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Onga, the nickname he uses at “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT” after joining the Online TOEFL Course with the same name, needed to increase his speaking score to 26/30 points.
You see, Onga has completed his Pharmacy degree, but needs to reach 21, 18, 26, and 24 on the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections of the exam. Thus far, he has reached all required marks except for the speaking section. After he posted several pronunciation and speaking practice tests, Michael Buckhoff, founder, owner, and materials writer for “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT, pinpointed exactly what was holding Onga back from achieving his target score on the speaking section: delivery.
The first problem that Onga had when he was posting his practice tests is that he did not make a distinction between the unstress and stress words that he speaks. For examples, rightly so, he was putting stress on the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs that he spoke. However, he was also putting stress on the determiners, auxiliary verbs, and prepositions. As a result, he was having problems with sentence rhythm, which was affecting his delivery during the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT exam.
The second problem that Onga had was that he did not use falling pitch on the end of his statements and wh-questions, and he was not using rising pitch at the end of his yes/no questions. In addition, he had some problems with contrastive stress and with emphatic expressions of surprise. Finally, he also needed to work on stressing the one focus word in each of his sentences so that the listeners could better understand his ideas. Furthermore, he needed to make sure when he introduced something that was new to the audience, he would put added stress on the word and then, once it was old information, he would not overstress it again. Based on these problems, it was clear that Onga needed to solve some intonation problems as well before he could improve his delivery during the speaking section of the exam.
Finally, Onga was pausing too much while he spoke. In fact, instead of pausing after 5-6 stressed words, he was pausing after almost every word in his sentences. Moreover, he was not blending words within his thought groups. Therefore, he had choppy fragmented speech that did not sound natural nor was it fluent. Based on this analysis, Onga needed to improve his thought groups and blending.
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