Quick Tips to Increase Your Score Fast
by Joe Vatanasombut
The first practical step toward studying in the U.S. is to
study for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam.
A high TOEFL score is required
for admission into the top universities. Many students lived out
trying to get a satisfactory TOEFL score by taking
the exams over and over again. Yet, luck was not on their side.
Studying hard is not the only factor for success. Studying
smart also play an important role. Let's take a look at some
"shortcuts" that can help improve your score quickly. Please note that
reading these tips alone won't get you a high score. You have
to do the work on your side by studying hard as well. Remember,
success comes with sweat!
Try free tests
Of course, practicing taking the test is not a bad thing if you don't
have to pay for it. Well, you really don't have to pay for it
when you go to these web sites. They are TOEFL preparation
centers that put out sample TOEFL test questions and let
you practice online for free.
Okanagan University College
Because it requires you to install a Shockwave plug-in, the interface ("look and feel")
of the test looks really nice. The TOEFL prep. gives you about 760 free test questions
in three sections: Grammar, Reading, and Listening. The program also times
you while you take the test.
The nice thing about this site is that you can submit your
essay to an instructor, who will estimate your essay score
and give you some feedback. The essay that you submit belongs to
TestMagic, and they may publish it on their site. The downside of
this site is that its interface is quite simple
and the information could have been organized better.
This web site provide 3 services:
This site provides 20 free TOEFL questions with a Shockwave plug in.
The interface is less friendly but the download time is short.
Apart from free practice tests, here are some general and section-specific tips
that can help you get a higher score. If you find these tips
are useful, tell your friends about them as well!
- Listening and Reading Comprehension are relatively
harder to improve within a short period. If you want to
improve your score quickly, focus on the Grammar section.
- There is no penalty for wrong answers on the TOEFL. Even if
you are not sure what the correct answer is, try to select
the answer that you think is best, and fill in the corresponding
circle on your answer sheet. If you have no idea which answer
is correct, guess. Remember that responses (B) and (C) are
most often correct.
- Read all four choices before you make your final decision.
- Don't spend all your time on the harder questions. Do the easier ones
first until you complete the whole section, and get back to the unanswered
- Practice with as many previous real tests as possible to
learn the rules and the most frequently asked types of questions.
Tips for the Listening Comprehension section:
- When working with the listening comprehension tasks, you
should try to figure out what the next listening question
will be about. As soon as you answer one question, quickly
skim through the multiple choice answers for the next question. You
will have up to 4-5 seconds to skim the questions. Once
the tape starts the conversation again, stop looking at the
test and concentrate on listening.
- For long dialogues in the Listening Comprehension section, you will
need to use your knowledge of idioms, as well as your ability
to infer (figure out) meanings that are not directly stated.
For example, you may need to infer the relationship between
the two people by listening to their conversation.
- Concentrate on the numbers, places, and comparisons used in
- Don't get discouraged or nervous if you can't understand the first few
sentences. Sometime, by listening to the later parts, you can
guess what had been said earlier.
Tips for the Structure and Written Expression sections:
- In TOEFL exams, the same types of sentence structure are
tested over and over again. For example, Gerund, Participle,
and Infinitive, like "running is fun, the running dog won
the competition, to run everyday is my dream." Try to catch
the pattern of sentence structures from your practice tests. Once
you are familiar with these sentence structure errors, this
section should be easy for you.
- Though having a larger vocabulary will definitely add to
your score, you don't really need to understand every
word in the questions in the grammar section. Knowing the
pattern of errors will allow you to guess the right
answer without understanding the whole sentence.
Tips for Reading Comprehension
- To help you understand the passage better,
read the questions first, before you read the passage.
- If a question asks about the main idea, point, purpose,
or best title, you may want to answer this question last. Once
you read through the whole passage and answer other
questions, you will have a better idea what the point of the
- Usually, the order of questions in the
reading comprehension section follows the order
in which the information is presented in the passage.
Once you find the answers from the begining portion
of the passage, you probably won't need to waste your
time going back and looking for answers in the
same portion of the passage again.
Tips for the Written English section:
- Try to write at least a 200-300 word essay. (This is about the length
of a double-spaced typed or printed page.) An
essay of fewer than 100 words is not likely to
receive a high score.
- Organization of your writing is important. However,
an essay with many grammatical errors will not
receive a high score, even if it is well organized.
- State your position early in your essay. This is
important since, in some cultures, it is considered
inappropriate or impolite to state your position up-front.
However, you are expected to be up-front and direct in writing
English essays for the TOEFL.
- You might make more errors when you write longer sentences.
So, write your essay with shorter sentences and make
sure each sentence contains no mistakes.
- Try not to support more than two or three main points.
- The worst mistake that you can make is to discuss
something that doesn't relate to your topic.
- Try to support your point with your own ideas. Don't
support it with general knowledge or common sense argument, like
"I think every kid in my country should have access to
the Internet because kids in other countries have
access to the Internet".
I hope that we have provided you with enough tips on studying for the TOEFL.
Please come back and check this site regularly for upcoming tips.
If you have any tips, interesting stories, or anecdotes about the TOEFL
exam, please share them with other students by e-mailing me. See you next time.