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My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test

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My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 10:55
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I just got back from the TOEFL testing centre. Overall, my experience was good. Although, TOEFL is extremely easy interms of difficulty level, the test can make you lose concnetration after the reading section because the reading section was soooooo long! I could not wait to get to the next section.

This is going to be a long story. I had given the TOEFL some 8 months back last year and scored a 102. Although, my score touched the avg score required for my target school, my listening score was particulalry low - 21 - while other sction scores were 27/28. The school asked me to retake TOEFL :twisted: . So i decided to do it. I looked up some TOEFL dates on the ETS website and saw that 11 march,18 march and 02 April were available. But ,the test centre was not the same one that I had been to last time. Anyway,I had no choice. Considering that my GMAT is on March 26, I decided to go with march 11. This happened on 03 March. So my TOEFL date was booked. Great. Next was the book to be used. LAst time, I did not study at all for the TOEFL. I just went though the sample questions that ETS has on its website. This time, I thought I should go through the Official Guide. I went to my local public library to see if the library has a copy of this book.My library always comes to my rescue when I need imp books(except the MGMAT books all other GMAT books are available here such as the PR books, kaplan etc). I got the book home.IT was the second edition but I used it. Read through the first section - REading. I did not have the patience to go though all the questions or passages. Also, I found the exaplanations were not needed for me.The passages are MUCH simpler than GMAT however, they are longer(more on this later). So I continue with my GMAT prep.

Also, I spent 1 hour daily going through one section of the TOEFL test. I used the speaking/writing videos provided by REsh and the templates given my Rid too.
I noticed that there is a little difference in the questions these days.

Q 1 and Q 2 on speaking , asks us to choose one option and give reasons for our preference unlike earlier tests in which we are asked to give opinion only in Q2.

Ok so it is wednesday. I'm already drowning in GMAT prep and added to it TOEFL pressure. I could not take it. But, somehow sailed through it. On thursday morning, I did some GMAT CR questions and started preparing for tOEFL by Thursday afternoon. I went though the TOEFL official guide again. Just a glance and practiced some Speaking exercises. It was already 5 PM. I cooked myself dinner and decided to go to bed early(my test was at 8AM the next day. I hate the 8 AM slots because I am not a morning person. LAst time my GMAT experience too was with a 8 AM slot. But, for TOEFL i had no choice as the slots in my city fill-up very fast. So i had to choose it or take the test closer to GMAT date). I told my husband to load the dishwasher which I normally do and I forced myself to sleep at 10 PM...Grrrrrr, I generally go to bed by 1130 PM only ,so it was hard for me.I was tossing and turning and I think I fell asleep only at 11 AM.

Woke up at 6 AM today,turn on the coffee-machine and then go for a shower. Oh,damn , there was no hot water today. So what Do i do? It was already 6:20 AM.I had to use cold water when the temeprature outside was 40 Fahrenheit, 6 degrees celcius. Geeeezz!! First, disaster of the day. Little did I know that there was more waiting :-D
Anyway, then after my shower I got ready and left the house. Walked to the bus stop and waited. 20 mins passed by and no bus.Second disaster. All the buses were going full so driver decided not to stop(if you live in New York City, you know what I mean ;-) ). I wait and wait and wait and it is 7:25 AM. Finally, my bus arrives and I get in. As the bus goes toward my destination, I realize that I don't know the exact stop - 28 avenue or 26 avenue? Great. Anyway, I decide to get off at 28 Avenue and walk 2 avenues instead of not neing sure whether the bus stops at 26. I walk toward the centre. The building was i na god-forsaken area which I had never visited before. I entered the building and there was board outside saying "TOEFL iBT centre on 2nd floor". Ok, I took the elvator and it was 7:35 AM. Entered the room

More on my testing experience, in the next post :-)
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 11:26
Oh, come on! :D

Don't leave us in suspense man ^_^

I hope it went well :beer:
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From 650 to 710 to 750 - My Tryst With GMAT [Experience Thread]

