TOEFL practice test

exercises to help you improve your TOEFL score


frequently asked questions about the TOEFL test

TOEFL Topics Compilation

common topics asked during the TOEFL test


basic information about the TOEFL test

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top 10 Scientific Words You Need to Know for the TOEFL-iBT

Every candidate for the TOEFL test knows the academic content of the examination. The TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency examination that evaluates the knowledge of an individual in understanding and using the English in an academic context. The test has four sections: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Among these four parts of the test, the reading is considered to be a challenge to its academic scope.

Since it uses academic content in its reading texts, most of the passages talk about the fields of science. If you are someone who is not very familiar with these areas, it could pose a little problem; however, candidates need not worry since all the answers in the questions are found in the reading passage. To help candidates anticipate and understand in advance some of the terms or topics used in the reading, here are some words to remember and take note of.

· Symbiosis

The word symbiosis refers to the relationship of species in a particular ecosystem or habitat. There are different kinds of symbiotic relationships namely mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism.

· Behaviorism

It is defined as an idea that all learners are essentially passive and their respond according to the environmental stimuli. Behaviors are shaped through reinforcement and punishment.

· Aquifers

This is a body of saturated work in which water can move easily. Aquifers include rock types such as sandstone and fractured limestone.

· Tundra

When we say tundra, it means that it is an area where trees’ growth are hindered or they do not grow as tall as others because of low temperatures and the short growing of seasons.

· Electromagnetism

When we describe the relationship between electricity and magnetism, we are referring to electromagnetism.

· Discourse Analysis

This is defined as the analysis of language ‘beyond the sentence’. It can also be defined as the study of the ways in how language is used in discourse and contexts.

· Bioluminescence

Angler fish uses bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light of animals. This is evident in animals such as the angler fish, fireflies and even on some species of mushrooms.

· Atomic Structure

This pertains to the structure of atoms. Atoms have electrons, negatively charged particles; protons, positively charged particle; and nucleus, the center of the atomic structure.

· Behavioral Ecology

Defined as the evolutionary basis for animal behavior due to ecological pressures, behavioral ecology is a common topic in the reading test. It is how animals adapt to their existing environment in order to survive.

· Dadaism

This is an art movement during the 20th century. Practitioners of Dadaism created works of art that are unconventional and most of the time nonsense as a movement against conventional art styles.

These are some terms that have been commonly used in the reading section. You do not have to study these topics but be familiar with the general idea of these terms. It helps you understand the ideas expressed in the reading passages.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Failed TOEFL?

The worst feeling after taking an examination is the realization that you did not do well on it. There is a feeling of regret to any examinees telling themselves that they could have done better on the exam. In taking the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language, preparation for the exam is highly recommended. It needs time and a lot of patience to learn the skills for the TOEFL. Hence, failing the examination can mean a number of reasons and factors. What exactly are the reasons why you failed the TOEFL?

1. Poor English skills

English is a subject taught in school here in the Philippines. Most people have a good background in the language because of this. However, some are still having a hard time using the English language, and with TOEFL a good background in the language is much needed.

2. Unintelligible communication skills

The speaking section of the TOEFL evaluates your ability to speak English fluently. Failure to express your ideas in a very unclear manner can have a huge impact on your score.

3. Poor writing skills
Essay writing is part of the examination. A strong knowledge on grammar and sentence construction is an advantage to get a high score. Essays should be comprehensible, have a good flow and grammatically correct.

4. Punctuation problems

As a result of poor punctuation usage, essays are filled with run-on sentences and fragments. These do not show a complete thought in your essay making it incomprehensible. The best thing to do is to review the essay and insert punctuations as commas and semi-colons where needed.

5. Familiarity with using the computer during the exam

Let us admit that not all of us are good at using the computer, most especially in encoding essays. Some are even careless in clicking buttons during the test. Candidates need to be familiar with using the computer since it is a computer-based examination.

6. Time management

Some candidates are not conscious about the amount of time they are spending in one question. They also take a lot of breaks during the exam. Remember that time is limited and you have to use it wisely.

7. Lack of willingness

Do you really want to take this exam or are you forced to take this? Whatever the reason is you have to be ready for the exam. Paying about $200 for the test fee is not cheap. Every candidate has a purpose in taking the exam; let yours be your motivation.

