TOEFL Speaking Test: Questions, Practice Test, Sample, Syllabus and Score Calculation


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Aug 03, 2023 11:23 AM IST

A solid understanding of the pattern and syllabus before preparing for the examination can help students to achieve their desired TOEFL test score. This article discusses everything in detail that you need to know about TOEFL Speaking Section.

TOEFL Speaking Test: Questions, Practice Test, Sample, Syllabus and Score Calculation

The TOEFL speaking test is a rigorous drill which students have to go through while taking the test. It demands careful preparation so that one does not get intimidated easily. The section consists of four tasks in which applicants have to speak on certain TOEFL speaking topics and record their responses over the microphone. 

TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is an important English language test that makes students eligible to study in institutes abroad. The questions or tasks resemble real-life situations that they will encounter in both academic and outside settings. Though the speaking section of TOEFL can be intimidating, it will not prove to be so if you prepare carefully for it. With proper preparation, you can ace the section easily. 

It is important therefore to understand the basics of the TOEFL speaking exam and the different types of questions that will be asked. You will also get important tips and tricks, exam patterns and score rubrics for the exam.  

Overview, Structure, Format of TOEFL Speaking Test

The TOEFL Speaking Test is the shortest section of the TOEFL exam, earlier lasting only 17 minutes and now only 16 minutes after ETS has decided to make TOEFL the shortest English proficiency test, beginning from July 26, 2023. During this time, you will have to complete four different activities, each with its time limit.

The first task of the TOEFL Speaking test is independent, which means you won't have to read or listen to anything; instead, you'll have to think of a response and speak it. The remaining tasks are integrated speaking exercises, which demand you to listen, read, or do both.

The TOEFL speaking test scores are also based on raw points that are translated to a scaled score of 0-30. The TOEFL Speaking questions, on the other hand, do not have correct/wrong responses. Instead, experienced scorers will rate each response on a scale of 1 to 4 based on the official TOEFL Speaking Section rubrics.

TOEFL Speaking Section Tasks 

Common Topics 


Task 1: Independent 

Social issues

1 minute

Task 2: Integrated (Reading and Listening)

Student life

3 minutes

Task 3: Integrated (Reading and Listening)


3 minutes

Task 4: Integrated (Listening)

Combination of the previous two tasks

3 minutes

Now that we have a general understanding of the TOEFL Speaking Section test format and test structure, let's break down each task separately so we know what to expect on test day.

Independent Speaking in TOEFL Speaking Test Task 1 

  • Preparation time: 15 seconds
  • Response time: 45 seconds

Independent speaking involves answering a question of general interest on a topic and expressing your personal ideas about it. There will be no readings or listening passages provided in this section. Instead, you must respond based solely on your experience. This question tests the quick thinking ability of your analytical mind and how fluently you can express your thoughts in English.  A final 15 seconds will be allowed for you to think and plan your answer. Next, you will be required to record and submit your 45-second response into the microphone.

Integrated Speaking in TOEFL Speaking Test Task 2 

  • Reading time: 50 seconds
  • Audio clip: About 1 minute
  • Preparation time: 30 seconds
  • Response time: 60 seconds

The integrated speaking section deals with campus situations. The reading passage is accompanied by a listening conversation in which you have to sum up and combine information from both sources.  Answering the question requires you to listen to a conversation and read a passage related to a campus-related topic. Afterwards, you will have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to deliver it to the microphone.  

Integrated Speaking in TOEFL Speaking Test Task 3

  • Reading time: 45 seconds
  • Audio clip: About 1 minute
  • Preparation time: 30 seconds
  • Response time: 60 seconds

The third task involves analyzing a first-year college textbook to describe a subject or key concept. There are two parts to this exercise: you must read a passage on an academic subject and listen to a segment of a lecture on an identical topic. Afterwards, you will be given 30 seconds for planning and preparing your response, and 1 minute for presenting it.  

Integrated Speaking in TOEFL Speaking Test Task 4

  • Audio clip: About 2 minutes
  • Preparation time: 20 seconds
  • Response time: 60 seconds

Similarly, Task 4 entails listening to a lecture and expressing your response in the form of speech. Here, no reading passage is assigned. Additionally, you will be given a time limit of 20 seconds for preparation and a maximum of 60 seconds or one minute for vocalizing. As a general rule, answer questions in the form of a summary of the lecture.   

Need Help Preparing for TOEFL Speaking Section? 

TOEFL Speaking Test Syllabus 

When attending a lecture, asking about a topic, or presenting a PPT, speaking in English becomes the most essential competency, and the TOEFL Speaking Test assesses the necessary skills to ensure fluency. The major purpose of the TOEFL Speaking Test is to assess the candidate's level of comfort speaking English in educational settings. Experts recommend reviewing the TOEFL Speaking topics from recent years to better grasp the questions and exam pattern.

Speaking Questions Covered in TOEFL Speaking Section:

  • 1 independent task 

  • 3 integrated tasks – Read/Listen/Speak 

Types of Questions in TOEFL Speaking Test

There is a wide range of TOEFL speaking questions on different topics including physical science, social science, literature, history, and art. No worries, you do not have to be an expert to answer the questions, because it is not necessary to have any prior knowledge of these topics. This test only tests how well you can structure your judgement logically and your dexterity in English. 

