Jane Birkenhead, April 12 2022

Prepare for TOEFL Speaking in the 10 Minute Break

In the TOEFL exam, there is a mandatory 10 minute break between the listening and speaking sections. At the start of the 10 minute break, you will be told to leave the exam room and you'll only be allowed to return when the break is over. The exam centre staff will record the time for you.

What you do in the 10 minute break is REALLY important!

When you return to the exam room, you'll be going straight into the speaking section. For many students, this is the most important, and also the most stressful, part of the whole exam. You don't have a chance to warm up and it'll probably be the 1st time that you'll have spoken out loud since you arrived at the exam centre a couple of hours earlier. So it's important to prepare physically and mentally.

Here's what I suggest you do in your 10 minute break:

1. Eat a small snack or take a drink of water.

2. Walk around the room and stretch a little.

3. Breathe deeply to calm any nerves.

4. Go into a corner and whisper to yourself.

        -> Move your mouth into different positions (like a singer warming up)

        -> Practice some pronunciation sounds

        -> Repeat some phrases from each speaking task

        -> Practice different phrases to use at the beginning of T1

                "I totally disagree with the statement"

                "I completely agree with the statement"

                "I'd prefer to..."

                "I'd choose to..."

                "I'd rather..."

5. Do some more deep breathing

6. Visualize your success


Go back into the exam room, confident and ready to start speaking!

Written by

Jane Birkenhead

Previous Take a break if you're studying for TOEFL. It will help.
Next TOEFL and IELTS Reading Terms Explained