How to Pass the TOEFL Test: Speaking like a Jedi

Long ago in a galaxy far far away, lived a young Brazilian boy named Lucas. Lucas always wanted to explore the world but was never able to because he didn’t have the right qualifications.

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One day Lucas met a TOEFL Jedi master who went by the name of OB1. He told Lucas that if he was looking for an opportunity to explore the world, a proficiency test, like TOELF would be a good idea.

WHAT IS THE TOEFL TEST

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is essential for anyone who is looking to study abroad in an English speaking university or college. The test is sometimes required for working in English speaking companies and for acceptance in scholarship programs. It is made up of 4 sections; reading, writing, listening and speaking. Although most of the questions are generally related to academic topics, prior knowledge to those topics can help but are not necessary. The purpose of TOEFL is to test you understanding of the language, and to see if you can handle a university environment. To learn more click here

The first step that any TOEFL Jedi must take, is to prepare themselves for the speaking section of the test. To do this we must use a Jedi mind trick and familiarize ourselves with the questions to know exactly what to expect from the test and what the test wants us to say.

In this article I’m going to guide you through everything you need to know about the speaking section of the IBT (Internet based test)TOELF test.

QUESTION 1 AND 2

These first two questions are independent questions so you will be required to express your personal opinion about a topic you are given. Like any Jedi you’ll need some kind of weapon. Because light sabers aren’t allowed in the test, you’ll have to do the best you can with a pen and pad. Taking notes is essential in all parts of the speaking section.

Generally in question 1, you will be asked to talk about a personal experience. This could be about a situation, person, possession etc. And in question 2, you’ll have to talk about a personal preference. Again, this could be about a situation, activity etc.

Some typical questions you may get on the test would be:

1. Who is your best friend? Describe this person and say why he/she is your best friend.

2. What is your favorite place to visit on weekends? Describe it and explain why it is your favorite place to go.

3. What is your happiest childhood memory? Describe it and give reasons to explain why it is your happiest memory.

Main focus- Coherently describe your experience/ preference, use reason.

You’ll have 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to give a response

To prepare yourself for these questions, make sure you are familiar with vocabulary for expressing ideas and be ready to support your ideas with some examples and reasons.
Study some of this vocabulary here.

QUESTION 3 AND 4

Questions 3 and 4 are integrated questions. In this section you will read a short passage, usually about a campus situation or a general concept, then you’ll listen to a student talking about that situation. The question is focused on how you relate what the speaker said to the written passage.

Question 3 always involves some kind of campus situation in the written section, then, you’ll listen to a student giving his opinion. Your goal here is to summarize what the speaker said in relation to the written passage.

Main Focus- Summarize the situation, give reasons, connect passage  with listening

Question 4 is about a general concept. You’ll hear a speaker and read a passage about this topic and connect them by showing how they contradict with each other. There is no need to talk about how to resolve this problem in this question.

Main Focus- Explain how example supports or contrasts a concept, connecting passage with listening

In both these questions you’ll have 45 seconds to read the passage then you will listen to the audio. After this, you’ll have 30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to speak.

Click on these links for vocabulary to express AGREEING / DISAGREEING and SUMMARIZING

QUESTION 5

In question 5 you will be asked to listen to a conversation, commonly amongst students and teachers/professors, and be able to explain the problem as well as a suitable solution.

In most cases question 5 will be a student talking about a problem they have with their class schedule or a logistical problem they may have on the campus. Listen closely because you’ll hear some possible suggestions to solve the problem.

Remember that in this question you have to give a recommended solution to the problem. If you can’t recollect exactly what was said in the audio, think of an alternative solution yourself.

Main Focus- Describe problem, express opinion about solution suggested or give alternative solution.

You will be given 20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to speak.

The best way to practice question 5 and 6 is with a practice test. I will put several links below.

QUESTION 6

Now this is the big one, question 6! If you wanted to use all your Jedi power in one question, this one is it.

Here you will listen to an academic lecture and be able understand enough to give a clear summary. Remember to take notes as you go along because it’s important to use some of the technical language in your response.

Main Focus- Summarize main points, Understand as much as possible.

You will be given 20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to speak.

Online Practice tests:
TOEFL Cafe
Test Den

CALL TO ACTION

Whether you’re thinking about taking the TOEFL test or not, using some of the preparation material can be a really good way to improve your English and have a good idea of how good your English actually is.

Doing online practice tests are a really good way to prepare for the test. To have a more practical approach to your test preparation, try some of these tests and see how far away you are from being a TOEFL Jedi.

More to come soon on this topic. If you found this article helpful, we greatly appreciate your feedback, participation, likes, sharing and telling your friends about us. If you haven’t already, join the free and open Real Life English Facebook Community. And of course, we hope to see you at our next Real Life English Event!

Also take a look at some other RLE articles to help you with vocabulary, grammar, and other English learning topics.

 

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