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TOEFL Tips (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

1. One way to improve in all skill areas is to increase your vocabulary knowledge. Use flashcards to write down new words. Write all forms of a word, and note whether it can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb.


2. To improve your reading skills, scan a passage to find and highlight key information and facts (dates, numbers, terms). Practice this frequently to increase reading rate and fluency.


3. To practice for the reading to learn questions, practice organizing the information in the passage. If the passage categorizes information, create a chart and place the information in appropriate categories.


4. To prepare for the TOEFL Reading section, become accustomed to scrolling techniques and reading on a computer screen. You can do this by reading on the Internet or reading electronic documents at the library.


5. To prepare for the Writing section, increase your vocabulary and learn to use idiomatic speech appropriately. Learn grammatical structures so well that you can use them naturally when writing. Learn the conventions of spelling, punctuation, and layout (paragraph creation, etc.).


6. To practice writing, find a textbook that includes questions about the material at the end of chapters. Practice writing answers to the questions.


7. Ask an English teacher or tutor to evaluate your writing by using the appropriate TOEFL Writing rubric.


8. To practice answering the independent Speaking questions, make a list of familiar topics, then talk out loud for one minute about each. You may want to begin by describing a familiar place or talking about a personal experience.


9. To impove your speaking skills, practice conversing with native speakers of English. Ask them to correct you when you make a mistake.


10. When practicing for the Speaking portion of the test, take around 15 seconds to plan before beginning to speak. Write down a few key words and ideas, but do not attempt to write down everything you are going to say. Raters will give a lower rating to responses that are read.


11. To strengthen your grammatical skills for the Speaking portion of the test, learn grammatical structures so well that you can use them naturally when speaking.


12. Concentrate on the current question. You should avoid trying to identify which questions are “easy” or “difficult” and try not to worry about incorrect answers. You should concentrate on doing the best you can on the current question. This is a habit that you can learn through practice.


13. The best way to improve your listening skills is by listening frequently to various types of material in many different subject areas (sciences, social sciences, arts, business, etc.).


14. In the Listening section, focus on the content and flow of material. Do not be distracted by the speaker’s style and delivery.


15. One way to stay focused during the longer listening passages is to try to anticipate what a person is going to say next.


16. In the Listening section, think about what each speaker hopes to accomplish. What is the speaker’s purpose for giving the speech or starting the conversation? Is the speaker apologizing, complaining, making suggestions, etc.?


17. The Internet is a great resource for listening material. Two Web sites of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) — and— provide streaming audio.


18. For TOEFL Listening and Reading, remember that you do not need any special background knowledge to answer the questions. All the information needed to answer the questions is contained in the material presented.


19. When taking a test you may need to pace yourself so you have enough time to answer every question. You should try to budget enough time for each question so you will be able to complete the questions without having to rush at the end. You should keep in mind the average amount of time you may want to spend per question.


20. Avoid spending too much time on any one question. If you have given the question some thought and you still don’t know the answer to a question, eliminate as many answer choices as possible and then select the best choice. You can review your responses in the Reading section by clicking View.

Audio samples for listening:

English Language: Today

English Language: Technology

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