What You Can Learn From My TOEFL Experience
This is the TOEFL test day experience submitted by an TOEFL taker. You can read other TOEFL takers’ experience here.
I took the TOEFL test on March 4th and I am very happy with my score of 117 (Reading = 29, Listening = 29, Speaking = 29, Writing = 30).
I prepared for a month using the TOEFL Official Guide. The accompanying CD has questions that mimic the difficulty level of the actual test. From my perusal of mailing lists, I discovered that Speaking would be the toughest section for me. I allowed a loss of 7-10 points here. I also learnt that Harvard requires a score of 109 and above.
I practiced using the questions in the Official Guide and on the CD. If you are preparing for GMAT, you will find these questions easy.
Most learning resources advised taking notes while listening. However, I did not like this strategy so I didn’t follow it. I visualized the sentences instead and was able to answer the questions. This method may or may not work for you. Also, the questions in the Official Guide were helpful. I also listened to the CNN and used the wide variety of resources on PrepEZ.com.
I began practicing for this section a week in advance of the test. I speak English every day at office and at home. However, a monolog is tougher than a dialog because one person has to speak continuously within a fixed period of time. I took the help of practice videos on PrepEZ.com, which were very helpful.
If you want to score well in speaking, you should begin your preparation for the test with this section. A week’s practice using the tips on PrepEZ.com will help you discover where you are and how much work you need to do.
I did not write practice essays for this section; I simply read the grading criteria and sample answers from the Official Guide. For the first task, I did take notes while listening to the recording. Again, there are plenty of useful tips on PrepEZ.com.
TAKING THE TEST:
I was not stressed on the day of the test, unlike the GMAT. I did get confused over some questions in the Reading section. I found the Listening section easy, although I overlooked some details. I felt that I had not performed well in Speaking, but my results show that I was mistaken. I knew that I would score 30 points in Writing as soon as I had completed that section. I had expected to score a total of around 105-110.