Sustained Speech

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Sustained Speech (TOEFL® Speaking)
Sustained Speech in TOEFL® Speaking is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your fluency. It is one of 12 dimensions measured on My Speaking Score.

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In every day life, sustained speech refers to the ability to speak continuously for an extended period of time without pausing or stopping. It is an important aspect of communication and is often used to give presentations or speeches, as well as to engage in conversation with others.

Sustained speech requires the ability to plan and organize your thoughts, and to effectively use vocalization and nonverbal communication to convey your ideas. It is typically associated with a clear and fluent speaking style, and it has a big impact on your TOEFL® Speaking score.

What is Sustained Speech in TOEFL® Speaking?​

Sustained Speech (SS)  in TOEFL® Speaking context is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your fluency. It is one of 12 dimensions measured on My Speaking Score.

SS is a measure of how smoothly you speak based on the number of words you utter without any pauses.

  • You should pause less frequently and speak faster.
  • Top achievers on the TOEFL speaking test speak 158 words per minute on average.

Your Sustained Speech Score​

Your Sustained Speech score is calculated based on the number of words you speak without any interruption and the number of fillers per second.

  • Higher Sustained Speech score = fewer pauses + more words without interruption.
  • Sustained Speech is scored out of 100.
  • Your score is indicated by the “You are here” line.
Sustained Speech (TOEFL® Speaking)
  • This response outscored 64% of the test takers in ETS’s database.
  • 36% 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 Sustained Speech score of 92.97.
  • Sustained Speech is one of the strongest predictors of your overall TOEFL speaking score.
  • Speaking Rate correlates well with some other indicators, such as pause frequency, distribution of pauses, phrase length, and speaking rate (when your Sustained Speech score is high, your score on these other indicators is likely to be high).

Increase Your Score

Reduce the number of times you pause in your speech and try to speak longer without any interruption. Stronger speakers

  • Pause less frequently.
  • Speak faster with few or no interruptions.
  • Read audio waveforms for gaps.
Sustained Speech (TOEFL® Speaking)
Fewer gaps mean fewer pauses. The longer the space between two pauses, the higher your Sustained Speech score.

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More To Explore

Vocabulary Depth (TOEFL® Speaking)
SpeechRater™ Dimensions

Vocabulary Depth

Vocabulary Depth in TOEFL® Speaking is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your language use. It is one of 12 dimensions measured on My Speaking Score.

Pause Frequency (TOEFL® Speaking)
SpeechRater™ Dimensions

Pause Frequency

Pause Frequency in TOEFL® Speaking is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your fluency. It is one of 12 dimensions measured on My Speaking Score.

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