8. Apprehension

Do not tell yourself that you cannot get a good score in the TOEFL. Do not let your opinion about the test be clouded with confusion or influenced by what others say about the test.

9. Over-confidence

Being over confident about yourself can bring you down. In taking the TOEFL, preparation is needed. If you are confident that you are good at English, then you can take the TOEFL as long as you are familiar with the skills needed for the test.

10. Lack of preparation

Some people take it without any background about the exam or its sections. It is best for any candidate to undergo review classes for the TOEFL prior to taking the examination. Allow yourself to review for at least two to three months to better understand the TOEFL exam.

With the right amount of preparation, candidates for the TOEFL are sure to pass the exam. Avoid the reasons above in failing the test to be successful for the TOEFL.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How tough TOEFL is?

There are a number of people who say that taking English proficiency tests is difficult and stressful – most especially the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Those who have already taken the TOEFL tests often say that the test is indeed hard but with preparation and practice, getting a good score will not be a problem. Most of them consider that taking the test would need a great deal of reading and skill building to be able to get their target scores. However, the question really is, how tough is the TOEFL?

To know how tough this test is should start in knowing what the test is all about. For starters, the TOEFL is a computer-based examination. This means that a candidate will be answering all tasks with the aid of a computer connected to the Internet. The test runs for about four and a half hours with a mandatory ten-minute break after the first two sections of the examination. The sections of the TOEFL tests are reading, listening, speaking and writing. What makes the TOEFL tough is the content of the examination.

Academic topics make the test challenging. Imagine answering different questions on different academic topics. Let us say you are given a reading passage about Roman architecture or a listening track about a professor discussing covalent bonds. Can you summarize a lecture of an academic topic within twenty seconds and give a response in just a matter of sixty seconds? Have you ever written essays that talk about education or social sciences? Indeed, the topics make everyone feel anxious in preparing for the examination. It is tough in the sense that nobody really has an idea of what subtopics on a particular field of study will be used in the examination. It is tough as one should learn skills on how to answer questions effectively and correctly.

To address the need to solve this problem, candidates often join TOEFL review classes to learn the fundamentals for the TOEFL examination. Like what is mentioned earlier, the key to a successful examination is being aware of the topics, practicing them on a regular basis and exposing yourself, the candidate, to many materials that will help get familiarize with the questions in the TOEFL test.

With TOEFL review centers, candidates will not have to cram for the examination. Schedules are given and mock tests are administered to monitor the progress of each student. TOEFL may be tough; however, with a tough training, getting the target score for the test is within reach.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Effective Tips on How to Learn the English Language Quickly from ETS Scholars

In 2015, the Educational Testing System or ETS has launched a scholarship program called "2014 Love Giving Scholarship (ETS TOEFL)" in Korea. The program aims to send 24 Korean undergraduate and graduate students to study in English speaking countries overseas. As part of a corporate responsibility, ETS has indeed created a program where non-native English speakers are given the opportunity to be exposed and educated in other universities overseas.

Just like Koreans, Filipinos are also non-native English speakers. However, English has been a medium for education and teaching in the Philippines; hence, Filipinos have a good command with the said language. Learning English is not easy. It takes time and most importantly, it needs dedication and perseverance. For these Korean scholars, English has been a challenge yet they have become successful in learning the language. Here are there tips on how to learn the English language.

1. Never neglect one section of the TOEFL test. The test has four sections: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Learning on how to effectively use each section is a great advantage. Further, one should have a good vocabulary bank in English.

2. Keeping a diary may seem childish, but it is of big help. Keeping records of what you feel, what you did on one particular day is a simple step in practicing your writing skill. It is believed that having a journal practices one in constructing sentences and developing ideas essential for essay writing.

3. Practice on pronunciation. Getting familiar with new words on how they are pronounced is a good start. One scholar claimed that video games have encouraged him to study pronunciation. He was very interested on the characters’ names, which was in English, that he started studying English phonetic symbols.

4. Memorizing words or vocabulary is also one way to learn English. Having at least 10 words a day to be memorized helps one to widen his or her vocabulary which is important in reading and writing.

5. Studying overseas is a crucial one. There will always be challenges in communicating with other people. Hence, they saw this as an opportunity to learn. Once overseas, you will need to communicate to other people as part of your daily routine. Taking part in different activities in school and making friends has been helpful in expressing oneself in the English language.

