“Don’t just give me a salad,” I often tell my students after they have completed an independent speaking practice test from my TOEFL course, which is to say I also want a main course and a dessert when I sit down at a nice restaurant to eat with my family. But how does this metaphor relate to your scoring high on the speaking section?
Like a menu that you get before ordering your meal, you should begin your independent speaking task with a topic statement that specifically forecasts two or three ideas that you want to discuss. Avoid the generic non-starter statement, “I have several reasons to support my opinion.”
This is the “menu” that you are giving the iBT human raters who will score your response. Since the topic statement creates expectations for the listener, you should make sure that you satisfy those expectations. Like a patron who has ordered steak but only gets a salad, you could also fail to meet the expectations by not providing telling details to support your generalizations. Instead, you will need to use specific, unambiguous details to support your generalizations.
The details you use should help to defend the argument you are trying to make. For example, if you explaining what advice you would tell someone who is preparing for a new job, you could explain that the person could practice answering mock questions in front of a mirror, which might help the him/her feel less nervous. Then you could give a couple examples of questions that you think a person might practice before interviewing for job: 1) Why do you want this job? or 2) Why are you qualified to work in this job? Like the main course of your dinner, the details are the “meat” and “potatoes” of your response and by using them, you are showing the iBT human raters that you are have depth to your ideas.
Now I have said enough, it is time for you to begin posting your independent and integrated speaking practice tests at “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.” Remember that “Rome was not built in a day.” which means that you can not perfect your speaking and pronunciation proficiency overnight. It will take a consistent effort of studying lessons, completing practice tests, getting feedback from a iBT specialist, and reviewing lessons to help strengthen your weaknesses. How long will it take? Depending on your current English proficiency, it could take you up to 4 months of regular practice before you are able to score 26 points on the speaking section. But a wise man once told me, “Some of the best things in life only come to pass after sacrifice.” So subscribe to this service today and begin improving your score! Go to the Better TOEFL Scores homepage to sign up for more than 330 lessons in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
|This article was written by Michael Buckhoff–co-founder and materials writer for Better TOEFL Scores and The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT, Composition and Linguistics Professor, TOEFL Specialist, ESL Master Instructor, and Placement and Testing Coordinator for California State University, San Bernardino.Follow more posts and videos from Michael at Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.|