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TOEFL score of 112 in 3 days - Indian candidate

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Status: Current Student
Joined: 11 Jul 2015
Posts: 63
Location: Belgium
Concentration: General Management, Technology
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V41
GPA: 3.6
WE: Project Management (Computer Software)
TOEFL score of 112 in 3 days - Indian candidate  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2016, 12:56
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First of all, I got a lot of help and inspiration from lot of posts here. Especially this one for practice within short span of time - http://gmatclub.com/forum/toefl-100-prepared-for-2-days-147099.html and this one - http://gmatclub.com/forum/my-toefl-experience-84642.html.

So I thought I should write about my TOEFL experience as well. It might help others with a similar situation. I also had only 3 days to prepare and scored 112, Reading – 30, Listening – 30, Speaking – 24 and Writing – 28. Please note, my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills were generally good and as I wrote my GMAT just before the TOEFL, it helped me immensely to get a very good score in Reading and writing. Without these pre-conditions, it is very difficult to get such a score in such a short time.

Background

I am in the clichéd IIM category – Indian IT Male. To add to that, I was 34 and had more than 11 years of experience when I wrote TOEFL. I have shared my GMAT story here as well. You can find more details about my background there - http://gmatclub.com/forum/indian-it-male-age-34-760-q50-v41-awa-6-in-first-attempt-219948.html.

Also, you can find my whole application experience debrief here - http://gmatclub.com/forum/indian-it-male-age-35-13-interview-4-admits-2-full-scholarships-219953.html#p1695073.

Total preparation time for TOEFL – 3 days

Resources

TOEFL Official Test Prep Planner - https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/prepare/test_prep_planner/
TOEFL Guide from Magoosh - http://magoosh.com/toefl/toefl-ibt-ebook/
Best Resources - http://gmatclub.com/forum/best-resources-to-tackle-each-section-of-the-toefl-ibt-144802.html
Good Link for overview and resources - http://gmatclub.com/forum/best-resources-to-tackle-each-section-of-the-toefl-ibt-144802.html
TOEFL Reading practice - http://www.examenglish.com/TOEFL/TOEFL_reading1.htm
TOEFL Speaking practice - http://gmatclub.com/forum/toefl-speaking-practice-questions-106306.html
TOEFL Listening practice - http://www.examenglish.com/TOEFL/toefl_listening.htm
Speaking and Writing Videos - http://gmatclub.com/forum/toefl-instructional-videos-speaking-writing-very-useful-100611.html
A good practice test - https://www.bestmytest.com/toefl/practice-test


Overview and planning

On the first day of the three day preparation, I read the ETS guide for the exam. It can be found on the link for TOEFL Official Test Prep Planner above. Also, I went through the Magoosh guide for TOEFL quickly (link TOEFL Guide from Magoosh above). I downloaded these materials earlier and went through some of the post listed above earlier as well. So, I had fair bit of idea about the test. But these guides helped me understand about the test in detail, what should I expect and how to prepare. I got to know about all types of questions in every section as well. I went through some debrief posts above and planned how should I prepare on the next two days, allocating specific time for each section and finalizing the materials / sites / resources I should go through.


Reading


From the overviews and TOEFL debriefs, I understood TOEFL reading comprehension section was a lot easier than the one in GMAT. Also, I gave GMAT just before the TOEFL so I had sufficient RC practice. If you have not given GMAT in recent time then you need more time for RC. When I started practising the questions (TOEFL Reading practice link above), I found that it does not really need much time. I practiced 2-3 passages of TOEFL questions to be acquainted with the type of questions. I spent 1.5 hours in the morning on the second day for TOEFL reading practice.


Listening

I spent about 3 hours on the second day on listening practice. I tried the questions from the resources listed above (TOEFL Listening practice and best resources). I tried to take as much note as possible during the listening period. Especially, I tried to note the key things like dates, numbers, comparisons etc. I used my own shorthand technique to take the notes quickly. After some practice, I was able to gauge what are the areas where I can have questions and I noted them down. My memory is generally good, so even if I missed something to note, my memory was helping me to retrieve it.


Speaking


If speaking in English continuously without thinking much comes to you naturally then you will not need much practice for the speaking section. However, if that is not the case, then you need to devote your maximum practice time for this section. In both the cases, you need at least a minimum amount of time to practice so that you are familiar with all the 6 type of questions and how to frame their answers. Even that will take 4-5 hours at least.