The English language is not something that you could finish in one night. It takes time and a great deal of exposure to be good at it. For people who are studying English, as early as today, begin exposing yourselves in situations where you can use English. The more you practice is a one-step closer to your dream of being a good English speaker.

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. 
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)

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


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.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The TOEFL Reading Test

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency examination taken by different non-native English speakers. This test evaluates the candidate on how well he or she can use and understand academic English. When we say academic English, most of the topics that are used in the exam are school subjects. These subjects can be science and technology, social studies, history, psychology, art and even music. The test has four parts – reading, listening, speaking and writing. Being considered the most boring part of the examination, the reading exam poses a great challenge to TOEFL test takers. 
TOEFL reading
In the TOEFL Reading test, the candidate will be reading three to five passages. Each passage will have about twelve to fourteen questions. The reading test will last for about an hour. The reading test will gauge the candidate’s ability to find information within the passage quickly and accurately. Hence, the skill of skimming and scanning will be perfect in this task.

In addition, the reading test is basically a reading comprehension type of examination. Candidates need to be very keen in finding the main idea and key points in the passage. Moreover, the candidates need to find important facts as well. Also, a good command in vocabulary is needed in the reading test. There are some words that may be unfamiliar to the candidate since topics are very academic. Additionally, the candidate should know how to make inferences since there are questions where the candidate should find an implied meaning in the passage.

These are the usual question types in the test:

  • Facts/details
  • Referent
  • Vocabulary
  • Paraphrase
  • Purpose
  • Coherence
  • Summarizing
  • Categorizing information

Now here are some tips to ace the TOEFL reading test.

1. Start by building good vocabulary. Candidates are not allowed to use a dictionary during the test. Some even learn the skill of using context clues. There are some jargons that are used; hence, being familiar with a good number of words is a great advantage.

2. Read. Read. Read. Since it uses academic English, reading information on academic subjects is a good start. You do not have to read intensive research, just the basics is fine.

3. Learn how to use skimming and scanning. These skills come in handy with very long passages.

4. Be sure to understand what the question asks you. Read instructions carefully.

5. Get help from TOEFL review centers. TOEFL review centers have classes focused on reading development. They give out classroom discussions and conduct classroom lectured on commonly used topics for the TOEFL iBT exam.

Reading is boring if you are not exposed on any reading activities. Being able to do reading activity will help someone read better and understand passages quickly. Preparation and exposure are the keys to a successful TOEFL reading test.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TOEFL Speaking Topics and Tips

Are you confident with your speaking skills? Can you speak English fluently?

Many Filipinos include the English language in their daily conversations. It is not new to Filipinos to incorporate English vocabulary to their conversations. As a matter of fact, English is a very common language to use in schools and in the workplace. Almost everybody knows how to use the mentioned language. However, when it comes to taking an English proficiency examination like the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language, being able to speak the English language is not enough. One must know the right skills and techniques in the exam, and most especially the topics the speaking test covers.

voice recording

The TOEFL speaking examination is composed of six different tasks. Each task is specially designed to accurately gauge a person’s ability to use the English language in speaking. There are two parts of the speaking examination. The independent speaking requires the candidate to make a response based on his or her own opinion. On the other hand, the integrated speaking asks the candidate to make a response based on a lecture or reading he or she has just listened to and read accordingly.

There are many topics covered in the speaking test. Here are some questions on the independent tasks.

· Talk about an event from the past that you would like to relive. Describe the original event and say why you would like to relive it.

· Talk about your country’s national anthem or flag. Where is it used and where can it be found today? Include details and examples to support your response.

· Some people say that when a child moves to a new country, he should only be taught in the native language of his new country. Others think that it is better to teach in a bilingual method to help the children adjust. Which is better?

TOEFL speaking

The third task covers any topic that includes an announcement in a university and a student’s reaction about it. Tasks 4 to 6 include school subjects’ topics like science, music, psychology, economics, history and even art.

To score well on the speaking test, here are some things applicants can follow:

· Have a good command in vocabulary. Better words, better way of expressing your ideas.

· Read a lot. Read a loud and practice your pronunciation.

· Record your voice in speaking. Listen and try to find your weak points in speaking.

· Find a speaking partner. This should be someone who is good at English.

· Speak with confidence. Most people are scared in speaking because of the fear of committing a mistake. Learn from these mistakes.

· Practice on some topics like your favourite place, hobby or movie.

