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TOEFL Debrief - 115

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TOEFL Debrief - 115  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2015, 22:58
Hello All,

I would like to provide a short write-up on how I scored 115 on the TOEFL iBT.

I gave the test on 20th Dec, which was 11 days post my GMAT. I had other commitments and wasn't able to use the 11 days fully. I ended up using about 8 days. The first thing was to find the TOEFL OG from ETS. I borrowed it from my local library. I went through the book and completed everything relevant for the test. Esp. the chapters on each section and question type, how they are scored and what they are looking for. It is very important to understand the expectations. I think about the first 200 pages of that book cover those topics. I took around 3 days to go over this.

Next up were the the tests in the companion CD/DVD. Three tests which cover all the relevant topics. Go through each one of them thoroughly. I took another 3 days.

Now the most important area was Speaking - This is totally new to me. English is my second language and believe me though I've been working in the US for 4 years and in the corporate sector with UK/Aus/US clients for another 4 years, this section was completely beyond me. I had no idea how to tackle this. I browsed through the TOEFL section in GMAT Club and found a very interesting source. One was the videos on youtube and toefl-instructional-videos-speaking-writing-very-useful-100611.html. Another was everything-you-need-to-prepare-for-the-toefl-100641.html. I went through each of the videos, practice questions and did everything available on those websites in the remaining 2 days. I recorded my voice and played it back to my wife (she is pissed off with me now).

Test Day: 9am slot. Room was full of folks like me. About 15 of us started saying a sentence to adjust volume on the mic at the same time. It was like a market. At this point, I wasn't sure how I can work in this amount of noise and distraction. Anyways, I went ahead and finished the 3 passage RC in 60 mins. Use all the time you have, it is going to help you. Next up was the Listening section. I think I got 17*3 = 51 questions from 9 listening topics. It was awful. I wasn't sure how well I did.

Then the break. Take it. Relax, the next topic is the Speaking section, so get into the groove by engaging in some conversation. Remember you were sitting silent for almost 120+ minutes now. So, it is better if you start speaking and are ready in the available 10 mins.

Speaking - Believe me, it goes in no time. You won't get to sit and think. 6 questions * ~2 mins. You are done in less than 10 mins. Concentrate. Be prepared with your templates and answers. I thought I screwed up the first question, but somehow managed to get back with some good responses (I think) in the rest 5.

Writing - You are almost done. Wake-up the writer in you. Write at least 500 words in first and 800 in the next. These are plain easy things. Don't worry about grammar and building complicated sentences. Try to put your points together in a cogent manner. That's it.

My score - R(29) L(29) S(27) W(30). Total 115. Total <8 days of prep.

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TOEFL Debrief - 115   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2015, 22:58
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