Sunday, October 21, 2012

How To Get The Best TOEFL Score

To begin with, I’d like to provide you a few simple tips, which I hope can make you ready and ‘armed’ enough before going to the ‘battlefield’. You might need to know that some are based on my own experience and the rest is based on some reliable sources that I rephrase. What you’re about to read is a brief explanation which I chopped into 4 parts. Thus, if you plan to take an institutional test, section 1, 2, 3, and 4 are hopefully giving you some clues about what to prepare. Those who want to take a TOEFL prediction test, however, could read section 1, 2, and 3 but reading the 4th isn’t prohibited at all. It is in fact advisable. Let’s not waste another space by rambling on irrelevant stuffs and here are the tips. (Drum roll again, please…Thanks.)

SECTION 1 (Listening Comprehension)

Have a chat : Speaking with your Indonesian friends might help but not much. Nothing is better than having a warm chat with a real native speaker (American, British, or Australian).

Watch TV series or movies : While you’re watching hotties and studs in action, don’t forget to listen to every word they speak. It’s even better if you could rent a DVD so you can rewind the missing or unclear words and try to pick a DVD with English subtitles. Believe me, it does work, at least for me.

Listen to the radio/ songs : This advice sounds classic but listening Dalton Tanonaka and Frida Lidwina reading news on Indonesia Now seems to boost my listening perfomance. In spite of his Japanese root, Dalton’s pronunciation quite resembles American’s. Frida is equally fluent but her pronunciation is a bit interfered with the Indonesian accent. No offense, miss anchor! But for Indonesian, her English is awesomely cool.

Fully concentrate on the tape : Never waste your time to check on the previous numbers. The tape is only played once so every second matters. Once you don’t know the answer, immediately skip it or make a wild guess (crossing a, b, c, or d while praying by heart and crossing your fingers). Cheating or asking the right answer to your neighbors will only distract you from the test and you’ll be doomed.

Come earlier : Learning from my bitter experience, try to come as early as you can especially when you’re taking the test with many others. Coming early also gives an advantage. You’ve got much time to survey whether the test room is equipped with headphones or not, which seat seems the most comfortable for you. After all, coming early always makes you psychologically calmer.

Take the front seat : Where you’re sitting is particularly crucial when no hearing aid like earphones is provided and your ears must solely rely on a loud speaker or a tape player positioned in front of the room.

SECTION 2 (Structure and Written Expressions)

Learn intensively about clauses and phrases : In this section the questions are mainly concerned with clause, phrase, conjunction, and marker. Sounds too difficult to chew on? If you’re quite savvy at surfing the Internet, try to google and you’ll have some search results useful enough to enrich your grammar knowledge. Use the above topics as keywords, decide which result is worth saving, save the webpages on your PC and read them over and over again till you literally drop.

Learn more about identifying a good and sensible structure : In this part, we are to choose the WRONG part of the sentence, instead of the right. You therefore have to know well the basic concepts of a good and sensible structure. This is what I usually do; I read thoroughly the sentences, then I roughly translate them into Indonesian and if they sound logical and structurally accepted, I’ll proceed to the subsequent question. It’s about combining your linguistic instinct and logic. I’d say, combining these two is the hardest part but eventually we’ll learn that this is the most intriguing one, too. Language consists of regularity and irregularity. Regularity is well taken care of by our left brain and irregularity is nicely handled by our taste, instinct, feelings, heart, whatever we call it.

SECTION 3 (Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension)

Read newspapers and magazines : Read the Jakarta Post online or regularly visit sites of foreign newspapers like Washington Post or New York Times. If you have an internet-enabled cell phone, you can subscribe to their feeds in your Opera Mini so you ‘re able to read the latest news they publish. Subscribing to printed version of newspapers monthly spends too much money and nowadays internet access is more affordable than printed media. Keeping newspapers can at times be a source of problems too since we need space to store them all.

Read fast (skim) and find main ideas : By getting familiar with reading newspapers or magazines, you’re also improving your skimming skills as we are gradually used to read fast and extract the main points of the text rapidly, too.

Learn how to paraphrase : ‘Paraphrase’ means ‘express the same message in different words’. In the multiple choices, you are expected to find an option (either a, b, c ,or d) that contains exactly similar meaning with the ideas already stated in the passage.

SECTION 4 (Test of Written English)

Write in an organized way : Write anything in your mind in English (you can write an English diary or English blog) and afterwards step by step you can fix the wrong use of punctuations, misspelling, grammatical errors, and so forth. Ask your pals (who you reckon to be more competent than yourself) to read your composition and correct the errors, if there’s any found. Next, try to make your writing more organized by learning some writing basics. Complicated as it may seem but persevere folks are bound to succeed.

Read a lot : The last but definitely not the least, unless you’re a pure genius, you can’t write a word if you don’t read first. Reading supplies us with plenty, myriad ideas to write.With unlimited number of ideas in mind, everyone never gets stuck when they’re writing.

One last word to wrap this up, some of the tips are directly cited from Ronald E. Feare’s Key to Success on the TOEFL.

DISCLAIMER: I can’t 100% guarantee that things are always going smoothly. So please, don’t entirely blame your failure on me in case you fail reaching the targeted result on test even though you’ve already practiced the entire tips I’ve elaborated above perfectly. I am neither an expert nor an English native speaker. Regardless, luck does play a key role in the final result. Cheers!

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