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TOEFL debrief - 117

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TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2012, 01:02
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Hi,

I took the TOEFL test 2 days ago and I wanted to share with you some tips on my preparation and on the test itself hoping to help the members of the gmatclub in their preparation.

Preparation - General Tips

I started preparing about two months ago, I have a very time-consuming job and I thought that I won't be able to devote too much time to the test. But I had actually plenty of time to prepare using the following ets-branded tools

- TOEFL Official Book
- TOEFL Planner (Free)
- TOEFL Quick Prep Test (Free)

I somewhat followed the preparation plan in the planner. I also practiced on two TOEFL online tests, one halfway through my preparation and one the day before the test. One is provided if you buy a TOEFL pack, if you need to buy more it will cost you USD 45 each

Preparation - Specific Tip

To specifically prepare for one section of the TOEFL, here are some useful tips, some of them have been already posted (a number of times) on this website but I can only advice everyone to take a look at them to at least understand the test (especially for those with only few days to prepare)

Reading: One of the TOEFL pack sold on the official TOEFL website provides you with a service called Engaging English. This service provides you with a measure of your reading capabilities (Lexile measure). Once you complete one practice test, you can use your score and match it with a lexile measure and better prepare for the exam. Simplistically, if you're looking to get a 30 on the TOEFL, you should be reading texts that have a lexile measure above 1600. For those who do not have time to search the internet for academic-type texts, I guess this is a good resource. Otherwise, reading few articles every day on websites like The New York Times, BBC, Reuters or The Economist is also a good preparation.

Listening: I used this website to prepare for the listening part, it provides you with 50 conversations and 50 lectures. Warning: the voice of one of the student is just terribly ANNOYING!

Speaking: Here, I have to give a round of :clap: to rid82 for his templates available on this website. Really, really, really USEFUL. One advice though, especially for Q1 and Q2, once you get a good grasp of the question, just do it as if you were answering a friend's question. No one goes: "I believe this is right for two reasons..." in real life :-D.

Another good tip for the speaking part (which I found on this website), the notefull website. 6 good 10-minutes long videos explaining you in details what do to for each question. They also offer to review for free a sample test for you, and YES they do review your answers and get back to you with an audio feedback (same link as above - check out the TOEFL speaking practice section)

Finally, you can also watch the official TOEFL videos on youtube, you have 3 videos covering Q1/2, Q3/5 and Q4/6. A good resource too to understand quickly what this part is all about

No matter what you are using, time yourself!!!!!!!. Question 5 for instance, you have 60s to speak and you need to give some background about you the conversation, explain the problem faced by student 1, gives the two solutions proposed by student 2 and finally give your own opinion. When I say time yourself, I mean try to answer in 60s (not less not more) AND try to allocate some time for each "sub-part" of the question: Background + Problem: 15s, solutions: 10s... (notefull's videos are very useful for that)

Writing: You can check the two videos posted on the TOEFL channel and use also Notefull's free review service

Test Day

Finally!. The test center was easy to find, woke up really early and was there 1 hour before the start of the test, had a good night of sleep and a massive breakfast (damn that test is long and you do need both). I have seen mixed feedback about getting there early, on one hand you avoid the stress of getting stuck in a traffic jam or something like that and you get usually a good seat in the room (I mean the proctor assigns seats on a first-come first-serve basis, the first one will get the seat on the last row which MIGHT be a quieter place to take the test), on the other hand, waiting for 45 mn in the room filled with nervous students is not a great experience!

So I sat down, went quickly through the instructions and the notorious " Describe the city you live in" mic check, and started with a reading section with 3 texts, followed by a 3-part listening section (this section is divided into subset with 1 conversation and 2 lectures, so I got 6 lectures and 3 conversations). For the reading section, nothing really complicated, I actually finished in 45mn (total time: 1 hr) and moved on. One tip for the last question, the one which ask you to summarize the text, I personally went through the text one time and read the first sentence of each paragraph. This sentence should summarize the idea of the paragraph, then you just need to find a sentence among those proposed that is close to what you've just read and that's it.

Then, the 10-minute break, went to the bathroom, drank some water (bottles provided by the proctor, nice!) and got back at it.

The speaking section, I think it went OK, this is honestly the section I am the least confident about, although I did my best to answer each question properly, I am doubtful that I am going to get 26+, we'll see.

Finally, the writing section, I got plenty of time to write and review the first text (about 300 words I think). The speaker usually follows the reading passage, it makes it easier for the listener to articulate the essay. For the second essay, I wrote about 600 words, while writing, do read the question, sometimes you can lose sight of the question itself and start digressing.

Also, I highly recommend to bring earplugs, this was really helpful at the beginning of the test and at the end (yes, you will always get the guy who tries 15 times to calibrate his mic and it is extremely disturbing when you try to focus on a text and it also useful when the rest of the center is focusing on the speaking section and you are typing your essays). If it is not allowed in your center just keep the headset on during the test, that might help. Forget to mention about the scratch paper, in my center, it was limited to 3 sheets and that's it!. Since you need to take notes for the listening, the speaking and the writing sections, it might be quite limited

That's it. I hope my debrief will be helpful for those taking the test in the future, if you have any question, please post

Samir

PS: I've tried to post with some urls but I apparently I cannot, google's your best friend!

