Many of our clients are unable to pass the English speaking section of the TOEFL or IELTS despite their best efforts. These bright individuals have good English skills, but are often held back by their accent and poor English pronunciation. We teach our clients how to pass the test with TOEFL and IELTS English speaking practice. We also use many of the strategies from our book “Change Your Accent: English Pronunciation for Success”.
Here are some helpful tips:
- TOEFL and IELTS English speaking practice must include speaking English in conversations for at least an hour per day. This can be broken up into 15-20 minute chunks. Your everyday conversations will help you to become more comfortable speaking English in a natural way.
- Make time for specific TOEFL English speaking practice as well. This will help you to directly prepare for the test. When you practice, you should include speaking continuously for at least 45 seconds on variety of topics such as: describing a picture or what you did yesterday, practicing making a recommendation or explaining why your idea is the best way to proceed or summarizing an opinion and information, conveying important points, explaining a problem, and expressing an opinion.
- Record your TOEFL speaking practice, and if possible, get a native English speaker to listen to your recording and give you feedback. Your speaking style must effectively communicate what you want to say. Speak naturally and clearly so that you are easy to understand. Use speech which flows and and includes common connection words and phrases (e.g., because, so, after that, on the other hand, what this means is, etc). Good English pronunciation, natural pace, and good intonation are also critical.
- Watch English television information shows such as the news, dateline or 60 minutes. Listening and ear-training are key skills for improving speaking. Listen to the presenter and try to copy their speaking style; their speaking style is similar to the one required to pass the TOEFL.
- When you take the TOEFL test, use your preparation time well. You can organize your thoughts into sections and write notes. Do not write out your full response, read out your response or memorize a response before the test. Raters want to hear natural speech, not reading or memorized responses. Your answers must be complete, connected and easy to understand.