New TOEFL Changes

Have you heard that the TOEFL test structure is about to change in less than a month? You may be asking yourself “Is the academic content changing? Is the organization of the sections changing? Are the questions changing? Is the timing going to change? When is this happening?” To be specific, only the structure of the test will change—how many questions in each section and the timing. Changes will be on August 1st 2019.

Don’t worry. These test structure changes will be for the better. The test will be shorter with more detailed score reporting, to your benefit, and ETS has published answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs about the shorter TOEFL.)

If you plan to take the exam after August 1, 2019, you will see noticeable changes in the reading, listening and speaking sections that were announced on the Educational Testing Service (ETS) site.

If you have been taking the test since last year, you also may have noticed that the test has had content changes over the course of the past year (though subtle content changes have not been announced by ETS.) So, your best advantage is to know TOEFL changes in advance, so that when you take the exam you won’t be in shock on test day, and you’ll be able to perform at your best to see the results you desire.

Here is a summary of the TOEFL exam upcoming changes on the 1st of August, so take notes.

Time

3 hours with break and administration (no longer 3.5 hours)

Reading Section

Questions

Each passage only has 10 questions (no longer 12-14.) The same questions types will exist, and the number of and style of passages will be the same, with no question types taken out.

Time

52-74 minutes (no longer 60-80 minutes)

 

Speaking Section

Questions

Four questions (no longer 6.) One independent question and three integrated questions will be the same as before.

Question 1 (express a personal preference) and Question 5 (problem/solution; campus situation) will be removed, so you will no longer see those on the test.

Time

17 minutes (no longer 20 minutes)

 

Listening Section

Lectures

Only 3-4 lectures (no longer 4-6) — Number of conversations – no change

Questions – no change

Number of questions won’t change, and the question types will not change either

Time

41-57 minutes (no longer 60-90 minutes)

 

Writing Section – no change (according to ETS)

Though recent trends on the independent task have been noticeable: longer multiple choice questions, the new plagiarism warning, the note about selecting more than one option in multiple choice questions.

Scoring – no change

Still, the score will be out of 120 points, with each section having equal weight of 30.

MyBest Scores change

In August 2019, another good change is happening!

ETS will introduce a big change on your TOEFL report called MyBest Scores report, which will list your best score in each section, so you can take advantage of this feature by taking the test after August 1, 2109.

These structure changes are positive ones since the overall test time will be less. Consider that you’ll be less tired when it comes time to speak in the speaking section or write in the writing section! Take into account that the level of difficulty will be about the same as it has been this year since the content will not change, and it still evaluates your English language development. Keep studying from the same material content as ETS will not publish new materials until later on. While practicing familiar content, continue to hone your skills and test preparation strategies with your eyes on achieving a successful score. To score your desired results, you’ll need to be in sync with the test structure changes to master time management and pace yourself in practice and on test day.

If you have taken the simulation of the new version of the test, feel free to comment giving details on results. If you liked this post, follow to read about MyBest Scores report in an upcoming post.

TOEFL Skills Useful for Life

Have you ever wondered if the skills you are studying for TOEFL are skills you will use after the exam? Would you have need of those skills after the test preparation period? The English skills that TOEFL tests–reading, listening, speaking, and writing—are all needed for both college life in study abroad and for a post-university career. However, the TOEFL exam does not only test your English language skills. Academic skills and test skills are assessed as well. And, those skills also apply to real life.

Assessed Language Skills

The TOEFL exam is formatted is to test various language skills in order to see if you are prepared to encounter all types of campus situations. Reading on TOEFL checks your ability to read nonfiction educational passages at the level of a first-year university student. Listening assesses your ability to hear academic college lectures accurately. In addition, you’ll be tested on how well you listen to and understand campus conversations. The speaking and writing sections have integrated tasks to assess your reading and listening in lectures and/or conversations. Other tasks on these sections test your ability to present a brief speech and to write a short academic essay.

