Like taking a regular exam, test candidates for the TOEFL also face different problems during their reviews and even on the actual TOEFL exam day. Some say that these problems are inevitable, yet TOEFL instructors are sure that dilemmas faced by TOEFL test takers are just simple and can easily be avoided and even eliminated.
TOEFL test candidates experience a variety of problems when taking the TOEFL review and the exam. Here are some common dilemmas they face.
- Unfamiliar vocabulary - The TOEFL test uses academic English, so it is not surprising to read words that could be unfamiliar. Let us say you are reading a passage about marine biology and a particular word makes you stop and wonder what the meaning could be. Since dictionaries or any electronic advice is not allowed in the examination, the best thing that you can do is to use context clues. Read for clues in the passage that will help you understand what a word or phrase means.
Also, test candidates can always find ways in improving their vocabulary prior to the test by reading a lot of English resources such as textbooks, magazines, journals, or even the dictionary.
- Speed of conversations and lectures - It could pose a big problem to any candidate if they cannot understand a listening passage because the speakers talk too fast. Getting essential details of the questions is a sure problem. What candidates need to do is to find practice. They could listen to the news or watch American TV series. In this way, they will be able to get used to the way how Americans speak particularly with the pace on how they carry conversations.
- Grammar usage - Grammar is essentially important in both speaking and writing. Some candidates overlook the importance of grammar since they focus more on understanding the context of the tasks. However, there is a huge impact on poor grammar with their responses. Raters find it confusing or rather impossible to understand ideas which are poorly constructed. No matter how good ideas are, yet grammar rules are overlooked, the context and content of the response are both compromised.
- Stuttering or stammering - This happens when the TOEFL candidate is unsure about his response in a given task. Though stuttering is a speech disorder, some candidate stutter because they let anxiety consume them. As a result, they are not confident with their answers; hence, they stutter. To eliminate this problem, always practice. Practicing speaking skills are the best in addressing problems with speaking. All tasks have the same pattern; it is just a matter of understanding the problem and the task to come up with a good response.
- Poor time management - Tasks are time limited, so candidates have to work on their time management skills in understanding and answering the tasks in the test. This can be practiced by doing a lot of practice tests during the TOEFL review. In TOEFL review centers, programs are designed specifically to address this problem and make sure candidates can get to answer all the tasks within the limited time.