Speaking Rate (SpeechRater™ Dimension)

Speaking Rate in TOEFL Speaking

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Speaking Rate in TOEFL® Speaking refers to the speed at which you speak during the speaking section of the TOEFL® test. This section of the test assesses your ability to speak English clearly and accurately, and the speaking rate is one factor that is considered when evaluating your performance.

A good speaking rate is one that is natural and easy to understand, neither too fast nor too slow. It’s important to strike a balance and speak at a pace that allows you to articulate your words clearly and allow the listener to understand what you are saying.

What is Speaking Rate in TOEFL® Speaking?​

Speaking Rate (SR) in TOEFL® Speaking is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your fluency.

SR is a measure of how fast you speak.

You should speak faster with no pauses between words.

  • Any pause between two words that lasts more than 0.145 seconds is a “silence”.
  • If the pause takes around 0.5 seconds, it is a “long silence”.
  • Top achievers on the TOEFL speaking test speak 158 words per minute on average.

Your Speaking Rate Score

Your Speaking Rate score is calculated based on the number of words you speak and the number of word types you use per second.

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

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 SR score of 91.32
  • SR is one of the stronger predictors of your overall TOEFL speaking score.
  • SR correlates well with some other indicators, such as phrase length, vowels, distribution of pauses, sustained speech, grammatical accuracy, and pause frequency (when your SR core is high, your score on these other indicators is likely to be high).

Increase Your Score

Increase the number of words you speak, reduce the number of pauses in your speech (see Pause Frequency), and use a wider variety of word types (see Vocabulary Diversity).

 

Stronger speakers: 

On My Speaking Score, remember to check your words per minute (WPM) score:

 

Remember, Speaking Rate is a very important measure of your fluency, and it has a high impact on your overall SpeechRater score.

 

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

How Does Speaking Rate Compare To Other Factors In The TOEFL® Speaking Section In Terms Of Importance?

Speaking Rate Is A Crucial Component Of The TOEFL® Speaking Section, But It Is One Among Several Factors Evaluated. The TOEFL® Speaking Section Also Assesses Grammatical Accuracy, Pronunciation, Coherence, And The Organization Of Content. While Speaking Rate Significantly Influences Your Fluency And Overall Score, It Is Important To Maintain A Holistic Preparation Approach. Balancing All These Aspects Ensures A Comprehensive Demonstration Of Your English Speaking Abilities. Enhancing Your Speaking Rate Without Compromising Clarity Or Accuracy In Other Areas Is Key To Achieving A High Overall Score In The Speaking Section.

Yes, there are several effective exercises and techniques to improve your Speaking Rate:

  • Shadowing Practice: Listen to native English speakers and try to mimic their speech as closely as possible. This practice helps you get used to the rhythm and pace of natural English speech.
  • Read Aloud: Reading English texts aloud can improve your pronunciation, fluency, and speaking speed. Focus on maintaining a steady pace that mirrors natural speech patterns.
  • Tongue Twisters: Practicing tongue twisters can enhance your articulation, allowing you to speak more clearly at faster rates.
  • Record and Review: Record yourself speaking and listen back to identify pauses and hesitations. Aim to reduce these in future practice sessions.
  • Conversation Practice: Engage in regular conversations in English. This not only improves fluency but also helps you get comfortable with speaking at a natural and coherent pace.

The SpeechRater™ System Used In Evaluating The TOEFL® Speaking Section Is Designed To Be As Fair And Unbiased As Possible. It Recognizes The Global Diversity Of English Speakers And Is Calibrated To Account For Various Accents And Dialects. While The System Evaluates The Clarity Of Speech, It Does Not Penalize Test-Takers For Having An Accent. The Focus Is On The Ability To Communicate Effectively And Clearly. However, It’s Important For Test-Takers To Practice Speaking Clearly And At A Pace That Is Both Natural And Understandable To A Wide Audience, Regardless Of Their Accent.

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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