TOEFL practice test

exercises to help you improve your TOEFL score

TOEFL FAQs

frequently asked questions about the TOEFL test

TOEFL Topics Compilation

common topics asked during the TOEFL test

TOEFL 101

basic information about the TOEFL test

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top 10 Tips for TOEFL Speaking

Can you speak English well? Is it good enough to get a good score at any English proficiency examinations?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency examination designed to assess individuals regarding their English skills in an academic context. The exam is composed of different sections: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Each section evaluates how well one understands English in particular tasks. Among the tasks, the speaking part is quite tricky and challenging. 
 
TOEFL speaking
Composed of six tasks, the test is divided into independent and integrated questions. Independent questions ask for the candidate’s personal views on statements and situations given while the integrated task focuses on the candidate’s skill to integrate information from reading and lectures.

To get a good a score in the exam, here are top tips for candidates to consider.

1. Improving your grammar knowledge is an advantage. As a candidate, you have to enrich your vocabulary to be able to express ideas by choosing the right words. Learn new words through reading different materials like books, magazines and even comic books. You are not just learning but you are having fun at the same time.

2. Think in English. Practice thinking in English. This will help you think faster once you are seated in the real test. Thinking in your mother tongue will need you to translate everything into English.

3. Develop your fluency in speaking by doing shadowing. Get an audio clip, a news report or a conversation, and practice saying those lines. Follow how the person speaks and the emotions he or she has while speaking.

4. Idioms can be used as long as they are appropriate for the response. Do not use expressions that will confuse the rater of your response.

5. Develop good skills in note taking. It is difficult to come up with a good response in the integrated tasks without good notes.

6. In taking down notes, write in simple words and symbols. Writing in full sentences will consume time.

7. Watch English movies and observe how actors or actresses deliver their lines. This will improve the manner of your speaking.

8. Record your responses. Assess your own response looking at things you have not mentioned and with the organization of your ideas.

9. Use transition words. These will guide the rater on the flow of ideas in your answer. They will be signals of additional information or a contrasting idea.

10. Always find a way to practice English. Use English everyday in simple conversations. Be comfortable in using it as it will practice your fluency and confidence at the same time.

TOEFL speaking is a piece of cake when you follow these tips. Getting a good score is possible with practice and confidence in speaking English.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

TOEFL Exam Schedule in Cebu City

English is a very powerful language as it has been spoken by many people around the world including non-native English speakers. The Philippines is one of the countries that use English as their second language. Since Filipinos are familiar with the language, many are wishing to find work overseas or even slots in prestigious universities abroad. However, Filipinos must be reminded that they need to take an English proficiency examination before lodging their applications. One of the most taken English fluency examinations in the Philippines is the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language. In the Philippines, taking the TOEFL examination has been very convenient. It is available in most key cities like in Cebu City. Many years ago, Cebu residents travelled to Manila just to take the examination. Imagine the cost of taking the examination plus the other expenses. Indeed, taking the TOEFL test before was very costly and stressful. However today, Cebu City hosts the TOEFL examination about twice to four times in a month. This schedule gives more opportunity to growing number of candidates who are reserving slots for the TOEFL examination. Here is the schedule of the TOEFL test in Cebu City. 
 
2014 CEBU TOEFL TEST SCHEDULE
Sep 14, 2014
Sep 27, 2014
Oct 11, 2014
Oct 18, 2014
Oct 26, 2014
Nov 02, 2014
Nov 08, 2014
Nov 09, 2014
Nov 29, 2014
Dec 06, 2014
Dec 13, 2014
Dec 14, 2014
Dec 21, 2014

In addition, Cebu City now has a good number of TOEFL review centers to help prepare candidates for the examination. Are TOEFL test centers effective in preparing for the exam?

TOEFL review centers are the best way to prepare for the examination. These centers have good course programs that will guide candidates through the TOEFL examination. There are classroom discussions that explain difficult reading passages, listening practices to exercise listening skills, coaching in speaking to guide candidates on the proper way of responding to questions and essay writing to practice grammar and vocabulary for the writing test. These programs will help candidates learn, build and develop the skills for the TOEFL.