TOEFL speaking questions can be divided into several types. Here are the types you should know:

  • Explain a lecture

  • Describe a problem with campus life

  • Choose a single option

  • Choose One of Two Options

  • An explanation of a lecture topic

  • Describe your opinion on a campus issue

TOEFL Speaking Sample Questions

Now that we are well aware of the different question types that can come in the TOEFL Speaking test, let us take a closer look at some TOEFL Speaking sample questions by categorization.

Three Choice Questions

  • In the future, there will be a television show aimed at students. Which would you prefer to watch? (3) Interviews with school leaders, (2) Debates among students about topics such as politics and social issues, and (3) Comedic sketches about school life.

  • In an event organized by the International Student Office, the International Student Office will offer three different kinds of activities. Which one sounds the best to you? 1) An international food fair 2) An international music festival 3) An international film festival.

  • What is the most significant impact on environmental protection among the following choices? 1) Government regulation 2) Environmental awareness groups 3) Efforts on the part of the individual.

  • As far as your final project is concerned, which one would you prefer? (1) Making/giving a presentation (2) paper writing work  (3) making a video.

Agree/Disagree Questions

  • Would you agree/disagree that students should perceive a job while they are studying at a university or school? Be specific and use examples to explain your position.

  • In your opinion, does it make sense that the young population should learn some domestic skills, cooking, sewing, and how to take care of their children?

  • While some think libraries will disappear with the development of technology and the Internet, others believe libraries are vital for the development of culture. Would you agree with either opinion?


  • Should parents be allowed to provide education to their children at home or should they be obligated to send their children to school? Describe your answer with examples.

  • Would you think the person's license should be revoked if the police stopped him or her after he or she was driving drunk? Describe your answer with examples.

  • Should parents teach their kids the basics of managing money? Be specific and give reasons for your opinion.

How is TOEFL Speaking Scored?

Let us now examine the TOEFL Speaking scoring mechanism. Human raters will provide a score from 0 to 4 in whole numbers for each task. These scores are then averaged to give you a raw score for the task, which is also in a range of 0 to 4. (note that decimals are possible here due to averaging). Finally, the raw scores for each of the tasks are averaged and translated to a final scaled Speaking score ranging from 0 to 30.

But how does ETS transform your raw Speaking score (from 0-4) to a scaled Speaking score (from 0-30)? An official graphic demonstrating the raw-to-scaled-score conversion method is shown below. 

Average Raw TOEFL Speaking Score

Scaled TOEFL Speaking Score








































Your final TOEFL Speaking Test score will appear at the top of your TOEFL score report; however, you will not be able to examine your raw scores for each work. Rather, you will receive raw score ranges for jobs organized by topic. These raw score ranges are as follows, according to ETS:

  • Weak: (0-1)

  • Limited: (1.5-2)

  • Fair: (2.5-3)

  • Good: (3.5-4)

TOEFL Speaking Test Score Rubrics

The official TOEFL Speaking rubrics vary slightly between the Independent and Integrated assignments. All Speaking tasks are graded based on three components in both rubrics:

  • Delivery: The clarity and intelligibility with which you talk (this includes pronunciation, flow, intonation, and pacing)

  • Language Use: How well you express yourself using language and vocabulary.

  • Topic Development: It refers to how well you construct your response by connecting thoughts and expanding on topics.

Each raw Speaking score is accompanied by a general summary of what that score means in terms of the speaker's overall English proficiency. Furthermore, each of the three rubric components includes descriptions for the four score levels.

Independent and Integrated TOEFL Speaking Rubric

The general descriptions of each score level for the Independent and Integrated Speaking tasks are provided below. 

TOEFL Speaking Test Score



The response meets the task's requirements with just small gaps in completion. It is highly understandable and has a sustained, coherent narrative.


The response appropriately addresses the job but may fall short of being completely developed. Though there are some notable failures in the expression of ideas, it is typically clear and coherent, with some fluidity of expression.


The response addresses the task, but the topic development is limited. It contains understandable speech, despite issues with delivery and/or overall coherence; meaning may be hidden in parts.


The response is either very limited in content and/or coherence, or it is just marginally related to the task, or the speech is mostly incomprehensible.


The speaker does not attempt to answer OR their response is irrelevant to the topic.

How to Ace the TOEFL Speaking Test?

TOEFL speaking test demands good fluency and grip over the language. However, not only being fluent will help, but one also needs other successful strategies to successfully qualify for the exam. The following checklist of tips and tricks will help you to ace the TOEFL speaking test: 

  • Take Quick Notes: Often students find problems in recalling everything they hear during the test. Therefore, it is necessary to stay focused on the main idea of the topic. You must note down some of the key phrases and words. Once you have recorded your response, you can refer to the notes given.

