Best tips to remember what you study in TOEFL

  1. Focus. You first need to learn it before recalling it. So, in order to learn it well, focus on listening if you are in a language class or reading if you are doing that task. If you are doing self-study, make sure to select a quiet study space set up for optimum least distracting desk area. In this way, you will be able to focus and not be distracted by your phone, internet, or friends.
  2. As you are reading, ask yourself important questions about what you read
    Of course, you are much more likely to recall it if you know your purpose for reading it. Ask yourself questions such as who (did the action,) what (happened,) where (did it happen,) when (did it happen,) why (what’s the reason for it,) how (did it happen) about the subject matter.
  3. Employ various learning approaches while studying
    Studies show most humans remember 20% of what is read, 30 % of what is heard; 40% of what is seen visually, half of what is written down on paper (typed) or said out loud, and 60% of what is performed manually with movement. Remember when you study, to use all your different senses for learning different ways: write notes down, say your notes out loud and record them, or draw pictures to take visual notes.
  4. At the end of each study session, quickly go over what English you studied. If you skim the main objective and retrace the key points of the goals of each study session, you will remember the lesson at that moment, and the next time you study, it will help you recall them. Be sure to take a few minutes to summarize your notes using key words that will improve your memory later.
  5. As often as you can, look over what you studied as a short review
    It is much easier to recall things with a regular study pattern. For instance, if you study once a week, review briefly what you did the last session. Or, if you study every other day, start your session by reviewing what you studied the last time. If you have time to study daily, then begin your study time by reviewing just a couple minutes what you did the day before. On the other hand, if you try learning everything at the last minute, your memory will not retain the information.
  6. Take time to recall your study sessions without your notes
    Without referring to your books or materials, take a few minutes to remember what you studied. Give your memory a quiz make creating notes on what you think you studied, then go back and check your notes or texts to see if it is consistent. You will recall more if you practice this technique.

 

How to Study Effectively, Part 2

Aside from being organized and identifying your target range for TOEFL, you will need to identify exactly what you need to learn. That is to say, consider which academic skills you can improve on to have the best advancement in your language and to achieve a high score. If you are weaker in listening, then be sure that you practice listening daily. If speaking is your weakness, practice recording your voice in simulated responses on a recorder or on your smartphone and listening to your voice to evaluate your speaking. If you do not know your weaknesses, you will need to first identify your strengths in English and find out your level of English according to separate language skills. In fact, you may have excellent grammar and reading skills and thus need not dedicate time to practicing reading passages; however, first you need to discover what you need to improve upon.

  1. Identify your level and learning needs

 

  • By taking a practice TOEFL test, you can find out your current level. Once you have an idea of your exact level, you can pinpoint your target and lay out a strategy of how to get from Point A (current level of English) to Point B (TOEFL target score) in your exact time frame. You do not want to waste any precious time, so if you can identify the task you need to strength (e.g. listening or note-taking,) that will help you work accordingly within your study time table.

Example: Let’s say you have one week of time before you need a final score, that would be a very different study plan than if you had a 90-day study plan (if you had more time to attain a TOEFL score.)

  1. Read and take notes

In the previous blog, How to Study Effectively, