Besides evaluating your level and identifying your learning needs, reading and taking notes, there are three additional aspects to consider to study effectively.
- Avoid distractions that can waylay your progress to your target TOEFL goal. Avoid day dreaming by focusing in on the task at hand. Put all your brain juice into whatever skill you want to perfect in that activity. Concentrate on what you are studying.
- Take a few minutes break after 25 minutes, or have a 10-minute break each hour to give your brain a rest from your study task. Research, such as the Pomodoro technique (http://pomodorotechnique.com/,) shows this will help you concentrate. The best way to take a break is to stand up, stretch, move around and face away from your desk, computer, books. Avoid staying at your desk looking at your book or surfing the web on your computer or phone. The physical movement of standing up and moving around will help stimulate better thinking as the blood circulates throughout your body.
- Understand what you are learning
- Understanding the directions to activities, paying attention to stay on target with the task, asking yourself what the main purpose of your task is, taking notes of key ideas, jotting down new vocabulary, and being proactive to ask questions to your instructor for feedback when you do not comprehend something. Take an active role in learning to improve your understanding and be better at recalling information.
- Take notes on the passage or lecture writing in short noun/verbs, abbreviations or symbols. Spelling is unimportant, but content is key.
- Summarize a reading passage or listening/lecture in your own words. When you summarize, it should be short and to the point, addressing all the key points.
- It is normal to not recall everything in the English language; however, if you want to have a better grasp of English, keep reviewing constantly so that your memory retains more information over the long term and you can progress to an advanced level.
- Revise information soon after (the next day) you learned it. Aim for reviewing once a study session or every two or three study sessions. Go over older materials that you need to recall; it will refresh your memory.
- Reviewing and revising daily or every other day will save you having to re-study a topic all over again. Be sure your calendar schedule has “review or revision time” blocked into your study timetable. Refer to your summaries or note-taking or notebooks to help you review.