How to study for speaking section of TOEFL and important tips to crack TOEFL in India

This article describes how you should prepare for speaking section of TOEFL. Ideally, one should take TOEFL after taking GRE so that preparation for Reading, listening and writing section is already covered during GRE preparation. But for speaking section, one needs proper preparation even after GRE preparation. This article will provide you with details of preparation techniques for speaking section of TOEFL. Also covered are some of the most important tips which will help you crack TOEFL.

Preparation techniques for speaking section of TOEFL
  1. Understand the format of the speaking section thoroughly. The total duration of speaking section is just 20 minutes. There are 6 tasks and for every task you are required to provide answers in the form of audio by speaking in the microphone. For every task, you will have to speak for just 45 seconds. For more about TOEFL format for speaking section read this article: What is TOEFL pattern and when to take TOEFL
  2. Practice speaking questions very carefully. Don’t just read the questions and prepare answer. Go through the whole process of speaking in a microphone. A lot of practice will give you the necessary confidence to score well in this section
  3. For every task, make sure you speak in this order – introduction, body and conclusion. Even during practice make sure you cover all these three sections in your 45 seconds
  4. During practice, record your answers and listen your own recordings carefully. Initially, you will face a lot of difficulty answering such questions but after a lot of practice, you will gain sufficient confidence. Correct your mistakes in the next practice task of speaking section.
  5. Use words which you feel comfortable speaking. Do not use fancy words which you have never used in your day to usage just to use them. Test examiners will never increase/decrease your marks based on use of new and uncommon words. They will only check the proper framing of answer and appropriate usage of all the words.
  6. Do not prepare or mug up answers for exams with the hope that same or similar question will be asked and you can speak the mugged up answer. Instead, make yourself comfortable with the flow of answer and practice so that you can answer the given tasks impromptu.
  7. Practice the speaking section questions in front of your family members and then in front of your friends. During your TOEFL exam, you will be in a room with a lot of test takers simultaneously taking the same section. So, you will have to be confident of speaking in front of a lot of people. Many people face this problem, so it is advisable to practice in front of a lot of people so that you do not feel uncomfortable during the exam.

Important tips to crack TOEFL in India
  1. The best time to take TOEFL is about 1-2 weeks after taking GRE. All the new words you learnt for GRE preparation are still fresh in your mind and you can use them in your writing and speaking sections. Also, reading sections entire preparation is covered during GRE preparation.
  2. In India, almost all the TOEFL test centres are school/college computer labs. The distance between PCs is very less and there will be at least 50 people in your lab taking the test simultaneously. You will constantly face disturbances from fellow test takers over small issues. Do not get into an argument during the test with anyone – fellow student or the invigilators. It will only waste your time.
  3. If you face any issues, bring it to the notice of the invigilators before starting the exam. There is no way you can pause the timer of the exam. So, once the exam has started and you face some issue, it would simply be your bad luck. There is nothing anyone can do in such a scenario.
  4. During the speaking section, there will be many test takers who will be shouting into the microphone and it is extremely disturbing and irritating. But, concentrate on your task. There is no need to shout into the microphone.
  5. TOEFL is a very lengthy exam. By the time you finish the second section – listening, you are extremely tired and exhausted. Use the 10 minute break effectively. Try to use some relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing.
  6. You need not prepare extensively if your English skills are good. But during the examination, you must apply your skills effectively. Do not spend sleepless nights for TOEFL preparation.
  7. Use the notes very carefully. During the listening section, do not hastily write down everything that is spoken. Just jot down the important dates, places and names. Most of the questions asked are regarding the intent of the speakers in the recordings.
  8. During your preparation, make a point to share your progress with your family and friends and keep asking for mistakes made in the use of English. Sometimes very small mistakes can make huge difference.