Boost Your TOEFL Speaking Score with “The Grid” – A Simple Guide for Success

Learning Objectives

Do you want to improve your TOEFL Speaking score? You’re in the right place! We will talk about “The Grid,” a simple method that helps you answer TOEFL Speaking questions better.

This guide will show you what the Grid is, how to use it, and how it can help you get a better TOEFL Speaking score.

What is the Grid?

The Grid is an easy way to plan and give answers in the TOEFL Speaking section. It looks like a tic-tac-toe board with six squares.

Each square is for 7-8 seconds of your answer. When you use the Grid, it helps you speak clearly and get a higher TOEFL Speaking score.

How to use the Grid To Boost Your TOEFL Speaking Score:

Before the Speaking section starts, draw four Grids on your paper—one for each question. Do this during the pre-test time or after a break.

How to answer Question 1 (Q1) with the Grid:

  1. Make the Question 1 Grid: On a blank page, draw the Grid. Write “V” (verb) in the top middle square to remind you to use action words. Write “A” (adjective) in the top right square to remind you to use describing words.
  2. The Q1 Grid Tactic: Your answer should follow this plan:
    • First 15 seconds: Begin talking, show you know what you’re talking about, and say your main idea.
    • Next 15 seconds: Say and explain your first point or reason.
    • Final 15 seconds: Say and explain your second point or reason.
  3. Start the Q1 task: When the Q1 prompt shows up, you have 15 seconds to think and plan your answer. Write your ideas in your Grid. Use a verb in column 1 and an adjective in column 2 (or two verbs/adjectives).
  4. Give your answer: Take a deep breath and start talking when you hear the ‘beep.’ Speak fast because it’s not a normal conversation. Look at the time on the screen, and change columns in your Grid every 15 seconds.


Using “The Grid” can help you get a better TOEFL Speaking score. It helps you plan and give clear answers. Practice using the Grid with different questions to build your confidence.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free 9-day TOEFL Speaking Bootcamp for more help and tips. The Bootcamp will teach you how to use the Grid and other methods, so you can get the TOEFL Speaking score you want. Plus, you’ll learn about SpeechRater, a helpful tool for practicing speaking skills.

Check out our blog to learn more about how to improve your score!

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