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How to fare well on TOEFL

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How to fare well on TOEFL [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2009, 12:59
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Hi All,

I scored 110 in TOEFL. I thought some of my learning would be of help.

Preparation time I took was2 weeks (1-2 hrs a day). I could score well with this low preparation, primarily because I prepared for GMAT well. GMAT Preparation is of great help in Reading & Writing sections of Toefl.

Reading (I scored 28)

GMAT Reading is of great help here. The questions after the passage are lot simpler than those in GMAT. Your strategies in GMAT RC should be very handy here. Here are specific ways for Toefl
1) Read the passage in 3 minutes to get an overall idea. Read the passage with tremendous vigor and always stay focused. Though passages are lengthy with 700+ words, we can easily complete in 3 minutes. Do not try to gather specific details as doing so would take more time.
Never spend more than 3 minutes for reading.

2) Start answering questions with a seance of urgency. Since there is 20 minutes to answer, we tend to relax while answering. This would be very expensive. Always stay focused and answer with a seance of urgency.
3) Read the question first. Do not spend time in reading the part of the passage as Toefl questions are easy. Many times you would be able to answer the questions by selectively reading part of the passage.
4) Answer Vocabulary questions very quickly. If you know what a specific word means, go ahead and answer immediately. You will gain time by this.
5) Keep some time to answer last 2 questions. I suggest you keep 4-5 minutes for last 2 questions. These questions are based on your overall understanding. So you would take some time to answer these question. Important thing is last question carries 2 points.
6) Practice the exercises with time limit of say 18 minutes. I did not take this seriously, that is the reason why I failed to score 30. I was attempting last question on the exam with just one minute left.



Listening (I scored 30)

If you are in an English Speaking country and have been participating in Conference calls etc. you have nothing to worry. You need to take adequate notes while listening and make sure that you do not miss any important point. While practicing make sure that you take adequate notes of main items. The notes will be very handy while answering.

If you are a student surrounded mostly with fellow students who speak in native language, you will need adequate practice. As I have been in English speaking office environment right in India, UK and USA for close to a decade, I really don’t know how long one would take to catch up in understanding. Some of the following might help.

1) Assess where you are. Practice some exercises in Toefl listening and test where you are. I
2) If you are scoring below 22-24. Listen to some talk shows, radio conversations etc to be familiar with the accent and English usage.


Speaking (I scored 27)

This is the most important section of Toefl. I hear that most of the students struggle here.
1. Speak slowly and clearly . Do not mumble.
2. Have a structure to your speech. Have an introduction, description and details. Always support with examples or supporting details
3. Use all your time 45/60 sec. Do not finish ahead of time.
4. Practice a lot. Use a recorder and compare your response with the best response. You will figure out what you are missing.
5. Don’t be tense. If you are tense, you would not be able to speak well.
6. Remember that 45/60 sec is very short. You need good practice to really do well.


Some useful links

Youtube : There are plenty of recordings on this topic. You would easily figure out good ones and the ones useless for preparation. Follow those which provide you good tips and sample responses.

Tips on all 6 speaking topics
http://www.english-itutor.com/TOEFL_iBT.html

Independent Topics List
http://global-english.lefora.com/2008/0 ... cho/page1/


Writing ( I scored 25)
Most of GMAT Writing is very handy here. I think, I did not practice the subtle changes between GMAT and TOEFL thus fared not so well in the exam. Following link from chineseburned would be of immense help to score at 25-30 range.
1-t64327


Exam Day:

Exam center will be very noisy. I suggest you to keep the headset all throughout the session in order to avoid distraction from others speaking during their speaking section. At times you still end up hearing others conversation. In those cases do some self talk slowly to avoid distraction.

Always try to be ahead of time in every section. That would help answering last questions / sections accurately.

All the best.

Last edited by vishy007 on 09 Feb 2009, 14:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to fare well on TOEFL [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2009, 01:17
Thank you Vishy,

Although I took TOEFL a while ago, there is no doubt that this post will be very helpful to future test takers.

Maybe one of the moderators would think that this thread does not belong here and moved it to "Off-topic". Maybe it is OK, but I would like to propose that we create separate subforum or something like that for TOEFL. At present, international applicants ar forced to use some other forums. While some of the forums are good, they just don't look nice and I'm not used to interface. In addition, I preffer to discuss this topic with "familiar" people, people I'm already speaking with on various subjects regarding MBA applications.

So, MTV, please pimp my...!!! Kidding, of course - administrators, please do something about TOEFL, there is so many of us who are required to take this test, we want subforum.
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My TOEFL experience - 108


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Re: How to fare well on TOEFL [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2009, 07:31
Hi Pathfinder,

I agree with you on the TOEFL sub forum, we need one. When I started to work on TOEFL, I did not know where to start. I took some valuable tips from Walker and started from there. Thanks Walker!

Until I saw my score to be 110, I was not very sure what my score would be. Though I did very well on the exam, I knew I made some mistakes as well. Unlike in GMAT preparation where there are several mock exams to assess where we stand, it is really difficult to know where you are on TOEFL. A great forum such as GMAT Club would be of help in making an accurate assessment.
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Re: How to fare well on TOEFL [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2009, 07:37
I agree. Before taking mine, I posted a question or two and got no answer. My post got lost between all the non-toefl topics.

Good suggestion.
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Re: How to fare well on TOEFL [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2009, 09:34
Great post vishy007! +1 for you!

I took the TOEFL but unfortunately I scored 84, which I think it's too far from my real level. I think the point was the noisy enviroment in which the exam takes place...

I'm afraid I will have to repeat it some day and the proper way to do so is, IMO, to sutdy for the exam in a noisy place.

I agree with you that the TOEFL in comparisson with the GMAT is pretty simple!

Cheers
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I'm not linked to GMAT questions anymore, so, if you need something, please PM me

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My experience in my third attempt
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Re: How to fare well on TOEFL [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2009, 14:06
JohnLewis1980 wrote:
Great post vishy007! +1 for you!

I took the TOEFL but unfortunately I scored 84, which I think it's too far from my real level. I think the point was the noisy enviroment in which the exam takes place...

I'm afraid I will have to repeat it some day and the proper way to do so is, IMO, to sutdy for the exam in a noisy place.

I agree with you that the TOEFL in comparisson with the GMAT is pretty simple!

Cheers



John,

I am sorry ! I have not been visiting GMAT Club frequently due to some job disturbances.

With a consistent practice you should do better. Keep specific targets even during the practice. If it is ok with you, send your score breakup so that I can see if I could help.

All the best!
Re: How to fare well on TOEFL   [#permalink] 09 Feb 2009, 14:06
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