First of all, I have learned English just by myself. My second language was German in High School. My only advantage is I live in New York for 5 years and have American husband.
I studied toefl by cracking toefl IBT 2012, I must say that the book was not accurate. Especially reading and listening parts in the cracking toefl ibt book was very easy. I was shocked in actual test it was much much harder than the book. That is why I was over confident because I had the tests in the book and I found it very easy and I didn't study hard after.
In the test day, I had the test in a hot summer night, this was a mistake and I did choose a testing center in the middle of the city which was crazy crowded, the place was very hot and there was no air condition, even there was a noisy portable fan just beside me. There was 40 people inside the room, I was fine with noised because there was roaring in the room and there was not any particular noise so I used to it while I am on the test. But next time I will choose little away from city centers and definitely in winter time.
The test was at 10 am. and I thought that I would be very hungry and I had a really good breakfast, even I had too much ! I ate very heavy foods, like 2 eggs omelette, 2 slice grill cheese sandwich, 2 banana, nuts, coffee and I was sooooo full and I could NOT concentrate the test at all ! That was very big mistake, when you are very full specially if you have heavy foods, all the blood circulate for digestion and brain needs rest of course. So next time I will eat very less, it is better to be hungry than be very full stomach.
And, because of the book that I study not really emphasis on the reading part tips and tricks. So I tried the read the first 2 sentences each paragraph in the reading part. The time was over while I was in still working on 4th reading. my score came 14 for reading part naturally.
Listening part, I did not take notes at all, I thought that it is not neccessery because in the study book I was able to answer all the questions without a taking notes. I thought that I can do it easily in actual test. Haha I was shocked ! I did not understand the lectures at all because the lecturers speak much faster than the sample tests in the book. So my score is 17 for the listening
Speaking part , I did not really work on my speaking maybe I did 3 or 4 exercise before the test. I didn't practice with timer so I finished my answer earlier than the time and It was awkward to wait in silence on mic in actual test. My advantage is my husband is an American I did practice with him but without timer. I guess got higher score in speaking because I was very comfortable and I spoke with an attitude like I am talking with my friend, my pronunciation is good. that is why speaking score is 23.
and writing, this was terrible I still cannot believe how did I get 17 score. First of all, I did not have any clue about templates or essay organization, beside entire in my life maybe I wrote 3 essay in English these were for toefl practicing. My spelling is not really good and I hate writing is a plus.
overall I got 71, now I have been studying for 2nd round, this time I have studied from Kaplan
, I see the differences between Craking Toefl book
. I have learned lots of tips and tricks from Kaplan
. I need 100 at least. I know it is unusual to jump to 100 score from 71.
But this forum is great, I wish I could have known this before but still will help me a lot.