I took TOEFL IBT on November 10th (yes, that 10-11-12, when a lot of people get married here) at UPI Bandung. It has a cozy place, and the test room has some grids separating the test takers which makes it easy to concentrate. There’s a coffee and TV room as well for you while waiting. The result came out about a week later on my IBT account, while the paper result will arrive at the university I chose (Aalto) in a month, on my home address also a month, hopefully.
I didn’t really expect a pretty good score on my test result, but actually I got 105 overall, with reading:28, listening:27, speaking:23, and writing:27. I knew my speaking score won’t be great as I didn’t really perform well, kind of mumbling on the first two tests of the speaking section, and failed to meet the time limit. I guess I need more practice on this.
So, if you’re preparing for a TOEFL I think I can share you some things that I did along the preparation.
I started to prepare about 3 weeks before the test. At first, I read & practiced from the Bar*on’s TOEFL IBT. But then while googling for ‘toefl ibt speaking preparation’ I got some good sites, particularly this one: http://www.notefull.com. On that web, you can get quite good explanations on all of the test sections, especially the speaking one. Another helpful site, especially for the writing section number 2 is http://www.english-itutor.com/TOEFL_writing_mentor.html , and this really help me to achieve a nice score.
So, the tips in details for each sections:
1. Reading: read some texts, on science, economy, etc online or from books. Then do some practices, timed. You can use the software from the bar*ons or others with harder levels. Review the results, if you found your answer wrong, understand the reason why so and make sure on the subsequent tests you do not make the same mistakes, as I think the questions are similar.
2. Listening: practice from any tests practices you can find and more importantly to take notes. It’s not easy the first times you listen while taking notes, but as you get better in taking notes (using keywords, faster) you will feel that taking notes won’t distract you from following the discussions/conversations. The listening section on notefull.com has a pretty good guide on taking notes.
3. Speaking: remember the ‘templates’ on notefull.com speaking section and just do a lot of practice, record your voice, timed, play it, see if you can speak clearly and completely in answering the questions
4. Writing: For number 1, which is an integrated writing, just follow it the explanation on notefull.com for writing section number 1, and watch your use of tenses. For number 2, follow the directions from http://www.english-itutor.com/TOEFL_writing_mentor.html for writing number 2. It really helps you to make a writing with 500 words(for nice score). Do some practice on your own, by answering the questions given on the site, but in a different position (disagree/agree) with the tutorial, also find some questions on the net for independent writing, and answer it according to the guide by Renshaw.
Well, that’s it, my tips for the TOEFL IBT. Hope you get a very high score on the test! Don’t leave your room while doing the test even an earthquake shakes the room, (literally) like mine 🙂