My name is Mayank.I am an undergraduate in electronics engineering and have been working with an reputed Indian corporation for the past four years. I took my TOEFL iBT on October 31,2010 in Warangal. I am targeting for an MS starting Fall.

My TOEFL score split:

  • Reading – 30
  • Listening – 29
  • Speaking – 20
  • Writing – 21
  • Total- 100

The reporting time was 0930 hours.I had to travel almost 3 hours from my place to reach my centre. So, I started early morning at 0530 hrs and reached the center by 0845 hrs.
Starting so early, I could have an ample breakfast which cost me my speaking and writing scores.

TOEFL Experience

Although I am satisfied with the overall score but a balanced score, especially on Speaking and Writing section helps for RA/TA positions.A lot of universities specify a minimum sectional scores for these apart from an overall iBT score.

I took TOEFL before GRE. So, wasn’t very sure about how well I was prepared.But, apart from regular preparation over a month or so I had put in almost a 2 day grill 3 days before the D-day.I had read experiences of test takers on HSB and even talked to couple of people in person about the expectations.Only later did I come to know that the test quite easy and it always helps if you don’t let the tension of unexpectedness get to your head.

Lesson learnt : Be calm, replenished, and you’ll be able to do your best.

The test duration is long. So be confident and calm throughout.

Preparation material/references:

  • Barron’s guide iBT 12th Ed.(with CD-ROM) – sufficient for a thorough preparation
  • Kaplan – TOEFL iBT Software – referred only a few tests before D-day
  • TOEFL sample from ETS – very close to actual test.

Reading – 30

After going through a few practice tests, I was scoring quite well and was confident of doing sufficiently well.Barron’s guide helped.

Listening – 29

Again, attempted all the practice tests.Initially it was different to follow the ideas and take notes simultaneously.But, with efforts I felt confident.So, was in a comfortable mindset for this section too.

Speaking – 20

A section which you need to practice a lot.No matter how good you are at conversing in meetings and friends, performing under pressure in test is sometimes difficult resulting in loss of words.

Tip-Practice with a tight timer.Practice finishing at least 5-7 seconds before.Use the notes making/thinking time judiciously.
Regarding open issues-Notes/ jotting points- write only as much as you can express concisely and comfortably.

Scoring on this section is not available in practice tests.So practice along with a friend or colleague.I had nobody to team up with and prepared on my own-recording myself and making corrections.

I was not very satisfied with my performance.Reason being, I was feeling giddy all through the end of listening section.I feel the ventilation too was not proper in the room but the staff could not put the AC on because it was already so cold.Although I took my break full time and shook off all tension and had some water, it got to my nerves during last two sections.Was feeling very difficult to sit there but pushed myself to finish.

Writing – 21

Surprise !! I was definitely expecting a better score.
But, it has been long since I was in college.So out of writing habit now.
Also,given my state the day – maybe a bad hour !

Tip: Writing for the TEST is different from a simple expression of your thoughts.Try to have a predefined structure that you can tune as per requirement on the spot.

Total- 100
Before submitting the test for reporting, I was not very sure to go through with it.But persisted with my performance on first two sections.
I received the scores in about ten days time.I was happy to see a 100, much beyond my expectations from my performance.

This was not a bad score since I had prepared all on my own.No coaching classes, no tutors and not even any friends preparing along with me-Not because I did not want to, but because I could not.I am at a remote location where all these facilities are beyond my reach.

The information and experiences on HSB were a great help in the given circumstances.

I hope my experiences are helpful for future test takers.

Thanks again for keeping such forum up and moving.

Mayank thanks for sharing your TOEFL experience

  • Yogi

    I am taking my TOEFL exam at 16 September. This is my second time and at first time i got 64 score in TOEFL. I want to score 110 in this test. please give me some tips and from where i can get TOEFL material for my best preparation. Thank you

  • Sahana

    I dnt think u need coaching unless u r really bad at English or are from vernacular medium and hence have major difficulties with the language.

    Regarding the speaking section, my frnds told me before I attempted the exam that they had tried speaking real fast as they were stressed about not having enough time to express their ideas and ended up getting low scores. So I made sure not to repeat those mistakes and scored 28.

  • sudha

    is coaching necessary prior to the test?

  • princess onwwuchekwa

    I would really love to know ‘What informs he decision on whether to write TOEFL or IELTS?’

  • smq115

    Well I gave mine last month and got a 116 – 28,29,29,29. I’ve seen many people get bad marks in the speaking section because of grammatical errors or just having a bad accent. Basically if you wanna get a good American/British accent, you gotta surround yourself in that environment for about a year or two and not hesitate to speak out in English whenever possible.

  • Rox

    Hydrabad its usual :P
    People know how :P

  • Hari Krishna Veturi

    Dude, I’ve got a tip for everyone over here who reads this post. Some of the people think that speaking quickly does the thing, but “HELL NO” it doesn’t! I was at the same impression at first and when I used to record my own answers and listened to them, they lacked clarity! Dead air is bad! I agree, but speaking fast isn’t so cool… B-) Next point, when I started to speak slow, recorded and heard, it sounded great and followed the same in examination hall. Scored 30/30 in speaking and writing section! :)
    The main point to be noted is, it may sound a little difficult to concentrate when others speak, so use your scratch paper effectively and don’t ever concentrate on what others speak! Reason: This will subject to getting no more ideas, and you start to speak out theirs! When I started to speak slowly, others started doing that too :D
    Its not about speaking fast. Always remember, a computer evaluates it, not a human!

    • amey kawale

      I scored overall 106:
      R=29
      L=27
      S=26
      W=24

      So far as speaking section is concerned, practice atleast 50 times before exam day.
      Make sure that you speak slow and clear.
      DO NOT UTTER any Hindi/Regional language word even by mistake.
      DO NOT try to imitate US English, you’ll be caught and it may cause penalty in term of marks.
      I have been to US and stayed for 5 months in University campus,so I got acquainted with the words typical US university students use in their day to day life.I would suggest to use these words instead of following INDIAN words.

      Indian US
      Mess Food court/ campus dining
      Marks grades
      Hostel Dormitory( Dorm )
      Intrahostel Intramural
      Sir/Madam Professor
      Passing out graduating
      Branch Major
      Coaching Tutoring (Coaching is used for sports)
      canteen cafeteria
      Project report Dissertation
      Percentage GPA

      I used above words and it helped !!
      Also use words like “Aha” , “Sounds good”.Believe me , these small things will increase your speaking score.

    • Hamza

      a computer evaluates it? i never knew that. but luckily i passed that stage. i got 29 in speaking. now struggling for US VISA only. :( :( :(