TOEFL Speaking: How to practice, argumentation and conversation topics

The Speaking section is the backbone of learning English. The basis of communication, in addition to the written word, is talking.

As with the writing section of the TOEFL, the oral section includes two types of questions: “independent” and “integrated”.

Regarding the topics, there is a clear division between both types: In the TOEFL Speaking, the integrated topics are academic while the independent topics are related to personal experiences, ideas and opinions.

However, ETS's preferred topics in the Speaking section are those of an academic nature, so it is pertinent to emphasize this kind of topics when studying, above those that refer to the "independent" questions section.

When we speak, we externalize our thoughts, opinions or knowledge on a certain subject, so when learning a second language, it is essential to learn how to express yourself adequately.

TOEFL Speaking: Sample Questions

Here is a list of 10 new topics that may be useful if you are preparing for Part 1 of the Speaking section of the iBT TOEFL. These are all independent "open choice" / personal experience or opinion topics:


1. Who is your best friend? Describe this person and say why he/she is your best friend.

2. What is your favorite place to visit on weekends? Describe it and explain why it is your favorite place to go.

3. What is your happiest childhood memory? Describe it and give reasons to explain why it is your happiest memory.

4. What is your most important possession? Describe it and say why it is so important.

5. Talk about a person in your life who has inspired you. Describe the person and explain why you found him/her inspirational.

6. Where do most like to go to eat out? Describe this place and say why you like it most.

7. Talk about an important national holiday in your home country. Describe it and explain why it is important.

8. What is your favorite book or movie? Describe it and say why it is your favorite.

9. Who do you feel close to in your family (or extended family)? Describe this person and say why you feel close to him/her.

10. Where is a good place to have fun in your city or town? Describe this place and explain why it is fun.

TOEFL Speaking: How to practice arguments and conversation topics

There are multiple ways to practice speaking, but they all come down to spending time with a native teacher. In this way, not only is fluency and pronunciation management more dynamic, but it also allows errors to be avoided and corrected in time.

In any case, there are a series of strategies that can complement working with a native teacher, and that can help improve our way of arguing or the topics of conversation that are used:

  • Watch your favorite series in English without subtitles
  • record yourself talking
  • Read aloud texts in English related to your interests
  • Simulate online conferences

TOEFL Speaking: Scores

The scores in the case of the iBT (internet based test) range from 0 to 120. This is divided into four bands that respond to internationally accepted levels or categories, those whose nomenclatures are with letters and numbers.

If we obtain between 41-70 points, we will be credited with a B1 level, a B2 for 71-90 points, a C1 for 91-112 points and a C2 for 113 to 120 points.

Each section of the TOEFL test also collects a specific number of points. In the case of Speaking, the tasks score between 0 and 4 points, and the result is converted to a scale between 0 and 30