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10 Proven Strategies to Do Well in TOEIC Speaking Exams

Updated on September 23, 2012
By following proven effective tips, non-native English speakers can get high scores in TOEIC Speaking exams.
By following proven effective tips, non-native English speakers can get high scores in TOEIC Speaking exams. | Source

Taking TOEIC Speaking exams can be a nerve-wracking experience for English as a second language test-takers.

This is because TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) Speaking exams require test-takers to speak in fluent English in order to get high scores.

Speaking in effortless English during TOEIC Speaking exams is a challenge for ESL learners:

  • They fear committing grammar mistakes.
  • They grapple for words to express their thoughts.
  • They are conscious about their local accents and how these accents stop them from pronouncing English words properly.
  • Their listening comprehension may be poor.

Below are valuable tips for getting high scores in TOEIC Speaking exams.

1. Hire a Great English Tutor

Hiring a teacher for TOEIC Speaking exams is a good decision because:

  • a teacher can assess student’s weaknesses,
  • a teacher can give pointers for improvement,
  • a teacher can give suggestions on how to answer some questions, and
  • a teacher can teach a student how to speak by example.

It is very important to choose an excellent tutor for TOEIC Speaking exams. An excellent tutor is somebody who:

  • corrects all of student’s mistakes,
  • explains student’s mistakes,
  • tells a student how to avoid mistakes,
  • gives a student some suggested answers,
  • provides the student with better word choices,
  • monitors student’s progress ,
  • suggests ways to improve student’s speaking skills,
  • entertains student’s questions , and
  • clarifies difficult-to-understand topics.

Some one-to-one TOEIC Speaking exams review sessions with an English tutor are pricey.

Students, therefore, must get the whole value out of these sessions by choosing a great tutor.

2. Join a Review Class

Joining a TOEIC Speaking exams review class is an effective way to learn how to speak in English.

The teacher in a TOEIC Speaking exams review class usually gives the students tips about the following:

  • what to expect in the actual TOEIC Speaking exams
  • how to compose answers to questions
  • how to verbalize these answers
  • common mistakes in TOEIC Speaking exams

Usually, the fees for a TOEIC Speaking exams review classes are cheaper than those of one-to-one TOEIC Speaking exams review sessions with a tutor.

However, test-takers must decide whether they will learn better in a review class or in one-to-one sessions.

The teaching skill of the tutor, generally, is the most important consideration when deciding.

3. Neutralize Local Accents

Some local accents stop TOEIC Speaking exams test-takers from pronouncing their English words correctly.

This is because their mother tongues or local languages have different sets of sounds from English.

TOEIC Speaking exams test-takers must try to neutralize or reduce their local accents while speaking the English language.

  • This neutralizing of local accents may be difficult.
  • It may take time.
  • It is also unlikely to completely remove test-takers’ local accents.
  • It can, however, help the test-takers speak in comprehensible English.

Thus, test-takers must try to neutralize their accents years, months, or weeks before taking the TOEIC Speaking exams.

4. Speak Clearly

TOEIC Speaking exams are the occasions for speaking clearly, loudly and confidently.

Test-takers must avoid speaking softly and vaguely.

Mumbling or speaking indistinctly just to hide mistakes in speaking will not be helpful.

It can, in fact, lead to score reductions.

The goal is to make the ETS (the accredited group that conducts TOEIC exams) evaluators understand the recorded answers to exam questions.

5. Speak Slowly

Speaking slowly in TOEIC Speaking exams is a way for test-takers to make themselves understood.

Usually, local accents make it difficult for the test-takers to be understood.

It is practical for the test-takers to avoid speaking quickly.

By speaking quickly, test-takers risk being misunderstood.

It would be better for test-takers to speak slowly in a comprehensible manner.

With proper training, speaking in effortless English during TOEIC Speaking exams is possible.
With proper training, speaking in effortless English during TOEIC Speaking exams is possible. | Source

6. Focus

The rooms for TOEIC Speaking exams can be a bit noisy for some people.

This is because the rooms are filled with examinees.

These examinees speak on microphones to record their answers for TOEIC Speaking exams.

Many test-takers find it difficult to concentrate on speaking in TOEIC Speaking exams rooms.

As a result, they cannot record excellent answers for the test.

It is therefore useful for test-takers to focus while taking the exams.

To practice focusing, TOEIC Speaking exams test-takers must train how to speak in noisy places.

These places include restaurants filled with people, living rooms where the TV or radio is turned on, or crowded train stations.

Test-takers can also practice with friends and families listening.

The goal here is to focus on speaking clearly even though the surrounding area is noisy.

7. Speak Plain English

TOEIC Speaking exams test-takers must try to avoid slang or colloquial speech when giving answers.

This is because slang is usually not understood by most people, including some ETS evaluators.

Because slang can cause the test-takers to be misunderstood, their scores may also be reduced.

To be safe, test-takers must try to use plain English that is understood by many people.

8. Mind Your Grammar

Grammar is very important in TOEIC Speaking exams.

This is because proper use of grammar shows TOEIC Speaking exams test-takers’ understanding of English language rules.

It also shows the test-takers’ abilities to structure English sentences correctly.

Test-takers must review grammar rules thoroughly before taking the TOEIC Speaking exams.

9. Choose Words Correctly

Using general words in TOEIC Speaking exams can show test-takers’ inadequate English vocabulary.

For that reason, it is wise to vary words correctly.

Avoid using general terms like good, nice, pretty, or big.

Instead use skillful, polite, gorgeous, or enormous.

The goal here is to choose words that precisely express test-takers’ thoughts.

10. Add Life to Speech

Test-takers must avoid monotone voice.

A monotone voice is one that has only one tone.

It can cause the test-takers to sound robotic and lifeless.

Instead of using a monotone voice, test-takers must vary their tones.

By varying their tones, test-takers can make their recorded answers to TOEIC Speaking exams animated, lively, and engaging.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

TOEIC Speaking Sample Lesson


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    • Kate Podorvanova profile image

      Kate Podorvanova 

      6 years ago from Kharkov, Ukraine

      Hello everyone!

      There is a new cool app on AppStore to practice TOEIC test:

      It's an iOS application that is basically a simulator of the TOEIC test. Users of the app can select two modes: Practice and Exam. In the practice mode TOEIC candidates can practice separate skills and sections of the TOEIC and see the correct answers and transcripts. In the exam mode users can complete all 200 questions under real TOEIC conditions.

      The basic features of the app are free, the additional are paid. Check it out!

    • kiewkilw profile image


      7 years ago from Bangkok,Thailand

      I've been reading all of your TOEIC hubpages. I had the test before but it turned out not good. I am planning to do it again this time i will be using your tips and tricks for my higher points. Wish one day i would be good in English like yours. Thank you for your useful pages and inspiring me :)


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