TOEFL iBT - 113/120

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TOEFL iBT - 113/120

by justanormalperson » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:01 am
Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to share my experience with all of you regarding the TOEFL. I took the TOEFL on 18th December and received my official scores this morning -

R - 29, L - 26, S - 28, W - 30 - Total 113

I took the TOEFL the last time in January of 2006 (CBT), and for those who have not taken the TOEFL in a while, things have really changed in the past few years. The test has become lengthier and although some might think that TOEFL is a piece of cake, the length of the test (every bit of 4 hours) can wear anyone off.

I had only 2 weeks to prepare for the test.
I used the Kaplan TOEFL iBT (for tips and tricks) and the Barron's TOEFL iBT Superpack(just for practice). I went through the Kaplan guide in a week and carefully noted the tips and tricks. Since I had only 2 weeks to prepare, I did not get enough time to go through every chapter in the Barron's guide. I just did 4 practice tests that are in the CDs that accompany the book. Both the books are fairly good but the Barron's guide provides more practice exercises than the Kaplan guide.

A few tips that I would like to share with the TOEFL test takers -


1) Reading -
Read as much English as possible. Don't care about what you are reading. The more you read, the faster you will get in reading and comprehending English. This is the most valuable tip that I can give to you all. Once you build up speed, you will find that the 20 minutes per passage for reading and answering the questions will be more than enough for you. Also, do not spend too much time reading all the details in the passage. Although, the passages are fairly lengthy, do not spend more than 6-7 minutes reading a passage. You should be able to get a fair enough idea about the 'main idea' of the passage if you spend 6-7 minutes on a passage. The 'detail oriented' questions almost always point towards the paragraph that has the answer, so you don't have to spend a whole lot of time on the details in your first read.

2) Listening -
Watch movies, soap operas or whatever you have to do in order to understand the 'American Accent'. The test takers make the listening section fairly easy to understand. If you can understand most of what is spoken in movies or soap operas, you will find this section fairly easy. The speed with which the speakers deliver their speech in the listening section is actually slower than what you will encounter in American movies. Just pay attention to what the speaker(s) is saying and you should be in good shape. Take notes as you listen because they will help you remember important points in the conversation/lecture.


3) Speaking -
I have discussed this with a lot of my friends, and most of them agree that the 15-20 seconds that the test takers give you to prepare extemporaneous answers for the first two questions are not enough. Fortunately, there are ways to combat this issue. I spent most of my time in the speaking section while preparing for the TOEFL. The Barron's and the Kaplan guides give you a lot of tips for the speaking section. I recommend that you follow those tips. Converse in English as much as possible. I know this can get hard if you are from a country in which English is not the native language, but to score high on the speaking section, you ought to do so. Don't feel shy if people look at you as if you're crazy, just converse in English as much as possible. If you practice speaking on 30-40 topics, you will generate a thought process in your mind so that when you encounter an unfamiliar topic in the real test, you will not have difficulties generating ideas and speaking them out loud. Also, keep a track of time when you are practicing.

4) Writing -
In the first writing question, write down the main idea of the reading passage and then headlines about each paragraph (which can be usually found in the first couple of sentences). Then carefully listen to the audio and take notes. Mostly, the speaker in the audio will counter the points stated in the reading passage so try to relate those points to the headlines of your reading passage as much as possible.
For the second writing question, practice writing on political issues, scientific issues etc. as much as possible. You can find tons of topics in the guides.

5) Testing Environment -
This is a very important factor in a person's performance. The TOEFL test does not offer you a very test taker friendly environment. The test administrator told me that they have a laid back environment and sure it was. During my listening section, another test taker's alarm went off, so I was distracted for about a couple of minutes, which kind of messed up my listening score. So long story short, be prepared to take the test in a highly distractive environment. Always have your headphones on to block the distractions.

All the best to all the test takers. Please remember that with a little care, hard work, and smart work, anyone can score well on the TOEFL.

Cheers!

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by DanaJ » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:14 pm
Congrats on the score! The speaking 28 is particularly impressive! I found speaking to be the hardest for sure!

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by justanormalperson » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:08 pm
Hi Dana,

Thank you! I spent most of my time preparing for the speaking section and I guess it paid off pretty well.

I hope that my experience and suggestions help other test takers beat the TOEFL.

Thanks again!

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by aialarcia » Sat May 03, 2014 11:28 pm
Hi. I am just new here and my toefl test is one week ahead (May 10, 2014. Can you give me some advice or suggestions on how to score well on toefl ibt test? I would really appreciate it.

P.S. I am totally nervous on my upcoming test

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by gmat barcelona » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:33 am
Fantastic achievement justanormalperson!! Congratulations!!

Thanks for sharing your tips and suggestions to beat the TOEFL exam!
Alexander Steward
GMAT & GRE Instructor
GMAT, TOEFL, GRE, IELTS & TOEIC Center Barcelona
**Prepara el Gmat en Barcelona con los expertos**
https://www.gmatbarcelona.com

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by tailvbk » Tue May 23, 2017 11:01 pm
Thank you for your sharing and congratulation your achievement!

I'm new comet. Now i'm making plan for TOEFL test so all your sharing is really valuable to me.

Btw, could please you give the exact names of the books/documents you used during your preparation?
It would be absolutely useful to me during my preparation.

Thank you very much!