Helpful Tips for Taking TOEFL
By Les Zsoldos
The TOEFL test is a well known test of English language ability taken by students from around the world. The academic language, limited amount of time given and focus on the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening make it challenging. However, a few tips can be given to help you improve your score.
Learn to discriminate relevant from irrelevant information. This will boost your score on the listening section. When you see an answer that cannot be correct, eliminate it right away. This will make you focus on answers which may be correct.
Review your grammar well. For example, know which verbs are followed by infinitives and which ones are followed by gerunds. The verbs ``love’’ and ``like’’ can be followed by both gerunds and infinitives, ``enjoy’’ by a gerund and ``want’’ by an infinitive. This is illustrated by the following sentences:
I love singing. I love to sing.
I enjoy singing.
I want to sing.
Broaden your vocabulary. In addition to the word ``but,’’ you can also use words such as ``however,’’ ``moreover,’’ ``nevertheless’’ and ``conversely.’’
This will also result in a more formal writing style which is desirable for the writing section. Check that your writing is organized, coherent and logical.
Provide examples to support your arguments and remind the reader of your main ideas in the conclusion. Familiarize yourself with collocations, sequences of words, which are used together.
Although ``dinner’’ and ``supper’’ both have similar meanings, English speakers always say ``garden supper’’ and ``dinner menu.’’ Many collocations also consist of prepositions such as ``in’’ and ``on’’ _ ``in’’ combines with months and ``on’’ as in the examples ``in May,’’ ``on Tuesday.’’
Also be aware of the difference between singular and plural nouns. ``I like chicken’’ refers to the meat of the chicken and ``I like chickens’’ to the live animal. The word ``people’’ refers to one group and ``peoples’’ refers to different groups of people such as ``Koreans,’’ ``Russians’’ and ``Americans.’’
Another way to prepare is to look at past exams and notice the patterns which are present. Be aware of common errors with respect to spelling, verb tense, the use of prepositions and articles.
An excellent way to boost your score on the TOEFL exam is to identify incorrect answers immediately. Reviewing grammar well, increasing academic vocabulary and noticing the patterns from previous exams are also important.
By doing this and eliminating common errors in spelling and grammar, the result should be a significant improvement in your score.