The Speaking section is perhaps the most demanding part of the TOEFL test. This is mainly due to the fact that you are not only tested for your fluency and speaking skills, but also for your ability to absorb information by listening to a lecture or by reading a passage, and then contain that information to your answer. And all this in very little time, as the entire examination lasts 20 minutes.
The TOEFL speaking section includes six tasks with two types of questions: “independent” questions containing speaking topics about personal experiences, opinions, and ideas, and “integrated” questions with academic speaking topics.
The “integrated” tasks integrate (combine) reading and listening with speaking. That also means that integrated speaking topics are as varied as listening and reading topics, and answering them well mostly depends on how well you can find the most important ideas in a lecture or text.
On the other hand, the independent tasks are essentially about how well you can speak, rather than how well you digest incoming information. That means communicating clearly.
When you’re listening to a lecture, you need to remember to take notes on different information and listen in a different way than you do for a conversation. Lectures tend to be much longer, and the details tend to be denser. Also, a lecture often deals with several key points, whereas a conversation will generally be shorter and confined to one or two topics.
The following links by ETS give you a general view about how the different tasks are structured, and the particular points that will affect your scoring.
These are your guidelines towards a successful preparation:
- Record and time yourself through every task
- Study pronunciation, stress , intonation, and tone pacing in English
- Advance fluency and speech delivery
- Improve your academic vocabulary and topic development
- Understand scoring
The following selection of links will greatly help you with your practice.