocabulary study plan.  My TOEFL Vocabulary Resource Web Page will help you to master 1,700 college-level words. Follow these general tips to help you learn these important words:

  • Do not try to buy flash cards or use some online vocabulary program. Preparing your own flash cards will make it more likely that you will remember the words that you study.
  • As you prepare your vocabulary note-cards, put ONE word on ONE card. See the example below of how you should prepare each note card.
Example TOEFL Vocabulary Note Card Side 1
Example TOEFL Vocabulary Note Card Side 1
Example TOEFL Vocabulary Note Card Side 2
Example TOEFL Vocabulary Note Card Side 2

As you can see, on side one, I only put the vocabulary word.  On the other side, I put parts of speech, different word forms, synonyms, definition, and sample sentence. It took me about two minutes to prepare this note-card. Therefore, since your goal is to prepare 1,700 note-cards with a different word on each card, it will take you 56 hours to labor to prepare your note-cards. If you spend 10 hours a week, preparing your note-cards, you can do this in about a month. Are you willing to sacrifice 56 hours of your life?  Mastering and being able to use these college-level words will help you with the following:

  • A higher overall TOEFL score of 100+
  • Super high subtotal scores on the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections
  • Improved, long-lasting ability to speak and write in personal, professional, and academic situations

Still not convinced that all of this hard work is necessary?  Read my article about TOEFL Hell.  Students ending up in TOEFL Hell are either too lazy to improve their vocabulary or they are unconvinced that improving their vocabulary will skyrocket their TOEFL score.  I am telling you right now based on more than 25 years of TOEFL teaching experience that if you learn these 1,700 words, you will crush the TOEFL.  I have taught 1000’s and 1000’s of students who have used this list to beat the TOEFL. And you can too!

Unfortunately, I have an online student right now who is not interested in improving his vocabulary.

  • He only uses TOEFL practice online, and he sends me speaking practice almost every day. In addition, he refuses to improve his  grammar.
  • He has failed the TOEFL speaking section 33 times!
  • He sincerely believes that he will reach his goal by only doing speaking practice and by retaking the TOEFL over and over.
  • He is in TOEFL Hell. Do you want to be like him?

CLICK HERE to take advantage of my TOEFL Vocabulary Resources. The most important resource is my 261 page E-book that you can have for free.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: Topic Development Category

TOEFL integrated speaking topic development category
TOEFL integrated speaking topic development category

First of all, to score high in the topic development area, you need to have clear progression of ideas.  In other words, you should state the main points of the reading and listening passages; then you should explain the specific details.  Second of all, you need to provide the relevant information from the speaking task. Simply put, you must do whatever the speaking task is asking you to do. You cannot leave out important information.  In addition, you should not misrepresent any information.  Your response should be complete and accurate.

Being complete

Integrated speaking task 2: You will read a short letter, announcement, or article. After, a man or woman will agree or disagree with the passage.  He/she will give two reasons to explain his/her position.  For your response to be complete, you

  • Should explain what the letter, announcement, or article is about.
  • Need to explain the two reasons why the speaker opposes or supports the plan.

Integrated speaking task 3:  You will read a short passage about an academic concept.  Then, a professor will provide two examples to further illustrate the concept.  To be complete, you

  • Should briefly define the academic concept.
  • Need to explain the two examples the professor uses to illustrate the concept further.

Integrated speaking task 4: The professor will introduce an academic concept. Then he/she will give two examples to illustrate the concept. To be complete, you 

  • Need to briefly explain the academic concept.
  • Should explain the two examples the professor uses to clarify the concept further.

Being accurate

In addition to being complete, you should also accurately explain the most important points from the reading and listening passages. To do this, you will need to paraphrase and summarize ideas.

Paraphrasing Tips

  • Begin your sentence at a different point from that of the original source.
  • Substitute synonyms for the key words in the sentence. Make sure that your synonyms are similar in meaning to the key words in the original sentence.
  • Rearrange the sentence structure of the original.
  • If the original sentence is long and complex, break it into separate sentences in your paraphrase.

