Vocabulary Depth (SpeechRater™ Dimension)

Vocabulary Depth in TOEFL Speaking

What’s Inside?

Table of Contents

Vocabulary Depth in TOEFL® Speaking refers to the range and complexity of the words that you use while speaking during the speaking section of the TOEFL® test. The speaking section of the TOEFL® assesses your ability to speak English clearly and accurately, and vocabulary depth is one factor that is considered when evaluating your performance. A good Vocabulary Depth is one that is appropriate for the content being spoken and

demonstrates the ability to use a wide range of words to express ideas clearly and effectively. A person with a deep vocabulary is able to use a variety of words, including more advanced and sophisticated terms, to convey their ideas in a precise and nuanced way. This can help to improve the clarity and effectiveness of their speech.

What is Vocabulary Depth in TOEFL® Speaking?​

Vocabulary Depth (VDe) in TOEFL® Speaking is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your language use.

VDe is a measure of how how accurately and frequently you use uncommon words in your response.

Your Vocabulary Depth Score​

Your Vocabulary Depth score is calculated based on the comparison of vocabulary items and word types you used with a reference corpus consisting of input from learners of English.

Vocabulary Depth 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.

Vocabulary Depth

Why You Should Care

Increase Your Score

Make sure that you use a variety of vocabulary items accurately in your speech. Try to include more specific vocabulary items to describe characters and actions. For example, when referring to a medical doctor, it might be a better idea to use physician instead of doctor. Stronger speakers

On My Speaking Score, remember to check your transcription to see if there were specific terms that you could have used instead of more common words.If you are not sure, you may look up a thesaurus.

Remember, Vocabulary Depth is a measure of your language use. It does not have a high impact on your speaking score, but a low Vocabulary Depth score can decrease your overall SpeechRater score.

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

How can I effectively practice to improve my Vocabulary Depth for the TOEFL® Speaking section?
  • Read widely:    with a variety of English texts, including academic articles, novels, and newspapers. This exposes you to advanced and field-specific vocabulary.
  • Use flashcards: Create flashcards for new and uncommon words you encounter. Include definitions, synonyms, and example sentences to understand the context.
  • Practice speaking: Regularly use new vocabulary in your spoken English. Practice describing objects, experiences, and opinions using varied terminology.
  • Engage in language exchange: Conversing with native speakers or other learners can provide feedback on your vocabulary usage and introduce you to new words.
  • Utilize apps and online resources: Language learning apps often have sections dedicated to vocabulary building, offering interactive ways to learn and practice new words.

Enhancing Vocabulary Depth means choosing precise and sometimes less common words that accurately convey your meaning. For instance:

  • Instead of “big,” use “substantial,” “considerable,” or “vast.”
  • Replace “happy” with “ecstatic,” “jubilant,” or “elated.”
  • Use “meticulous” or “scrupulous” instead of “careful.”
  • For “doctor,” consider “physician,” “specialist,” or “practitioner.”
  • Instead of “problem,” use “dilemma,” “quandary,” or “predicament.” These substitutions not only enhance Vocabulary Depth but also improve the precision of your responses.
  • Pronunciation and Fluency: Clear articulation and smooth speech are crucial. Vocabulary Depth enhances communication but is less impactful without these elements.
  • Grammar and Accuracy: Correct grammatical structure is fundamental. Advanced vocabulary used incorrectly can detract from your score.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: The ability to organize ideas logically and connect them coherently is key. A varied vocabulary can improve cohesion through precise expressions but should not overshadow the clarity of your argument.
  • Vocabulary Depth: While not the strongest predictor of your overall score, it complements other aspects by enabling more nuanced and effective communication. A balanced approach that improves all these areas simultaneously is recommended for the best overall performance.

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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