4 Reasons why succeeding TOEFL is all about practice

   No matter how good you are in English, succeeding in the TOEFL exam requires more than basic English skills. It requires specific skills and reflections in order to handle the different question types of TOEFL. In this post I'm wrapping up 4 main skills you should build while preparing for your TOEFL exam. These skills are essential :

1) Calibrating your time awareness

     Also can be referred to as time management.While passing the TOEFL exam you should be the Master of time. You should be playing with time as drummers play with their drums. In other words you should build a mechanism in your brain that automatically manages time according to the exam real-time circumstances.

How can you do that ? Practice !

   In the reading section you should know how much time you should spend reading, understanding then answering the question. What if you passed a question and will return to it later, what if you spend much time than you should on a certain question. You should practice to handle such situations, they will surely occur!
In the listening and the speaking sections taking notes is King. The next point talks about why you should practice taking notes.

2 ) Taking notes

   Taking notes is an art. But you only have a month or less to master it. At first you will write notes that you're not going to be able to decode right after. Don't get frustrated. Practice and you'll nail it!

   Here is the trick: you should think keyword-wise, and don't look outside for keywords, use intuition, since you are writing notes for yourself and no one is going to read them but you. When you hear a key idea in a conversation or a lecture in the speaking or the listening section see what word or short sentence pops-up in you mind and write it down, that is your own keyword. Believe me it works! That way you will have the whole conversation or lecture summed up in lines of keywords.

   One last note : don't try to write keywords in your native language. You'll get lost in translation and you'll waste time doing it. Stick to English and if you feel like you are falling into a shortage of vocabulary and keywords than you should rethink of building up your basic English in the first place.

3 ) Building up speaking confidence

   Speaking English fluently can be difficult. Speaking in public can also be difficult. Speaking English fluently in public in a noisy environment is definitely difficult. However to get high score in the speaking section you should be able to speak up confidently in a crowded environment.

   Confidence only comes with practice, confidence is sweet, it makes you want to practice more.
To be confident you should train your mouth, your body posture and your brain. Many people lose their confidence when they make a mistake out loud, it is totally normal, everybody make mistakes the most important thing is that you don't let it affect your confidence, ignore it and keep talking. And believe it or not it is only with intensive practice sessions that you are going to be able to simply ignore your mistakes.
So remember the more you practice speaking the more confident you get about speaking in public.

4 ) Creating a mental database of link-words and expressions :

   Repeating words and sentences is essential for learning a language. Practice makes you brain repeat words with engagement for memorization. The idea is that the process of speaking uses both a conscious and an unconscious mechanism in your brain.
   What we want to create is a database of words, link-words and sentences to feed the unconscious mechanism during the speaking process. That is because the conscious part of your brain is going to be busy doing other things like time management and ignoring distractions. This can be achieved by, again, practice speaking!
This point is well elaborated in my previous post about practicing speaking by listening to others speak.


Succeeding the TOEFL exam is a an important thing, it requires training and engagement and no matter how skilled you are in English, practice is your only gate to success.

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June 8, 2014 at 5:14 AM  

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Paul Herman said... said:

October 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM  

It seems like succeeding at any language test is all about practice, especially when it comes to the TOEFL. My Chinese friends are studying really hard to pass the TOEFL so that they could get into the university that I go to. They're really smart, so I'm sure that they'll get a high score, as long as they keep practicing.

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