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120 in TOEFL - Debrief

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Joined: 10 Feb 2011
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Kudos [?]: 16 [2], given: 18

120 in TOEFL - Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2011, 00:49
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Just got my result yesterday and was very pleased to discover that I got a perfect score. After not doing so well on my GMAT where I had gotten a 35 in Verbal I was worried about TOEFL. But I had booked the TOEFL a long time ago and it was scheduled to be held 7 days after my GMAT exam. I had no choice but to prepare in the limited time that I had.

For a 120 score you need some luck on your side, but I am confident that just by following the advice on this forum you can easily get a high score 110+.

Also, whatever you do, don't forget to take ear plugs to help block the surrounding noise.

Material used:

TOEFL OG - Go through it quickly to understand the test.
I also had the one from Kaplan, but did not use the book. The tests on the accompanying CD were really good for practice though.
This Forum


For those who have written the GMAT, this one will be very easy. Some people recommend to read the questions first and then answer the questions. My strategy was to read one paragraph and then answer all questions related to that paragraph. Questions will always appear in order so the first question will always be from the first paragraph. Just do a few practice passages and you will be fine.


Just pay attention and practice to concentrate while listening. I took notes which helped me concentrate. However, I realized that I was able to answer most of the questions without even looking at the notes. But taking notes helped me concentrate effectively so I wrote down as much as I could while listening. My listening passage was the extended one so it lasted longer than normal.


I was dreading this section. I am not a native speaker but I have always studied in English and I speak English at work as well. Even then I was a bit worried because of the time constraints while giving your answers. There is a simple formula for succeeding in this section : Prepare and then Practice !!

- Read the TOEFL OG and understand the major theme/format of each of the six questions and also remember the preparation time and response time that will be allocated for each question.

- Watch the youtube videos posted on this forum. (The one's by Learn the templates by heart!! If you can't learn them then write them down during your ten minute break. On test day I managed to finish my speaking section 10 minutes in advance and during this time I wrote down all of my speaking templates. This included the templates for taking notes while listening/reading to speaking questions. I felt this was really useful. You can do this in your ten minute break or if you manage to finish the reading or listening section earlier. But DO take a break for at least a few minutes and stretch your legs. It's important to be fresh while tackling the speaking section.

Once I was familiar with each of the six questions and had developed templates about them, I started practicing. I practiced using the 4 speaking tests on Kaplan's CD, the 2 speaking tests on the TOEFL OG's CD, and the speaking test from the free TOEFL Test that is provided when you register for the test. I also did some speaking questions from another site which has been posted on this forum. I did this under timed conditions and recorded my responses using my cell phone. When I felt I did not do well on a response I would attempt the question again and again till I got it right. My problem was that I was struggling with timing and often I was not able to finish my response on time. However, with practice I noticed that I was improving.

1 day before the exam I felt a bit worried and I bought one speaking test along with a review of its answers from It cost around 18 USD and I only bought it to let someone experienced evaluate my responses and give me a score. I immediately did the test and uploaded the results. Mr. Joseph, the instructor, was kind enough to review my responses on an urgent basis since my test was less than 1 day away and gave me some feedback which helpful. He rated my responses to be at a level of 22 - 24 but said that I can easily increase my score if I speak a little faster and practiced more. I had been speaking slowly before cause I was thinking that the TOEFL evaluator will not be able to comprehend my fast speech due to my accent. Mr. Joseph pointed out that my accent was fine and I can speak at my natural pace. I received this tip only a few hours before the exam but it was really helpful as it allowed me to speak at a faster rate and thus allowed me to complete my responses within the allotted time.


I modified my GMAT templates a bit(thanks to chineseburned) and incorporated the ideas presented in the youtube videos. It was pretty straight forward. I learned my templates and practiced by writing two essays on each of the question types.

That's about it. If anyone has any questions or needs any help, then feel free to let me know. Will be glad to help!

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Re: 120 in TOEFL - Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2011, 05:53

Kudos [?]: 1219 [0], given: 157

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Location: Russian Federation
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, International Business
GMAT 3: 740 Q40 V50
GMAT 4: 700 Q48 V38
GMAT 5: 710 Q45 V41
GMAT 6: 680 Q47 V36
GMAT 9: 740 Q49 V42
GMAT 11: 500 Q47 V33
GMAT 14: 760 Q49 V44
WE: Supply Chain Management (Energy and Utilities)
Re: 120 in TOEFL - Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2011, 05:11
forsaken11, you are the first person I know to get the perfect 120!!!
I don't know if it's possible for me, being a chicken, when I see timer running...
Thank you for sharing your experience, though, and for the tips you gave.

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Joined: 04 Jan 2012
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Re: 120 in TOEFL - Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2012, 19:00
do you have the templates you have used in the writings?

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Re: 120 in TOEFL - Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 16 Feb 2012, 14:23
Great score. Congratulations!

Kudos if you like the post!

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

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Re: 120 in TOEFL - Debrief   [#permalink] 16 Feb 2012, 14:23
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