 

Furthermore, reading skills are tested not only in the reading section, but also throughout the other sections. Listening skills required of campus conversations and academic lectures are tested in the listening section, and listening is also incorporated in both the integrated speaking and integrated writing sections. In addition, the integrated tasks in the speaking and writing sections test your receptive skills of reading and listening. And, you’ll summarize academic readings, lectures, and campus conversation. Your summaries will be spoken in the speaking section and will be written in the writing section. To produce language, you’ll use active skills of speaking and writing. In both the speaking and writing sections, your productive skills will be tested. In the independent speaking tasks and writing task, you’ll express yourself through speaking and writing, which you’ll need to do in college.

English Skills for Real Life On Campus and Beyond

When you go abroad to study at a university, getting benefit from the international experience, you’ll use multiple language skills. Not only will you be reading textbooks, you’ll also be on campus looking over bulletins, newsletters, and potentially research announcements. Sitting in class and listening to professors won’t be the only lectures you hear. You’ll tune into conversations all over campus. For instance, to converse with other students in class and on campus, talk to staff at college, and interact with faculty, you’ll enhance speaking communication. Living in a real-life campus environment, you’ll talk and write about all the various topics you read and hear about at the university. To speak effectively in study situations, you’ll need to perfect your techniques, such as giving class speeches or responding in a debate or on a panel. Moreover, your writing skills will be used in writing essays, research proposals or thesis, by emailing letters to classmates, staff, and professors, or by simply sending messages.

At graduation time, when you get a job in an English-speaking environment, all these English language skills from TOEFL preparation will come in handy. Imagine your post-university career, if you need to present to a supervisor or to negotiate as part of a team, you’ll integrate your communication skills. Talking to colleagues or co-workers is similar to having a conversation at the university. If you need to give a presentation at work, it could be similar to a speaking response in TOEFL or a speech from college. At work, you’ll surely need to write reports, emails, project proposals and memorandums, all of which involve TOEFL writing skills.

Academic Skill

In addition to English skills, TOEFL tests academic skills. It’s true some of the above language skills qualify as academic ones too. For example, both a language part and an academic part exist in these tasks: reading passages, listening to lectures, listening and speaking, reading, listening and speaking, and reading, listening and summarizing, and writing essays.

Also, TOEFL evaluates academic skill not related to language. One type is note-taking. On the exam, you’ll have to take notes on lectures and conversations. You’ll be given a note paper to hand write your notes on. The key is to write down notes that are valuable for you to use. Developing effective note-taking skills with speed and accuracy are key to succeeding on three parts: the listening, integrated speaking tasks, and integrated writing task.

During life at school, note-taking is an essential skill in and out of the classroom. So many ways of listening come up–podcasts, audios, videos, webinars, classes, lectures, presentations, conferences, workshops, panels—that you’ll need to take notes on the flood of information.

Post-college, note-taking skills are essential in the workplace. For instance, when in attendance at meetings or conferences, your ability to take notes is valuable. Transforming those notes into reports, proposals, research, projects, or summaries will most likely be an everyday professional occurrence.

Another academic skill evaluated on TOEFL is time management. How do you use your time on various tasks or on each section? Do you allot adequate time for reading? Do you use time well? Do you work well under pressure? How do you perform in a time crunch? Do you adjust your time frame to respond to all the questions? You’ll need to learn how to pace yourself during the exam. So, carefully knowing how to budget your time for tasks such as reading passages, responding to questions, and writing is crucial. A poorly timed situation may result in a lower reading score: if you waste too much time on the first reading passage and questions, you may run out of time on the final reading passage without having sufficient time to answer the questions properly.

In comparison, time management skills at college perfect your ability to get things done. As many activities are happening at the same times and dates, you’ll hone in on how to juggle slots of time to manage productivity in an academic setting, in campus activities or in extracurricular events. With these skills, you can organize time to relax too: to exercise before class or to watch sports after class.

In real life, personal or professional, having the skills to arrange time comes into play. Daily work hours need to be scheduled in, time for chores in your home life need to be planned, or hours to entertain with friends need to be arranged. These days, with the fast-pace of life, time management skills are a must, and you’ll have an edge as you’ll have mastered the art of time during your preparation for TOEFL.

Content development is an additional skill evaluated on the TOEFL exam. In both the speaking and writing sections, you’ll need to plan what content is included and develop ideas. You’ll need to use this skill in many subjects when you attend college. And, you’ll be building content development in your own language too, often for projects in the professional arena.