· Talk slowly and clearly. Practice opening your mouth big enough for words to come out clearly.

· Watch English movies and observe how they pronounce common words in English.

· Talk to friends in English. This could be awkward at first but it is indeed a good exercise.

· Enroll in a TOEFL review class. Speaking coaches not only improve your skill in speaking but also your confidence in using the language.

The TOEFL Speaking test is easy as long as you have the right preparation and the confidence that you will definitely hit your target speaking score.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Factors That Will Determine Your Scores in the TOEFL-iBT

Taking English proficiency examinations prove how well the candidate can use and understand the English language. These English proficiency exams will determine one’s expertise in the said language through different factors using different tasks in the examination. In the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language, a variety of tasks are prepared that will surely bring out the expertise of a candidate in the English language.

Being a computer-based examination, candidates only need a computer and an Internet connection to complete the examination. In addition, the exam runs for about four and a half hours; however, the candidate can finish earlier depending on how fast he or she can finish his or her writing tasks. TOEFL test takers can get a perfect score of 120 with each section – reading, listening, speaking and writing – given a perfect score of 30.

Each section of the TOEFL follows a certain criteria that will determine the test takers score.

The reading section of the TOEFL evaluates how one can understand academic passages written in English. One important point that one needs to develop is to understand an academic reading content. The purpose of this task is to assess one's basic comprehension, the skill in finding information in a text, and the skill in reading to learn.

In the listening section, test takers are expected to showcase their skill in taking down notes. Note taking is one skill that will come in very handy during this part. Candidates are expected to write down main ideas in lectures and important details in a typical conversation. It is expected from the candidate to be able to get all the details in a recording in order to find the right answers in the choices. This means that the score on both reading and listening is dependent on how well the candidate understood the passages given.

For the speaking section, the test taker is evaluated with different criteria. First of all, general overview of the response should be considered by the candidate. Here, the response is scored on how well the response is given in terms of its content and how it directly answered the task. In addition, raters also look at the manner on how the response is delivered – its clarity. Next, language is rated – the usage of grammar and vocabulary.

Finally, in the writing section, certain criteria are also considered. The content tells us how relevant the response is to the task. Organization brings us the coherence and the flow of the essay – how the ideas are organized in a manner which is easy for the reader to understand. Language covers the proper grammar and vocabulary in the essay.

Once the test taker understands these factors in scoring the TOEFL, he or she will develop the need to address these to be able to get a good score for the TOEFL test.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

News: ETS Introduces Voice Print Security for the TOEFL-iBT

After the alleged security breach reported by BBC, ETS has rolled out a biometric voice identification system. The voice identification technology will run on pilot for two years. Visit to know more information.

For the alleged breach security results concerning TOEFL in the UK, read

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Independent Tasks in the TOEFL-iBT Plus Some Review Tips

When people are asked about their own opinions, they will always have a lot to say. Opinions matter so much in conversations. Through this, we understand how one perceives the things around him or her, how one reacts on matters, and even how one feels on certain situations.

In taking an English proficiency examination such as the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language, independent tasks are part of the examination. These independent tasks can be found in the speaking and writing sections. Independent tasks primarily check the individual’s skill in expressing his or her own ideas – how one can come up with a viewpoint and provide reasons and examples to support it. The independent speaking is good for 45 seconds each.

In the speaking section, there are two independent tasks. The first independent task requires the candidate to express his or her idea on a given statement. Topics can cover about family, work, or school.

For example:

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
The candidate then needs to think of an activity he or she likes doing. Next, the candidate has to provide at least two reasons why he or she likes this activity and give examples for this choice.

The second task is where the candidate is asked to choose one from given options. Two options are given and the candidate has to select which fits him best. For example:

Some people prefer to study alone while others prefer to study with friends. Which one do you prefer and why?

Here, the candidate has to choose one and provide reasons why he has chosen this over another option. Giving examples will make the response stronger and better.

In the writing section, there is only one independent task. The candidate needs to write his or her opinions on the statement given within thirty minutes and have to write a 250-word essay. A counter on the right side of the screen indicates the number of words the candidate already has. Questions can be an agree-disagree, opinion-based, and advantage-disadvantage type. Here are some examples:

  • Do you agree or disagree? Parents are the best teachers.
  • What do you think are the qualities of a good parent?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using English in school?

The candidate needs to write a very clear introduction, at least two body paragraphs indicating his or her ideas with reasons and examples, and a very good conclusion for the essay.