I can speak in English fluently during conversations. But continuously speaking in English, all by myself, does not come to me naturally. That is why, I found this section to be most difficult. My score also suggests that. So, if you have time, I will suggest you to practice 7 days only for the speaking section. This is the only section where you cannot use your GMAT preparation. Hence, that will not help much.

The problem with speaking section is that you have either 15 seconds or 30 seconds to prepare. This is not sufficient to gather your thoughts and make comprehensive summary or draft of your speech. You can just write key points and you need to elaborate on those. You need practice to perfectly deliver this. Also, for the last few questions you need to summarize probably a two-three minute conversation or lecture in one minute. Again, you need good amount of practice so that you can effectively summarize within the 60 seconds. Even very fluent speakers may struggle in this section.

I used the links TOEFL Speaking practice and Speaking and Writing Videos for concept building and practice. Especially, the videos are a must to get yourself acquainted with the correct techniques that everyone should use. I spent about 1 hour on second day and about 5 hours on the third day for speaking practice. It gave me a fair bit of practice. But If I had practiced more then I could have done a bit better in the speaking section.


Writing

Again, my AWA preparation following the Chineseburned technique really helped me with my TOEFL writing section. You can use the same formula for both the TOEFL writing assignments. I find writing generally easy and I was confident about writing as I got a 6 in the GMAT AWA. I spent about 2 hours on the third day for writing to do about 5-6 assignments and I was happy about my writing.

I combined chineseburned and the technique mentioned in the Very good writing tips link above to define my technique. I followed these techniques while writing and I felt it is coming naturally to me after so many AWA practice for GMAT.

I took a mock test from the practice test link above and was satisfied with my effort. I went to sleep around midnight.


The T-Day

I scheduled for my TOEFL exam on 5th September 2015 in Kolkata. I did some speaking and listening questions in the morning to get myself into the groove. With my GMAT experience I had an idea about these test centres in India. The TOEFL test centre was similar. A tiny space in the garage of an apartment was converted to a centre with about 12 old desktops. The equipment provided was not of high quality, you could just do the required task with them.

For the reading section, my strategy was I will see the question first then read the passage. As soon as I am sure about the answer, I would stop reading, answer the question and move to the next question. This really helped with my timing. TOEFL reading passages are long and boring. If you try to read the whole passage and then answer questions, you may lose valuable time as you may have to re-read certain sections to find the answers. In TOEFL, the questions come in the sequence of the reading passage only and the summary questions come only at the end. So by when they come you would have read the whole passage.

The reading section went well and I took my sweet time to answer all the questions. After that the listening section started. I got the experimental questions in the listening section and it was in a way good for me. In the last question, while I was listening to the lecture, I just shifted my knee a bit as I was feeling some discomfort for sitting continuously. In the process, my knee hit the CPU of the desktop mildly and the connection to the headphone got loose. I could not listen to anything as the sound was gone and I had no idea what happened as I got nervous about the situation. However, I gathered my thoughts in a few seconds and understood what might have happened. I adjusted the 3.5 mm plug of the headphone a bit and the sound came back. However, I lost about 7-8 seconds there and something important was told during that time. The incident made me a bit jittery and I made two mistakes surely in the questions – one due to my misunderstanding and one due to the sound issue as I did not hear what was told in that section. The listening section finished. But I was a bit upset. When the scores came I was really surprised with my listening score of full 30. It surely meant the last question was an experimental one.

I took a chocolate and a juice as I did during my GMAT. It was a proven practice now. I went to the toilet and came back with a fresh mind. I needed that for the speaking section. Again, there were some minor glitches with the microphone and the attendant fixed the issue. I did not do very well in the speaking section. My lack of practice showed there. For the second question, I probably started before the beep. For the last two questions I could not finish on time and overran for probably 1-2 seconds. These definitely impacted my score in speaking. The other test takers were conscious about the surrounding and anyone did not yell while speaking. So, that was a good thing as I could concentrate on my speaking.

The writing section went very well. The questions were of the types I practiced and I followed my template / technique successfully for both the questions. I was happy about the writing section and finished my test on a high. I completed the formalities and got out of the centre. My score came after exactly 10 days on 15th September. I was very happy about my overall score, but was disappointed with my speaking score.

It is a bit long debrief compared to other TOEFL ones. Thanks for being with me this far. Hopefully this may help some of you for your TOEFL preparation. Please feel free to ask me any question. I will be more than happy to help.
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TOEFL score of 112 in 3 days - Indian candidate   [#permalink] 09 Jun 2016, 12:56

TOEFL score of 112 in 3 days - Indian candidate

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