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TOEFL iBT® Speaking Section

What Is In the Speaking Section?

The TOEFL iBT® Speaking section is designed to measure your ability to speak English effectively in academic settings. It is composed of 4 tasks that resemble real-life situations you might encounter both in and outside of a classroom.

  • Question 1 is called an "independent speaking task" because it requires you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions and experiences when you respond.
  • Questions 2–4 are called "integrated speaking tasks" because they require you to combine your English-language skills — listening and speaking, or listening, reading and speaking — just as you would in or out of a classroom.

You'll get 15–30 seconds of preparation time before each response, and your response will be 45 or 60 seconds long.

To respond, you'll speak into the microphone on your headset. Your responses are recorded and sent to ETS, where they will be scored by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters to ensure fairness and quality. See the Speaking Scoring Guides (Rubrics) for more information about how your responses are scored.

You have 17 minutes to complete the Speaking section.

The TOEFL® Practice Online Speaking Series, an official test prep tool from ETS, is exclusively dedicated to helping you practice your English-speaking skills. Includes previously administered test questions, simulates the actual testing experience and provides feedback within 24 hours.

Inside the TOEFL® Test

These Inside the TOEFL® Test videos describe the types of questions you will find in the Speaking section, plus helpful tips.

Accents

The Speaking section includes native-speaker English accents from North America, the U.K., New Zealand or Australia to better reflect the variety of accents you might encounter while studying abroad. Only the first of the 4 items may have accented speech.

Below are 2 examples, both of which use accents from the U.K. In each instance, the example is 15 seconds long, and you would have 45 seconds to respond.

Audio FileTranscript
Item 1 (MP3) If friends from another country were going to spend time in your country, what city or place would you suggest they visit? Using details and examples, explain why.
Item 2 (MP3) Some people enjoy taking risks and trying new things. Others are not adventurous; they are cautious and prefer to avoid danger. Which behavior do you think is better? Explain why.