Tips to Follow Before Taking the TOEFL Test – Advice From Experts
Aspirants aiming to attend university in an English-speaking country will know the importance of TOEFL. Therefore, you must understand how to prepare yourself for your TOEFL day. This blog will cover some tips for the TOEFL specially curated by experts.
What kinds of language skills do you need to know for the test? How can you improve your test-taking flair so you can clear the TOEFL with flying colors?
Moreover, if you lack time to study, you’ll perhaps be better off simply knowing what to expect on the TOEFL instead of trying to improve your overall English.
Decide what type of test taker you are.
To ace the TOEFL, you must understand its structure. Simply put, you must know what to expect on exam day, from the sections you’ll face to the number of questions you’ll need to answer within a specified time.
Another point to note is to use official TOEFL practice questions (both stand-alone and those in official full-length mock exams). Official practice questions are the closest to real TOEFL questions in terms of content, form, and difficulty level.
Besides, many ETS resources use questions from TOEFLs that were held in the past.
Tips for the TOEFL Speaking Section
Firstly, look at the structure of the exam to know what to expect on the exam day. By looking at the layout of the speaking test, you can begin forming an idea of the best way to prepare for it.
Ensure that you know the criteria used to evaluate the performance in the TOEFL speaking section. Here are the requirements:
- Answer the question: This point refers to your ability to comprehend the task and speak about the topic suitably. For instance, if you are asked to substantiate your case with reasons, you should do just that. You’ll lose points if you forget to give examples.
- Comprehensibility: This one refers to how well others can understand you. If someone can follow you easily, you’re more likely to score high here.
- Fluency: If you can speak without hesitating and naturally, you’ll score well in fluency.
- Grammar: This is your ability to use advanced grammatical structures and a high accuracy level.
- Organization: If your answer is developed and organized, you will score high in this area.
- Pronunciation: If you can get word stress right, pronounce individual sounds correctly, and have good intonation, you’ll do well here. Understand that pronunciation is not about the accent. Almost all non-native speakers have an accent, and it does not make you lose points.
- Vocabulary: Here, you need to prove that you have a wide range of words you can use accurately to convey your point.
Since there’s a speaking portion on the TOEFL, you’ll need to ensure that your speaking abilities are up to the mark. The best method to practice speaking English is to do so with native English speakers.
Tips for the TOEFL Writing Section
Outlining is a good idea for any writing task. Unlike the TOEFL integrated essay, this one must come entirely from you. With only 30 minutes to complete your answer, it is essential to develop a plan first!
Don’t compose one section in favor and another against the topic. Leave your inhibitions aside and take one specific stand.
Consider your independent TOEFL essay as a persuasive essay. You must aim to convince the reader to agree with your viewpoint. It’s simpler to do that when you argue from a single point of view.
To excel in the TOEFL, you’ll need to master quite a few tricky vocabulary words. A large part of the TOEFL involves knowing many English words, especially academic vocabulary. Hence, it’s crucial you know which words you’ll need to study for the TOEFL.
Ensure to always include a conclusion sentence at the end of each paragraph that connects to your main point. Therefore, the last sentence of each section should support your main argument, addressing the question directly.
While commonly overlooked by students, this helps keep you focused on the primary idea of your essay. It is easy to go off-track while writing, especially when it is about a personal experience.
Plan on finishing your essay around the 27-minute-mark so that you have three minutes to edit your paper.
We recommend that you get help from a trained professional while practicing for the TOEFL’s writing section.
Tips for the TOEFL Listening Section
One of the best means to improve your English reading and listening skills is to pay attention to the news. The news helps you learn advanced English grammar, improve your vocabulary, and listen to English spoken at a conversational pace.
Think about alternatives the speaker could have used while listening to conversations, TOEFL lectures, and audio recordings. It will prepare you for the test day when the correct answer choice often paraphrases the text instead of quoting it.
However, there may also be instances when the speaker uses a word you don’t understand. That’s alright. Use your inference skills to derive the correct answer.
Learn to keep pace with what you listen to, taking notes attentively but quickly. This includes knowing which information is essential and which part you can ignore. Moreover, effective note-taking also has proper pacing.
Understand how to answer the different types of TOEFL Listening tasks. Familiarise yourself with the various strategies and requirements for questions related to attitude, detail, function, main ideas, organization, categorizing, inference, and so on.
The challenge with TOEFL Listening practice materials is that not all materials perfectly emulate the real test-day experience. Even official TOEFL materials sometimes reflect the old, pre-2019 version of the TOEFL Listening section.
Surprisingly, no TOEFL Listening practice, official or otherwise, has an onscreen timer that matches the one you’ll find on test day. This can make it particularly challenging to hone your TOEFL Listening skill-set.
Nevertheless, by gauging the differences and following the TOEFL Listening tricks and tips mentioned here, you can ensure that you’re making the best of the resources available.
You can learn English at a better speed through language-learning applications and websites. They track your progress and provide you with grammatical patterns and keywords to learn. One known example is Duolingo, a free language-learning website available as an app for iPhone and Android.
You must also spend time analyzing your mistakes in practice questions. Understanding where you went wrong on the TOEFL practice tests can help you avoid making the same mistakes on the actual test.
Weaknesses hamper your score on test day. Hence, you must identify and eradicate your most significant weaknesses. In the end, targeting your weak points will help you boost your confidence on the exam day, improving your chances of scoring high.
All the best!