If there is something tricky about the reading section, it is the timing. The reading section asks you many questions while providing you a few passages to read. Instead of dividing the time out for you, the TOEFL gives you a full 60 to 80-minute block of time. It is up to you and your management skill to use this time effectively to read all the passages and answer all questions.
Many TOEFL reading passages require you to do one important thing: identify the main ideas of the passage. Knowing the passage’s general background is crucial to answering the questions quickly and correctly and helps you read the passage faster with understanding. Sometimes, however, it is not so easy to identify the passage’s main ideas. So in this article, we’ll look at a few tips that will hopefully help you identify the main ideas faster and more accurately.
Many of the top business schools worldwide do not only require TOEFL scores but require high scores. Business schools value competence in English and they require that in their students. If MBA is ever in your future, you will probably have to submit a TOEFL score and it will never be too early to start studying, especially when you know their requirements are high.
Get your answers to the previous TOEFL Reading Practice with Question Types blog. Learn with our clear answer explanations to better help you understand where you went wrong and exactly why you got it right!
Unlike many other types of tests, the TOEFL does not have a pass or fail score bar. So you can’t pass or fail the test. You can have a score as low as 1 and as high as 120/120. You can only judge your score as “good” or “bad” based on what you need the score for.
As the TOEFL being the test for non-English speaking students, we understand that many of the test takers are not in the US and also not taking the test in the US. That is why we would like to talk about the test taking process in other countries. And in this blog post, we will talk about India in particular.
If you are looking to continue with higher education like graduate schools or professional programs in an English speaking environment, you should consider taking the TOEFL. More schools and programs accept TOEFL scores than IELTS.
Have you ever received a grade for an exam that is significantly lower than what you expected? You think you did well and the score is unfair. That can happen with the TOEFL as well, and just like in school, you get the chance to request a rescore.
TOEFL is not a pass/fail exam. So no matter how badly you have done or how well you perform, you will always get back a numeric score. If there's no Fail rate, how can you know what is a good TOEFL score? Honestly, that is a difficult question to answer correctly. A good score can be 90 or 100 or 110. It all depends on the program you apply to and your personal goal. On average a TOEFL score of 90 is really good, however, if your program requires 100, then it's not good enough. Some programs don’t require a specific overall score, but require a higher score in the speaking section. Please be aware of this when you are studying.
Whenever talking about an exam, a question always comes up. It's "how difficult is the exam?" It is no difference with the TOEFL. Before taking the test, many test takers wonder about the difficulty level of the TOEFL. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question. TOEFL is a language test and real research has proved that it is very difficult to scientifically determine the difficulty level of a language. However, we will try our best to estimate the difficulty level of the TOEFL with all the information we know.
If you are a non-native English speaker who wants to study at an institution in an English-speaking country, most of the time you would be required to submit a TOEFL score. The TOEFL does not have a straightforward grading system like what you have at schools, a wrong answer will surely make you lose points and a correct one will gain you points. So the TOEFL score itself can be confusing. This post hopefully can help explaining the score for you.
There are two forms of the TOEFL: the paper-based (PBT) and the internet-based (iBT) tests. Even though the paper-based format is still used in several around the world, it is very rare compared to the places that use the iBT format. So we will look into only the iBT format in this post.
When is the best time to take the TOEFL? It is a difficult question. There is no solid, always correct answer for this question. You do not want to take the exam too early since you might be unprepared. You also do not want to take it too late, you will not have enough time in case you need a re-take for better scores. The timing for TOEFL is pretty much just guess work, sadly. However, here are a few things that you can consider when choosing a test date so you can maximize your performance while limit difficulties.
The first step to taking the TOEFL is registering for the test. There are two types of TOEFL: The Paper Based Test (PBT) and the Internet Based Test (iBT). Depending on your location, you can take either of the two types. Normally, each testing center only offers one of the two types, not both. The TOEFL is not free, sadly. There is a registration fee for the TOEFL iBT and PBT with some optional additional fees.
If you have ever research about standardized tests for non-English speakers, you would have come across both the TOEFL and the IELTS. The TOEFL is short for Test of English as a Foreign Language, and the IELTS is short for International English Language Testing System. They are both widely accepted tests to certify your level of English proficiency. Some specific English-speaking countries prefer one test over another, but generally, they can both be accepted almost anywhere. If they are so similar to each other, which test should you take? That depends on what your strong suit is and what your program requires.
The TOEFL reading section is broken down into 8 different reading question types and 4 formats. The way to get a high score is to become familiar with all types of questions. This will help you to narrow down the options and select the right answer. Here is a quick run-down of each question type you will encounter:
This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss an “Essential Information question”. In an “Essential Information question”, you will see the question you see an entire sentence highlighted in the reading passage.
