For most people, the “Read, Then Speak” question is one of the most challenging on the Duolingo English Test.
However, with some knowledge of the question, and some practice, you can do well on it. In this post, you’re going to learn both how to approach the question and how to practice it.
Table of Contents
- What is the “Read, Then Speak” question type?
- Tips to do well on the “Read, Then Speak” question type
- How to use the “Answer the Questions” strategy to get a great score
- How to practice “Read, Then Speak” questions
What is the "Read, Then Speak" question type?
The “Read, Then Speak” question type looks like this:
You will have 20 seconds to read the topic and prepare your response. Then you will have 90 seconds to speak about the topic. You will be able to see the topic while you record your response.
There is one “Read, Then Speak” question on the test. It counts toward your Conversation and Production subscores.
Tips to do well on the “Read, Then Speak” question type
Check your microphone
If you don’t use a good microphone, you will be difficult to understand in your recording, and you could get a lower score. You can check the quality of your microphone using Arno. You will see how later on.
If your microphone isn’t good, ask to borrow a computer or laptop from someone else that has a better one.
☝️You cannot use headphones or earbuds with a microphone on the Duolingo English Test. However, you can use an external microphone.
Take the test in a quiet place
If there is background noise, it will be harder to hear you, which can negatively impact your score.
Slow down and speak clearly and loudly
When we get nervous or stressed, we talk more quickly. It is important to remind yourself on the test to slow down.
You should also focus on clearly pronouncing each word.
Finally, be sure to talk loudly. We recommend that you pretend like you are talking to someone who is across the room, not someone who is sitting in front of you. This will make it easy to hear you in the recording.
Read the topic carefully
You have 20 seconds to read the topic. Use all of it.
Speak for the entire 90 seconds
This will help you get a higher score. In the next section, you will learn a strategy that will help you find things to talk about.
Don’t stop if you make a mistake
If you make a mistake, keep speaking. You can still get a high score even if you have a few mistakes in your response. But if you stop and don’t speak enough, it is impossible to get a high score.
☝️Remember that you will only be able to record yourself 1 time.
Use a strategy to structure your response
A good strategy will help you generate things to talk about and get a higher score.
A simple yet effective strategy for “Read, Then Speak” questions is: Answer the Questions.
How to use the “Answer the Questions” strategy to get a great score
In “Read, Then Speak” questions, Duolingo provides a list of questions to help guide your response.
This makes it very easy to respond: Just Answer the Questions!
Here is the example we looked at above:
Here is a response that simply answers those questions.
My favorite restaurant is called Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House. It is in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia, specifically on Arch Street. They serve American Chinese food of all kinds, but they specialize in hand drawn noodles, which they use in many dishes. My personal favorite are the cold peanut noodles. I go there once a month, on average. If it was closer to my house, I would probably go more often! It’s my favorite because not only is the food really good, it is also really cheap. It is the best value meal in Philadelphia in my opinion. In addition, they have very fast service, so you never have to wait long to get a table and to get your food after ordering.
How to practice “Read, Then Speak” questions
The best way to practice “Read, Then Speak” questions is to use Arno. You will get instant scoring and feedback that will help you improve.
Here is how it works:
1) Go to duolingo.goarno.io. If you don’t already have one, just create a free account.
2) Go the “Read, Then Speak” question type. Click the “play” button to start (shown in the red box).
3) Use the Answer the Questions strategy to respond.
4) Once you have recorded yourself, submit your response. Arno will give you a score and feedback on your vocabulary. You can click on any of the scoring ranges to the see the words that you used that fall into that level.
☝️You can also listen to your recording by hitting the "play" button at the top of your transcribed response. This is a great way to test the quality of your microphone!
5) You can also get grammar feedback, including explanations of how something could be improved.
6) Finally, you can get suggestions for how to improve your vocabulary as well as a completely rewritten version so that you can see what an excellent answer looks like.
By now, it should be clear that the “Read, Then Speak” question type is not as difficult as it seems and that you can do very well on it!
To use Arno to practice this question — as well as all question types on the Duolingo English Test — just click below to create your free account.