Tips For TOEFL

20 Tips to ace TOEFL

1. Familiarize yourself with the three TOEFL formats

Learn all peculiarities of Internet, Computer and Paper Based Test. Be sure you choose the most suitable for you. Most countries now offer the Internet based TOEFL (iBT), other – paper based test. Mostly, they all have similar types of questions, although there are a few new questions that can only be answered on a computer.

2. Research TOEFL score requirements

Most people (non native English speakers) take the TOEFL in order to enter a post secondary school in the United States. Before preparation, learn what the requirements are for the schools you are interested in going to. The average minimum score required is approximately 550 (paper test) or 215 (CBT) or 70 (iBT). Prestigious universities have much higher expectations. Different schools evaluate different sections differently. Many universities want you to achieve higher writing skills than speaking skills. TOEFL scores are only valid for two years.

3. Learn academic English

TOEFL rates your English language abilities. To be successful in TOEFL you shouldn’t have any background knowledge. You have to know the language you would hear on campus and terms that you would hear in the classroom. You should read textbooks, encyclopedias, journals and research articles rather than advertisements and resumes.

4. Use practice tests

The best way to prepare for the TOEFL is to practice doing the tests. Purchase several books and pay the most attention to exercises you are not good at. Look for free samples on the Internet to supplement your textbook.

5. Find a mentor

A native English speaker is a best person to help you with TOEFL. He will answer your questions, help with grammar and encourage you when you are down. It you cannot afford a professional teacher, you can apply a student who has studied for the test before. Sometimes, teaching another person is a great way to learn.

6. Build up your stamina

The TOEFL test takes a long time to write. To, try to improve your stamina and concentration during preparation to the test.

7. Arrive prepared

Make sure you take everything needed to the test centre. If you are taking the paper based test, do not forget to have a number of pencils, a pencil sharpener, and a few erasers that don’t smudge. Take a pen if you deliver your essay not on the computer. All required documents, enough money for parking etc. must be with you so that you would be able to focus on a test and nothing secondary draws away you attention.

8. Pace yourself

Take a watch. It will help you not to spend too much time for any exercise. Remember, to keep 5 minutes in the end to check your work.

9. Use the tutorials

Read all explanations to the exercises attentively. Right understanding what you are expected to do is a half of the answer.

10. Learn about the CAT (computer adaptive testing)

The first two sections of the CBT are computer adaptive. Your answers to several first questions define what next questions will be given. So, first questions are extremely important.

11. Answer every question

Do not leave the blank instead of answer. If you do not know the answer, think logically, try to guess, think twice and then write the answer, as very often students do not have the possibility to go back to the same questions again because of time limit.

12. Secrets for the Listening section
If you are confident in an answer don’t look back at a listening question. While preparation do not play the tape or CD more than once, as on the real test you will be able to hear everything once. You have to train your ears to listen right the first time.
13. Secrets for the Structure section
This section has been eliminated for the TOEFL iBT. Many students say that this is the most difficult part of the TOEFL test. Don’t get embarrassed by the difficult words. Many native speakers are not familiar with the scientific terms in these sentences. Your task consists in identifying the parts of the sentence and not in understanding their meaning. Your job is to make a sentence correct. Define a subject and a verb, looking at the punctuation in the sentence. The structure, for example, prepositional phrase or noun clause, will also help you to form the sentence even if you don’t understand what it means.
14. Secrets for the Reading section
Again, your task is not to understand everything. Skim through the passage, read the questions, then read for more detail. The questions usually come in the order they appear in the passage. Mainly, this section contains main idea questions. You will be asked at least two vocabulary questions from each reading and several detailed and inference questions. You will not have time to reread a whole passage.
15. Secrets for the Writing section
The most important thing in organizing your essay is to keep your writing simple and clear. Don’t use vocabulary and punctuation that you are unsure of. Use lots of effective examples to support your essay. Memorize some transitional phrases and practice using them, as they will make your essay read smoothly. Always leave several minutes to review what you have written.
16. Make your corrections clear
If you are taking the paper test, remember that a machine will be marking your test. Use a sharp dark pencil. When erasing something, make sure it is completely erased. Very often students lose points for being careless with their pencils and erasers.
17. Dress in comfortable clothing
You should feel comfortable to think better and give the best result. You never know if the room for the test will be cold or warm, so be ready to any situation.
18. Make sure to eat before the test
Again, you should be satisfied. But do not eat too much before the test as your stomach will work more than your brain. Do not eat anything mistrusting before the test.
19. Refer to the official TOEFL website
The official TOEFL website has a number of helpful things that you can download for free. They will supply you with a list of writing topics for the essay. You can also find important information about test centres and test updates. Many of your questions can be answered here. You will also get hints about which resources are worth buying.
20. Scores
Scores for the iBT are available online 15 days after you take the test. For paper based and computer based TOEFL contact the test centre and ask for a Score Report Request Form.

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