Remember that an accurate paraphrase does not change the meaning of any ideas in the original sentence. Nor does it leave out essential information.

Paraphrase Example A

  • Original sentence: While no one can be completely sure, most researchers believe that dinosaurs became extinct, perhaps due to the sterilization of males, the overdose of poisonous flowering plants, or a cataclysmic event such as impact from a large asteroid.
  • Paraphrase: Sterile male dinosaurs, toxic flowering plants, or some type of disastrous impact, asserts the author in the reading passage, led to the extinction of the great beasts.  However, researchers cannot be 100% certain of exactly how or why the dinosaurs died out.

Paraphrase Example B

  • Original sentence: When a euphemism is used to mislead or deceive, it can become a form of doublespeak.
  • Paraphrase: Speakers can use euphemisms to lead others in the wrong way or to give them the wrong impression, asserts the author in the reading passage. In this case, euphemisms are considered doublespeak.

Paraphrase Example C

  • Original sentence: Among other things, socialism allows for more justice by transferring the rights and responsibilities from individuals and families to the State.
  • Paraphrase: Socialism takes away family and individual obligations and rights and moves them to the State, which, according to the speaker, allows for more equity.

Summary Tips

During these integrated speaking tasks, you will need to accurately summarize the main ideas and most important points. In addition, your summary should not include your opinion or analysis of the text. Since you only have 60 seconds to discuss the passage(s), your speaking response should present a condensed version of the text.  You should use your own words and your own grammar as you summarize.

For integrated speaking tasks 2-3, quickly read through the reading passage and jot down its most important points.

  • Then, as you listen to the passage, write about what the passage does.
  • For example, does the passage add to, give an example to further illustrate, or contradict the points in the reading passage? Make sure that you show how the information in the listening passage relates to the information in the reading passage.

For integrated speaking task 4, take notes as you listen.

  • Make sure you identify the thesis or purpose of the passage.
  • Then show how the support points in the passage relate to the thesis or purpose of the listening passage.

Being organized

To keep your ideas organized, you should create some unique templates that you can use to help you structure your ideas. I will provide some example templates. However, do not memorize these templates, as you can learn why in this post. Rather use them as a guide as you organize your own.

Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 2

The reading passage contains an announcement/letter, article about_____, and the speaker in the passage agrees or disagrees with______.

First of all, the reading passage explains__________.  In addition,_________.

Second of all, the speaker in the passage agrees or disagrees with______. The speaker claims that_______. In addition, he/she believes that_________.

Therefore, these are the reasons why the speaker believes this is/isn’t a good idea.

Model Response Using the Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 2

The reading passage contains an announcement about parking fees on campus, and the speaker in the passage disagrees with the new policy.

First of all, the passage explains that student parking fees will double next semester from the current price of $75 to $150.  In addition, university officials justify the tuition increase in that they hope students will be more motivated to carpool.

Second of all, the speaker in the passage disagrees with the dramatic increase in parking fees. The speaker explains that many students have part-time jobs while attending school, so they are unable to carpool with others since they go directly to work after attending their classes. In addition, he believes the parking fee increases will force students to have to work more hours, which will give them less time for studying.

Therefore, these are the reasons why the speaker believes that the parking fee increase isn’t a good idea.

Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 3

The reading passage explains an academic concept called______, and the professor in the lecture gives two examples to further illustrate the idea.

______, according to the reading passage, is described as________. Furthermore,___________.

Moreover, the professor in the lecture clarifies the concept of_____ further by giving two specific examples.

Firstly, the professor explains that_______.

Secondly, _______, according to the professor,________.

To sum up, the professor shows through these two examples that___________.

Model Response Using the Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 3

The reading passage explains an academic concept called non-verbal communication, and the professor in the lecture gives two examples to further illustrate the idea.

