5 Useful Ways to Get the Most out of Your TOEFL Study Sessions
- August 31, 2017
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Contrary to what most people think, preparing for a TOEFL exam doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, preparation can be as fun as reading your favorite book.
The TOEFL test is designed to gauge the English reading, speaking, listening and writing abilities of non-English speakers.
Regardless of the pre-test jitters, if you have prepared well and are positive, you can pass with flying colors.
Also, TOEFL is not about memorizing tough vocabulary or complex grammar; it is all about measuring your ability to use English in daily life. This also makes it a relatively easy test.
If you are studying for the TOEFL test, here are 5 useful tips that will help you get the most out of your study sessions:
1. Give Yourself Enough Time
Depending on your present English skills, you may need a week or 6 months of study time before you attempt your TOEFL.
Before you start, consider finding out the TOEFL score the university you are applying to requires. Then take a practice test to find out where you stand. Based on your results, you will be able to figure out the efforts you need to put in and the duration each study session should be.
2. Memorize the Structure of the Test
While TOEFL may be less complicated than other language tests, if you take it too easy,you won’t make it.
Just like any other test you’d take — whether it is SAT or IELTS—it is imperative for you to memorize the pattern and structure of the test. Preferably, do this in the first few study sessions, and you will feel more confident in preparing for the test down the line.
The TOEFL test is quite predictable, if you know what is coming your way next, you will feel more relaxed on test day.
The TOEFL test structure looks something like this:
- A reading section that involves reading 3 to 4 passages and answering 35 to 56 questions (60-80 mins)
- A listening section which involves listening to discussions, classroom lectures or conversations and answering 34 to 51 questions (60-90 mins)
- A 10-minute break
- A speaking section which involves expressing opinions on familiar topics as in the previous sections. You need to do 6 speaking exercises. (20 mins)
- A writing section which involves writing 2 essays based on reading and listening. (50 mins)
3. Focus on Your Weaknesses
The entire idea behind studying for TOEFL exams is to figure out your weaknesses and working on them. If you take the practice test and find out that writing is one area where you lack proficiency , spend more of your study sessions on practicing writing.
The idea is to figure out what your weakest area is and then proceed to research your mistakes and figure out how those can be fixed. For an even more comprehensive breakdown of your mistakes, you could seek help from native speakers and ask them to give you feedback on how you could improve your writing and any other weaker areas.
4. Work on Your Strategy
Once you have memorized the test structures and figured out your weaknesses, it is now time to plan out your strategy. There’s no better way to come up with a strategy than to practice your heart out. The more you practice, the more confident you will feel and resultantly, the better you will perform.
Most renowned TOEFL instructors advise practicing with a timer so that they can create a strategy that works for them. The more you practice with the timer on, the more relaxed you will be when it is finally time for the test.
Taking practice tests is another sure-fire way to develop foolproof strategies to succeed on your test. When you take mock tests that are designed exactly like the real thing, you will be able to know about the amount of time you should dedicate to each question, how you should prepare to give immediate answers, and how you will be able to achieve the desired score.
5. Get Feedback From a Native Speaker
The most important investment you can make towards scoring well on the test is hiring a private tutor for TOEFL preparation.
While making mistakes may be the best way to learn, if you don’t know what you are doing, you might end up turning your mistakes into a habit.
This would not be the case were you to have a native speaking TOEFL tutor. The tutor will be able to help you figure out all your mistakes at the right time and customise each study session accordingly.
The best part is that you can decide the number of study sessions you need.
You could either hire the tutor for a single session to give you an overview of the TOEFL test, or you could hire them for a month to help you develop a comprehensive preparation/study plan.
Bonus Tips for Test Day
If you have put in the right amount of efforts and hours into studying for your TOEFL test, you will be confident enough on test day. Use these tips to ensure that everything goes as planned:
- Start the day with a good breakfast
- Dress comfortably
- Make it to the test center at least half an hour before the exam
- Read all the instructions carefully to avoid wasting time
- Stop thinking about the questions you may have already answered.
- Remain calm
- Don’t spend a lot of time on a single question
- Don’t leave any answer space blank. Choose the best possible answer
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