The TOEFL iBT® Test: Improving Your Speaking Skills

Advice for Speaking
Skill: Speaking about Familiar Topics
Performance Level: Limited
Score Range: 10–17

  1. Take a conversation/pronunciation class. This will help improve your fluency and pronunciation in English.
  2. Develop friendships with people who want to speak English with you. Interaction with others will help you to improve your speaking ability. If you can't find a native English speaker, find a friend who wants to practice speaking English and promise to speak only English for a certain period of time.
  3. Practice speaking for a limited time on different topics without a lot of preparation. Time yourself as you speak.
    • Write down several questions about general topics
      • family
      • friends
      • cities
      • countries
      • places you are familiar with
      Select a question and answer it aloud. Try to speak for one minute.
    • Give yourself about 20 seconds to think about what you did yesterday. After 20 seconds, begin to recount what you did. Try to talk for one minute.
      • Pay attention to your use of the past tense.
      • Try to use connecting words and phrases such as first, then, while I was.
    • Give yourself about 20 seconds to think about what you will probably do tomorrow. Try to talk for one minute. After 20 seconds, begin to talk about what you are planning to do.
      • Try to use different forms of the future tense.
  4. Use books that come with audio programs to study pronunciation, stress and intonation in English.