Joined: 09 Dec 2013
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TOEFL debrief 102 [#permalink]
09 Dec 2013, 12:15
Hi guys ! I took the test on Saturday the 7th December in Paris. First of all I wanted to thank you all for putting this useful information together, I've been preparing for 3 months and as I was the only one in my class and from all the people I know to take the TOELF it felt really nice to have some support, which I found in reading your debriefs.
During my training I only used Barron's TOEFL iBT prep book and that was a big mistake. The book has many tests (8) but most of the questions are not really preparing for the TOEFL. For example, the integrated writing questions can be about a lecture that supports the reading and NEVER were the points in the lecture used by the lecturer. Hence, I prepared for complete random questions and I could not learn an answering template. A week before the test I started to actually look for TOEFL debriefs, that is how I end up here and heard about Notefull's lessons. And I realized that I was doing it wrong for months. My advice is NEVER trust only one prep book! So if I had to rate this book, just so you know I would give it the following grades, based on how well it prepares by Toefl parts: Reading: B, Listening: A, Speaking: C, Writing: D
Also, it was written nowhere in the book that the more you write the more you get. In France when you write more than asked, you get a lower grade... So out of my 8 tests I went through, I wrote every single essay with the word count between the range. My bad, I should have looked for advice earlier.
On the other hand, Notefull's advice was very useful, I learned the answering schemes and they worked great.
RC: As I started the reading comprehension I was really anxious and it was hard for me to focus, therefore I felt that this part was a bit harder than what I expected. I stopped on several questions because I could not find the answer and I lost plenty of time, I did answered all questions however and I had to rush through the summarizing questions, which I found rather hard.
Listening: There is a couple of answers that I am not sure about but it went pretty smoothly otherwise. My advice is to stay focused through the entire lecture because sometimes the questions are about details.
Speaking: On a couple questions I did not finish, I was looking my scratch paper and lost track of the timer. Although, I did pretty well on the mock tests, I kind of messed this part up. One thing that surprised me is that the first question was a multiple choice answer. Out of three possibilities I had to choose a topic, and as I heard the others answering that question, while I was in pause, I tried to prepare myself. It turned out that my answer did not fit in so I had to start over. For questions 4 and 6 Notefull's templates really helped and I realize how useful they are: 15seconds or so of speech are already ready for each questions. On Q5 it was funny because usually a man or a woman has a problem and the other provides him or her with solutions. Well that time the man had a problem and he proposed his own solutions to the problem and the woman was just listening. So I had to adapt my template for my answer but it was no big deal.
Writing: As I expected, in the integrated essay the lecture opposed each point from the reading. I wrote around 300 words for that one. The second question was not that easy, but it was like most training questions that can be found on the Internet. I wrote about 400 words, I ran quickly out of things to say, I recommend future test-takers to not only train by writing essays but also read some sample essays.
Reading all your guys previous experiences with the test really helped me build some confidence and I could not be more grateful. The test is not a big deal after all but one should really know what to expect (but if you are on this website, you probably already know.)
Here are some key points that may help you:
-Understand how the raters grades the test
-practice speaking and writing accordingly
-read some lectures about marine life and wildlife in general (somehow, I had 2 readings and 2 lectures and 1 speaking question about this topic).
Feel free to asks some questions
Here is a quick update with my score,
Well I am most certainly surprised that I only got 22 on the listening, well I guess my prep book was really useless then...
I wish you all the best of luck for your future tests.