duolingo english test speaking

Duolingo English Test, Speaking for 90 Seconds | Super Tips and Practice Questions

This blog is all about the Duolingo English Test extended speaking task; specifically the one where you have to talk about a topic for around 90 seconds.

These are different types of speaking tasks you have to do in the Duolingo English Test; describing a picture and three independent speaking tasks. Two of the independent speaking tasks are introduced with written prompts and one is with an aural prompt (through listening). You have 20 seconds to prepare, and you just click the ‘record now’ button at the bottom of the screen when you’re ready.

It says that you should speak for at least 30 seconds about the questions below and while that is true, I highly recommend that you speak for longer. In this task you actually have 90 seconds to answer this question, I strongly recommend that you speak for at least 60 seconds because at the end of the day this is an English test where you’re supposed to show off your English. The more you talk the more chance you have to use better vocabulary or advanced grammatical structures, both of which will help you with your overall score.

Let’s take a look at my top tips for answering this task in the best way possible.

Tip 1 – Answer the prompts

If your task is ‘Talk about a book you recently read’, this is the main topic and then you will have four questions to guide you through your answer. I highly recommend that you go through all of these questions because talking for 90 seconds without these prompts can be very challenging. You can simply go question to question and answer in them with lots of detail and that should take you to 90 seconds.

Tip 2 – Answer and expand

Remember to always answer the questions, but then expand on your answer. The Duolingo English Test is an English proficiency test, so you have to show off your English. You shouldn’t just answer the question in a simple way; you should answer and expand.

How can you expand? You can elaborate, which means talk more about your answer. You can give your opinion or you can give someone else’s opinion and you can give some examples. I know this is another simple tip, but you’d be surprised how many students just give a simple answer and think that’s enough–it’s not! You always have to give a simple answer and then expand on it, because you want to show that your English is really good. Remember answer and expand, answer and expand.

Tip 3 – Transition words

Using transition words will help your answer to sound more fluent and more coherent. You can use many different transition words, if you want to move on to the next question it is a good idea to use transition words. You can say ‘Okay, turning to the next question’, ‘moving on to question three’ or ‘as for question three’. These are simple and smooth ways to transition from question to question. You can also use these transition words when you are giving your answer, so you can signpost your ideas by saying ‘first’, ‘second’, ‘third’ or ‘firstly’, ‘secondly’ or ‘thirdly’. When you want to give more information, you can say ‘what’s more’, ‘furthermore’ or ‘moreover’. When you are about to finish your answer you can say ‘finally’. Also, if you forgot to mention something important but would like to mention it at the end you can say ‘one more thing I’d like to talk about is…’ then talk about your idea.

Remember it’s important to use transition words. It will make your answer sound smooth and your answer will sound organized.

Tip 4 – Look out for question triggers

What is a question trigger? Different questions have words, which require a certain type of answer.
Here are six common questions you might see on this speaking task on the Duolingo English Test.

How did you first hear of this book?
Will you read a similar book?
How long have you been doing (something)?
Would you recommend this book?
Why do you like this kind of book?
What did you like or dislike about this book?

The words in bold are the trigger words they are trigger words because they should trigger a certain answer or a certain response. That response usually has a specific grammar structure you should use.

Those were some of my top tips for answering the 90 second extended speaking task on the Duolingo English Test. Just to remind you they were,

Answer the prompts
Answer and expand
Transition words
Look out for question triggers

Thanks for reading,

Teacher Luke

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