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Tips for TOEFL if you have limited preparation time

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Tips for TOEFL if you have limited preparation time [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2010, 00:57
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Okay so I took the TOEFL test today in Beijing, and I think it went okay... but I probably did really bad =/ and I only got to prepare for two days (don't ask why, it's complicated...)

I really want to know my score! I don't think it comes out until two weeks later... but now I have to study for the SSAT's which I am taking next week in Shanghai =(

DEBRIEF: (scroll down if you just want the tips)

I arrived pretty early... but there were already people taking the test. I was probably the youngest there (I'm in 8th Grade).

At first it was really hard to concentrate, because people were still coming in and saying 'describe the city you live in'. I could not focus on the reading passage. It was a pretty hard passage too. But the other reading passages were easier for me. However, I don't think I did the best I could... I didn't really ready the passages properly. But I think the way they score it is that they just randomly pick 30 questions to calculate your score. So even though you might have gotten one question wrong, if you're lucky, then you might get 30/30.

Listening section is pretty easy. Just make sure you're listening. It's kind of like listening to the teacher in class, and you want to remember every word that they say. Turn up the volume really loud if you don't want to get distracted by other noises.

I was really nervous about the speaking section. I can speak english really well, but for something like a recorded test, it's really hard because you don't have a lot of time to practice. And you can't record and listen to it, then submit; they just record and that's that. However, as long as you speak slowly, clearly, and express your idea, I think you should do fine. Don't get freaked out too much.

The writing section is also fairly simple. Make sure you take a lot of notes for the lecture, because you need to write about it. Don't take notes for the reading passage, because you can look at that while your're writing. Usually the passage and the professor contradict, so you can start planning your essay after you finish the passage by making a quick outline or organizer. For the opinion one, I made the mistake of writing too much, so when the time ended I was still in the middle of editing my writing... so there was a part in the essay that had half a sentence. Whoops.

Here are a few tips:

A WEEK BEFORE THE TEST (or in my case, 2 days)

- Take a practice test. (There is a free one, but it doesn't really have a lot of material to study)

- Watch videos from Notefull to prepare the speaking section, I found those useful.

- You can find a lot of other resources online, so you don't need to freak out if you can't find a prep book.

- Go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00. Usually it takes me around one hour to fall asleep on the night before a test.

THE MORNING OF THE TEST

- Eat a big breakfast, so you won't be hungry.

- Drink plenty of water, in sips.

- Go as late as possible. You do not want to be the first one doing the reading section, and hearing every single person say 'describe the city you live in', because it is VERY distracting.

READING SECTION

- Bring earplugs if they allow it. When you're doing the reading section, everyone's going to saying 'describe the city you live in' to test the microphone, and IT'S REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE. I spent ages answering the questions for the first reading passage.

- If you're not allowed earplugs, then cover up your ears when you're reading and really focus on the sentences in the passage.

LISTENING SECTION

- Usually when you have your headphones on with the person talking, you won't hear other people speaking (unless they are really loud and really close). If that's the case, just turn it up really loud. (when i was doing the reading section, i could hear a sounds from other people's headphones)

- Actually listen to the conversation or whatever, don't focus too much on the notes.

- If you came in a little later than everyone else (which I strongly advise), you might want to pause on the last question for a bit. You might hear someone already on their speaking section, so you can sort of get an idea about what the first few questions are.

- You will be tired near the second half of the listening section. DON'T LOSE FOCUS.

10 MINUTE BREAK

- Go to the bathroom
- Drink water
- You can sort of prepare for your speaking section during this time, if you heard some people answer already.

SPEAKING SECTION

- Before the speaking section (in reading and listening), either really take your time, or do it faster than everyone else. You want to try and do the speaking section while it's quiet, not when everyone starts to do it at the same time.

- You don't have to write down what you want to say for the first two personal questions. Just answer it the way you would answer a question to a friend or interviewer.

- TALK SLOWLY, BUT NOT AWKWARDLY. If you talk too fast (like i did), it's easy to run out of what to say, or make mistakes.

WRITING SECTION

- The more the merrier. For the integrated essay, I wrote around 300-400 words, and for the opinion one I wrote 600-700. However, writing too much is not always good. I think I wrote too much.

- Pay attention to time. You only have 20 mins or 30 mins, which is very short. I made the mistake of not looking at the clock, so I was adding a sentence when time ran out so I had a part that was incomplete =(

- Pay attention to spelling and grammar, the basic things. If you're comfortable with writing, you might pay attention to vocabulary and sentence variety, but usually you don't have much time for that.

- Keep to a good structure.
Introduction: Grab your readers attention, Thesis statement, introduce your 3 points.
Body Paragraph 1: Your 1st Point, Explanation and Example.
Body Paragraph 2: Your 2nd Point, Explanation and Example.
Body Paragraph 3: Your 3rd Point, Explanation and Example.
Conclusion: Sum up the 3 points, and maybe add another sentence to wrap it up.
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Re: Tips for TOEFL if you have limited preparation time [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2010, 02:00
great thanks for sharing your story, please keep us posted with your final score.
rid
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Re: Tips for TOEFL if you have limited preparation time [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2010, 01:07
vivsters wrote:
Okay so I took the TOEFL test today in Beijing, and I think it went okay... but I probably did really bad =/ and I only got to prepare for two days (don't ask why, it's complicated...)