 
 
Many TOEFL review centers are found in Cebu. With these options, candidates can choose which review center would be best for them according to their course programs. Most TOEFL review centers have almost the same cost but they quite differ with the cost of their reviews. Choosing the one that is the best for you is very important in the TOEFL test.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

TOEFL Cheating in Turkey - Investigation is on its Way

The alleged cheating incident in Turkey is now under investigation. Reportedly, the Gülenists (The Gülen Movement) were involved in the said incident.  Find out more from the report from Daily Sabah below:

TOEFL test


ISTANBUL — Prosecutors launched an investigation into allegations that Gülenists were involved in irregularities of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam, a worldwide test to determine participants' English language proficiency. The Gülen Movement, which evolved into a politicized organization from a faith-based movement, faces accusations of helping their followers cheat on the (TOEFL) exam.

Acting on a tip from a former Gülenist, the chief prosecutor's office in Istanbul launched a probe into the issue. The anonymous Gülenist claimed the movement's followers benefited from cheating at TOEFL test centers in Turkey. The former Gülenist told prosecutors he used to work with a team that helped cheaters and outlined how the scheme worked.

According to his account, lecturers with fluent English from universities known for their ties to the Gülen Movement sit for the exam on behalf of Gülenists who failed in previous TOEFL exams. The movement allegedly set up a "network" of its followers who want to achieve high scores in the exam, and members of this network appeal to senior officials of the movement when they need assistance in passing the exam. Passing the exam facilitates the lecturers' promotion at universities and participants can also apply to several state agencies that hire staff based on their TOEFL score.

Under the scheme, TOEFL hopefuls legitimately apply to take the exam. On the day of exam, they contact fellow Gülenists working at the test center. Once there, they hand over their IDs to their replacement who take the exam for them. They cannot be detected easily as test centers are already manned with staff with links to the Gülen Movement. Also, the replacements do not score high in the exam to avoid attracting attention in case of an investigation.

Gülenists already face a series of allegations for helping their followers cheat on several exams for admission into state agencies, law enforcement agencies, et cetera. In February, authorities cancelled a foreign language examination over suspicions that the movement leaked the questions to some participants. In the future, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam will be replaced with the TOEFL for the promotion of lecturers at universities. It is not known whether the TOEFL, a globally accepted exam, will be replaced with another exam for testing the English
proficiency in the wake of allegations.

The movement, that launched a defamation campaign against the government last year, is accused of widespread infiltration into state agencies such as Turkish National Police and judiciary. Commonly referred to as the "parallel state" due to high level of infiltration, the movement is also accused of carrying out the illegal wiretapping of prominent names in the Turkish politics. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TOEFL Review: Useful Vocabulary to Be Familiar With

Much have been said to emphasize the need of candidates for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to have a good command in vocabulary. As a test that uses academic English, candidates devote much of their time reading different materials to improve their vocabulary bank such as magazines, journals and even academic books. This exercise of indulging in different reading activities not only improves vocabulary but also develops the interest of the individual in reading. In fact, reading is not an activity enjoyed by many; hence, loving it is a process.

For TOEFL candidates, vocabulary is an essential step in preparing for the examination. There are lots of vocabulary words to be memorized. A variety of words in your head can mean various ways of expressing yourself in TOEFL speaking and writing. To add up some words on your list, here is some very useful vocabulary you should be familiar (and even memorize) for the TOEFL.

1. Agitate (verb) – to disturb, excite or anger (someone)

Examples:
  • The professor was so agitated that he left the class screaming.
  • Agitated with the sudden movement, the school of fish swam away from the divers.

2. Deprive (verb) – to take something away from something or someone

Examples:
  • The experiment involved a certain plant species deprived from water.
  • Her eyes were so tired because she was deprived from sleep.

3. Obsolete (adj) – no longer used because something new exists

Examples:
  • That certain Egyptian technology is already considered obsolete.
  • The book the student was looking for was already obsolete.

4. Petulant (adj) – becoming angry or annoyed when they do not get what they want
Examples:
  • The kid was petulant as she was not allowed to eat ice cream.
  • A certain politician displayed a petulant behaviour upon the decline of his request.

