I’ve conducted thousands of TOEFL Speaking classes with non-native English speakers over the years. A percentage have a belief that memorizing answers will give them an edge in the TOEFL Speaking Section. It won’t. (test your TOEFL IQ now!).
Generally, a learner with a whole lot of memorized language has developed his own studying formula: script answers to popular questions and then learn them by rote. The resulting output is always clunky and inauthentic.
To boot, the memorization process has probably caused errors to become baked in.
Sometimes teachers are the cause of this hyper-preparation. In TOEFL classrooms, it is a good idea to focus on highly structured replies to question types in order to help a speaker satisfy the assessment criteria. But that doesn’t mean memorized. It means practiced.
Candidates in the hot seat need to be head smart, with heart. That means delivering authentic responses to whatever comes their way. I discourage learners from incanting long formulaic chunks of language. Instead, I help students understand common elements in TOEFL Independent Speaking tasks, and then plan tactical response strategies to both expected and unforeseen questions.
It’s all about storytelling.
If you are preparing for the TOEFL, consider using storytelling talking points instead of memorizing a bunch of answers. I get into lots of Speaking strategies and tactics in my TOEFL prep course. Check it out!
If you are interested in learning even more about TOEFL Speaking, check out my course Clear Strategies & Tactics.
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