TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a Proficiency test approved by various institutions specifically in North America that is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service). This exam tests students on four skills namely: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.
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Proper guidance, training and preparation is crucial to push oneself to a higher score. Any training should first begin with getting familiarized with the Test format, how this test will be carried out and other additional details after which one should take up a diagnostic test to clearly understand his or her initial performance. This would help in tracking their overall progress through the training period. There are various approaches and strategies for each competency which would be taught during the training that contributes greatly in refining your skills and doing better on your test. When you begin to study for the TOEFL test it will be valuable to identify your strengths and weaknesses depending on which you can plan your goals with a suitable study plan in place.
When we take the listening section specifically, note taking is a prerequisite and a crucial aspect. This is mainly because the questions are projected only after the recordings are played and there is no additional time given to play it back again for checking and correcting the answers. Here one has to master multitasking and must be able to clearly identify and differentiate the main ideas of and the supporting details of the conversations and monologues from the recordings. This would also help you in organizing your thoughts on the content of the listening and reading passages. Additionally the training would assist you with different types of note taking strategy which is easy and effective.
It is imperative that one improve his / her range of vocabulary for the reading, writing and speaking skills. The reading tests the vocabulary knowledge as you will encounter a variety of formal and academic contexts. Moreover, one of the main criteria assessed is the language or choice of words to express your ideas. Reading newspapers, journals, magazines or any useful materials would not only help in idea generation for the writing and speaking class but also expand your vocabulary skills. You could also try to get into the habit of using a dictionary and thesaurus. The ability to paraphrase and summarize is another important skill one needs to master for the TOEFL test.
Grammar impacts the scoring in the writing and speaking section especially in terms of proper usage of simple, compound, and complex sentence structures.
Unlike the listening and reading section the writing and speaking require feedback and guidance from a well-trained expert in order to identify areas that could be improved based on the different criteria of assessment.
Although the tips and strategies are critical aspects of training, one cannot improve scores without taking up a number of mock tests. There is no other way about it. A proper training for TOEFL preparation and sufficient practice go hand in hand to attain a good score in the test.
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