  • Answer the Questions Clearly and Concisely: Be clear with your expression of ideas. They should be conveyed in a precise and concise manner. Make efforts to connect ideas between the statements so that you can refer to your notes whenever needed. 

  • Good Delivery is Necessary: You will have better chances of scoring if you speak without hesitation. Your grammar should be good, clear and fluid. Furthermore, the speed of your speech should be normal, sound natural and must not feel robotic.

TOEFL speaking test can be aced with careful planning and knowing the test structure well. A good score in this section can be anywhere between 26 and 30. Only you will have to be vocal enough and clear about your ideas, opinions and experiences. The opinions should be supported with as many details as possible. Use different parts of speech and figures of speech to add complexity to your language. All these steps will help you to clear the TOEFL speaking test with flying colours. 

For more information about the TOEFL Speaking Test or any other study abroad exam, write to us at to resolve your queries at the earliest with help of our expert guidance!

Still Unsure About How to Prepare for TOEFL?


How does computer scoring work in the TOEFL Speaking Test?

Your responses to the speaking questions are recorded and forwarded to ETS, where the SpeechRater service analyses them. The SpeechRater service was created by processing a large number of responses to Speaking section questions and assessing the aspects of the responses (pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary, and grammar) alongside human raters' scores. The scores are tallied up, and the final result is transformed on a scale of 0 to 30.

What questions are asked in the TOEFL Speaking Test?

Here are six TOEFL Speaking questions that are asked in the TOEFL Speaking Test:

  • Task 1: Choose From One Option
  • Task 2: Choose From Two Options
  • Task 3: Explain an Opinion on a Campus Issue
  • Task 4: Explain a Lecture Topic
  • Task 5: Explain a Campus Life Problem
  • Task 6: Explain a Lecture

How difficult is TOEFL Speaking?

TOEFL Speaking Test cannot be characterised as hard or difficult. If you practice and utilise the right strategies, you are sure to succeed. To help yourself with the speaking section, keep these points in mind:

  • Make sure you have a solid grasp of your grammar
  • Become fluent in an extensive vocabulary
  • Don't forget to express your ideas clearly
  • Make your sentences clear and concise

What is the best way to practice speaking for the TOEFL Speaking Test?

The official ETS website offers practice tests that can help you prepare for the TOEFL Speaking Test. Furthermore, you can practice by solving sample papers and previous years' question papers. Apart from that, practising English in a social setting with native speakers can be of great help.

If I want to score 26 on the TOEFL Speaking Test, what should I do?

Practising and putting in the effort will definitely help you reach the TOEFL Speaking Test score of 26. Plan your study plans carefully and incorporate practising speaking as much as possible. Aside from that, you must also have a clear understanding of the basics and good note-taking skills. By practising extensively and by attending TOEFL Speaking multiple times, you can achieve a score of 26.

What is TOEFL Practice Online?

TOEFL Practice Online is the only official practise test that simulates taking the real TOEFL iBT exam. You will practice by answering actual questions from previous tests, and your scores and performance evaluation will be provided within 24 hours.

How can I get the most benefit from my TOEFL Practice Online Speaking score?

The best way is to take the tasks seriously, just as you would take the main TOEFL Speaking Test. Taking the practice test as though it were a real test will help you get the most accurate result. If you react casually or negligently to the speaking challenges, your score will be lower. You should offer full, comprehensive responses in English during both the practise exam and the TOEFL iBT testing session.

How strictly is TOEFL Speaking scored?

Each problem is graded using three components, according to the official TOEFL Speaking grading rubrics: delivery, language use, and topic development. The tasks are then graded on a scale of 0 to 4. Following that, the raw values from the tasks are averaged and transformed into a final Speaking score on a scale of 0-30.

Is TOEFL Speaking Test easier than the IELTS Speaking Test?

The TOEFL Speaking Test is a 20-minute rapid-fire of reading, listening, taking notes, and (most importantly) speaking. Furthermore, the TOEFL Speaking Test is divided into six sections. Hence, it takes 20 minutes, whereas IELTS takes 11-14 minutes. On TOEFL, you must also speak to a computer while watching a timer. During this section, there is a lot to accomplish and keep care of, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Therefore, IELTS is considered to be easier than TOEFL by most of the test takers.

What is the highest score for each task in the TOEFL Speaking Test?

Each of the TOEFL iBT Speaking Tasks is scored on a scale of 0 to 4 with 4 being the highest. Your total score on all speaking tasks is subsequently converted to a TOEFL iBT speaking section score between 0 and 30. On the TOEFL iBT speaking section, a score of 25 or more is considered good.

You can share this post!

Admission Open 2024

Hofstra University

Hempstead, USA

Drew University

Madison, USA

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, USA

Related Articles

Aug 18, 2023 04:28 PM IST

How to Apply for Masters in USA?

Aug 03, 2023 01:18 PM IST

Documents Required for TOEFL

Our Study Abroad Offerings

Popular Universities to StudyAbroad

Planning to study abroad?

Interested in Studying Overseas?

Connect with us and kickstart your learning journey for a rewarding experience!

By proceeding ahead you expressly agree to the CollegeDekhoAbroad Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.