The independent task is simple – candidates should think of an idea that can easily be supported with reasons and have to be straight to the point. Be clear in expressing ideas and always remember to give examples to make responses – both speaking and writing – stronger, better, and appropriate.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

News: TOEFL Exam Suspended for Visa Applications in the UK

The UK government's Home Office is suspending the license of ETS for running English proficiency exams like the TOEFL and TOIEC after an alleged fraud incident reported by BBC.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Who are Taking the TOEFL Test?

I can speak English very well, but I am not that sure if it’s good enough for me to get by living in the US or any English-speaking country. Is there a way for me to check my English level? 

Some people are very interested in knowing the level of their English. There are some tests online that are for free that will give you some questions and after give you a score that will evaluate you on how good you are at English. Though this might help a little, the best way to know your English level is by taking an English fluency examination like the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Can anybody take the TOEFL? Of course! For Filipinos, it is actually a very good idea to take the TOEFL. However, many people take the TOEFL for a variety of reasons. First, we have students who are planning to study at a higher education institution. Simply say, these are people who are taking their graduate studies overseas. Some of these individuals prefer studying in an English-speaking country because their majors are not offered in their home country. Due to this, they need to pursue their studies by staying overseas to study.

Some non-native English speakers want to learn English in an English-speaking environment. With this in mind, they need to undergo training in a learning program. Most learning programs need a TOEFL score before admission. Another is that there are individuals who are applying for scholarships overseas. A main requirement for student visas is a good score in the TOEFL as well. In relation to this, working visas also need a TOEFL certification. That is the reason why most people who take the TOEFL are students and working professionals. However, there are some people who want to keep track of their progress in learning English. Taking the TOEFL will evaluate them how good and the level of their progress in their English training.

This means that you do not have to be a professional or a student to take the TOEFL. Anyone can take the TOEFL whether it is for visa or personal use. Whatever the reason this individual has in taking the TOEFL, preparation is the key to a successful TOEFL examination. With the right amount of training and classroom lectures from TOEFL review centers, one is able to get that target score in no time.

Any person can take the TOEFL. Learn how high your English level is by taking the TOEFL today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TOEFL Review Tips for the Speaking Exam

One of the very popular English skill tests in the country today is the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language. When we say English test, people will think of the usual reading comprehension with multiple choice options as its question type. Though the TOEFL has multiple-choice type of question, it is not a test that Filipinos should not take so easy. 

The TOEFL examination uses an academic setting in its question. When we say academic setting, it means that most questions are derived from subjects in the academe like architecture, science and technology, sociology, music and the arts, psychology and history to name a few. Familiarity with these subjects in school is a great advantage. Hence, people who take the TOEFL review on common topics of the mentioned subjects earlier. 

Compared to other speaker sections of an English language test, the TOEFL speaking questions are recorded. No native English speaker is around to cause intimidation and anxiety. All the candidate needs to do is to read the task flashed on the screen and follow the indicated instructions. For Filipinos, it is typical to for some that they target a score of 26 in their application. However, some are not successful in getting this score. Here are some review tips that can help any Filipino get a score of 26 and even better in the TOEFL speaking examination. 

1. Independent Tasks

  • Give at least two points to support your idea in the question. Think of points that you can easily explain and find reasons to back them up. 
  • In making your responses stronger, provide examples. Examples can be something you have experienced or something that you can just make up in your mind. It does not have to be real; however, make sure that what you are making up is possible to happen. 
  • State your ideas clearly. Do not be too specific or too broad with your main idea. 

2. Integrated Tasks

  • Take note on the reading’s main idea and supporting reasons. Do the same in the lecture. These things are important elements in your response. 
  • When you write your notes, have them in phrases or words. Writing the exact sentence can take up so much time. 
  • Do not ever include your opinion in your response. The integrated tasks evaluate how well one can integrate ideas in a reading and a lecture. Having your own opinion can cause low score. 

3. General Tips
  • Use your preparation time wisely. 
  • Speak on the microphone clearly. Do not try to speak fast because of the time limit. Speak with ease and comfort. 
  • Use a variety of vocabulary. Do not repeat the same word thrice. Think of other ways in expressing your idea by using idioms or word expressions.
  • Keep calm and focus. 
The speaking test should not be stressful but an enjoyable part of the test. These tips are effective and proven helpful in getting a good score in the TOEFL speaking test.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TOEFL Test Centers and Training Courses in the Philippines

Thinking of registering for an English proficiency examination? Why don’t you take the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language?

