TOEFL Speaking Strategies: How to Manage Time During TOEFL Speaking Test

Time Management in Standardized Tests

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 Without appropriate strategies, TOEFL speaking test can be a daunting segment of the exam for many students. Efficient time management during this part of the test is crucial to display your language abilities effectively. Here’s how to make the most of the minutes during the TOEFL speaking test, ensuring you articulate your responses clearly and within the time limits.

Understand the Structure

Firstly, familiarize yourself with the structure of the TOEFL speaking test. This section includes four tasks: one independent and three integrated. Knowing the format helps you predict the types of questions you will encounter, allowing you to prepare and practice appropriately. The first task is typically an independent question where you express an opinion on a familiar topic. The next three tasks involve reading and listening to excerpts and then speaking about them.

Practice with Timers

Use My Speaking Score to practice with timers, simulating real test conditions. The platform offers real-time feedback and timing that helps you get a sense of how quickly you need to think and speak. For the independent task, you generally have 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak. My Speaking Score’s practice environment will ensure you are adept at managing these constraints.

Plan Your Response

Develop a quick and efficient planning method (e.g. The Grid) . For the independent task, jot down key points you want to cover. For integrated tasks, note down critical connections between the reading and listening materials. Your notes should be brief and coherent—use shorthand or symbols if that speeds up the process.

Be Concise and Coherent

When you speak, aim for clarity and conciseness. Avoid circling around the topic. Start with a main statement and then expand with supporting details. This structure not only keeps your response organized but also ensures that you stay on topic, which is crucial for scoring well.

Practice Fluent Speech

Fluency is more than speed—it’s about smooth, natural delivery. Work on linking your ideas together in a way that sounds natural and engaging. Practice helps you reduce pauses, fillers, and repetitive phrases, all of which can waste precious seconds and reduce the clarity of your message.

Use Standardized Phrases

Prepare standardized phrases to transition between ideas or to fill time if needed without sounding repetitive. Phrases like “Another point to consider is…” or “Furthermore, the speaker mentions…” can help structure your responses and connect ideas fluidly.

Listen Carefully

During integrated tasks, listening carefully is as important as speaking. Misunderstanding the content can lead to off-topic responses. My Speaking Score includes practice materials that allow you to hone your active listening skills, such as noting down key words and the speaker’s attitude or tone, which are crucial for accurate and relevant responses.

Manage Stress

Finally, effective time management on the TOEFL speaking test also involves managing your stress. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing to stay calm and focused during the test. A clear mind will help you think and speak more coherently.



By incorporating these strategies into your TOEFL preparation, you can improve not only your time management skills but also your overall performance in the speaking section. Remember, practice is key to becoming proficient at managing your time effectively during this challenging part of the TOEFL test. You can overcome the pressure of timed exams and perform at your best in standardized tests. Remember to stay positive, manage your time effectively, get plenty of rest, eat a healthy breakfast, and take breaks when needed. With these tips in mind, you can conquer any timed exam that comes your way.

How many tasks are in the TOEFL speaking test?

The TOEFL speaking test consists of four tasks: one independent and three integrated. The independent task involves expressing an opinion on a familiar topic, while the integrated tasks require you to respond based on reading and listening exercises.

For the independent task, you will have 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak. The integrated tasks vary slightly in timing but generally provide 30 seconds for preparation and 60 seconds for the response.


Practice with timers using platforms like My Speaking Score to simulate real test conditions. Develop a method for quick and efficient planning, use standardized phrases to transition between ideas smoothly, and practice techniques to maintain fluency and minimize pauses.

Focus on starting with a clear main statement and then expand using relevant supporting details. Avoid unnecessary repetition and off-topic ramblings to stay concise and on point.


Very important. Accurate listening ensures you understand the task’s requirements and base your response on the correct information. Practice active listening by noting key points and the speaker’s tone during your preparation.


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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