Tips and tricks for TOEFL triumph
By now, you will have exhausted the depths of cyberspace looking for failsafe tips from overseas education consultants. You have browsed for nuggets of wisdom, expert advice from erstwhile TOEFL toppers and occasional motivational posts. Put your heart and your search at rest. We have distilled the tips, suggestions and counsel you were looking for in several bullet points. As far as TOEFL preparations are concerned, you will have covered every base by the end of the post.
That’s why, it is as important to study for your test as it is to study the properties of the test. Let there be no room for unpleasant surprises on the big day. For that, you need to have an intimate understanding of the format of the test. How familiar are you with its features and its scoring system? Do you know how the sections have been arranged, or how many minutes have been ideally allotted to each section? If you know the answers to these questions, you will know what to expect on test day.
TOEFL is a cinch if you have a reasonable command over the English language. To be proficient in language is to be half ready. But that doesn’t justify hasty revisions or a half-hearted preparation. Take all the time you need to prepare, before you sign up for the test. Needless to say, it is safe to start preparing 3-6 months in advance. Have you set a goal score for yourself? If you haven’t, simply look up the scores required by your favourite colleges and select a number in the vicinity of an average. Your aim is to hit the mark you have set for yourself. If you exceed it, you will have gained prospective admission in any college of your choosing.
Sometimes, there’s more than one correct answer to a question. The trick is to spot the one that is the closest to the truth. It is always wise to take your time with a question; read it carefully, read between the lines and weigh your choice with the deliberation of a judge. More often than not, candidates skim through the multiple choices, or simply trust the first choice that seems correct. Therein lies the hamartia, the tragic flaw that culminates into a tragic score.
When you read, you do more than enhance your chance of expanding your vocabulary. Reading complex texts will help you to understand the anatomy of thought, and how best to structure it in order to make it compelling. Newspapers, journals and magazines are a cornucopia of new words, concepts and exotic idioms. They will help you stay updated, and aware of socio-cultural developments.
There are several time honoured strategies to read passages and answer questions on the Reading section. You may choose to read the entire passage first, or you may read it fleetingly while choosing to focus on the questions. There are some who take a paragraph and answer all questions pertaining to it before moving on to the next paragraph. Whatever the method, it should make your task easier. Choose the strategy that agrees with your comfort zone. Remember, it’s a race against time.
You have to keep up and stay put. Most candidates run the risk of running out of time in the Reading section. You will have to read as many as four passages and answer about 60 questions in 80 minutes. Which means, you can only afford to spend 20 minutes on one passage and its concomitant questions. Sometimes, there’s no room for revisions. Make every minute count. Or to be more precise, give 5 minutes to a single passage and 1 minute to each question.
It takes intelligent preparation and a spoonful of quick thinking to ace any test. A good score on your TOEFL would take you to your dream school. It is a stepping stone to your illustrious career, the launch pad of your aspirations. Work very hard, but remember to have fun.