Organization is a further skill assessed on TOEFL. Again, on the speaking and writing sections, you’ll have to put your ideas in order (such as sequential or logical order) for brief speeches and short essays. If you’ve organized with a clear plan in mind, you can gain a top score. Moreover, organizational skills you learned for the test will enhance your student life at university. Your skills will be employed sorting important papers, not misplacing documents, and effectively using a daily planner. When you finish at school, your organization skills will be put to the test in real life and in the workplace where you’ll have to use checklists, prioritize, and schedule meetings. 

Test Skills

Aside from academic skills, TOEFL assesses test skills. Since it’s a standardized test, it evaluates your testing ability like strategy on how to answer questions and how to approach different tasks. To gain a top score, you’ll need to know the different types of questions in the reading and listening sections. In particular, knowing which multiple-choice questions will come up will give you a better chance of success. TOEFL tends to typically insert some wrong answers to trap you into responding incorrectly. So, you’ll need to become familiar with what the correct kind of responses look like in order to identify the right answers faster. For other strategy, it will help you to understand each type of task on the speaking and writing sections and how to approach each response for the highest rating. If you master the test format in advance of exam day, you’ll put yourself in a better place for scoring highest.

Test skills will also be useful once you are on campus living student life as standardized tests are part of the modern world. For instance, you may plan to apply to grad school. If you are going to attend school for a graduate degree or an MBA, you’ll take standardized tests like GMAT, GRE, job-training tests, work-licensing tests, or tests for certifications to advance your professional career. The multiple-choice sets and design of tasks in each section can be compared to other standardized tests, so building these skills will cross over to life situations. Even more so at university where you’ll need to make use of your strategy skills to approach different subjects on tests during your time in class.

Once you graduate, you’ll again make use of your mastery of test skills in your career. At work, you will need to put into practice different approaches to find an answer or think outside the box to problem-solve. Having learned from past mistakes, you’ll know which direction not to proceed in future endeavors.

Relevance to Real Life

The test-makers have created basic questions and tasks that simulate real life language situations because you’ll encounter those tasks after the test. Though you may not think so now during your extended study hours, rest assured the skills you are honing for TOEFL now–English language, academic, and test skills—are relevant to daily life beyond the exam. Those skills will be able to be put to use in your life after TOEFL, both at university and at work.

24 IDIOMS FOR HIGH TOEFL RESULTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Idioms to Focus on

Are you at your wits’ end feeling desperate over which idioms to study for TOEFL?

Learning specific idioms with “take” improves performance on TOEFL and IELTS since these standardized tests are formatted with certain common English expressions.

The challenge for the test-taker comes in understanding the meaning of an idiom in the context of a passage or lecture. Some expressions seem to mean something different than what you might think.

Beat the Test

Improve your skill set of common take idioms. Knowing these expressions helps you understand TOEFL written passages and audio clips where your comprehension skills are tested. You’ll raise your competency by comprehending more details, which in turn, sets you up as a better test performer.

Examples in Context

Get to know these “take” idioms by familiarizing yourself with the examples in context. Dedicate study time to practicing them since they appear on TOEFL again and again. You’ll be at an advantage to get higher scores.

Take on I’ll take it on if no one else can complete the task.
Take notice The boss began to take notice of the worker’s productivity.
Take great pains to do something The parents went through great pains to ensure their daughter had enough money for university.
Take one at one’s word The cashier took the customer at his word when he described why he returned the product.
Take one by surprise The rebels took the army by surprise.
Take one’s time Let’s take our time to get the project done right.
Take one’s turn Wait until everyone has taken their turn.
Take someone at one’s word She invited me to come stay at her place in Rome, so I took her at her word.
Take one’s word for it I took his word for it when he said he had had an accident.
Take someone or something for granted It’s easy to take parents for granted until they’re gone. / I took my health for granted until the day I got sick.
Take someone or something at face value I take everything she says at face value. / The committee took the report at face value and approved the changes.
Take someone or something into account They’ll take his years of service into account when he’s evaluated for a raise. / She’ll try to take into account all the important things.
Take someone or something seriously If you don’t take the work seriously, you’ll be fired.
Take something into consideration They will take your experience into consideration when they decide who gets the job.
Take something lightly I’ve learned to take my work lightly as there are more important things to worry about.
Take something with a grain of salt His advice should be taken with a grain of salt since he doesn’t have much experience in the matter.
Take a beating In 2008, the stock market took a beating.
Take a dive The market took a dive after England’s exit from the EU.
Take it easy Take it easy after a long day of work.
Take it easy on Take it easy on him for missing work as his mother just died.
Take one’s chances Take your chances on oil and gold in the market.
Take the floor He took the floor speaking about pollution.
Take the helm She took the helm as CEO of the company.
Take the initiative The broker took the initiative to buy the stocks early when the market opened.