Non-verbal communication, according to the reading passage, is described as any type of communication without words. Furthermore, smiling, frowning, nodding, shaking hands, and waving hands are also considered forms of non-verbal communication.

Moreover, the professor in the lecture clarifies the concept of non-verbal communication further by giving two specific examples.

Firstly, the professor explains that non-verbal communication can happen without intent. For example, a person who furrows his eyebrows can inadvertently send a message to someone else that he/she may he upset.

Secondly, non-verbal communication, according to the professor, cannot occur unless it is sending an implicit message to someone else. Therefore, if no one else is there to interpret those motions, then no non-verbal communication has taken place.

Optional: To sum up, the professor shows through these two examples that non-verbal communication can happen by accident and that there must be at least two people  in order for this unspoken communication to occur.

Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4

In the lecture, the professor introduces and academic concept called_____, and then presents two examples to explain the idea further.

The concept called____, describes the professor,____________.

The professor uses two examples to further illustrate the concept.

In the first example,____________________.

In the second example,_____________________.

To sum up,________________________.

Model Response Using the Template for TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4

In the lecture, the professor introduces an academic concept called creativity and then presents two examples to explain the idea further.

The concept called creativity, describes the professor, is the use of the imagination to create original ideas.

The professor uses two examples to further illustrate the concept.

In the first example, the professor explains how his daughter came up with the idea of having a tea party with her stuffed animals. His daughter’s actions are considered creative since the idea his daughter came up with was not a normal, everyday activity.

In the second example, the professor explains how his son invented a game called tag when the family members were trying to think of some type of outside activity. Because the kid’s idea was appropriate to what family members were thinking, it is also considered as a form of creativity.

To sum up, according to the professor, ideas must be both original and appropriate for them to be considered creative.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies: Task 2–Reading, Listening, Speaking, Campus-Related

TOEFL integrated task 3 campus-related
TOEFL integrated task 3 campus-related

Task 2 Mock Test: Reading, Listening, Speaking–Campus-Related

Read the following announcement: (45 seconds)

The university has decided to make its tuition costs the same for everyone who attends: in-state, out-of-state, and international students. In the past, out-of-state and international students have had to pay more expensive tuition costs. With this new change, all students no matter where they come from will pay the same tuition fees. Administration officials believe that this new change will create a more equitable environment for students at our university.

Listen to the lecture. On a piece of paper, take notes on the main points of the listening passage:

View listening script: The man reacts to a new notice about tuition fees

The man expresses an opinion about the new announcement. State his opinion and the reasons he has for holding that opinion.

Preparation Time: 30 seconds

Response Time: 60 seconds

Task 2 Model Response

View listening script: Example TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 3 Response

Task 2 Test-Taking Strategies

Several important TOEFL integrated speaking strategies will help you score as high as possible on this task:

  • Use a neutral tone. Do  NOT give your opinion on this task.
  • Use 4-7 transition words during your response to make it easy for the iBT human raters to understand your organization.
  • Use 6-7 voice markers during your response.
  • Use simple present tense verbs as you summarize the information.
  • Using some scratch paper, take notes on the most important points from the reading and listening passages.
  • Make sure you create a unique template that you can use to help you organize your response. Do not use the templates on this page.  Do NOT use templates from other web sites such as Bestmytest, TOEFL Resources, PrepSholar, Magoosh, or any other web site.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies–Task 3: Reading, Listening, Speaking, Academic

TOEFL integrated speaking task 4 academic
TOEFL integrated speaking task 4 academic

Task 3 Mock Test

Read the passage carefully and take notes: (45 seconds)

Scope Creep

In project management, a term called scope creep can occur, at any given time after workers begin working on a fairly complicated project. Scope creep, also known as requirement creep or kitchen syndrome, refers to changes which can be manifested as continuous growth in a project’s scope. Usually, scope creep will occur when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. Typically, with scope creep, a client hires a project manager to complete a creative project. However, the client may not fully understand what he wants. As the projects unfolds, the client starts to get a better idea of what he wants. Then he asks the project manager for additional feature for the project, therefore taking the project beyond its original scope.