5. Sporadic (adj) – happening often but not regularly

Examples:
  • The disease was ruled out as sporadic as it was contained in a certain area for a few weeks.
  • They hear sporadic noises somewhere in the attic.

6. Uproar (noun) – a situation in which many people are upset, angry or disturbed by something

Examples:
  • Uproar caused the street to be heavy with traffic.
  • Our house is in uproar every time my cousins come for the weekend.

7. Reciprocal (adj) – a relationship wherein to people or groups agree on something similar for each other

Example:
  • Reciprocal teaching is common in our faculty.
  • The reciprocal attachment between the couple is obvious and somehow irritating.

8. Reimburse (verb) to pay someone an amount of money equal to an amount spent

Examples:
  • The students were reimbursed with their plane tickets.
  • A huge issue erupted when the teachers asked to be reimbursed with their expenditures.

9. Sanguine (adj) – confident and hopeful

Examples:
  • The children look sanguine with their uniform.
  • The president showed a sanguine poise during the summit.

10. Thwart (verb) to prevent someone from doing something or to stop something from happening

Examples:
  • Police officers thwarted the protesters to enter the main building.
  • A dike was built to thwart the impending foods.

These words are commonly used in the TOEFL so be ready to use them appropriately and understand them clearly in any task in the TOEFL test.


Source of definition: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Top Five Voice Recording Apps for TOEFL Speaking Practice Drills

Have you ever heard your own voice? If you do, then you would be shocked with how pleasant or disturbing your voice is. Some people even sound very differently with their voice on record. Recording your own voice is an advantage most especially if you are taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency examination gauging a candidate’s ability to understand and use the English language in an academic content. Like any other English proficiency examinations, the TOEFL has a speaking section. The speaking section is composed of six different tasks divided into independent and integrated tasks. Each task is recorded so candidates need not feel nervous speaking in front of a native speaker.

Most candidates for the TOEFL test are encouraged to practice speaking at home – to practice their pronunciation and tone while speaking. As part of this practice, it is best to have voice recording apps installed in your computers. Here are some useful voice recording apps you can download on your computers.

1. Audacity

Audacity has very perfect tools in voice recording. Press “record” and talk as long as you want. Once you are done, press “stop” and “play” to listen to your voice recording. In addition, you can listen to audio passages through audacity and adjust the speed of the audio just by adjusting some effects.

 
2. MooO Voice Recorder
Simple yet effective – with simple clicks on the buttons you can record your voice and play it over and over again. Its simple interface makes it easier for candidates to navigate through the program.





3. Audionote

Available in Windows and Mac, this program is also very easy to navigate. It has a notepad that goes along with the program for the candidate to write notes while speaking. This is best for recording long passages as the candidate can paste the copy right on the voice recorder.





4. RecordPad Sound Recording

Perfect for recording sound, voice, notes or any other audio file. Candidates can have these audio files saved in wav, mp3 or aiff formats.





5. WavePad

Also an audio editor, Wavepad is also used for voice recordings. Also, you can add special effects on your recording. It supports all audio files so you can have it saved in any format.






Any of the featured apps are helpful in recording your voices in practice for the TOEFL speaking test. Listen to your pronunciation and improve the manner of your speaking with these helpful tools in voice recording.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The TOEFL Listening Test

Note taking is one of the skills that we need to develop in the English language. Note taking actually happens everywhere. For example, we have college students who write down what their professors discuss in class. Most professors in universities do not use the board in teaching. They are more on discussions without any visual materials. Another evidence of note taking is when writers or reports conduct an interview. Most of them write what the interviewee tells them. Hence, the skill of note taking is very essential and helpful in our daily lives. This skill is also very important in taking the TOEFL listening examination. 
 


The Test of English as a Foreign Language Listening test covers academic lectures. There are about four to six recorded lectures. Each lecture will have six questions. Additionally, there will be two to three recorded conversations with five questions each included in the listening test. The listening section takes about an hour to finish.

