TOEFL iBT: Independent Speaking Task - 5 Ways to Succeed


Hi, everyone. I'm Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on the TOEFL IBT:

Independent Speaking Task Structure and Tips. So, this will be a two-part video. In the

first section, I will describe the structure of the independent speaking task on the TOEFL

IBT; and in the second part of the video, I will give you some tips on how to do well

on this. So, if you know the structure, you might want to fast-forward maybe two or three

minutes. Okay? If you don't know the structure, here we go.

So, on the TOEFL independent speaking task, there are two tasks that you must complete

and there are two different types of questions. So, the first type of question on the TOEFL

independent speaking task might be a personal choice question. So, in this section, you'll

be asked a question about important people, places, events, or activities that you enjoy.

It will always be something related to your personal experience or just general knowledge

of life. So, you know, they might say: "Tell me about a person who has meant a lot in your

life. If you could learn one instrument, what would you learn and why?" Something related

to your personal experience.

And the section type of task, section type of question is a paired choice question. So,

in this situation, you have to choose between "A" or "B", either or. So, for example, the

questions might ask you to compare, you know: "Do you prefer life in a hot country, or do

you prefer life in a country that has seasons? Do you prefer renting or owning a house or

an apartment? Would you prefer private or group classes?" And then you basically have

to give a response. "Well, I think that private classes are better than group classes because

you get more personalized attention and because..." you know, whatever your reasons are.

So, in this task, you actually have 15 seconds of preparation time before you have to speak,

and then you are given 45 seconds to speak. So, again, during the IBT... This is for the

IBT, so the IBT, you have headphones on. You will hear the question and you will read the

question on the computer screen. And once the question has, you know, finished being

read, then you have 15 seconds to prepare a response. And I completely recommend a notebook.

And then 45 seconds to answer the question. Now, in addition to bringing a notebook, let's

look at some other tips that can help you to do well on the TOEFL independent speaking task.

All right, so let's look at some tips on how to do well on the independent speaking task.

Number one, this goes for the test as a whole, be honest with yourself. Don't take the test

unless you're ready. Now, what I mean by this is if you're a beginner student, don't even

consider the TOEFL test. If you're an intermediate student, a high intermediate, then it's more

possible for you to do well on the TOEFL. Remember, the TOEFL is meant to prepare people

for an academic setting, so a university. So, if you are not a high intermediate or

advanced student, you will find the TOEFL to be very, very difficult. And honestly,

you would probably be wasting your money in taking the test or a preparation course if

you're not an advanced or high intermediate student. So, be honest with yourself. It's

hard advice, but it's completely true.

Number two: have a notebook to write your ideas for the independent speaking task. You

are allowed to bring a notebook, and a pencil or a pen, and this will help you to write

ideas, you know, after you read the question and listen to the question.

Number three: have at least two reasons or two examples to support your opinion. So,

you know, if you're having one of the independent opinion choices or the second paired choice

questions, make sure you have at least two reasons to support your position. So, if you

are doing a paired choice question and the question is about, you know, do you prefer

living in a dormitory or living at home when attending university, make sure you have two

reasons for why you prefer, for example, living in a dormitory. In a dormitory, you can make

friends and you can also make it to classes on time because it's very close to the campus,

for example. So, at least two.

Number four: don't become obsessed with the clock. This is very difficult when you first

start training for the TOEFL, but you will, you know, become obsessed in the beginning

because you think: "45 seconds, 45 seconds. I have to speak for 45 seconds." And as you're

speaking, this number is always in the back of your mind. But the more you practice it,

the more you will realize how much you can actually speak for in 45 seconds. So, the

only way to get over this obsession with the time, with the clock is to practice, practice,

practice, practice so you know what it feels like. You'll have a sense of what is 45 seconds

of speaking. And again, don't feel like you have to fill the complete 45 seconds. If you

talk for 40, if you talk for 35, but your answer is clear and your pronunciation is

clear, your grammar structures have variety, your reasons make sense, then the person who

is evaluating you will evaluate you based on those answers. Okay?

Number five: relax. There is no right answer in these speaking tasks. They are purely opinion

based questions about general topics that anyone can speak about. Okay? So, it's your

opinion. Don't feel like you're being graded and they're looking for a specific, correct

answer. They're testing your fluency, your ability to use grammar in a wide variety of ways.

And finally: practice with a teacher, a friend, a partner, or in front of a mirror. It doesn't

matter who you're practicing with, as long as you are practicing. Okay? I really recommend

practicing in an environment... If it's possible for you, to take a classroom course for TOEFL

preparation practice where there are other people speaking around you, because during

the test, there will be other people speaking around you at different computer terminals. Okay?

All right, guys, so if you'd like to test your understanding of, you know, the structure

of the test, as well as review these tips that I've given you, you can take the quiz

on And don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Bye and good luck.

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