Guest post by Gayathri about her TOEFL iBT Test experience.
I am Gayathri.I am currently pursuing my final year in Information Technology.I am aiming at Fall 2011 intake.The following is a summary of my TOEFL Test experience and few learning tips that other test TOEFL takers might find useful.
My TOEFL score
- Reading : 30/30
- Listening: 29/30
- Speaking: 28/30
- Writing : 27/30
- Total: 114/120
TOEFL Study Tips
First of all TOEFL is possibly one of the easiest exams that you can encounter if you prepare yourself accordingly. It is nothing but stuff that we have done in English hours right from school. All you need is positive thoughts that you can ace it.
As most of you would have already known it has 4 sections :
You’ll have the reading and listening first and then a 10 min break and then speaking and writing(in that order).You’ll get either a long reading or long listening but not both.(I got long listening).(long sections meaning one part of it wont be counted for score but you wont know which one)
Okay Reading is nothing but your normal Reading comprehension.You’ll have to be very careful in that last question when you’ll have to choose sentences that summarize the passage.T hats where most of them go wrong.
You can perfect this only by cultivating the habit of reading.Plus the conjunctions and logical order can help you.(One Tip: Please pick sentences that describe stuff that is given more importance in the passage rather than ones that describe just one point which is not very important.)
Listening is a little bit tricky for some who have trouble understanding accents since you’ll have to take notes too.Watch some English movies and always use headphones when you practice at home.
Always make sure you understand what ever you write down since you can answer questions easily without looking at that thick wad of notes and you’ll find often this section proves a little tricky since you might doubt what you heard.In that case go ahead and guess and move on to the next question.
Speaking.Possibly one of the trickiest sections,6 questions that test probably a lot of your skills like :reasoning,quick thinking,summarizing,communication,comprehensive speaking ability etc,notes taking and inferring from them etc.
Please make sure you speak to all your friends or family only in English atleast a week before your exam. Also start thinking of your answers in English rather than thinking of them in some language and translating when speaking. Please don’t put on a fake accent.Speak clearly whatever you know and correctly.
Writing is quite simple.You should be done with it quite easily if you have prepared for the AWA section in GRE.
How did I prepare for TOEFL?
I barely had a week to prepare with the symposium and all coming up.My exam was on Aug 21,2010 and I could start only by Aug 17th.However I had already purchased a Barron’s Toefl book and was familiar with the tips and tricks. I started by taking practice tests (There were 7 of them I think). For the speaking section I recorded my voice and played it and checked with the sample again and again until I got it right.
When I started I was not able to do Speaking at all..I couldn’t get my thoughts together that fast. But as I practiced I got quite better at it.
The day of TOEFL exam
Some unintentional good luck:
1.My exam was at 10 am but I reached at 9.
They asked me if I was willing to take the test and I said yes while others waited till 10. It was a blessing in disguise since when I reached Speaking section the others were in Listening or reading and the room was dead silent so it was easier for me. But when they all reached speaking I was already done and they all did it together and it was such a din.
2.Keep an ear out for things you might hear when you were not listening might help you.
There is something called mic adjustment in the first that you’ll have to do.It would be a dummy question to adjust your mic volume.When I entered I heard the word “symposium” and I didn’t think much of it.When my speaking section finally arrived my first question(The one I was dreading-the personal question) was “Describe a recent problem you faced.
What did you do .who did you call for help etc” . I was a little bit frantic as my mind did not remember anything & suddenly I remembered that symposium word I heard when I entered.I concocted a story of some problems in the synp and stuff and got away with it.
Goof ups I made:
- I was very tired by the time I reached Writing and I knew that what I wrote was not upto the mark yet I didn’t make an attempt to revise it and correct it.
- In listening I didn’t notice the presence of a last question and already gave the paper in which I had written notes to exchange for some new paper and when finally I noticed the question I was not sure of the answer and had to guess.
So its all nothing but practice, practice and loads of it.I have seen people going for TOEFL classes and all and in my opinion that’s not required at all. You can do it at home itself.All you need is some confidence,communication skills and reasoning.You can ace it.
If you can afford it then get a Barrons TOEFL Book (It was INR 550 when I got it).
Thanks to Gayathri for sharing her wonderful experience and study tips.
Do you want to share you experience? Its easy, just submit the contents using share your experience page.