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My TOEFL experience : 113/120

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My TOEFL experience : 113/120 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2010, 01:55
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Hi All !
I’d like to give you a debrief about my toefl. I toook the test on the 24th of April. And I got this awesome result last Friday (7th of May): 113 !
Reading : 30
Listening : 29
Speaking : 27
Writing : 27
So, thanks for your help because you have your part of responsibility in this score. And here’s my debrief for the test day :

The building where I took the test was awful, but when you get in, it is brand new so it’s okay. There were a lot of people taking the test at the same time as me (9am): I think we were around 60 in the same room; I let you imagine what a mess it was when everybody was speaking.

Reading:
For sure this was my best part. Everything went well for all questions. I generally even had 30 seconds to look at the review screen at the end of each section. All questions but the very last one which was a 3 points questions where I had to choose 9 sentences out of 11 and fill the right boxes, something like that. But the thing is, I had 5 texts, so I guess any mistake in this question didn’t impact my score because it’s 30. When I read the 1st text I had the feeling that it wouldn’t be graded because it seemed a bit tough. Maybe I was right as I had 5 texts. The timing was as follow: 20min – 40 min – 40 min
My technique for the reading was the following: I didn’t read texts first. I looked at the final question to have an idea of what I would have to look for and then jumped into the first question without reading. I was always reading the question first, then reading the appropriate paragraph(s), and then answering the question. This worked pretty fine for me and I guess I would recommend this (even though some guys may prefer to read first). My point is: for texts number 4 and number 5, I wouldn’t have understood anything of the meaning if I had taken 5 minutes to read it because I was too tired; plus the majority of the people in the room began their listening section when I began reading passage 4 and I could hear the noise from their headsets; so there was no point in wasting that time reading; I kept a lot more focus by knowing what I had to look for and reading specific paragraphs and sentences. It worked, so that was the right strategy for me.
I was expecting 29 in this section and I got better.

Listening:
When I finished the 5th text after 1h and 40 min I was already tired and my attention was really bad. I was almost hallucinating in front of my screen because I was exhausted. I didn’t really eat in the morning but I had brought some sugar in the test room so I fed my brain with that. I really had the feeling that I had failed this section because sometimes even for easy questions, I was hesitating and kind of guessing.
My main problem during my preparation was that I was taking too many notes. After my preparation at home, I began taking less and less notes to focus only on essential points. I listened to plenty of podcasts from “Stuff you should know” (cf itunes); I never had any difficulty understanding what they were saying. I guess my real preparation in this section was the fact that I have been watching American movies and series for the past 5 years without any subtitles.
The difficulty of this section for me was only the note taking process: knowing what to write and what not to write to get descent notes and be efficient to answer.
Plus of course everybody in the room was speaking loudly while I was still listening (thanks to my 5 texts).
In the end I was really unhappy with that section and I was expecting/hoping for a 25. Apparently it went better.

Speaking:
During my preparation, I bought one of the official training tests from ETS. The software gave me a nice 22 for the speaking section. So from that point I was really worried about it and I tried to train myself. It was quite tough to find clever things to say in proper English and sometimes my mouth was freezing because I had no ideas. Hence this section was supposed to be my weakest one. When I finished this part in the real test, I thought that it went better than usual at home in front of my computer. So considering the 22 I got from the practice test, I was hoping for 25 here. And it went better also.

Writing:
I didn’t really prepare this section until the day before the test. I didn’t study any book for this. I only followed some nice templates I found on web forums. So I learnt every single word from these templates and used these to build my texts. This helped because I only had to find my 3 ideas and fill the blanks in my templates.
So my resources are attached to this post. (thanks to Chineseburned, triple5soul and DanaJ)
I had time to review my texts after writing (I mean, very quickly so I may have left some mistakes, I even found one at the last second, and I couldn’t correct it). Note that I messed up with the keyboard because while trying to find the inverted comma I hit several keys at the same time and must have done a special combination which made the space bar plus the erase button not work. So I called the guy and he rebooted the computer. I think I lost 1.30 min thanks to that and some focus.
I was expecting 29 in this section and I’m unpleased to get a 27.

When I got out of the building, it was 1.30 pm and I had arrived at 8 am so it was really long. I was really disappointed of my test and I was only hoping for 105 (which was my goal before the test). I was almost sure I was below 105 and was ready to take it again and at the same time really angry at myself. So seeing 113 was surprising and I was really happy. I was unsure of the listening section and the speaking one so that’s why I feared a 103 or 104.
So thanks again for the advices and tips I could read here. They worked well for me. This grade is motivating me for the gmat now.

See you
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Re: My TOEFL experience : 113/120 [#permalink] New post 13 May 2010, 15:46
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Great Job and a great score!

When are you thinking about taking the GMAT?
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Re: My TOEFL experience : 113/120 [#permalink] New post 14 May 2010, 01:33
bb wrote:
Great Job and a great score!

When are you thinking about taking the GMAT?


thanks bb !
now I think I will take the gmat in July ; I hope it will be ok for July because I would like to apply for round 1 or 2 this year ..
What do you think of that bb ? Can I manage to do it all before september ? (I already begun preparing for gmat but April was 100% toefl focused, so I need to begin gmat again, what I'm doing right now)
Expert Post
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User avatar
Affiliations: UA-1K, SPG-G, HH-D
Joined: 04 Dec 2002
Posts: 12191
Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.5
WE: Information Technology (Hospitality and Tourism)
Followers: 2279

Kudos [?]: 8820 [0], given: 3667

GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member CAT Tests
Re: My TOEFL experience : 113/120 [#permalink] New post 14 May 2010, 06:00
Expert's post
chouky wrote:
bb wrote:
Great Job and a great score!

When are you thinking about taking the GMAT?


thanks bb !
now I think I will take the gmat in July ; I hope it will be ok for July because I would like to apply for round 1 or 2 this year ..
What do you think of that bb ? Can I manage to do it all before september ? (I already begun preparing for gmat but April was 100% toefl focused, so I need to begin gmat again, what I'm doing right now)


For a lot of schools (verify this just in case for YOUR school), you can take the gmat the day before the deadline and just indicate your score on the application and then GMAC will send theirs later. So, as long as you take the GMAT before deadline and included the school on the list of the 5 to have your scores sent, you are OK.

The rule of thumb is 1 school per month.
July sounds good with that toefl score :)
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Manager
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Joined: 30 Jan 2010
Posts: 69
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Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 16

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Re: My TOEFL experience : 113/120 [#permalink] New post 14 May 2010, 09:14
bb wrote:
chouky wrote:
bb wrote:
Great Job and a great score!

When are you thinking about taking the GMAT?


thanks bb !
now I think I will take the gmat in July ; I hope it will be ok for July because I would like to apply for round 1 or 2 this year ..
What do you think of that bb ? Can I manage to do it all before september ? (I already begun preparing for gmat but April was 100% toefl focused, so I need to begin gmat again, what I'm doing right now)


For a lot of schools (verify this just in case for YOUR school), you can take the gmat the day before the deadline and just indicate your score on the application and then GMAC will send theirs later. So, as long as you take the GMAT before deadline and included the school on the list of the 5 to have your scores sent, you are OK.

The rule of thumb is 1 school per month.
July sounds good with that toefl score :)



thanks bb, that's good to know !
but what do you mean by "1 school per month" ?
Re: My TOEFL experience : 113/120   [#permalink] 14 May 2010, 09:14
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