The TOEFL test has been of the most taken English proficiency examinations in the country today. Both working professionals and students choose the TOEFL as it is accepted in most universities and companies all over the world. There are a lot of TOEFL Test Centers in the country today. These test centers are authorized by ETS or Educational Testing Service. Here are some known TOEFL test centers in cities here in the Philippines. Check the lists online once you register in

Angeles City: American English Learning Center

Bacolod City: Star of Asia

Baguio City: EPro Training Center

Cebu City: Cebu International Stc.

Davao City: Seattle Language Center, inc.

Makati City: Hopkins International Partners, Inc.

Pasig City: Wawatell Inc., Pauldream Language Center, I Can Language Center, Inc. The Forum Institute for International Studies

Laguna: International Review and Integrated Studies Inc.

Most candidates take TOEFL training courses in different review centers. Are these training courses effective?

Training courses are important in preparing for the TOEFL examination. First of all, training courses have scheduled classes that is planned and organized. Coaches in TOEFL review centers make sure that they will not proceed to the next lesson unless everyone understands the discussion. Compare it with studying alone, you bury yourself studying the books without proper explanation on the topics. Unlike in TOEFL review centers, mentors are there to teach strategies and make studying fun and interesting.

Additionally, TOEFL review classes not only teach the concepts of the test but also the techniques in answering questions. Candidates will be taught on how to answer certain type of questions, make appropriate responses in speaking exercises and write effective essays.

Furthermore, in TOEFL review classes, students are given the opportunity to take mock exams. Mock exams are like simulation tests. Mock tests also serve as a student’s evaluation on what he or she has learned for the week. Taking mock exams gives the student or the candidate the opportunity to know how the TOEFL test looks like.

Because of the increasing number of training courses offered in the country, it is best to compare these before deciding on one. Compare prices, the quality of teachers and the program they are offering. Make sure that it fits your needs and is reasonable for the price you are paying.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tips for Excelling in the TOEFL Essay

Essay writing challenges an individual’s ability to develop his or her ideas in written text. Some find this task difficult as grammar and vocabulary is involved while some find this simple as it is easy for them to put their ideas into words. Whether you find writing easy or not, creating an essay for an English proficiency examination test like the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language needs skills and strategies to get a good perfect score of 30. Here are some tips to have your essays perfect and worth reading.

1. Make sure that you have all the parts of the essay.

A good essay has an appealing introduction to its readers. Write something that will catch their attention. Provide a strong body by citing examples and details that will hold your readers’ interest. Close your essay with a conclusion leaving a suggestion, a comment or something to ponder on for the readers.

2. Effective use of transitional words

Transition words are guides of the reader in your essay. This will signal them that you are adding an idea or showing a different viewpoint. Effective use of such will make your essay intelligent.

3. Be sure to understand the question.

The effectiveness of your essay relies on how much you understand the task given to you. Make sure that you have a full understanding of the question. Remember that there are different task types in the independent writing. Do what the tasks ask you to do.

4. Be straightforward.

The content is much more important that showing off your creative writing skills. Express your ideas in simple yet strongly constructed sentences. The writing is a showcase of your understanding not of your creative skills.

5. Always begin with a sentence with a clear subject.

Avoid starting a sentence with AND or BUT. Use transition words like “additionally” or “however” instead or better yet connect the sentences you are making.

6. Clear topic sentences

Topic sentences should not be too broad or too specific. It has got to be something that you can still explain further by providing good details and examples in your body.

7. Learn to play with words

Do not repeat the same words in a sentence. Learn its synonyms or use expressions that have similar meanings to it. Show off your vocabulary skills well.

8. Punctuation matters

Do not forget to check your usage in punctuation marks. Review on the usages of commas, colons, semi-colons, periods and the like.

9. Grammar

As much as possible, use the active voice of the verbs in your writing. In addition, double check on the tenses of the verbs you are using. Be consistent.

10. Practice

Practice writing essays and have someone check it. It is best to have training in TOEFL review centers for coaches provide feedbacks and comments on things you should avoid and you should develop.

Essay writing is not difficult when you have a clear understanding of the task and a detailed outline for your answer. TOEFL Writing is easy so start practicing your writing skills today.