TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice

The TOEFL integrated speaking practice on this web page will help you learn how to paraphrase someone’s else’s idea by changing the vocabulary, the word order, and the grammar of the sentences that you hear and read.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice: What is a paraphrase?

Paraphrase means to rewrite someone else’s ideas using your own grammar and vocabulary using roughly the same number of words as the original source.

Original sentence: Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy.

Paraphrased sentences: Plants change light from the sun into a type of food through photosynthesis.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice: Why do I need to paraphrase?

Integrated speaking tasks 3 and 4 require you to read a passage and then listen to a campus-related passage or a lecture. For integrated speaking tasks 5 and 6, you will listen to and then speak about a campus-related topic or lecture.  Your task is either to show how the listening and the reading passages are related or to explain the most important points of a conversation or lecture. As a result, you will need to paraphrase these ideas using your own vocabulary and grammar.  You cannot, however, simply repeat word for word what you have just read or listened to, for you will get a score of 0 if you do that. Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice: Use different vocabulary

As you read and listen to campus-related or academic passages, you MUST be comfortable taking notes.  Because you cannot write as fast as someone speaks, you should be focusing on the most important points of the listening passage.  Inasmuch as you do not want to plagiarize a reading passage, you should be jotting down some key words about the passages as well.  Therefore, you will need an expansive vocabulary of synonyms as you paraphrase other people’s ideas. E-mail me at if you want a college-level list of 1,700 words.

For the remainder of this web page, let’s base our paraphrase on the following complicated sentence:

Long before Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, the Vikings from Scandanavia explored North America approximately 500 years prior to the adventurer’s famous journey.

Your first step in paraphrasing this sentence is to identify the most important words in the sentence. Then, you should use synonyms for some of the words. For example, “Christopher Columbus,” “discovered,” “America,” “1492,” “Vikings,” “Scandanavia,” “explored,” “North America,” “500,” and “prior” are key words that you should be paying attention to.

Now you need to think of some synonyms that you can use for each word:

Christopher Columbus = explorer

discovered = found (out)

North America or North Americas = the Americas

1492 = in the late 15th century

Vikings = Vikings

500 = five centuries

Prior = before

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice: Use different word order/grammar

In addition to using synonyms, you should also change the word order of the sentence. Thus, the paraphrased sentence can begin talking about the Vikings and end by discussing the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus.

Original sentence: Long before Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, the Vikings from Scandanavia explored North America approximately 500 years prior to the adventurer’s famous journey.

Paraphrased sentence: The Scandanavian Vikings ventured on the North American continent five centuries before Christopher Columbus’s trip to find America in 1492.

TOEFL Integrated Speaking Practice: Final Tips

Practice, practice, and more practice: That pretty much sums up your TOEFL preparation to improve your integrated speaking.  You should be reading and listening to passages.  Taking notes on the main and support points of those passages will help you to improve.  Using your notes, you should practice recording yourself giving 60 second responses. As you listen to your responses, keep in mind the following:

Make sure you did not leave out any important reading and listening passage points.

Do not mispresent or change the meaning of any information that you read or listen to. Your response must be accurate and complete.

You should not be using exactly the same grammar and vocabulary from the reading and listening passages.  Use the paraphrasing tips on this web page to help you improve.

Make sure you are clearly pronouncing all the words in your response. Do not use too many frequent pauses and hesitations.  Remember to vary your intonation so that it sounds natural.

Minimize your grammatical and word choice errors.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,