Joined: 11 May 2010
 , given: 13
My TOEFL score 111 [#permalink]
23 Jul 2010, 05:37
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I took the test on the 10th of July and received my score last night (in less than 2 weeks)
It's more or less what I expected, although I hoped for a miraculous 115. I am not a native speaker, and I have visited English-speaking countries for 2 weeks in total. Besides for the last 5 years I almost have not had any practice, instead talking another foreign language. But I studied English philology (linguistics and literature) as a major for 5 years at the University in Russia.
I did not prepare for the test, only had taken 2 tests from the TOEFL ETS Official Guide and 2 tests from Cambridge TOEFL textbook. So I knew that I would get around 28-30 in Reading and Listening without preparation. I was sure I would get 30 in Writing, based on the sample essays provided. And I was sure that Speaking was going to be a disaster, and it was.
Reading:don't read the text before answering the questions, it's boring. Pass to the questions, and read the text while answering. The good thing is that you can always return and change answers if you want. Be aware of timing! I am a slow reader, because I am easily distracted, so I have to force myself to speed through the texts, otherwise there is not enough time for the questions at the end of the passage which have the most weight.
Listening: it was just too easy. Be aware of inference questions, that was the only thing I had to learn to do for the test. My listening section was way too long, at the end I was stressed, but the outcome is fine with me. Actually I am surprised to get 30 in this section, as I had to guess a couple of questions - I was a bit tired and could not focus when listening.
Speaking: I tried to do whatever I could taking practice tests, but just could not nail it. I speak English very well. The problem is that when I get nervous I say "uh oh" all the time, and even sometimes forget what I am talking about. I can repeat not only words but the whole sentences, and it doesn't matter which language I speak. My advice: go to Toastmasters and get read of nervousness when speaking in public. I am a slow speaker, it's just the natural way I talk, so 1 minute is not enough for me to develop on the topic. Also my voice is too low, so the mic could not get adjusted until I started swearing, the quality of recording could be the problem in this case.
Writing: no idea what was the problem and why I got punished a little bit. Just one advice: give yourself time to check what you have written. I found a lot of typos and mistakes, word repetitions, which I corrected. I am generally not a good writer, and I even hate writing. But still the sample essays were worse than mine and still got the highest grade. I did not use the Chinesebird's template cause I thought I could do that for GMAT, and TOEFL would be much easier.