Pause Frequency: Managing the frequency of pauses in your speech

Modified on Sat, 20 May 2023 at 08:39 AM

Pause frequency in TOEFL Speaking is like taking little breaks or rests while you are speaking. Imagine you are playing a game and you need to catch your breath between rounds.

When you have a high pause frequency, it means you take many breaks or pauses while speaking, just like taking lots of little rests during the game.

Having too many pauses in your speech can make it harder for people to understand you because they might lose track of what you are saying. It's like playing a game where there are too many breaks, and it becomes confusing and less enjoyable.

On the other hand, having a low pause frequency means you take fewer breaks and keep speaking smoothly without many interruptions. It's like playing a game where there are only a few short rests, making it easier to stay focused and follow the game.

So, when you speak in the TOEFL Speaking test, try to have a low pause frequency. Speak without taking too many breaks, just like playing a game with only a few short rests. This will help the person listening to you understand your ideas clearly and stay engaged in what you are saying.

Technical Explanation

ModelConstructImpact on OverallDefinition
Pause Frequency DeliveryFluencyVery StrongHow often you pause when you speak (filled and unfilled pauses).

Responses with a higher Pause Frequency score (i.e. fewer silent pauses) correlate very strongly with high TOEFL Speaking scores. 

Overall Score

  • Good: 26-30
  • Fair: 18-25
  • Limited: 10-17
  • Weak: 0-9

What this chart tells us

For the Pause Frequency dimension, there is a clear relationship between the number of pauses in your response and your overall TOEFL Speaking score. To earn a high overall TOEFL Speaking score, you likely need to have fewer pauses than most other test takers.

  • the Pause Frequency score for this response is 79 (i.e. it scored in the 79th percentile)
  • responses with a Pause Frequency score of 79 are consistent with an overall TOEFL Speaking score in the Good range (i.e. with an Overall Score of 26-30)
  • 21% of all responses scored higher; 79% of all responses scored lower
  • there were responses that received both an overall TOEFL Speaking score in the Fair range and the Good range (i.e. the overlap between the blue and the green bars)
  • same idea for the yellow/blue and red/yellow overlap
  • the Impact of this dimension is 4/4, meaning there is a very strong correlation between Pause Frequency and your overall TOEFL Speaking score

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