The question will ask you to choose which of the 4 answer option sentences is equal to the highlighted sentence. The correct sentence will be paragraphed so it is different than the highlighted one, but still convey all the important information. Incorrect sentences will represent a detail or concept inaccurately, leave out an important detail, change the original meaning of the sentence.
This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss an "Insert a Sentence" question. In an "Insert a Sentence" question, you will be asked to decide where a new sentence best fits into the reading passage.
This question type tests your understanding of the logic in the passage. It also tests your ability to understand the grammatical connections from one sentence to another.
This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss a "Rhetorical Purpose" question. In a "Rhetorical Purpose" question, you will see the question phrased like the following:
Why does the author mention that “...” in paragraph 5?
This type of question requires you to understand why the author has included piece of information. The answer to this question is not directly stated in the reading passage. To solve this type of question, you need to understand the main point of the paragraph and how the referenced information(Usually a sentence) is related to the main point of the paragraph.
This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss a "Vocabulary question". In a reading "Vocabulary question", you are asked what a word or phrase is closest in meaning to and are given 4 answer options. You need to be able to understand the meaning of the word as it is used in the passage.
This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss a "Negative Factual Information" question. You can recognize a negative factual information question by either the word “NOT” or “EXCEPT” in the question. The question can appear like one of the following:
This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss a "Reference" question. In a "Reference" question, you are asked what the highlighted word refers to. If it's a pronoun then you need to identify what word the pronoun is replacing.
This study plan was created by professional TOEFL instructors to help you organize your TOEFL studying over a one month period. This plan includes suggestions on how to study each TOEFL section and a one-month study schedule.
This plan is broken down into 6 months and 4 phases
- Month 1: You will be focussing on building fundamental English skills.
- Month 2 - 4: Using the skills you learned during month 1, you will do many TOEFL exercises, TOEFL practices, and 3 reserved simulated tests.
- Month 5: You will review everything you learned in months 1 - 4.
- Month 6: You will do a final reserved simulated test and review everything before the official TOEFL exam.
The TOEFL® is not an easy exam to study for and pass, much less in a month. Dedication, however, and hard work can make it possible for you to go through an accelerated program such as the following one. We realize that the TOEFL® reuses questions and therefore we have structured our program to rely on the use of questions. To handle questions you must have at least basic level knowledge of English. Beginners must put in more practice and especially in listening which has been found to be the quickest way to learn a new language. There are plenty of ESL (English as a second language) books to help in this practice.
The most basic thing is to know what format of TOEFL® you will be tested by. In most countries the option of internet based TOEFL® (iBT) is available while in some few others there is only the paper-based test (PBT) format on offer. Before you commence your studies it is imperative that you find out what centers are available in your country and in what format the TOEFL® is tested. It is not possible to sit the iBT TOEFL® for instance in a country offering PBT TOEFL®. People often get exam stress when they do not know what to expect in an exam but once you know what format you will take your paper in, the ETS offers a standardized test on which there are very clear guidelines.
Speaking is a practical skill and therefore the best way to prepare for the test is to gain the skill and put it into as much practice as possible. This way you can speak in English naturally and comfortably. The best approach is to engage in conversation with native speakers of English. Practice using the English language to give your opinion, describing problems and solutions, pronunciations and using contractions so as to sound more natural when speaking. Apart from listening to actual people, there are numerous resources to help you master the same skills such as websites and books.
Unlike most exams or tests, the TOEFL® does not have one passing or failing. Rather, you just get your score and your success is dependent on your school of choice or the mark required of an applicant for your institution. As such it is important to secure that one aims for the highest score possible. The following is a guide that would help a student maximize their TOEFL® score.
As aforementioned, the TOEFL® is quite unlike other exams so a good start would be to ensure that you understand the test profoundly. If you are aiming for a slot in a specific university, look up their requirements to have a specific target in mind. Some require one to hit a certain overall mark while others require specific marks in particular sections for one to be accepted. That aside you must understand the structure of the test and how to prepare for each. There are numerous resources online to help one understand all they need to about the test, including blog articles on this very website.
When practicing for independent writing, come up with a list of familiar topics and write essays about them. Practice timing your activities so that you take thirty minutes to plan, write and revise each essay. Prewriting entails thinking about and listing all ideas related to a task before writing. Pick out one main idea and create a list of the major points you would use to support it. Then you are ready to develop an essay using appropriate explanations and details. Once you have the essay written, reread it to ensure all the points you have written are relevant to the main idea, developed in detail and grammatically correct.
Academic reading is aimed at three things: finding information, basic comprehension and learning. The only sure way to improve one’s reading skills is to read voraciously and regularly, more so university textbooks or other materials on a variety of subjects such as science, art and business that are written in an academic style. Today there is the advantage of the internet which is the richest source in which to fish for reading material.
