Speaking Rate (SpeechRater™ Dimension)

Speaking Rate (TOEFL® Speaking)

Learning Objectives

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.

Speaking Rate (TOEFL® Speaking)
  • This response outscored 60% of the test takers in ETS’s database.
  • 40% of the responses scored higher in this one dimension.
  • This response is consistent with other TOEFL Speaking responses in the 18-25 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 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:

  • Pause less frequently.
  • Speak faster with more words.
  • Use a variety of word types in their speech.

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

Speaking Rate (TOEFL® Speaking)
The WPM is a direct measure of your SR. Top achievers speak 158 words every minute on average. A lower WPM score is highly likely to decrease your SR 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! 

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