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TOEFL – Preparing for the test

Please notice this was first posted in the period 2012-2014 and can be outdated

Now that the GMAT has been “cracked”, it is time to focus on the next test which is the TOEFL. This test mainly focuses on English language skills. This has also been tested already in the GMAT, but the TOEFL takes it a bit broader and expects you to listen, read, write, and speak English. Coming Saturday I will have my test slot, so that doesn’t leave much time to prepare.

This Saturday I will sit for my TOEFL test

As far as I could read online it is not really necessary to put a lot of time in the preparation for this test. Main reason is that my English skills should be up to par already. I have studied partly in English and during my former job we had a relatively international department where the language for meetings and documents was English. So I hope I will do fine this weekend after only one week of preparation.

My plan of approach is to stick to the official guide. This book has been created by the makers of the test and I mainly use it to get familiar with the test format. Before sitting for the test I just need to know what kind of questions will be asked, what will be the format of the test, and what do they expect from me. The official guide should be able to give me an idea of what to expect so I will not be surprised on test day.

My only source of preparation

What I like so far about the official guide is that it is rather easy to read. Large parts of the book are examples and more than half the book is reserved for two tests. Besides, they included a CD-rom in the book which also contains these same two tests. After reading the book I popped in the CD-rom and I think the format of the test program is equal to how the real test will be presented.

All parts of the TOEFL test can be practiced with the CD-rom, but only the reading and listening sections can be graded.

The test consists of 4 parts, which you can also see on the screenprint above:

Reading Section: Here your reading skills will be tested (duh!). You will get a text to read followed by several questions about the text. This is done in a similar format as on the GMAT, with two differences. First of all the questions are a lot easier than the GMAT texts, and second the types of questions are a bit different. In this test they also ask you to find synonyms for words, and you will be asked to add sentences to the right spot in a paragraph.

Listening section: In this part of the test you will see a boring picture of a situation and hear a long talk. While listening you will need to take notes and afterwards there will be some questions about the text. For some questions they play part of the talk again, for others not.

The boring picture which you will be looking at during the talk.

Speaking section: A situation will be explained, or a question will be asked, and you will have like 15-30 seconds to prepare an answer. Next you will hear a beep after which you get 30-60 seconds to give a response out loud. During the test this will be recorded, but with the test software this is not possible.

Writing section: This is the final part and comparable to the AWA-part of the GMAT. So far I think the plan of attack I used for the GMAT will do for this part also. As far as I am able to see, the grading will be more relaxed than for the GMAT.

So this Saturday I will write the test, wish me good luck!