6 Tips to Beat the TOEFL Exam

ThinkstockPhotos-455627033Before 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. Continue reading “6 Tips to Beat the TOEFL Exam”


English Made Simple

There’s a general consensus about the English language: “It’s easy.”

That’s what most of my friends abroad would say. You know, the ones who have English amongst their list of 4-5 languages, while I play a game of charades and repeat “qui, qui!” for no reason to the French lady at the baguette shop — hoping she’d figure out I want the one to the left, not right.

While English is known as a relatively simple language to learn, it shouldn’t be confused for as plain. In fact, it’s a beautifully precise language. There exist thousands of words that are each fit to come as close to expressing a feeling through language as possible.

And guess who also knows this? The makers of the TOEFL. When creating an exam that tests the proficiency of someone’s English skills, vocabulary is crucial. In an academic setting, choosing the right word to express your opinion in a class discussion or coming up with an argument on a research paper all require an understanding of word meaning and connotation. Because universities count on TOEFL exam scores to validate your English skills, the creators of the exam make sure they test you extensively on this.

A friend once told me that learning a language isn’t just about perfecting your accent or ordering breakfast without hand gestures (unless you’re learning Italian, and well, that’s just as important). But this friend said that the day you really know a language is the day you understand its jokes – because that’s where the heart and soul of a language and cultures lies.

Now, while the TOEFL won’t ask you any knock-knock jokes (who’s there?), you should become familiar with common idioms and saying that make everyday life in an English environment all the more easier (and clearer)

Check out Valen, over at EngvID, as she covers 7 commons idioms you’ll hear often in the States.

And make sure to go over the Vocabulary section description of the TOEFL over at The 5 W’s of the TOEFL to know what you’re in for!


Learning English Vocabulary

There’s a general consensus about the English language: “It’s easy.”

That’s what most of my friends abroad would say. You know, the ones who have English amongst their list of 4-5 languages, while I play a game of charades and repeat “qui, qui!” for no reason to the French lady at the baguette shop — hoping she’d figure out I want the one to the left, not right.

While English is known as a relatively simple language to learn, it shouldn’t be confused for as plain. In fact, it’s a beautifully precise language. There exist thousands of words that are each fit to come as close to expressing a feeling through language as possible.

And guess who also knows this? The makers of the TOEFL. When creating an exam that tests the proficiency of someone’s English skills, vocabulary is crucial. In an academic setting, choosing the right word to express your opinion in a class discussion or coming up with an argument on a research paper all require an understanding of word meaning and connotation. Because universities count on TOEFL exam scores to validate your English skills, the creators of the exam make sure they test you extensively on this.

A friend once told me that learning a language isn’t just about perfecting your accent or ordering breakfast without hand gestures (unless you’re learning Italian, and well, that’s just as important). But this friend said that the day you really know a language is the day you understand its jokes – because that’s

where the heart and soul of a language and cultures lies.

Now, while the TOEFL won’t ask you any knock-knock jokes (who’s there?), you should become familiar with common idioms and saying that make everyday life in an English environment all the more easier (and clearer).

Check out Valen, over at EngvID, as she covers 7 commons idioms you’ll hear often in the States.

And make sure to go over the Vocabulary section description of the TOEFL exam over at The 5 W’s of the TOEFL to know what you’re in for!

 


International Students Take the TOEFL Exam

The TOEFL exam is advertised as a test that  “Gives You an Advantage: Most Widely Accepted, Most Popular and Most Convenient Choice”. So what happens when a long history of politics gets in the way of your college application?

For a period of two weeks last July, that’s what Iranian students had to deal with. Due to some U.S. sanctions that didn’t allow Education Testing Services (ETS), the company that administers the TOEFL, to process payments from Iran, the test was suspended in the country.

As you can probably imagine, this created a bit of a stir for a young generation of Iranians who were eager to study abroad in U.S. and European colleges. Without the TOEFL, that is required in most of these colleges, Iranians saw their futures put at an incredible risk.

This got me thinking. Why hadn’t I heard about this when it was going on?  Then I remembered I myself was in Italy, studying Italian at a school I had easily registered into, because I just felt like it. But what if Italy and the U.S. had a feud and I wasn’t allowed to have gone? Imagining my life without those experiences abroad is well, unimaginable.  And that’s exactly why young Iranians stood up and protested. Because the TOEFL exam represents something bigger than an exam score: it represents a new life filled with opportunities and adventures.

Thankfully though, things got resolved more or less, and Iranians were once again granted the opportunity to register for the TOEFL.

If we can learn anything from this linguistic fiasco (other than politics are stupid), it’s that we shouldn’t take the opportunities we have in front of us for granted. If you’ve been considering/debating/putting off taking the TOEFL, what exactly is stopping you? Just imagine if you couldn’t register for it tomorrow. If you need any more convincing, check out The 5 W’s of the TOEFL to have all your questions answered.