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TOEIC Speaking

The optional Speaking and Writing test was introduced in 2006. More and more people in business connect globally through video conferencing, web conferencing, Skype and e-mail. If you're going to be successful in a global company, you have to be able to speak fluently and write well in English.

The type and format of the questions in the optional Speaking and Writing test are quite different compared to the standard TOEIC test. However, similar skills are being tested as well as your ability to communicate effectively. As with the standard test, all the questions are designed to represent real world corporate situations from the factory level all the way up to the boardroom. Your ability to communicate in any kind of workplace situation is being evaluated. However, you do not have to have specialized buisness knowledge to be able to answer the speaking or writing tasks.

Unlike the Listening and Reading sections of the standard TOEIC test, the optional Speaking and Writing test is done at a computer. Your responses are sent directly to ETS's online scoring network where highly trained graders by ETS will mark your responses. For Speaking, the range of scores varies for the 5 types of tasks: 0-3 for the first 4 task types (covers tasks 1-10), and 0-5 for the last task type (covers task 11). The sum of your scores for the 11 speaking tasks is then scaled. The scaled score range is 0-200. In addition to your scaled score, you are assigned a proficiency level. There are 8 for speaking. To see what the 8 levels are as well as description of what each means in terms of your speaking ability, see the ETS PDF here.

What score you get for your speaking responses is based on how well you demonstrate these essential skills: fluency and extended discourse, pronounciation, intonation and stress, and vocabulary and grammar usage. Fluency and extended discourse refers to how well you speak and for how long you can talk about the topic. Do you speak clearly and with few pauses? Does it sound natural? Your pace also can't be too fast or too slow. You should try to say as much as you can – while staying on topic – in the time allowed for each question. Intonation and stress mean your ability to express emotion, and be able to emphasize important words. You don't sound like a robot when you speak your native language right? You need to be able to do the same in English. For vocabulary and grammar, you want to use a variety of words and hopefully a variety of sentence structures.

The Speaking section has 11 tasks. For each type of question, you will be given specific directions, including the time allowed for preparation and speaking. Make sure you read the directions carefully! You have a total time of approximately 20 minutes to complete them all. Once you start the Speaking section, there is no stopping and you cannot go back to a question once you have gone onto the next one. These are the 5 types of TOEIC Speaking tasks in the order in which you will do them in the test:

TOEIC Speaking Section: Read a text aloud

For this Speaking section task type, you are required to speak the passage as you will see on the computer screen. You will be given 45 seconds to prepare. You will have 45 seconds to read the passage aloud. Your response will be evaluated for pronunciation, intonation and stress.


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TOEIC Speaking Section: Describe a picture

For these two Speaking questions, you need to describe the image on your screen giving as many details as you can. It's good to start by talking about what you see in general and then providing more specific details. Emphasize key words that represent what is in the picture. It is crucial to note that you must only describe what you can know to be true in the image. Do not express your opinion about anything in the image. Also do not guess or speculate outside of reason, and especially do not make up a story. For example, for the sample image below, it would be wrong to say it is a 40C hot Summer Sunday at this very famous place filled with tourists who are taking photographs. You cannot know that any such details are true about the image. As well, you are not being asked to guess when or where the image was taken. Remember to speak clearly and at a steady pace. You will be given 45 seconds to prepare your reply. You will have 30 seconds to talk about the image. Your response will be evaluated for pronunciation, intonation and stress, grammar, vocabulary, and cohesion (your ability to balance short and complex sentences).

Sample image:

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TOEIC Speaking Section: Respond to questions

This speaking task consists of 3 questions. You only have 3 seconds of preparation time for each question. For questions 5 and 6, you will have 15 seconds in order to reply. For question 7, you will be given 30 seconds to respond. The challenge is being able to comprehend the question immediately, thus being ableto answer it right away. The questions will be based on familiar topics. For example, the kinds of questions you might be asked at a job interview. Your responses will be evaluated for pronunciation, intonation and stress, grammar, vocabulary, relevance of content, and completeness of content.

Sample: Prompt that you will see is the same for each of the 3 questions:

A student training in the hospitality sector is gathering information from the public for a term paper. Assist him by answering his questions.

5.  How many vacations from work do you take that are a week or more in length?
6.  Do you have a place you go to regularly for a holiday?
7.  Tell me about the best vacation you have ever had.

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TOEIC Speaking Section: Respond to questions with provided information

For this speaking task type, you need to respond to three questions based on the information provided. You will be given 45 seconds to read the information before the questions begin. The questions are heard only which will start after a short prompt. For example, you might be shown a brochure for a product or service. Then the questions asked will be as if you had received a phone call from a potential customer. The information will remain available on the screen for all 3 questions. You only have 3 seconds of preparation time for each question. For questions 8 and 9, you will have 15 seconds to reply. You'll have 30 seconds to respond to question 10. Your responses will be evaluated for pronunciation, intonation and stress, grammar, vocabulary, relevance of content, and completeness of content.

Example: Information provided:

Main Street Annual Spring Home and Garden Show

There's something for everyone's tastes at our 3 day event starting at 8:00 AM Friday, March 17th.
We've expanded this year to cover all 6,000 square feet of Mercer Stadium.

Browse hundreds of stalls with vendors demonstrating and selling all the latest products.
Get all the help you need from our eager experts.

Celebrity guests: Allen Landis, Julie Ty, Ryan Bliss and the Dawson brothers of Helping Hand.
Each guest will appear each day for an hour on the center stage.

Two Grand Prize draws:

1.   Win a home renovation worth $10,000.
2.   Win a home landscaping makeover worth $5,000.

Admission at the door: $15 for one day, $25 for 2 days, $35 for 3 days.
Children under age 12 get in for free.

For further details visit us online at

Prompt: HEARD only:
Hi! I'm excited about this year's home and garden show. I'd be grateful if you could tell me more about the event.

Questions: HEARD only:
8.  What day will the event begin and when will it end?
9.  How much are each of the grand prizes worth?
10.  I'm a big fan of Helping Hand. When and where will I be able to see the Dawson brothers? Are there any other celebrity guests attending?
(NOTE: the question is heard TWICE for Q10)

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TOEIC Speaking Section: Express an opinion

The final speaking task is the only one that is like one of the TOEFL Speaking questions. It requires you to give your opinion about a specific topic. The topic will be something familiar, something you might have read or heard about in the news for example. You will have 45 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak. Your response will be evaluated for pronunciation, intonation and stress, grammar, vocabulary, relevance of content, and completeness of content.

Sample prompt:

Some companies make donations to local charities and community groups. Other companies do not and leave it up to their staff to decide whether to make personal donations. Should companies donate part of their profits to charities? State your opinion and provide reasons for your view.

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