Last edited by Samirc2 on 23 Oct 2012, 12:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 12:04
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Guys,

Just got my score and it's 117!!!

Reading 30 Listening 29 Speaking 28 Writing 30


Again if you have any questions please post!
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2012, 15:03
Hi,
Can you provide info on how reading is scored? for e.g If i gave 20 correct answers from 39 how much is my total score?
I have been giving practice tests and I am not consistent in reading section :oops: :cry: , speaking is second worry for me. I will be giving the test in few days from now, can you share some advice?
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2012, 22:37
Khushbuv wrote:
Hi,
Can you provide info on how reading is scored? for e.g If i gave 20 correct answers from 39 how much is my total score?
I have been giving practice tests and I am not consistent in reading section :oops: :cry: , speaking is second worry for me. I will be giving the test in few days from now, can you share some advice?


Hi,

For the reading section, you should not think about the number of questions correctly answered but the number of points earned. For each passage, you have a set of questions which are worth 1 point each except for the last question which is worth either 2 or 3 points. Once you add up all your points, then the calculation is quite simple:

Total possible points: 42
Total points earned from correct answers: 35
TOEFL Scaled Score: 35/42*30=25

Since your test date is approaching, you should probably focus on the type of questions that you are struggling the most with and do as many practice tests as you can

On the speaking section, I practiced by recording myself, I think this is the easiest and most effective way to improve yourself quickly, just pick one subject and talk about it, listen to yourself and pinpoint things that you're not happy with in terms of flow, pronunciation, grammar... then try again and again and again and again...
An important thing is to time yourself check out the videos from notefull for that, they are REALLY helpful!

I hope this will help you in your preparation

Good luck

Samir
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 05:31
Thanks for your response, I hope so too
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 07:27
How much the real score is different from the practice tests? could it be less or more?
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 07:42
Great Score!! congrats! How much time did you spend preparing for the exam?
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 08:01
Khushbuv wrote:
How much the real score is different from the practice tests? could it be less or more?



If you practice using the official tests that are available online (not free though), I think they are pretty close to what you are going to get on d-day. To give you an idea, I purchased two tests (one as part of the TOEFL package) and I scored 114 and 116. So I guess these practice tests are a good proxy for your real score
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 08:06
nelz007 wrote:
Great Score!! congrats! How much time did you spend preparing for the exam?


Hi,

I took the test on October 13th and registered 2 months before that.

Looking back at it, I think it all depends on your level, your target and how much time you can allocate every day (week) to the preparation of the test. I've read stories of people that prepared for 1/2 days and got a great score (and I heard some bad stories too)

Hope this helps

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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2012, 09:28
Samirc2..post the urls giving spaces in between..like www . google . com
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2012, 22:27
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shirley13 wrote:
Samirc2..post the urls giving spaces in between..like www . google . com


Hi thanks for the tip, here are the links that I wanted to post as part of my debrief

Preparation - General Tips

The TOEFL Planner (Free): www .ets. org /c/13910/index .html

The TOEFL Quick Prep Test (Free): www. ets. org /toefl / ibt / prepare/

Preparation - General Tips

Listening:

-> Free Conversations & Lectures:www. english-test .net /toefl/ listening/

Speaking:

-> Templates: gmatclub .com /forum /templates-tfl-94210 .html

-> Notefull Website (Useful Videos for speaking & writing & Free Speaking and Writing Review): https: //www. notefull .com/ content .php? pgID=293

-> Official TOEFL videos on Youtube: www. youtube .com / user/ TOEFLtv

Hope this helps

Samir
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2012, 19:41
Samirc2 wrote:
shirley13 wrote:
Samirc2..post the urls giving spaces in between..like www . google . com


Hi thanks for the tip, here are the links that I wanted to post as part of my debrief

Preparation - General Tips

The TOEFL Planner (Free): www .ets. org /c/13910/index .html

The TOEFL Quick Prep Test (Free): www. ets. org /toefl / ibt / prepare/

Preparation - General Tips

Listening:

-> Free Conversations & Lectures:www. english-test .net /toefl/ listening/

Speaking:

-> Templates: gmatclub .com /forum /templates-tfl-94210 .html

-> Notefull Website (Useful Videos for speaking & writing & Free Speaking and Writing Review): https: //www. notefull .com/ content .php? pgID=293

-> Official TOEFL videos on Youtube: www. youtube .com / user/ TOEFLtv

Hope this helps

Samir


This is the question i wanted to ask..:D

thanks for such a nice debrief...
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2013, 21:30
Can you provide info on how reading is scored?












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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2013, 22:55
ykfdf wrote:
Can you provide info on how reading is scored?

