At the end of the day, to succeed in TOEFL, you will have to improve your overall language skills; and this cannot happen overnight. The only way to do this is to practice regularly and systematically.
In this article, we will look at some ways to build your skills and confidence. The tips in this article are aimed at improving your general language abilities. Start implementing these tricks early on in your preparation to get the greatest benefits.
1. Technology Tricks
Your Smartphone can be your biggest asset in preparing for TOEFL. It is multi-functional and can be used anytime and anywhere. There are some useful apps that are available for free.
Apps such as TOEFL Flashcards are useful in developing common vocabulary as well as technical words. TOEFL Pictionary is a great app that helps you memorize new words by connecting them to a picture. These two apps will also help in improving your spelling skills.
You should also download a voice recorder app on your Smartphone to add to your speaking practice. Record your voice during your speaking exercises and then replay it to take note of mistakes in your speech. Pay attention to mistakes in sentence construction, pronunciation, speech clarity and speaking speed.
Video-sharing sites such as YouTube are the best place to get some listening practice by watching short clips and complete videos of American films and television shows. This is very useful for two reasons:
- Watching interviews, talk shows, lectures, etc. help develop your listening comprehension skills;
- It lets you get used to the style and pronunciation of American English.
YouTube channels such as Notefull also provide useful TOEFL preparation tips and tutorials.
2. Speak Up
One of the best ways to build confidence in your abilities is to improve your public speaking skills. If the reactions of other people make you uncomfortable at first, use the telephone—call a toll-free number and inquire about their products and services, then sustain the conversation for as long as you can, paying attention to your sentence construction, pronunciation and so on. With a little imagination, you will always find a way to practice.
3. Typing Troubles
If you are preparing for TOEFL, remember that you will have to type out your answers on a computer keyboard. Use your 90-day preparation period to get used to typing with speed and without mistakes.
4. Team Up!
One of the most effective ways to improve language skills is to work with a partner. Find someone who is also looking to improve their English. By doing exercises together, you can help point out each others’ mistakes. This is most useful when you are doing Speaking and Listening practice. It also makes study sessions more interesting—sometimes, sharing a joke is the best way to stay focused.
5. A Daily Exercise
Here is a small exercise that will help you develop your reading, speaking and writing skills all at the same time. Take any good English newspaper, pick out a news article of about 150 words and set a timer/alarm for 20 minutes. First read the article carefully, underlining the key details and unfamiliar words you come across.
Take 30 seconds to collect your thoughts and write out a few quick sentences to summarize what you learned from your reading. Now spend two minutes on thinking about the event, incident or person described in the article in your opinion.
Switch on your voice recorder and speak about it for 30 seconds. This whole exercise should not take more than seven to ten minutes. In the remaining time, you will analyze your responses. First make a list of the unfamiliar words you have underlined. Next, read your summary to see if you got the important information through “the WHs”—who, what, when, where, why and how.
Finally, listen to your voice recording and make a note of problems in structure, pronunciation and clarity. Over time, you should move on to more complex texts such as short editorials in international English magazines, or technical encyclopedia entries.
This is a short daily exercise that can be done at any time of the day, as long as you concentrate for the duration of the exercise. This small investment of 20 minutes every day will produce great results by the end of your preparation.
6. Be Inspired!
Finally, in the middle of all the hard work, take the time to remember that what you are setting out to do is both challenging as well as rewarding. Motivate yourself by learning about inspirational stories of great historical personalities who struggled through hardship to achieve success and recognition.
Think about the struggles of people like Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln or Charlie Chaplin, and never lose heart!
You may also read:
- Schedule Planning in TOEFL – A Brief Guide
- Tips for Success in your TOEFL Writing Exam
- Tips for Success in your TOEFL Speaking Exam
- Tips for Success in your TOEFL Listening Exam
- Tips for Success in your TOEFL Reading Exam
- Top 6 TOEFL Exam Preparation Tips: Key To Success
- Getting Started To Learn IELTS or TOEFL