I really want to know my score! I don't think it comes out until two weeks later... but now I have to study for the SSAT's which I am taking next week in Shanghai =(

DEBRIEF: (scroll down if you just want the tips)

I arrived pretty early... but there were already people taking the test. I was probably the youngest there (I'm in 8th Grade).

At first it was really hard to concentrate, because people were still coming in and saying 'describe the city you live in'. I could not focus on the reading passage. It was a pretty hard passage too. But the other reading passages were easier for me. However, I don't think I did the best I could... I didn't really ready the passages properly. But I think the way they score it is that they just randomly pick 30 questions to calculate your score. So even though you might have gotten one question wrong, if you're lucky, then you might get 30/30.

Listening section is pretty easy. Just make sure you're listening. It's kind of like listening to the teacher in class, and you want to remember every word that they say. Turn up the volume really loud if you don't want to get distracted by other noises.

I was really nervous about the speaking section. I can speak english really well, but for something like a recorded test, it's really hard because you don't have a lot of time to practice. And you can't record and listen to it, then submit; they just record and that's that. However, as long as you speak slowly, clearly, and express your idea, I think you should do fine. Don't get freaked out too much.

The writing section is also fairly simple. Make sure you take a lot of notes for the lecture, because you need to write about it. Don't take notes for the reading passage, because you can look at that while your're writing. Usually the passage and the professor contradict, so you can start planning your essay after you finish the passage by making a quick outline or organizer. For the opinion one, I made the mistake of writing too much, so when the time ended I was still in the middle of editing my writing... so there was a part in the essay that had half a sentence. Whoops.

Here are a few tips:

A WEEK BEFORE THE TEST (or in my case, 2 days)

- Take a practice test. (There is a free one, but it doesn't really have a lot of material to study)

- Watch videos from Notefull to prepare the speaking section, I found those useful.

- You can find a lot of other resources online, so you don't need to freak out if you can't find a prep book.

- Go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00. Usually it takes me around one hour to fall asleep on the night before a test.

THE MORNING OF THE TEST

- Eat a big breakfast, so you won't be hungry.

- Drink plenty of water, in sips.

- Go as late as possible. You do not want to be the first one doing the reading section, and hearing every single person say 'describe the city you live in', because it is VERY distracting.

READING SECTION

- Bring earplugs if they allow it. When you're doing the reading section, everyone's going to saying 'describe the city you live in' to test the microphone, and IT'S REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE. I spent ages answering the questions for the first reading passage.

- If you're not allowed earplugs, then cover up your ears when you're reading and really focus on the sentences in the passage.

LISTENING SECTION

- Usually when you have your headphones on with the person talking, you won't hear other people speaking (unless they are really loud and really close). If that's the case, just turn it up really loud. (when i was doing the reading section, i could hear a sounds from other people's headphones)

- Actually listen to the conversation or whatever, don't focus too much on the notes.

- If you came in a little later than everyone else (which I strongly advise), you might want to pause on the last question for a bit. You might hear someone already on their speaking section, so you can sort of get an idea about what the first few questions are.

- You will be tired near the second half of the listening section. DON'T LOSE FOCUS.

10 MINUTE BREAK

- Go to the bathroom
- Drink water
- You can sort of prepare for your speaking section during this time, if you heard some people answer already.

SPEAKING SECTION

- Before the speaking section (in reading and listening), either really take your time, or do it faster than everyone else. You want to try and do the speaking section while it's quiet, not when everyone starts to do it at the same time.

- You don't have to write down what you want to say for the first two personal questions. Just answer it the way you would answer a question to a friend or interviewer.

- TALK SLOWLY, BUT NOT AWKWARDLY. If you talk too fast (like i did), it's easy to run out of what to say, or make mistakes.

WRITING SECTION

- The more the merrier. For the integrated essay, I wrote around 300-400 words, and for the opinion one I wrote 600-700. However, writing too much is not always good. I think I wrote too much.

- Pay attention to time. You only have 20 mins or 30 mins, which is very short. I made the mistake of not looking at the clock, so I was adding a sentence when time ran out so I had a part that was incomplete =(

- Pay attention to spelling and grammar, the basic things. If you're comfortable with writing, you might pay attention to vocabulary and sentence variety, but usually you don't have much time for that.

- Keep to a good structure.
Introduction: Grab your readers attention, Thesis statement, introduce your 3 points.
Body Paragraph 1: Your 1st Point, Explanation and Example.
Body Paragraph 2: Your 2nd Point, Explanation and Example.
Body Paragraph 3: Your 3rd Point, Explanation and Example.
Conclusion: Sum up the 3 points, and maybe add another sentence to wrap it up.



well done mate... hope to see you in the 105 club :-D
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Re: Tips for TOEFL if you have limited preparation time [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2010, 05:05
thanks for that... keep us posted
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Re: Tips for TOEFL if you have limited preparation time [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2013, 18:00
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This is a very late update I realize, but I got 118 on the TOEFL.
Re: Tips for TOEFL if you have limited preparation time   [#permalink] 09 Jan 2013, 18:00
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