The test measures the candidate’s ability to obtain information from a listening task such as the main idea, key pints, purpose, and other important facts and details. It will also check the skill of the candidate to make inferences and recognize implied information in the lectures and conversations.

During the listening test, some pictures on the screen will be seen. This will give the candidates an idea of the setting and the role of the people speaking. Questions will be shown first before the choices. Sometimes, a part of the conversation or lecture is repeated as part of the question. Note taking is allowed and this skill should be improved and developed prior to taking the examination.

There are different types of questions in the listening test. These are:
  • Attitude or purpose
  • Inferences
  • Predictions
  • Categorizing
  • Summarizing
  • Looking for the main idea
  • Chart questions
  • Paraphrasing

How to get a good score for the TOEFL listening? Simply follow these tips!

  • Increase vocabulary. Having wide vocabulary makes understanding difficult words easier.
  • Anticipate what the person in the conversation or lecture is going to talk about.
  • In note taking, do not write sentences. Write in words and phrases. Be sure to write them clearly and orderly for you to find the information you need when the questions are shown.
  • Listen to audio lectures online. These will give you an idea how to get important details once listening to a TOEFL audio recording.
Finally, to be able to practice and be more familiar with the exam, participate in TOEFL review classes in TOEFL review centers. They have designed programs that will make candidates confident with their listening skills for the TOEFL test.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The TOEFL Writing Test

There is no fun in writing.

This is what usually students say when they are asked to write an essay. In school, students are almost always tasked to do some writing tasks in English classes. The fact of thinking of ideas to write and doing brainstorming make writing an avoided activity. However, as we progress in our studies, the importance of writing gets more serious and even more complicated when taking an English proficiency examination.


 
English proficiency examinations are English tests that measure how good a person is in using and understanding the English language. Most of the time, English proficiency exams are a requirement for visa applications to countries that use English as their first language. Among the many tests, TOEFL is one that is most taken by Filipinos.

TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language uses academic English in its test. The writing part of the TOEFL test is divided into two parts – the integrated writing and the independent writing. Generally, the writing part of the test gauges how well the candidate can express his or her own ideas in written text and how well he or she can incorporate ideas from a reading passage and listening passage.

The integrated task consists of an academic reading passage. The candidate is given three minutes to read the passage. After three minutes, a listening passage will be heard. Most of the time, this is a lecture related to the topic of the reading passage. The candidate will need to show the connection between the reading and the lecture. The candidate should write an essay within twenty minutes. The essay should have at least 150 words.

The lecture could show any of the following:
  • A disagreement to the main idea of the reading
  • A support to the ideas presented in the reading
  • A number of solutions to the problems mentioned in the reading

The second task is an independent question. The candidate will be given a statement in which he or she should express his or her opinion. The candidate is expected to write an essay with at least 300 words in thirty minutes. There are different kinds of independent questions:

1. Agree or disagree

Examples:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

A person should always take into consideration the salary in finding a job.

2. Opinion-based questions

What are the things that the local government can do in your community to improve its standard of living?

3. Advantages and disadvantages

There are a good number of students flying overseas to study. What are the advantages and disadvantages in studying abroad?

To be able to write an effective essay, here are some tips candidates should take note of.

For the integrated writing:
  • Have a good note taking skill. Write down the main idea and key points from the lecture clearly.
  • Do not include your own ideas on the essay. What it needs is the information from the reading and the lecture.
  • If you do not have enough time, it is okay not to write a conclusion.
  • Always state a clear introduction and a well written body with its supporting details.
  • Use transition words.

For the independent writing:

  • State a clear introduction, write at least two body paragraphs and a nice conclusion.
  • In writing your body, support your points by providing examples. These can be personal or something you have just made up. The important thing is you can write a clear and strong example to support your idea.
  • Check your grammar and always make use of transition words.
  • Do not use vocabulary that will cloud the content of your writing. Use clear and appropriate words expressions.
Writing can be fun. Start by writing a journal and eventually develop it to something longer with more serious topics. For TOEFL test takers, signing up for TOEFL classes will also be a good idea to have someone check your writings. Mentors are trained to comment and give advice on how to improve student’s skills good enough for the TOEFL writing test.