Essential Tips to Score your best in TOEFL
If you are preparing for the TOEFL test, you need to follow three steps to score well in your exam.
Step 1: Take a Mock test
Attempt a mock test before starting your preparation. This will make you familiar with the pattern of the test and will let you identify your weak areas.
There are several mock tests available online. These are my favorite ones:
Step 2: Watch video lectures
You can find various channels on YouTube for the preparation of different sections of the test. I referred to this channel and found it useful for my preparation.
Step 3: More Full-length Tests:
Once you get familiar with the test, start giving as many mock tests as possible. This will make you prepared for the day of the exam and you will realize that you are getting better with each passing test. After each test, make an error log (probably a spreadsheet) recording all the mistakes you did and increment the counter if you make the same mistake again.
Before starting a new test, make sure to revisit your error log and keep in mind to not repeat the same mistakes.
Your error log can look like this:
Some more Tips for TOEFL Sections:
- Do not read the whole paragraph at once before starting with the questions:
TOEFL paragraphs are long and you will probably forget the minute details before you start with the questions. Hence, when you read the question you have to again come back to the paragraph and this can kill your precious time in the exam. Hence, do not attempt to read the whole passage at once and read only the part required to answer the current question.
2. Read the first question before reading the paragraph:
Before you start reading the paragraph, read the first question related to that paragraph so that you know what exactly you are looking for in the paragraph.
3. Questions follow the sequence of the paragraph:
In TOEFL, the questions follow the same sequence as that of the passage. For example, the first question will be from the first passage. It cannot be from the last passage. You can easily read a single paragraph, answer all the questions related to that paragraph and move on to the next paragraph.
4. Do not spend a lot of time on a single question:
If you feel any question is confusing and you are not sure about the answer, just make your best guess and move on. You can mark the question for review and visit it later when you have time. Do not spend a lot of time on the same question as it may prevent you from answering an easy question that you might get correct.
5. Revisit your answers if time permits:
If you have some time left and you have answered all the questions, you can revisit your answers once again to cross-check for any small mistakes you might have made. Remember you cannot come back to a section after completing it and you will not get any extra time in the next section if you complete the current section before time. So, make sure to make the best use of your time.
- Make quick notes:
TOEFL listening section does not allow you to re-listen to the recordings. It is very important to make quick notes along with listening to the recording. Be ready with a paper and a pen before the listening section starts and start taking notes of every detail you find important.
2. Do not record every detail in the notes:
There are often some details which we tend to forget and there are others that are not very important. You should be able to determine which details you should include in your notes. If you start noting down everything, you may get lacked behind and miss some important points. Make sure to manage your time while recording notes.
3. Make your best guess and move on:
Unlike the reading section, you cannot revisit the answers in the listening section. Hence it is very important not to waste much time on a single question, otherwise, you might miss some questions.
- Record yourself:
While practicing for the Speaking section, record yourself while answering the questions on your mobile or any recording device and listen to the recording for judging your performance.
2. Prepare quick notes before starting:
After you listen to the question, and before you start answering, you get a few seconds to get prepared. Make a quick note with bullet points listing the important points that you are going to discuss.
3. Make a template:
You can create your template for answering all the questions. In this way, you won’t have to think too much about starting or ending the answer. And as you have just a few seconds to prepare, you can spend this time on the actual question
A sample template can look like this:
According to me.……
This is because of two/three reasons.
First of all, ……
Hence, I think …………….
4. Avoid using filler words:
While practicing make sure to use as few filler words as possible. If you are not sure of what to speak next, take a small pause and continue. Do not use filler words like “Um”, ”Uh”, “Like”, etc.
5. Don’t speak too fast or too slow:
Maintain the pitch of your voice while speaking. Make sure to speak fast enough to answer the question in time and slow enough that the examiner understands what you were saying.
6. Don’t imitate accents:
It is perfectly fine to speak in your native accent as TOEFL is an exam for non-native English speakers. Do not try to imitate accents as it could make you uncomfortable in the exam setting. Make sure to concentrate on answering the question and not in your accent.
7. Speak a bit high if your masks are on:
If you are reading this during the pandemic, you will probably attempt the test while wearing face masks. You cannot remove your masks even during the speaking section. Make sure to speak a bit higher when you are wearing your masks. Practice at home with your masks so that you can hear back your recordings and decide the pitch of your voice.
8. Be prepared for disturbance:
If you are attempting the exam from a test center, you will probably hear a lot of disturbances while speaking as other students will be attempting their speaking sections. Make sure you are ready for such disturbances and do not speak too loud to disturb others.
PS: During my test when I started answering a question, the girl next to me started answering hers and her voice was too loud that I almost forgot what I was going to speak. I took a pause and referred to my notes. Be ready for such circumstances.
1. Create your template :
Para 1: Intro
//State your stand on the topic. Be precise and direct so that reader knows your stand from the first line.
//Talk about what you are going to discuss in this essay.
Para 2: Reason 1
//In this paragraph, list the first reason to support your stand.
//Give an example
//Conclude how this reason leads to your opinion
Para 3: Reason 2
//In this paragraph, list the second reason to support your stand.
//Give an example
//Conclude how this reason leads to your opinion
Para 4: Conclusion
//A summary of your essay and your conclusion.
2. Be organized:
Make sure to divide information into paragraphs and that a single paragraph lists logically similar information.
3. Avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes:
While practicing, make sure to run a spell and grammar checker on your essay after you are done. Make note of the mistakes you do frequently and try to fix those errors.
4. Always proofread:
Read your essay after completing it. You will probably catch some unwanted errors by doing this.
5. Practice and get your writing reviewed:
Make sure to practice a lot of samples and get it reviewed by your teachers, friends, or in online forums.
All the Best for your Exams!!!