Step Up Fluency

You can even get practice using these expressions in business communication.

Now that you’ve got 24 new idioms under your belt, you’re a step ahead in fluency. Be confident on your next TOEFL that you’ll understand idiomatic meanings in context when these idioms surface on the exam.

If you were able to use these take idioms in context, feel free to Like this post.

Can You Write a Simple Sentence Painlessly?

How to:

You may not know what a complete sentence is. In which case, you might be having trouble with writing proper sentences. No doubt, your writing may have a fragment (an incomplete sentence) or a run-on sentence (a sentence that runs on too long.)

 

So, what is a simple sentence? In the English language, each simple sentence must have both a subject and verb in a complete idea. Well, except for commands (imperatives) such as “Do that.” However, most likely, you will not be writing commands on the TOEFL exam.

 

Subjects and verbs:

 

A subject is a noun (a person, place or thing such as a child, a city, or a cat), pronoun (I, you, he/she, it, we, they) or a gerund (playing, studying, sleeping.) Clearly, your complete sentence will not have just one word, or it would be called a fragment. Most likely, you will have to put an article such as a, an, or the before your subject. Then, your main verb (the action word such as have) will follow the subject, and it may be made up of two words such as have gone.

 

Samples of simple sentences with a main subject and verb:

  • A child sleeps.
  • The city has grown.
  • The cat is meowing.

 

After the main subject and verb, a sentence often has an object: direct or indirect.

Examples:

She (subject) gives (verb) her brother (indirect object) a present (direct object).

The kid (subject) was drinking (verb) milk (direct object).

 

With prepositional phrases, adverbs, and adjectives added, your sentences will expand. A prepositional phrase is a group of words with a preposition followed by an object. Prepositions (short words such as to, of, for, on, above, below) show relations between nouns, and after a preposition comes an “object of the preposition,” often a noun or a gerund.

Examples:

She (subject) gives (verb) her brother (indirect object) a present (direct object) at (preposition) his graduation (object of the preposition).

The kid (subject) was drinking (verb) milk (direct object) with (preposition) strawberries (object of the preposition).

 

An adverb describes non-noun words such as verbs or adjectives, while an adjective is a word that describes a noun.

Examples:

The thirsty (adjective) man (subject) was drinking (verb) quickly (adverb) at (preposition) the dirty (adjective) bar (object of the preposition.)

Incredibly (adverb), he (subject) studied (verb) consistently (adverb) until (preposition) the (article) big (adjective) exam (object of the preposition.)

 

In essence, simple sentences are a piece of cake once you get the basic structure. If you like this article, check out the blog Use Technology for Proficiency in English.

Use Technology for Proficiency in English

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Have you ever found yourself wanting to use technology to study English, but you do not know how to search for the proper sites to advance your language learning skills?

Let’s look at a list of convenient ways to take advantage of technology to quickly gain English proficiency.

  • Download podcasts, lectures or songs on iTunes or listen to mp3 English songs. Listen to the language while driving a car, walking the streets, or commuting by bus or train.
  • Download iPhone or Android apps for free English, study skills, exams, TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT, reading, listening, speaking, grammar, vocabulary, mind mapping, note taking and writing skills.
  • Search for websites to review English grammar such as the Owl at Purdue: the Online Writing Lab, play learning games, or do research in English for any other subjects you are studying.
  • For listening, watch movies or listen to popular English songs. You could even sing to the words or learn the lyrics.
  • Get an online native coach of the language for speaking, listening, and writing.
  • Enroll in an online course to improve your academic skills.
  • Take a course of your academic interest on Coursera or edX
  • Speak to online partners to increase your practice in English.
  • Register for an English webinar in the area of your interest.
  • Study your hobby online in English.

