Practice and more practice is the only way to get a great TOEFL score, say successful students. “I would suggest aspirants to read a lot in general and practice lots of spoken English,” says Dinakar Ayalasomayajula, winner of the scholarship in 2011. Another winner, Aliza Noor Khan, also hands out some useful tips to help you do your best. “It’s important to understand the demands from each section and the approach to the questions. I used internet resources to prepare. The way you write, structure your thoughts, and make an interesting argument, everything counts. More than being a test of language, TOEFL is a test of logic,” she says.
Aashish Vatsyayan, another winner, gives useful tips for the speaking and writing sections. “I studied for just a week. It’s important to be genuine and not have a pseudo accent. Patience and perseverance are necessary for the writing part,” he says. You can also listen to podcasts, recorded lectures, and read articles. Decide on the main idea and major points. Now, present what you learnt to a peer.
As far as speaking is concerned, more you speak the better it is. Find someone who is a good speaker to interact or go for an online video chat. Create your own vocabulary cards, put down new words or words which you find tough, and carry them all the time. Read a short article aloud and give its oral summary, expressing your opinion. Think if you agree or disagree with the content. If there is a problem discussed, suggest a solution. Practice pronunciation. Sum up and rephrase reading passages. Practice reading to improve your comprehension. Become familiar with reading and answering questions on computer as this is the format used for the TOEFL test.
To ace writing, watch your favourite television show and write how you felt about it. Also, make use available free resources. “ETS offers numerous free resources to assist you in studying for the TOEFL. TOEFL TV channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/TOEFLtv/featured) has videos sharing best practices and study tips regarding English language learning and the TOEFL test from English-language teachers, students who have taken the TOEFL test, as well as universities and colleges around the world,” says Thomas A Ewing, director of external relations, marketing and public affairs, ETS.
The website www.TOEFLGoAnywhere.org is dedicated to assisting students in mastering the test. Free sample test questions are available at http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/prepare/sample_questions. Access to the TOEFL journey is available at http://www.toeflgoanywhere.org/user/toefl-journey), an interactive programme that assists students as they begin to think about studying abroad.