Have you ever let the cat out of the bag? You have if you’ve ever told someone a secret. Just picture a closed bag holding a secret and a cat jumps out telling that secret.
One way to help you master common idioms on TOEFL is to visualize the idiom and link it to the meaning so it stays in your memory.
Idiomatic expressions are often heard in conversations on the listening section. Yet, if you don’t know what the idioms mean, you may be lost and answer incorrectly, leading to a lower score. To score higher, get to know common idioms that have surfaced on previous TOEFL.
Here are five common TOEFL idioms to practice their meanings.
Let the cat out of the bag to tell a secret
Once in a blue moon (something that happens) rarely
Be on the fence undecided; to have not formed an opinion yet
Raining cats and dogs Raining hard, a downpour
Take a rain check Postpone a plan
Let’s examine each of these five idioms in a sentence to grasp how each may be used in context.
- I’m in the library every night, so I only go to a party off campus once in a blue moon.
- The professor let the cat out of the bag about exactly what was coming up on the final exam.
- During the campaign, I was on the fence which student candidate served others better.
- It was raining cats and dogs, so I couldn’t walk around campus without an umbrella.
- I studied late, so I took a raincheck on going out to the mixer.
Now, it’s your turn. Read the following sentences, and select the correct idiom to insert in context.
- He’d known he was taking a risk when he ___________________________.
- During the storm, some of the plazas around campus became rivers of water since it was _____________________.
- I’ll ___________________________ on that meetup since I plan to study until midnight.
- The university put on a performance _______________________________.
- After she’d listened to both sides of the argument at the campus debate, she was still_________________ .
let the cat out of the bag, raining cats and dogs, take a rain check, once in a blue moon, on the fence
The next step in practice is to try out these idioms speaking to colleagues, so that you use them correctly before the exam.
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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- QuizMeOnline offers online flashcards and social networking for students
- StudyStack offers free online English language flashcards with the fun of games
- StudyBlue is a free study app for smartphones that allows you to study with partners online
- Quizlet allows you to practice cards, spell, test, play games
- Examtime has free 3D flashcards, study plans, and other online tools like mind mapping and notes
- 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.