Fluency Advice: Tips for improving your fluency in speaking

Modified on Mon, 26 Feb at 2:38 AM

My Speaking Score measures 6 dimensions under the Fluency construct. You can see the dimensions in this sample SpeechRater report.

SpeechRater Fluency Dimensions

Speaking RateHow fast you speak (measured in words per second)

How to improve: Practice speaking at a moderate pace. Speaking too quickly can make it difficult for listeners to follow what you're saying. Record yourself speaking and listen back to identify areas where you need to slow down. Focus on enunciating each word clearly to make sure you are speaking at an appropriate pace. Your goal should be to speak at around 170 words per minute, which is a good pace for the TOEFL Speaking section. #learnmore

Sustained SpeechHow smoothly you speak (number of words without disfluencies)

How to improve: Practice speaking in complete sentences and avoid using filler words such as "um" and "uh". These words can interrupt your flow and make it harder for you to speak smoothly. Use appropriate linking words and phrases to connect your ideas smoothly and avoid pauses. Try to speak in a natural and fluid manner, as if you were having a conversation with a friend. 

Pause Frequency - How often you pause when you speak (filled and unfilled pauses)

How to improve: Use pauses effectively to emphasize important points and help listeners follow your ideas. Try to avoid unnecessary pauses, such as those caused by hesitations or lack of preparation. Practice speaking with appropriate rhythm and timing to ensure that your pauses are effective.

Distribution of Pauses - How effectively you use pauses (pause-to-speech ratio).

How to improve: Use pauses effectively to highlight important points and give listeners time to process your ideas. Vary the length and placement of your pauses to create a natural rhythm and pacing in your responses. Practice speaking with appropriate emphasis and tone to ensure that your pauses are effective and natural-sounding.

Repetitions - How often you are repetitive (e.g. reformulations)

How to improve: Avoid repeating yourself unnecessarily. This can make you sound less fluent and less confident. Use appropriate synonyms and variations to express your ideas without sounding repetitive. Be concise and to the point in your responses, focusing on the main ideas you want to convey.

Phrase Length - How long your phrases (also called 'chunks') are (in words)

How to improve: Use appropriate phrasing and chunking to help listeners follow your ideas. Break your responses into logical chunks, with appropriate pauses in between, to help listeners follow your ideas. Avoid excessively long or complex phrases that can be difficult for listeners to follow.

How to Use SpeechRater data (teachers)


SpeechRater data can be used to improve fluency in several ways. Here are a few examples: 

  • Identify areas of weakness: The SpeechRater tool provides data on different dimensions of fluency, such as speaking rate, response length, pause frequency, distribution of pauses, sustained speech, and repetitions. By examining these data points, teachers and learners can identify areas where a student may be struggling with fluency. 

  • Provide targeted feedback: With SpeechRater data, teachers can provide targeted feedback to students on specific areas where they need improvement. For example, if a student is struggling with pause frequency, the teacher can provide feedback on how to reduce the number of pauses in their speech. 

  • Set goals: Using SpeechRater data, teachers and students can set specific goals for improving fluency. For example, a student may set a goal to increase their speaking rate to a certain number of words per minute. 

  • Monitor progress: SpeechRater data can be used to monitor progress over time. By tracking changes in fluency dimensions over several practice sessions, students can see how their skills are improving and adjust their approach as needed. 

SpeechRater data is a valuable tool for improving fluency in spoken English and improving your TOEFL Speaking performance. 

By using this data to identify areas of weakness, provide targeted feedback, set goals, and monitor progress, learners can develop the skills they need to succeed on the TOEFL Speaking section and in real-life situations.

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