Hi,

I am not sure whether you are asking about

(i) the way the TOEFL scores the reading part: in that case, you can refer to the TOEFL to the Official Guide - it provides you with a scale (p. 421) to convert your raw score: correct questions/total questions to scaled score (/30)

(ii) the way the reading part works: basically you have 3/4 reading passages with 13 questions at the end of each passage, all questions are worth one point except the last one which is worth 2 or 3 points

Hope this help

Let me know if you have any further questions

Sam







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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2013, 03:48
Quote:
One is provided if you buy a TOEFL pack, if you need to buy more it will cost you USD 45 each

Samirc2, is the test provided if you buy a TOEFL pack a full-length test? I got one free upon registration but it wasn't complete (shortened version).
Thanks!
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2013, 03:08
WantGMAT800 wrote:
Quote:
One is provided if you buy a TOEFL pack, if you need to buy more it will cost you USD 45 each

Samirc2, is the test provided if you buy a TOEFL pack a full-length test? I got one free upon registration but it wasn't complete (shortened version).
Thanks!


Hi,

When you buy a TOEFL value pack (http :// www . ets . org / toefl / ibt / prepare / valuepacks? WT . ac= toeflhome_valuepacks_121127), you got a free full length test. It seems that ets is running a promotion now, so full-length tests are going for USD 27 vs. USD 45

Hope that answered your question

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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2013, 09:31
Samirc2 wrote:
WantGMAT800 wrote:
Quote:
One is provided if you buy a TOEFL pack, if you need to buy more it will cost you USD 45 each

Samirc2, is the test provided if you buy a TOEFL pack a full-length test? I got one free upon registration but it wasn't complete (shortened version).
Thanks!


Hi,

When you buy a TOEFL value pack (http :// www . ets . org / toefl / ibt / prepare / valuepacks? WT . ac= toeflhome_valuepacks_121127), you got a free full length test. It seems that ets is running a promotion now, so full-length tests are going for USD 27 vs. USD 45

Hope that answered your question

Samir

Yes, it did. Thanks!
Could you please also give a short background of yours in terms of English language exposure?
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2013, 05:21
[/quote]
Yes, it did. Thanks!
Could you please also give a short background of yours in terms of English language exposure?[/quote]

Sure, I have been working for 3 years in an English speaking environment, I believe it really did have an impact on my speaking skills. I had to improve my writing too. I am still improving both

Also, I've been listening for quite some time now to US artists and I've been watching TV shows/films too (w/o subtitles), so that helped me ace the comprehension part of the TOEFL (i.e. reading/listening)

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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 01:33
Samirc2 wrote:
Sure, I have been working for 3 years in an English speaking environment, I believe it really did have an impact on my speaking skills. I had to improve my writing too. I am still improving both
Also, I've been listening for quite some time now to US artists and I've been watching TV shows/films too (w/o subtitles), so that helped me ace the comprehension part of the TOEFL (i.e. reading/listening)
Samir

I see, thanks! I'm also interested in tips regarding Reading and Listening part. Do you have any beyond what you described in you debrief? The reason I'm asking is that I scored 28 on Reading - and I'd like to get 30. As to listening part this was a very frustrating experience - I scored 24. This is so weird because I was scoring 27-29 during my practice tests and I had no troubles understanding conversations and lectures content. I found questions to be overwhelmingly vague and two of 4 answers almost similar. Any suggestions here?
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Re: TOEFL debrief - 117 [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2013, 07:26
WantGMAT800 wrote:
Samirc2 wrote:
Sure, I have been working for 3 years in an English speaking environment, I believe it really did have an impact on my speaking skills. I had to improve my writing too. I am still improving both
Also, I've been listening for quite some time now to US artists and I've been watching TV shows/films too (w/o subtitles), so that helped me ace the comprehension part of the TOEFL (i.e. reading/listening)
Samir

I see, thanks! I'm also interested in tips regarding Reading and Listening part. Do you have any beyond what you described in you debrief? The reason I'm asking is that I scored 28 on Reading - and I'd like to get 30. As to listening part this was a very frustrating experience - I scored 24. This is so weird because I was scoring 27-29 during my practice tests and I had no troubles understanding conversations and lectures content. I found questions to be overwhelmingly vague and two of 4 answers almost similar. Any suggestions here?



From my experience, I think you would get a 30 vs a 28 if you can ace the inference questions and get the last dreadful questions right. Those are the two things I struggled with during my preparation. For inference questions, it requires practice I guess, for the last question, I believe I kind of touch on that in my first post.

For the listening part, you just need to familiarize yourself with the American accent. Taking notes did not really helped me during the exam, I just tried to memorize information and write down dates and some key facts, maybe you could listen to short interviews, news reports and try to memorize as much info as you can. Then ask yourself questions like: what was this news about? the main subject? the place? why were they covering that?...

Samir
Re: TOEFL debrief - 117   [#permalink] 17 Jan 2013, 07:26
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