Getting a high TOEFL speaking score will help you clear many healthcare credentials. In addition, having a high TOEFL speaking score shows that you can speak clearly and coherently, with appropriate use of basic and advanced vocabulary. Consider Bruno, who needed to score higher than 26/30 on the speaking section. Understanding his difficulties may help you to reach your desired speaking score.
High Speaking Score: Taking the test multiple times!
Journeys toward high speaking scores can be very frustrating and difficult. Bruno had taken the TOEFL exam five times, and he scored well on all subtotals. However, he always came up short with a score of 22-23 on the speaking section. Bruno could not figure out why he could not score higher.
High Speaking Score: Consulting a TOEFL Speaking Mentor
After spending a $1000 on five different TOEFL exams over a period of about six months, Bruno found a TOEFL speaker mentor named Michael Buckhoff. Buckhoff is an English composition and linguistics professor at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). Furthermore, Buckhoff teaches TOEFL preparation at CSUSB under the auspices of College of Extended Learning. Buckhoff also has been teaching TOEFL preparation online for about 10 years. At no cost, Buckhoff asked Bruno to send him a copy of his TOEFL score report from Educational Testing Service. Buckhoff analyzed Bruno’s score report and found several important weak points:
- Language-use problems with vocabulary and grammar on both independent tasks.
- Problems elaborating on main ideas during independent tasks.
- Intonation and pacing issues with independent speaking tasks and integrated tasks 4 and 6
- Inaccuracy or incompleteness in content of the most important points from a reading or listening passage on integrated tasks 4 and 6
To address these issues, Buckhoff recommended that Bruno join his TOEFL Speaking Boot Camp course for a two month period.
High Speaking Score: Taking two pronunciation diagnostic pre-tests and a final post-test
After joining Buckhoff’s TOEFL Speaking Boot Camp course, Bruno completed his first pronunciation pre-test for vowel and consonant sounds. He sent the voice recording audio file to Buckhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org. About a day later, Buckhoff listened to and evaluated his pre-test. In fact, the TOEFL speaking mentor told Bruno that he needed to focus on 7 specific lessons in order to pronounce his vowel and consonant sounds more clearly. Bruno practiced those video lessons over a 1 month period and sent voiced recording exercises to Buckhoff, who gave Bruno further tips on how to reduce his non-native speaker accent.
Similarly, after mastering the vowel and consonant sounds, Bruno completed a second pre-test. The second pre-test diagnosed problems that Bruno was having with syllable division and grammatical word endings. In addition, the second pre-test focused on word stress and sentence rhythm. Finally, the second pre-test looked at Bruno’s intonation and thought groups and blending. Bruno completed this second pre-test and sent the 13 minute audio recording to Buckhoff at email@example.com. About 24 hours later, Buckhoff prepared a video evaluation and sent it to Bruno. This time Buckhoff recommended 14 lessons for Bruno. Bruno went through every video lesson and recorded the mastery exercises and sent these audio files to Buckhoff, who provided further feedback to help Bruno continue to reduce his non-native speaker accent.
Finally, Bruno completed the pronunciation post-test and got the thumbs up that he had mastered all the pronunciation activities in his course. However, it had taken Bruno almost two full months before he could achieve this result.
High Speaking Score: Sending independent and integrated speaking practice tests for evaluation
Bruno learned that he could complete independent and integrated speaking practice tests daily. Other TOEFL courses would not evaluate or score any speaking practice tests that he had recorded. Also, based on the analysis of his TOEFL score report, Bruno knew that he needed to practice the two independent tasks and integrated tasks 4 and 6. Therefore, each day, Bruno would send a 45 or 60 second speaking task to his TOEFL mentor who would listen to, evaluate, score, and provide 4-8 minutes of audio feedback.
After every practice test, to help Bruno get a high TOEFL speaking score, his mentor would recommend specific pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and speaking lessons. Each recommended lesson helped Bruno strengthen a weakness that he was having with his speaking. For example, after completing a few practice tests, his TOEFL speaking mentor realized that Bruno was using mostly simple sentences with one subject and one verb. As a result, Buckhoff recommended grammar lessons 3, 5, 7, 12, and 15 . These lessons helped Bruno learned compound sentence structures. Also, studying these lessons helped Bruno to use complex sentences involving noun, adjective, and adverb clauses. After reviewing these grammar lessons, Bruno learned how to create sentences with multiple clauses.
And so it went. Bruno began completing dozens and eventually hundreds of speaking practice tests. Each time he got specific feedback and lessons that he would review. After about 8 weeks, Bruno got more organized in how he presented his ideas. He was speaking clearly with fewer pauses and hesitations. In addition, he had better and more precise control over his grammar and vocabulary. Finally, he delivered more accurate complete responses for the integrated speaking tasks 4 and 6. Therefore, Buckhoff recommended that Bruno re-take the TOEFL exam for the sixth time.
High Speaking Score: Taking the exam for the sixth time after 3 months of intense speaking practice
Bruno had been getting some positive feedback. In fact, he had been consistently scoring between 26-28 points on his independent and integrated speaking practice tests. After consulting with Buckhoff, Bruno decided to register to take the TOEFL for the sixth time. He was not disappointed when he received his TOEFL score report: Reading = 27, Listening = 28, Speaking = 28, and Writing = 30.
Bruno expected to have strong subtotals in the reading, listening, and writing sections, so he was not surprised. However, even though he knew he had improved a lot in his speaking, he was surprised when he saw he had scored 28. It was an improvement of about 6 points from his last TOEFL exam that he had taken.
Michael Buckhoff, http://onlinetoeflcourse.com