Academic is done typically for one of three purposes i.e. basic comprehension, pragmatic understanding or connecting and synthesizing information. The best way to increase one’s vocabulary and build listening skills is to actually listen to the English language and read a variety of academic material in English. Listening is found to be most engaging when it is entertaining. Movies, live interviews and television shows are therefore perfect opportunities to hone listening skills especially because they also have visual cues and reinforcements. Just as useful are audiotapes and CDs of other material such as lectures and books.
The key to success in a test as daunting as TOEFL® is in detailed, intense and purposeful preparation. What one individual needs to get to their goals is different from what the next one might need. This is why the need to have one personalized study plan based on one’s needs and situation arises. Once you have a plan created, it is easier to follow through with it. The following five steps are to help you create your own personalized study plan.
1. Familiarizing with TOEFL® format
Lack of sufficient preparation is one of the main causes that people face exam stress. Detailed studying of the TOEFL® iBT exam format is a sure way to get prepared for the test. Our TOEFL® iBT course and simulated tests help master the structure of the test.
The first step to doing well in any paper is in proper preparation and TOEFL is no exception. It matters highly what sort of preparation you have had. Do you understand what format you will sit your test in i.e. whether it will be internet based or paper based? After you know that ensure that you are well versed with the academic English language. If it is possible every candidate should get a mentor to guide them through their revision and preparation. If not, there is www.bestmytest.com where you can easily get similar skills and practice for all sections of the test.
The writing section is where candidates’ ability to express themselves in writing in the English language in an academic context is tested. In every academic situation that calls for the use of English one must be able to put their ideas down in a clear, well organized manner. Writing is an important skill as one often needs to write a paper or essay response in an exam on what they have gained in class. They then need to combine knowledge gained from listening to lectures, engaging in discussions and reading textbooks and other materials. This is referred to as Integrated Writing for which a test taker must be able to:
Take notes on what they hear and read and use those notes to organize information before expressing it in writing.
Summarize, paraphrase and cite information accurately from source material.
Write linking the information you have read to that which you have heard.
The listening section of the iBT TOEFL® test aims to measure one’s ability to listen to, hear and understand spoken in English. For academic purposes one has to listen to lectures and conversations. The Academic listening will usually be done for either one of the following three purposes:
Listening for basic comprehension: comprehension of the main idea, key points and the most important details related to the main idea.
Listening for pragmatic understanding: here, one listens to be able to recognize a speaker’s attitude and level of certainty as well as appreciating a speaker’s purpose or function.
Connecting and synthesizing information: the test-taker has to recognize the information presented and understand the relationship between ideas such as comparing and contrasting, cause and effect or just the steps in a given process.
Under this category is making inferences and drawing conclusions on the basis of what is implied in the material one is listening to. Making connections among pieces of information presented, noticing changes in topics in a lecture or conversation as well as recognizing introductions and conclusions in a lecture also fall under this bracket.
One of the four parts of the TOEFL Test is the Reading section. This is the section that measures a candidate’s ability to understand written university level academic text and passages. Academic reading has three purposes:
The first one is reading to find information which includes effectively scanning text for key facts and important information.
Basic comprehension entails understanding the general topic or main idea, important facts or details, vocabulary in context and pronoun usage.
Finally, reading to learn is about recognizing the organisation and purpose of a passage, understanding how ideas relate, Organizing information into a category or chart or summary so as to recall major points and concluding how ideas connect throughout the passage.
TOEFL® is an abbreviation for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is a standardized test of proficiency in the English language for non-native speakers with an interest in studying in an English-speaking country. It is developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is one of the only two major English-language tests in the world over. On top of the test, the ETS TOEFL® Program avails tools and guides for preparing for the test and generally improving one’s skills in the English language.
The TOEFL® iBT test is a measure of a candidate’s ability to use and understand the English language at the University level. It evaluates how proficiently one is able to combine their listening, reading, speaking and writing skills for the best performance in academic tasks. Candidates are evaluated on all four levels.
The speaking section of the iBT TOEFL® test is a measure of how well you can express yourself in English effectively in an academic setting both inside and outside a classroom. There are two tasks under this section, all drawing on real-life situations that students encounter:
During a class, where students must be able to answer or ask questions, partake in academic discussions, give a summary of what they read and hear as well as express their views on the topics under discussion.
Outside the classroom. Students need to hold casual interactive conversations, express their views and generally communicate with people in such places as the bookstore, cafeteria or in the accommodation centers.
There are 8 types of questions in the Listening section. These types are divided into 3 categories as follows: Basic Comprehension Questions, Pragmatic Understanding Questions, and Connecting Information Questions. We will take a look at each of the three categories and the TOEFL listening question types associated with each.
There are two formats for the Listening section. On the short format, you will listen to two conversations, two lectures, and two discussions. On the long format, you will listen to three conversations, three lectures, and three discussions. After each listening passage, you will answer five or six questions about it. Only two conversations, two lectures, and two discussions will be graded. Because you will not know which conversations, lectures, and discussions will be graded, you must try to do you best on all of them.