Hi fellow readers of HSB,
Firstly thanks to HSB for all the support and information. This blog is the best thing that has happened to me in my US application process.
The GRE section on HSB was of great help. Scored 1210 in march2011 (yes the old GRE pattern).
And then I began thinking I should take my TOEFL asap so that I could start my application and that’s when I got to know from a post on HSB and friends that some TOEFL centres were turning out to be fake and it is best to book at parametric and after a month long what successful got a date on 18 September (2 months solid time for prep).
Looked at the Barron’s prep for TOEFL and realized will need the whole 2 months’ time to complete it perfectly and so the days passed by with me postponing my prep to the next day and BAMM!!!!
All of a sudden just 10 days left. Started off my TOEFL prep seriously.
TOEFL Preparation Tips
First took an analysis test (Kaplan test series) to know where I stood. Reading and listening was very easy and even the writing task seemed easy to tackle with a strategy. Speaking was a nightmare.
The idea of understanding a question and making a reasonable answer and presenting it in around a min seemed like an impossible task and scared me out of my wits started looking for a solution to this problem online and got some templates on YouTube posted by the channel notefulldotcom (notefuldotcom- search for it on youtube).
Practiced all the templates on around 5 sets of questions but always ended up b4 time. I think best option to overcome this issue would be speak clearly and slowly.
Finally a day b4 the exam I get a call that my exam has been postponed indefinitely due to relocation of the centre and that the next date will be intimated in 3 working days. And so another week passed w/o prep and on 22 sep that exam is scheduled on 24th. no prep for the 1 day i had just revised the templates.
On The TOEFL Test Day
Reached the center way before time (all thanks to the fear of being stalled due a telangana bandh rally). Gave my confirmation and waited to be called in but to my luck i was one of the last to get into the center.
Inside the TOEFL Test center
Too much of commotion. Too many ppl in one waiting room and one very beautiful girl drew my attention away from the exam.
I think i should talk to her and all of a sudden the guy at the center calls a name and she gets up and begins walking towards me ( i thought me but it was towards the center guy) and then i realised focus on exam.
Finished the formalities i.e declaration, passport verification etc. and went to the testing room by then i was shivering maybe it was chilly cos of the AC or just me so worried abt the test.
I could not sign properly when asked to on the declaration and he asked me to sign twice or thrice till i got it right. this drained my confidence level further and was finally taken to the test station as they describe it
The TOEFL Test
And the test begins after the guy enters some password hiding it from me as if i would be interested in his stupid password and i follow the instructions.
The easiest part of the test almost all the questions felt answerable except the once which asked u to tell the main idea and they were always my weak point even in GRE and now in TOEFL. But on the whole it went well
Got the long listening. Was good in the beginning. The standard 2 lecture one conversation pattern. The last session asked me a very typical question that i felt i could not have answered even if i was really witnessing the conversation. And all of a sudden i hear loud voice… some one already started their speaking the guy was so loud i clearly hear him speaking and got some idea what his topic was. And listening section ends with 10 min break.
Suggestion – Dont take notes for everything in the lecture and the conversation just the details helps u concentrate on the listening better
Went for some water feeling good that did the reading and listening went well. Saw the girl again 😀 never mind.
Came back to testing room had another 5min of break. My friend had told me to take down the templates during this break so that ample of time will be available for preparing the response.
The break time ends and once again the guy walks in to enter his secret password and speaking starts. Standard instructions before the section starts. I felt i did the first two tasks in speaking v badly because the guy next to me was yelling at the top his voice and i could not get my thoughts right. the remaining sections went according to expectations and finally the speaking ended to my relief.
- try to speak slowly and try as hard as u can to avoid concentrating on what u r neighbors are speaking while u speak chances are their speech may overlap ur mind and make a total meaningless mess.
- During the pauses u can get to hear what the other guy is saying i figured out that everybody got the same set of tasks so u can get an idea of what the upcoming task is gonna be about.
- practice and use the templates strictly they save a lot time by helping u organize ur answer in an order with minimum error and confidence
- Long speech is not necessary a small but organized one would be great.
- while practicing speakin at home try to do it with headphones on in a noisy room helps u to get used to a noisy condition at the center
The first task i.e integrated one had two contradictory ideas about a topic and i felt it was’nt that difficult to summarize everything all though i felt i was short of time.
The issue essay was fun to write. got all the real life personal examples i could get in mind and made a sensible piece of writing.
- I read this some where – formatting is not necessary but it make u r essay look presentable and easier to understand for the person reading
- Five spaces at the beginning of each paragraph
- One whole line after each para
- space after comma’s and full stops
- Personal examples help in getting a clearer picture of what u r trying to convey and they need not be real, concoct a good real life example that would work just fine.
- Use words conveying sequence so that there is on abrupt beginning or ending to u r essay. Conclusion even though small adds up to the score so try to make it exists.
- Read sample responses online help u get ideas on how draft an essay
They came after 10 days breakdown as follows
- Reading 28
- Listening 28
- Speaking 27(to my surprise !!! )
- Writing 25
- Total 108
Overall was satisfied that got a decent score. All the experiences posted on HSB were of great help.
I am sure the posts on HSB will help me further for my application process.
Thanks HSB for ur support & all of u who read this experience
Shared by Arvind.
Thanks to Arvind for sharing TOEFL Experience. I did smile when I read “I saw the girl again”.