3 Free Ways to Improve your TOEFL Speaking Delivery


Totally panicked about TOEFL Speaking prep? It’s a common feeling! Let’s zoom in on 3 things you can do on one of the most stress-inducing sections (come on, isn’t it the MOST stress inducing section?)

Before we get into how you can build awesome speaking delivery skills, let me give you some context.

ETS Humanoids

Make sure you know what the ETS TOEFL Raters (the real-live humans who evaluate your TOEFL Speaking) want. Simple, right? Know what they want and then give it to them.

The Speaking Rubrics – those secret documents that ETS TOEFL Raters use – are freely available online.


Notice the “Delivery” column. When you hear random people talking about “delivery” they could be talking about getting something from Amazon, but when Raters are talking about it, they mean your fluency and clarity.

Any ETS Rater will tell you that Delivery is a critical part of your TOEFL Speaking score. And while you want to pay attention to all elements on the rubric, Delivery is probably the toughest one to get right.

So, now that we know what the ETS Rater guys want, let’s figure out a few ways to deliver it to them!

1: Talk with Ted

TED Talks is every TOEFL teacher’s dream and it should be part of your preparation strategy. Here’s how to use it: go to the website and select Watch.

Use that as a filter to look for short videos (0-6 minutes). Once you find one you like, use the transcript feature to listen and repeat. Try to mimic what you hear. The transcripts are great because you can click into them and put a phrase or even a word on loop. Practice and repeat!

Here’s one that I like called “Four Billion Years of Evolution in Six Minutes” because it’s funny AND it has some “TOEFL language” inside it. Bonus!

When you get bored with all those prep materials in TPO, you’re going to need a diversion, so make studying with TED Talks a part of your daily life.

2: Sing Along

If you love belting out your favorite tunes in your local Karaoke room, then you’ll love this one. Find your favorite singer’s video – with lyrics! – and try to follow along – and even sing along (what will the neighbors think!)

If you can’t find a YouTube song with the lyrics in the video, find them using Google and have fun.

Here’s my new favorite tune by Calvin Harris – The Weekend. Who knew that working on your English delivery could be so fun?

TOEFL Listening with Calvin Harris

People often describe English as “musical” and there is a lot to learn from listening and singing along. Like the TED Talks strategy, you are repeating (out loud!)

Oh, just a note here: singing your TOEFL responses is NOT recommended (I asked my ETS Rater friend Mark Graff for confirmation ;))

3: Google Voice Typing

This one is great. It also involves speaking out loud. Didn’t I mention that we were working on TOEFL Speaking Delivery? Delivery means you gotta speak.

Here’s how to make Google Voice Typing a free feedback machine: Open a new Google Doc. Copy part of that TED transcript or those lyrics you found and paste them into a blank document. Select Tools > Voice Typing and start reading what you pasted into your mic. Here’s my GVT:

Now knowing you’re a fish and not a monkey is actually really important to understanding where we came from.

Whoa! That random bit of text ^^^ about fish and monkeys got there from my mouth, not my keyboard!! I used the transcript of “Four Billion Years of Evolution in Six Minutes”!

Are you seeing how cool this can be?


I did a video about how to use Google Voice Typing here.


Hopefully, I have convinced you that TOEFL preparation means having a learning strategy. That means having a plan to reach a goal.

Today, you learned how to move one step closer to boosting your TOEFL Speaking delivery score.

PS: If you are not using TPO for free TOEFL prep materials, you should be. Check out my post on exactly how to use TPO.

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