Before you enter into the world of grueling exams, there is one that you must pass to unlock the gate of education in the U.S. International students who do not have English as their first language and would like to be accepted to a U.S. college or university must take the TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language exam. This demanding four and a half hour exam will determine your English proficiency and is highly important when seeking admission to a U.S. college or university. Although the test can seem intimidating, there are always steps you can take to make the test less of a struggle. Below are 6 tips from U.S. News Education that you can implement to help raise your TOEFL scores and get into the school of your dreams.
- Have Fun With It! The first tip? Make it fun! Ana Barbu from Romania told U.S. News that tuning into Cartoon Network helped her just as much as, if not more than, the class sessions and preparatory books. Subtitles can help you learn English idioms and get a better understanding of how native English speakers talk in normal, everyday conversations. Because she made studying fun through cartoons and movies, Barbu has earned her master’s degree in journalism at Syracuse University. Who knew that Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls could get you so far!
- Talk it out! Though it can be daunting to begin speaking a language that is not your native one, languages are best learned when spoken. Speak English every day, even if it’s just to your dog. If you know anyone who speaks English as a first language, practicing speaking with them can help you learn English conversation and become more comfortable talking with English speakers.
- Study the Exam! The more you know about the format of the test, the less nervous you will be on test day. You’ll know what to expect. There are many free online practice tests that you can take to help you become more familiar with the layout and the types of questions that will be expected of you. Reading up on the test on the ETS website will help you prepare for the time constraints, what you will need to have with you, and any rules you need to follow.
- No Cramming! Language is a difficult skill, and is usually not mastered in a single day. You will need to know how to speak, write, read and listen to English, so prepare well in advance to ensure these skills are nurtured.
- Sleep the night before! The exam is long and exhausting. You will want to make sure you’re well rested before going into the exam. You will think much better and will be less anxious if you sleep well. Avoid staying up late and not being able to take the exam, which may result in a retake and more money spent on the test. This will be good practice for when you’re a college student in the U.S.!
- It’s Okay! Understand that things happen, and not everything will go as planned. Don’t let these inconveniences bring you down. You’re on an exciting journey to higher education. Embrace these moments.
Remember to check your college or university to see what scores they will be looking for. You can always retake the exam if your scores are not as good as you would have hoped, but hopefully by applying these tips, you won’t have to. There are so many amazing adventures awaiting you, and learning English will serve you past your U.S. education. Wishing you luck on your TOEFL exam!