TOEFL iBT Speaking Practice: Adria works hard to improve his topic development.

After his last disastrous TOEFL exam, Adria wanted to do much better on the speaking section, for a score of 19/30 strayed far from his goal of 26/30. Therefore, Adria joined an an Online TOEFL Course called “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT” so he could get the TOEFL iBT speaking practice he needed to improve his academic speaking proficiencies.  After posting his first independent speaking practice test, Adria was told by his TOEFL speaking mentor that he needed to make improvements with topic development.

First of all, Adria was informed that he needed a more sharply-focused topic statement, around which he could more clearly frame the body of his response.  For example, when answering the question, “Which do you think is a better form of exercise: bicycling or running? Use specific reasons and details to support your point of view.”, Adria began his speech by saying, “Personally, I like to run as my choice in exercise. I have several reasons to support my point of view.” However, his TOEFL iBT speaking mentor informed him that his introductory response was not focused enough and unoriginal. In fact, Adria learned that, since many TOEFLers would begin their speech similarly, this type of introduction could be considered a memorized template which would cause him to create a bad first impression in the TOEFL iBT human raters’ minds–the ones who are trained to score the independent and integrated speaking responses on the actual TOEFL exam. Of course, a bad first impression may lead to overall bad impression of the speaking task, which is not what Adria wanted.  Consequently, Adria learned to recast this topic statement so that it would be more focused and original: “Because it is less expensive and safer, I prefer running over bicycling as a viable form of exercise.” This newly created topic statement directly mentioned two key points that Adria would later restate in his response so that his ideas would cohere better.

Second of all, Adria needed to use make his ideas connect together better.  When moving from the introduction to the body, Adria tended to mention the first reason without restating the purpose of the speaking task. For example, when explaining why Adria preferred running over bicycling, he said, “Running doesn’t cost a lot of money.” His iBT speaking mentor informed him that he should restate part of the speaking task in order to more directly and more arguably answer the speaking prompt: “Running is a better choice than bicycling because it is less expensive.” His iBT speaking mentor also taught Adria how to create a transition between the first and second reason. Therefore, instead of saying, “Running is safe.”, Adria linked the first point in his response to the second part in his response, while restating the purpose of the task, when he said, “In addition to being less expensive than riding a bicycle, running is a much safer form of exercise.”

Finally, now that Adria had learned how to more coherently express his ideas, he needed to practice posting additional speaking practice tests, and it would not be long before he would be able to deliver speaking practice tests that would score much higher than 19/30 points.

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