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

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.

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.