1. Find friends with whom you can practice speaking English – the more confident you are with speaking English, the easier you will find the TOEFL® speaking section of your exam. Need friends to practice with? Find friends on English, baby!
2. Choose questions from the end of English, baby! lessons and imagine this is the free-choice section of your TOEFL® speaking exam. Plan your response by preparing what you will say for your introduction as well as three supporting ideas. You should aim to do this at least three times a week – the more you practice, the easier you will find responding to questions with limited time to plan your response.
3. Record yourself as you practice responding to your chosen questions from the end of English, baby! lessons. Afterwards, listen to your recording and ask yourself: Did I answer the question correctly? Did I pause or say ahhh or ummmm too often? Did I make any grammar mistakes? Did I speak too quickly? Too slowly? Did I organize my ideas clearly? Did I mumble or was I clear to understand? The more you practice, the more confident you will get at speaking. You will also become less nervous when speaking while being recorded.
4. Practice combining your reading, listening and speaking skills for your integrated tasks speaking section of the TOEFL® speaking exam. Go to today’s English, baby! lessonand test yourself by only reading the lesson (don’t cheat by listening too!) and then practice responding giving the main points of the lesson. Now practice combining your listening and speaking skills by choosing another lesson. This time only listen to the lesson and then record yourself outlining the main point of what you have heard.
5. Use big words – but only if you can pronounce them correctly! You will lose points for poor pronunciation so if you are not sure or you get nervous every time you try and say it, it is better not to use the word at all. Instead, practice giving short responses to different issues and subjects. Pick an English, baby! lesson or forum to give you ideas for topics.
6. Work on your pronunciation including where the stress should go on words. Download your daily MP3 lesson and become familiar with how English words should sound.
7. Make it personal. Don’t memorize set phrases that you do not understand – or you do not know enough about. You will be able to speak more fluently about topics that you are familiar with, experiences that you have had and opinions that you believe in. You will be nervous on the day of the test – trying to memorize responses will only add to your stress!
8. Increase your vocabulary and learn how to use idioms correctly – visit our vocab section for good examples.
9. Join your ideas by using signal words and expressions. Some good examples include: firstly, secondly, although, even though, furthermore, therefore, thus, hence, additionally, another difference is, as a consequence, in conclusion, on the one hand, on the other hand.
10. Time yourself when doing TOEFL® practice tests. This will give you a better idea about how many points you can make within a set amount of time. It is better to make fewer points that have a clear structure, rather than rushing through as many points as you can fit in. By responding calmly, you will also make fewer mistakes.