Students from non-English speaking countries who wish to study abroad in England, or elsewhere in the United Kingdom, will likely need to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) prior to acceptance to a UK college or university. The TOEFL is used to determine how well you are able to speak, read, write and comprehend English, and your ability to succeed in an English language educational environment.
The speaking portion of the test focuses on your ability to respond to questions and participate in discussions both inside and outside of a classroom setting. This section will gauge both your ability to communicate in English, and your ability to hear others speak and paraphrase what has been said, showing your level of comprehension.
Here are five tips you can do to prepare to pass the TOEFL speaking section:
1. Read and summarize books and publications written in English. Part of the TOEFL test will involve reading a passage, listening to someone speak about that passage, then paraphrasing what you have read and heard. To prepare for this, read small sections of books and publications, then speak out loud in English to summarize what you have read. Practicing this with someone who speaks fluent English would be even more helpful.
2. Listen to recorded lectures, newscasts or podcasts. Take notes as you listen to English speakers speak about a certain topic. Then, using your outline and what you have heard, write and say a paraphrased version.
3. Record yourself speaking English. Recording yourself as you practice speaking English allows you to listen to where you place emphasis in certain phrases, your pronunciation and your tone. Listening to these recordings will assist you in fine-tuning your spoken English language skills.
4. Participate in conversations in English. One of the best ways to prepare for a spoken English exam is to practice speaking English in your everyday life as often as possible. If you have a friend who is fluent in English, this is very helpful. If not, you may want to consider hiring an English tutor, or seeking out English speakers where you live, or online.
5. Take advantage of online practice tests and test preparation guides. Visit the TOEFL website at www.ets.org/toefl to download their preparation guide, or to find practice tests and additional tips.
Speaking in a non-native language can sometimes be intimidating, but with preparation and practice you can build your confidence and hone your language skills. Use the tips listed above to practice speaking and comprehending English and you will soon be participating in English-language conversations with ease.