Where to start: TOEFL study guide

Where to start: TOEFL study guide

As you may already know, TOEFL iBT test is divided into 4 parts: reading, listening, speaking and writing. If you are ready to ace the test, it’s time for you to start practice. Whether it’s your first time taking the TOEFL test or maybe you have already taken the test before, preparing for this exam is always a necessary step to take. However, preparing for an important test like TOEFL can be pretty stressful. Fortunately, there are many ways to learn how to get a higher score with notes from previous TOEFL iBT test-takers. 

TOEFL Reading Section Study Guide

Reading is the first section you will be facing in the TOEFL iBT test. You might think reading is the easiest part in any language exam. However, to get a high reading score in the TOEFL test, you will need to be extra careful when reading and answering the questions. Getting a high score requires strategic planning beforehand especially when there is a time limit on the test in each part. To get yourself started, there are four major tips you need to know.

  1. Vocabulary

When reading the passages in the reading section on the TOEFL test, the first thing you need to make sure is to understand the context. In order to understand, test takers need to have a massive word bank in their brain. What can we do to memorize all the words that might appear on the test? Of course, you’ll need to memorize new words everyday. Practice the new words the day after and keep going on the cycle. It sounds easy, but to keep this cycle as a habit is harder than you think. The easiest way to maintain the cycle is by making flash cards. Making flash card might seems like an old-fashion way to study new words. However, by writing words down with your bare hands, you created yourself a chance to run the word through your mind. Also, flash cards are more portable. You can read and test yourself anywhere and whenever you want.

Additionally, according to the scientist, human brain can only memorize 50 new vocabularies on average each day. Moreover, it is the most efficient way when studying for an exam or learning a new language. Therefore, prepare yourself 50 flash cards a day is the best way to memorize vocabularies. The process might take up some time but I guarantee you’ll save more time by making flash cards than having to look up the word over and over again on a dictionary. 

  • Grammar

Grammar is the hardest thing to learn about in a new language. The only way to improve your grammar skill is to keep practicing by reading. However, reading itself is not enough to prove that you’re improving. That is why you need to do hundreds and thousands of reading passages and reading comprehension questions. By answering these questions, you’ll know if you truly understands the context or not. Even better, you’ll find out which part of grammar you’re misunderstanding. Therefore, you can learn the exact grammar you need to learn. 

Doing mock tests on daily basis is a necessary step to take when preparing for the TOEFL iBT. On the leisure time, it is also a good idea to keep yourself in the English-speaking environment. Watch short videos or watch a TV show in English can really step you up the game. You can find some educational videos or if you are looking for something more entertaining, Netflix.com is a great website to visit. 

  • Reading Speed

In TOEFL iBT test, every section has its time limit and there will be a time count down sign on the screen where you can check if you’re on track or not immediately. However, the time they provide is sometimes not enough for test-takers to answer all the questions. Therefore, reading speed plays an important role in this test. To become a faster reader, you should be accurate, careful and concentrate. 

Accuracy is the key to get a high score on the test, you need to catch the most meaningful phrase in each sentence when you scan through the reading passage. You also need to be extremely careful because TOEFL reading questions can be pretty tricky. It is highly possible to fall into the trap they set up in the test especially when there is a time limit and when people are under a lot of pressure. That is why you need to concentrate on the test itself. It is hard to ignore the timer. However, if you practiced enough before the test, you’ll find your own pace and eventually you will know how much time you will take to read and answer. 

  • Ability to Summarize

In most of the TOEFL iBT reading test, you’ll face the question that asks which of the following multiple choice answer best summarizes the whole reading passage. For this type of question. It is always better if you summarize the passage by yourself first before you read the multiple choice selections because most of the choices will look similar and it can be really misleading if you haven’t summarize the passage yourself first. The choices will even make you confuse and question yourself. In this case, the best way to avoid this situation will be summarize the content by yourself to clear your mind.

How to summarize the passage in a short time then? In most of the reading passages on the TOEFL iBT test, there will be a thesis statement in the first few paragraphs. You need to find the thesis statement and quickly scan through each following body paragraphs again to find the main ideas. Combine them altogether and you’ll create your very own summary of the reading.

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