 

Immerse yourself online in the language because gaining proficiency English is not only fun and interesting but also useful for boosting a career.

 

 

Advance English Vocabulary with Flashcard Technology Tools

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Have you ever thought you are not making progress learning new vocabulary words in English? If you are frustrated not advancing to new levels, you can use technology tools to assist you in learning the language.

You will need more advanced vocabulary to achieve English fluency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking and to perform well on exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT, and GRE. So, why not take advantage of any number of online technology tools to practice vocabulary that can assist you in progressing at a faster rate?

 

  • Make digital flashcards

 

In the past, flashcards may have been thought of as a boring way to study English words, but that is no longer the case. New online technology tools creating fun flashcards with games will make learning English vocabulary interesting and effective because it optimizes your ability to retain knowledge.

  1. Recall the knowledge by engaging “active memory”; when you look at the front side of a flashcard and flip it over, it creates a strong connection in your brain, enhancing the chance of you remembering the word choice.
  2. Looking at the second side of the flashcard helps to advance your memory because you use your self-reflective abilities in learning the language, and investigations show that applying meta cognition builds knowledge into your memories.
  3. As you repeat flashcards in study session practice, you will boost your confidence in your ability to recall the new words. Research has shown reviewing words is an optimal way to improve your memory performance.

Creating flashcards using online website tools is a useful way to maximize your vocabulary advancement in proficient English. Since you review the cards repeatedly, the word choice becomes ingrained in your brain. With the cards, you will recall the new terms. Here are some websites with tools to create flashcards for university students:

  1. QuizMeOnline offers online flashcards and social networking for students
  2. StudyStack offers free online English language flashcards with the fun of games
  3. StudyBlue is a free study app for smartphones that allows you to study with partners online
  4. Quizlet allows you to practice cards, spell, test, play games
  5. Examtime has free 3D flashcards, study plans, and other online tools like mind mapping and notes
  6. Flashcard Machine a service that offers making study flashcards for free to share with study partners

You will find any of these online tools helpful to improving your study progress mastering English vocabulary.

How to Learn English Effectively

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So, you need to acquire proficient English Level 7 and become more fluent to attend a university program in the United States or Europe. You’ve been studying intensively for a year or two, but you do not seem to improve in great strides. How do you get from your present English level to the level where you need to be to excel in all academic skills? Your desire is to make leaps and bounds in the language more quickly, so you can reach your next goals. What are you doing that is not as effective as it could be in your study?

Language Learning Strategy

  • Yes, practice does make perfect, but having patience is also useful in learning English or any language.
  • If you wish to learn and recall better, you need to set and outline the challenges and strengths that match where you are at, highlight the level of where you want to get to, and adjust the way you are learning and acquiring language through your approach to tasks to meet your goal.

Consider creating your own language learning strategies in order to target which technique will help you develop each academic task (a task-based strategy) you need to improve on. After you have a strategy set for each skill, then you need a way to practice those strategies in every day practice. Once you implement the daily pattern of practicing English with your set techniques, you will take note of efficient improvement. Then, use internet technology, create a proper study environment (such as an ideal location, atmosphere, group versus individual study, and minimal distractions,) and make your study tasks interesting so that you will remember most of what you acquire in your sessions. If, on the other hand, you study each day doing some exercises, but you do not have a set technique to approach each academic skill, your study of the language will be a mess, and it is likely that you will remain at the same level without increasing your advancement at the speed you would like. Studying daily with strategies in mind will develop your skills in English because the repetitive habit will become faster and shape the manner in which you learn.

To specifically prepare for skills which are tested on standardized tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, GMAT, and GRE to target your abilities to improve test-taking, reading, listening, speaking, writing, note taking, analyzing, critical thinking, integrating, synthesizing, grammar, and vocabulary.

When you make the web your classroom, you have a broad base to develop your own unique approach which you are comfortable with to learn English successfully.