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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 11:38
I enter the test center and see 10 students standing before me. I pick up a TOEFL statement form, sign it and stand in the queue. I was actually happy to see this centre. My last TOEFL centre had a disorganized environment. This centre actually had a coffee-machine,some bananas and water kept outside. I was blown away. Then I go to the procter, he checks my passport and takes my photo. He then escorts me to me seat. I click on continue and start the test.After some 2-3 mins of instructions the TOEFL test just stops. I was surprised but not too much since I knew that ETS is not as good as Person Vue in administering the test :-D. I call the proctor and he realizes that the Internet Connection to my cable was switched off. He turns it on and the test continues from where I left off(some instruction page).
The reading section begins.First passage went well. 20 mins snad 13-14 Questions. I read the question and the nlooked for the answer. So never went though the whole passage at once. I move on to the next questions. 2 passages, 14 questions each, 40 mins. I finish it. Was ok. I may have 3-4 wrong answers here. Then, I clicked continue expecting that the Listening section will start. but, no!!! 2 more passages, 28 Q and 40 mins. I was like 'what the hell!!!. You Can't do this to me! I woke up early today atleast consider that factor' ;-). No choice, I finished the passages. Went on to the listening section. It had 1 conversation and 2 lectures. Total of, 17-18 questions and 10 mins to naswer questions. Pretty simpel but I lost concentration in the last lecture. It was toooooooo boring. I started dreaming of Critical Reasoning because after a looooonnggg struggle with CR I had finally learned to tackle it just on wednesday. So I wanted to get back home abd crack some questions, just to feel good..haha. Then again, another set of 17 Q with 1 conversation and 2 lectures. Went ok. Not so great. I hope I get a 25 atleast otherwise my target school will ask me retake this test...Then the break starts.I get, pretty grateful to TOEFL that it allowed me this chance after such a gruelling experience. I went to the washroom,ate half a banana that I had got, drank some water and reentered the test room. I still had 4 mins remaining. And, my proctor came in only after that 10 mins elapsed. He restarted the test for me(they do this for all, its a part of the testing procedure). Speaking section started. 6 Questions, as the official guide mentions. But, Q1 and 2 are ones in which we need to state our preference. one question that I got is : do you prefer studying in a library or at home the other was: should pets be allowed in college dorms. Ok, then Q3,4,5 and 6. I screwed up two questions. No time to complete my response. I think it was q6 that I totally messed up.
Then, the writing section starts. PRetty easy. I always loved writing:-) . 2 essays, first one was a summary of a lecture that we listen to and secon was a topic that is given to us.

I finish 5 mins in advance, click on 'report scores' and walk out. The proctor was a sweet guy. He said, thankyou and best of luck to me :-D I walked out of the building relieved that this test was over. Went to the busstop and waited for the bus. The bus arrives. I board the bus and switch off from tOEFL and switch on GMAT channel. I planned to go to subway, pick up a sandwich and then walk home. I did just that. Reached my apartment. Took the lift to 24th floor and realized that I HAD NOT taken my apartment keys in the morning....Oh,final disaster of the day(hopefully). So how do I enter. I did not even take my cellphone because I was not sure if I would have lockers at the TOEFL centre.With my sandwich in one hand and my bag in the other I walk down 2 floors to my friend's apartment. I ring her door bell and pray that she is home. Luckily, atleast this works out. She was home. I told her I wanted to use her Phone. I wanted to call my husband and tell him that I would come to his office and pick up the keys. Need to travel 10 miles for this!!! She greets me as she opens the door and says " How was your test. Your husband said that you would come". I was like how did she know that my test was today and when did my husband meet her. She then handed over my apartment keys to me. I WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY.I still am! Apparently, my husband had seen in the morning that I left the keys and he went and gave it to her because he knew I would meet her :-D How swweeeetttt of him !!!!(we both are great friends and meet on and off, so he knew I might go there).Just as he had imagined, I went straight to her house. Then, I enter my apartment, call my husband , thank him for using his brain at the right time and then finished my sandwich.
Now, I'm typing this mail as I wait for my test scores for another 2 weeks.

Will post my scores once I receive it.


THANK YOU all for reading this :-)
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 11:40
Entwistle wrote:
Oh, come on! :D

Don't leave us in suspense man ^_^

I hope it went well :beer:

Entwistle, it went ok. I could not concentrate on listening much :-(
Speaking was also a mess but I still feel I performed MUCH better than many others (i could hear them speak)

Added my post ,btw :-)
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 11:42
Oh by the way this test center had a safe area to keep our belongings. Something that was not there in my testing centre of my last attempt(any of you taking the test in New York City then PM me, I"ll give you this centre address. It is really good!!)
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 19:32
heygirl wrote:
Oh by the way this test center had a safe area to keep our belongings. Something that was not there in my testing centre of my last attempt(any of you taking the test in New York City then PM me, I"ll give you this centre address. It is really good!!)


