Rhythm (SpeechRater™ Dimension)


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Rhythm in TOEFL® Speaking refers to the flow and cadence of your speech. In the TOEFL speaking section, you are assessed on your ability to use appropriate rhythm and pacing in your responses.

This means using pauses, emphasis, and other techniques to create a natural and engaging flow in your speech. A speaker with good rhythm in their speech will be able to hold the listener’s attention and convey their ideas effectively.

However, it is important to note that the TOEFL speaking section does not assess your ability to use rhythm in the same way that a music or dance performance would be assessed.

Instead, it assesses your ability to use rhythm and pacing to effectively communicate their ideas in English.

What is Rhythm in TOEFL® Speaking?​

Rhythm (Rh) in TOEFL® Speaking is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your pronunciation.

Rh is a measure of how closely your syllable stress resembles a native speaker.

Stronger speakers tend to stress syllables in a way that resembles a native speaker, which makes it easy for the listeners to understand them.

Your Rhythm Score​ in TOEFL® Speaking

Your Rhythm score is calculated based on the average distance between stressed syllables.

Rhythm is scored out of 100. Your score is indicated by the “You are here” line.

  • This response outscored 70% of the test takers in ETS’s database.
  • 30% of the responses scored higher in this one dimension.
  • This response is consistent with other TOEFL Speaking responses in the 15-30 range.

Tip: Learn more about how to read My Speaking Score charts, including the Impact score and what the coloured bars mean, in our knowledge base.

Why You Should Care

  • Those who score 26+ on TOEFL Speaking have an average Rh score of 92.13.
  • Rh is one of the mild predictors of your overall TOEFL speaking score.

Increase Your Score

Make sure you stress syllables accurately. If you think you should improve your rhythm score, you should listen to the native pronunciation of words, especially when you are not completely sure about how you should stress them. You can also use an app or tool that can help you compare your pronunciation to that of a native speaker and realize differences in stress.

On My Speaking Score, remember to listen to your recording again to see if you stressed some syllables incorrectly. You may need to get support from an expert who can give you feedback on your stress and intonation.

Remember, Rhythm is a measure of your pronunciation, and it has a mild impact on your overall SpeechRater score.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Improve My Rhythm In English If I Don’t Have Access To A Native Speaker?

Even without direct access to a native speaker, there are many ways to improve your rhythm. Language learning apps and online platforms often feature native speaker audio. Listening to podcasts, watching English movies or TV shows, and practicing shadowing techniques—where you repeat phrases immediately after hearing them—can also be incredibly effective. These methods help you get accustomed to the natural flow and cadence of English speech.

Are There Specific Techniques Or Exercises To Help With Practicing Syllable Stress?

Yes, focusing on syllable stress is crucial for improving your rhythm. Start with learning the correct stress for individual words using online dictionaries with audio pronunciations. Practice saying these words out loud, emphasizing the stressed syllable. Gradually move on to sentences, ensuring you stress the key words that carry the sentence’s main meaning. Recording and listening to your practice sessions can also offer insights into your stress patterns and areas for improvement.

How Is The “Average Distance Between Stressed Syllables” Measured, And How Can I Analyze My Own Speech For Rhythm?

The average distance between stressed syllables is a technical measure of how rhythmically consistent your speech is with the patterns of a native speaker. To analyze your own rhythm, you can use speech analysis software or language learning apps that provide feedback on pronunciation and stress. Additionally, audio editing software can visually display the waveform of your speech, helping you to see and adjust the rhythm of your stressed syllables to more closely match native speaker patterns.    

ChatGPT & TOEFL® Speaking Prep

The AI-powered virtual assistant ChatGPT is an excellent resource for TOEFL Speaking practice. With carefully written instructions, it delivers beautiful responses to your inputs. Though you may need to ask a question more than once, the process of coaxing out various responses from ChatGPT is not only fun but also informative.

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