Dear Forum Members,
I just have received my iBT TOEFL score. I gave exam on 10th July and results are out today. I received total 95 (R23/L24/S23/W25). I think it was satisfactory performance for me as I was only aiming for 80, which is required by the universities that I am applying for. I am writing this post, as I wanted to share my experience with the exam.
Time- about one month(4 weeks)
I used two books Baron and Princeton. I definitely reccommend using Princeton (cracking the TOEFL iBT with CD 2010 edition). This book is really very good and has captured all the necessary techniques to complete the exam with satisfactory scores. Especially, the reading passage techniques have really worked for me. The speaking/listening/writing formats were similar format that you can see in real exam. Also, final complementory test in the book may predict your approximate score that you may receive in actual exam.
Apart from using these books, I was reading BBC news website;especially science and technology articles are of similar difficulty level that you can see in reading paragraphs during actual exam. I also read articles from American Scientific Journal website, which I felt slightly higher level reading for me as it involves lot of technological jargon. I am not promoting any particular book but I would definitely want to express my views. But reading any good material (science/technology/news) for about 30-45 min everyday is very important to get into the speed. Now, this may be different for individuals depending upon their current level to understand english language literature and interest towards scietific materials.
Listening- I completed all lectures(51) and conversations (40) from this website. I found it very useful, especially lectures are of high-medium level difficulty, which can help us to better prepare for exam. Also listening to TV news channels or radio will be certainly useful.
Speaking- I took the membership of Jason Renshaw’s english tutor website. It is 15$ per month, but I found it very useful, since it got covered all different types of topics that you may encounter during exam. Again, I do not want to favour any particular website, because it might be expensive for many people. But, I definitely reccommed watching youtube speaking exercies and practising everyday for 20/30 min. On youtube website you can find Q1-6 tutorials and also couple of TOEFL speaking exams. I tried to answer the questions in a particular format described in Princeton book and from Jason’s website. Overall for speaking, I think youtube exercises may be adequate to earn satisfactory score.
Writing-I followed techniques from Princeton, but latter on I realized that there is no such specific format to write essays. Integrated writing task can be accomplished with standard book suggestions, but for essays, it is individuals’ capability to develop thoughts and write sentences by connecting them coherently and in a convincing manner is a key parameter. The guidenance from Kitosdad was very useful to prepare for essay writing. Most of the time, my rating was 8 from him. It is also dependent on what topic you may face during exam. It may be familiar or unfamiliar, but I suggest keep reading essays from this website and it should be sufficient to achieve a descent score.
I prepared for the exam almost everyday 30 minutes in the morning and 2 hrs in the evening as I have a full time job.
Most important, please try to take online ETS TOEFL iBT exam, this can be definitely useful to determine approximate score range that you may receive during exam. I remember one week before actual exam, I took TOEFL iBT from ETS website (product 15) and my scores were R23/L25/S18/W25 (total 91). I got similar scores on the actual exam. The ETS online practice exam does not rate your speaking and wiritng problems from graders but they use a proven software to inform us scores on these sections immediately. The cost per exam is $45, so it may be expensive for some people. But, there is a website toeflibtcourse.com, which has online exams for $5 and I think it is worth to take atleast one exam. You can also find lot of practice material on youtube especially listening/speaking/writing
Again this is my personal experience, which can be differrent for individuals depending upon their english language skill sets.
Also, as I received a satisfactory score, which is not high or low, therefore my experience may be taken as an average student’s performance.
After writing above paragraphs, I want to convey my thoughts about ETS,
- It is absolutely not fair to test students for 5 reading paragraphs or additional listening exercises. I received 5 reading paragraphs, which took 100 minutes (more than one and half hour) to complete the section and immediately listening section was started. I got severe headache after the reading section but I could not do much as I wanted to focus upon listening section. After these two sections, I got 10 minutes break. But I feel this is inhumanaterian policy as very few people have ability to focus upon reading for such a long period. If ETS wants to test research sections then they should arrange for volunteers to test their material. This type of policy may degrade individual’s performance. And if tested then there should be some reward for candidates, it can monitory or rate slightly higher test score.
- I did not understand the use of speaking section because in real world nobody speaks to a computer. People may chat but there will be definitely someone on the other side. I think IELTS format is better for speaking section. Again this is my personal opinion, as individuals may have different thoughts on this. Also, some of the questions on speaking section may ask you to tell your personal experiences. And in my opinion why we need to share our personal stuff with graders (some people may lie during the exam but few ones may definitely share their actual expereince). Until today, I could not understand the importance of speaking section on ETS TOEFL exam. Somebody has to protest against this.
Overall, all of these my personal experiences and thoughts/opinions, which can be different for other people.
TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a university student and an adviser in the university’s work-study program