I don't know but when ever it comes to the actual tests, I never remember anything! I always remember what happened before I start answering and after I finish answering! But in between?.... No idea!

:?
8-)

Anyway.... Good Job! The test center in my city is also pretty cool... No technical difficulties... and they served a Mango drink and some biscuits during the break!
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From 650 to 710 to 750 - My Tryst With GMAT [Experience Thread]

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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2011, 06:38
haha, me too. I don't remember much of the test. But, I still want to post some tips here for those who need to take the TOEFL. I have some memories of the test, so will make use of it :-)

mango juice :-D sounds nice! My earlier test center was very bad!So i was blown away by this one.
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 12:00
Before I forget, I wanted to add a few things about the test.

This test starts with the REading Section. I got 5 passages and about 13-14 questions on each passage. MY passages came in groups times separately. The first passage was 20 mins with 12 Questions then the second group(2 passages) were 40 mins with a total of 18 questions and third group was 2 passages again with 28 questions and 40 mins to answer the questions(reading time included here). One good thing about the TOEFL passages is that, you don't need to read the whole passage and understand it. Go one paragraph at a time. The questions also show up in the same order as the paragrpahs are arranged. Typically, 2-3 questions are asked on each paragraph.

Worth noting - although the passages and the questions are easy, they require A LOT of stamina from our side to sit through it and read 5 passages with over 100 words in each paragraph of every passage. Trust me ,this was not fun.

Next, is the listening section. Here I got 2 groups of questions.First one had 1 conversation and 2 lectures. The second group had the same format. We are given 10 mins to answer questions. the time to listen to the recordings is not included in this 10 mins. Fairly easy section EXCEPT if you start dreaming as I did on a couple of passages. Note down a few things, if you wish. But ,if your memory is good enough then you may not need to note down much.

BREAK - 10 mins. my TOEFL center had coffee and bananas available to test takers. We also had an area which was designated to keep our belongings. Use this break to go to the restroom,drink some water and a quick snack,if need be.

Now, the speaking section starts. For this section, I used the templates given in this forum. This is the link : http://gmatclub.com/forum/toefl-instructional-videos-speaking-writing-very-useful-100611.html
I just followed the templates. The only problem with this section is a 1.5-2 minute conversation may need to be summarized in 1 minute. So, that's hard! To overcome this, practice 2-3 questions from each type and that should be good. I used some practice from youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux2Q0upiD_0&feature=related.
The first and the second question were the same tpye for me(state your preference). I think the official guide to the TOEFL iBT,2nd edition lists this as 2 different questions types.So not sure what to expect here but the other 4 questions were as mentioned in th guide/templates.
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 12:21
Finally, the writing section begins. The topics are fairly easy to elaborate. For this section too I used a template to help me with the structure of my essay. The first essay places more importance on the recording/audio file contents and the second is free-style in which we are given a topic to develop upon.

All in all, I studied for some 8-10 hours and used the official guide for TOEFL iBT

Good Luck to all of you!
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 12:42
Can you describe how the examination area is ...? Do you sit with all the other test takers? Is it not disturbing when you need to listen and someone else is speaking next to you? Are you provided headsets? @ heygirl.
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 18:56
TwinkleToes,
yes,we sit with other test takers and this arrangement is definitely disturbing . One great tip that I would give is to reach the test centre early, may be 1 hour earlier to your scheduled test. This way you will not have too many people before you . He tests center does provide headsets. We obviously need them for the listening section and also for speaking/writing section.you can keep the headphones on throughout the test. I did this too.
Good luck
TwinkleToes wrote:
Can you describe how the examination area is ...? Do you sit with all the other test takers? Is it not disturbing when you need to listen and someone else is speaking next to you? Are you provided headsets? @ heygirl.


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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 08:54
I got my score today. I have improved my total score by just one point (102) while I needed 4 points more :( :( :( Looks like I need to retake to TOEFL. Sad!
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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test [#permalink] New post 10 Apr 2011, 15:04
heygirl wrote:
I got my score today. I have improved my total score by just one point (102) while I needed 4 points more :( :( :( Looks like I need to retake to TOEFL. Sad!



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Re: My TOEFL experience - before,during and after the test   [#permalink] 10 Apr 2011, 15:04
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