Listen to passage. Take notes on the main points of the listening passage.

View listening script: TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4 listening script for scope creep

How does the information in the lecture add to the information in the reading passage?  

Preparation Time: 30 seconds

Response Time: 60 seconds

Task 3 Model Response

View listening script: TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4 Model Response for Scope Creep

Task 3 Test-Taking Strategies

Similar to TOEFL integrated speaking task 3, these TOEFL integrated speaking strategies will help you to score high:

  • Use a neutral tone. Do NOT give your opinion on this task.
  • Use 4-7 transition words during your response to make it easy for the iBT human raters to understand your organization.
  • Use 6-7 voice markers during your response.
  • Use simple present tense verbs as you summarize the information.
  • Using some scratch paper, take notes on the most important points from the reading and listening passages.
  • Make sure you create a unique template that you can use to help you organize your response. Do not use the templates on this page.  Do NOT use templates from other web sites such as Bestmytest, TOEFL Resources, PrepSholar, Magoosh, or any other web site

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies–Task 4: Listening, Speaking, Academic

TOEFL integrated speaking task 6 academic
TOEFL integrated speaking task 6 academic

Task 4 Mock Test

Listen to the following lecture. Take notes on the most important points of the response.

The professor discusses about the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.  Using examples from the lecture, explain at least two facts about this snake.

Preparation Time: 20 seconds

Response Time: 60 seconds

View listening script: TOEFL Example Lecture for Integrated Speaking Task 6

Task 4 Model Response

In the lecture, the professor talks about the Western Diamond Rattlesnake.

The snake, according to the professor, has two fangs and a deadly venom system. If it is provoked, the snake will strike its victim and inject venom which can a lot of tissue damage around the area of the bite. The professor also explains that the snake hunts and eats small mammals such as mice at night by surprising the victim along a path. In addition, according to the professor, the snake may even go into other animals’ burrows to prey on them.

In addition, during springtime, which is the mating season, the male diamondback mates with a female in order to produce offspring.  If the male is challenged by another male snake, the professor explains that the two male snakes will entangle themselves as one snake tries to over power the other. Once the male mates with the female diamondback, she gives birth to her young live.  According to the professor, the female then leaves her babies, which already have venom that they can use to hunt and kill their prey.

View listening script: TOEFL Example Response for Integrated Speaking Task 6

Task 4 Test-Taking Strategies

  • Use a neutral tone as you explain the most important points from the lecture.
  • Use 4-7 transition words during your response to make it easy for the iBT human raters to understand your organization.
  • Use 6-7 voice markers during your response.
  • Use simple present tense verbs as you summarize the information.
  • Using some scratch paper, take notes on the most important points from the listening passages: the problem, the two solutions, and your opinion.
  • Make sure you create a unique template that you can use to help you organize your response. Do not use the templates on this page.  Do NOT use templates from other web sites such as Bestmytest, TOEFL Resources, PrepSholar, Magoosh, or any other web site.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies–Additional Resources

I complied some links so that you can get additional practice with TOEFL integrated speaking strategies to help you beat the TOEFL speaking section once and for all:

High speaking score: Learn what you need to do to score high.

How do I answer this integrated speaking task in 60 seconds? Knowing what to include or omit from a lecture can be tricky. This lesson focuses on what you should include from a lecture.

Integrated speaking practice: Learn how and why you need to paraphrase ideas.

Integrated speaking task 3 tips and tricks: Learn how to organize your response for this reading, listening, speaking–academic task.

Score higher by following these integrated tips: This 18 minute video explains how to summarize and paraphrase ideas from reading and listening passages.

Simple present or simple past: This post explains which verb tense is most appropriate for integrated speaking tasks.

