mouthiTEP Prep: Building Speaking Skills

The following is adapted from the Official iTEP Preparation Guide

Your iTEP speaking score is determined by how clearly and effectively you respond to the prompt. First, your response must be relevant to the topic. For instance, if the prompt asks you to discuss an important person from history and you choose to talk about your favorite dessert, even if you say many enlightening and informative things about dessert, your score will be marked down for responding to the wrong topic.

So, to prepare for the test, you want to be sure that no matter what the topic is, you will be able to craft a response that answers the question.

Here are a few tips:
• Give a clear statement that clearly answers the question or topic.
• Explain and support the statement with details and examples.
• Be organized, expressing one idea per sentence.
• Utilize natural, conversational transitions.
• Vary vocabulary and sentence structure.
• There are no right or wrong answers with opinions.
• Use words precisely.
• Speak clearly and calmly.
• Use the preparation time to plan the points to make in the speech.
• Give specific details and examples to support and develop the main point.
• Errors in grammar, word choice, organization, pronunciation, tone, and ease affect the overall quality, and therefore the score, to the degree that they get in the way of clear communication.

A great way to approach the speaking section is to imagine you are actually speaking to someone, preferably a friend or acquaintance. Here are some ways to improve your English speaking skills before taking iTEP.

• Practice speaking in English as often as possible.
• Speak to native English speakers and ask them if you are pronouncing words correctly.
• Use the internet to listen to native English speakers.
• Practice speaking into a tape recorder; then listen to the response to improve clarity.
• Prepare possible speaking points before you take the test. Think of ideas for your responses if asked about authors, stories, historical figures or other topics.

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