On TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4, you will read a short passage. Then you will listen to a lecture. You will then have about 30 seconds to prepare your notes. Once the computer says “begin speaking,” you will have 60 seconds to record your response. Following several tips and tricks will help you to get to the best score possible.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Preparation is key.
This type of TOEFL speaking task is academic. So, you need to practice reading and listening to academic materials. Go to National Public Radio online. At this web site, you can find listening and reading passages on various topics. The passages at this site are geared toward adult native speakers. As a result, the vocabulary and grammar will include both basic and advanced forms.
As you read and listen to the passages, you should jot down the main and most important support ideas.
- Using your notes, you should record 60 second responses of the passages that you are reading and listening to.
- Record your responses so you can listen to them. Pay attention to the grammar and vocabulary that you use. Make sure you are not repeating word for word what you are reading and listening to. Rather, you should be using your own grammar and vocabulary as you re-explain the ideas.
- Make sure you use simple present tense reporting verbs (i.e, “the reading passage states…,” or “the speaker in the lecture argues….” to summarize the two texts.
- Most students who spend a few months reading, listening to, taking notes, and orally summarizing the texts, recording, and evaluating their speaking score very high on this speaking task.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Understand how to organize your response.
Typically, in this type of TOEFL speaking task, the reading passage will define an academic concept. Then the speaker in the lecture will give an example to further explain the academic concept. Consequently, you will need to organize your speaking task into three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: The introduction
Introduction: The author in the reading passage defines an economic concept, and the speaker in the lecture gives an example to show how the concept works in real life.
Make sure you explain how the reading and listening passages are connected.
Use a compound sentence in order to connect the main points of the two texts.
Use simple present tense reporting verbs as voice markers for both sources.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: The body
Body: First of all, the author introduces the law of supply and demand economic concept. According to the author, in a capitalist market, when the demand for a product is low, then the price for that product will decrease. Conversely, when consumers really want a product, the price for that product will increase, especially if the supply of such product is low.
Second of all, the speaker illustrates this concept by discussing some chocolate sold at an auction. No one else at the auction was selling the delicious treat, according to the speaker. However, seven different buyers really wanted to buy that item, so the speaker explains that the buyers got into a bidding war. Finally, the chocolate sold for more than $300 US.
- Talk about the reading passage first and then discuss the listening passage.
- Use 4-6 voice markers directly identifying the author of the reading passage and the speaker in the lecture.
- Use simple present tense reporting verbs to explain the information and to introduce the different sources.
- Keep your tone neutral by neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the information.
- Focus on the most important points from the reading and the listening passage.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: The conclusion
Conclusion: To sum up, the speaker’s example of the chocolate sold at the auction clarifies the economic concept discussed by the author in the reading passage.
- Restate the introduction. However, this time state the main idea of the listening passage and then explain the main idea of the reading passage. Use a simple sentence (with one subject and one verb) so you have different grammar from your introduction.
- Use a summary transition word to conclude the response: to sum up, to conclude, in summary, in the final analysis…
- Use two voice markers acknowledging the information in the reading and the listening passage.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Practice and record responses to this type of academic speaking task.
Many students think they can simply watch a whole bunch of You Tube videos to get a high speaking score. This is simply not true. First, you should spend a lot of time daily getting exposure to English. For example, talk to native or near native speakers as often as you can. Watch television and movies. Listen to Podcasts and music. Spend time reading magazines, newspapers, and books.
Second, get comfortable speaking 100-200 words a minute in English without a lot of pauses and hesitations. Then, you can start TOEFL speaking practice by recording responses to this type of integrated speaking. Listen to your recordings, so that you can critique your delivery, language-use, and topic development.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Critiquing your delivery
When you listening to your recording of integrated speaking task four, ask yourself the following:
- Do I pause after every 4-5 content words with a slight rise in tone (with all thought groups except the last)? Do I drop my intonation slightly at the end of every sentence, except yes/no questions?
- Do I blend words together in the same thought group?
- Do I place more stress on nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs?
- Do I place less stress on prepositions (i.e., “to,” “of,” “below….” ) , determiners (i.e., “many,” “a,” “two…” ) and auxiliary verbs (“is” washing, “have” lived, “will” go…)?
- Do I place primary stress on the correct syllable of longer words? Do I make the stressed syllable clearer, louder, longer, and higher pitched?
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Critiquing your language use
In addition, you should also evaluate your speaking in terms of language use:
Do I use a combination of basic and advanced grammar?
Am I consistent with my point of view and verb tenses?
Do I use both basic and advanced vocabulary? Are my vocabulary words precise?
Do I have any inappropriate word choice problems?
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Critiquing your topic development
To make sure you are organized and have adequately supporting details, ask yourself these questions:
Independent speaking tasks: Do I have a sharply focused topic statement in the beginning of the response (Avoid using a memorized template!)?
Independent speaking tasks: Do I use 1-2 specific, personal details to illustrate my ideas?
Integrated speaking tasks: Do I use a sharply-focused statement that frames the reading and the listening passage or the listening passage?
Integrated speaking tasks: Do I use 10-12 voice markers in my response to identify the author and the speaker in the reading and the listening passages?
Independent and integrated speaking tasks: Do I have a clear connection of ideas in all parts of my response by
Using transition words?
Using determiners and pronouns?
Repeating or rephrasing key words?
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Get help from a TOEFL speaking mentor.
There are advantages to consulting a TOEFL speaking mentor.
- You will be able to learn exactly which pronunciation problems you are having and how to eliminate them.
- These mentors will effectively diagnose vocabulary and grammar problems affecting your speech.
- These speaking coaches will also be to recommend specific lessons that you can study to address your weaknesses.
- You will shorten how much time you have to study before scoring 26+ on TOEFL speaking.
TOEFL Integrated Speaking Task 4: Model Response
Listen to the model response for this type of speaking task:
Michael Buckhoff, http://onlinetoeflcourse.com