Speaking mentor: Learn how a speaking mentor can help you reach your magical score of 26+.

Speaking and writing transitions:  Learn how to use various types of connecting words to make your speaking tasks more organized.

A student stuck at 24 submits an integrated speaking practice test: What is the difference between 24 or 26 with speaking. The student who submits an integrated speaking practice test scores 24.

Student gets integrated speaking feedback after completing a practice test.

Test-Taking Strategies:  Learn the integrated speaking test-taking strategies that you need to score high. You will also get test-taking strategies for the reading, listening, and writing sections.

Tips to score 26: Four things will help you improve your speaking score. Do you know what they are?

TOEFL Grammar Resources: At this web page, you will get access to many lessons designed to improve your basic and advanced grammar.

TOEFL Listening Resources: Here you will learn how to improve your listening comprehension abilities.

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources: The web page portal leads to you accent reduction and pronunciation practice so that you can learn to speak more clearly.

TOEFL Reading Resources:  This web page will lead you to links to help you improve your reading performance.

Reporting Verbs: Learn how to use reporting verbs during the integrated speaking and writing tasks.

TOEFL Speaking Resources: Powerful skill-based lessons will help you to improve your speaking fluency.

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources: Free, unlimited access to a 261 page e-book along with guidance on how to master the words so that you can send your TOEFL score to the moon.

Vocabulary for integrated speaking tasks: Get a list of reporting verbs that you can use to summarize and paraphrase ideas.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies–Practice, Practice, and More Practice

Practice your speaking with me, and I will help you score 26+.

If  you read this entire web page, you just read 11,404 words about TOEFL integrated speaking strategies. In other words, you just read 45 pages for text in this TOEFL speaking lesson. Why did I write so many words for one lesson? Because I know how challenging the speaking section is. Only 12% of all test-takers ever score higher than 26. Did you know that?  Nevertheless, if you learn what I am teaching on this web page, you will have the TOEFL integrated speaking strategies that you need to score high. However, there is one thing missing that you need to do: practice!

  • If you practice your TOEFL speaking with me, I will allow you to send me ONE integrated or ONE independent speaking practice test daily.
  • Then I will provide you audio feedback. I will explain what your score is, why I gave you that score, and which lessons you should study based on your weak points.
  • I have helped many students score higher than 26, and I can certainly help you too.

Learn More

Online TOEFL Course

Michael Buckhoff, founder, owner, and materials writer for STEALTH

5 thoughts on “TOEFL Integrated Speaking Strategies (Updated on Aug 9, 2019)”

  1. This is an excellent way of explaining the TOEFL integrated writing strategies that students need to score high on the writing section of the TOEFL exam. In fact, I noticed that you offer a TOEFL writing and speaking feedback service. Does the monthly price allow me to send you writing practice tests every day to be scored?

  2. Yeah, I think the chart is no longer valid. It has been removed from the Official Guide, and finally (a few months ago) from their “Official Planner” (or whatever it is called).

    If you look at the old chart, you will notice that it is not a mathematical scaling. The numbers are not being converted in a proper way, so there was some kind of adjustment. They were fudged a bit! Like… 3.33 should be converted to 25. But the chart has it at 26. Indeed… no one ever got 25 points (ever!!) so obviously there was something fishy going on.

    You can make a new chart, but I think that it would merely consist of numbers being converted mathematically… with no fudging by ETS. I think that 3.33 now converts to 25. Moreover, students now get 25 points on a regular basis.

  3. MG,

    Thanks for the useful feedback and corrections. Is there an updated chart I can use? Do I just throw out the scale that is currently posted on this page? What do I replace it with?



  4. Note that the raw to scaled score conversion chart is now out of date. It is now possible to get scaled scores of 12, 16, 21 and 25 points, for instance. This started around October of last year.

    I think that ETS now scales scores in a completely mathematical way and round fractions up (which is not the case in the old chart, if you crunch the numbers).

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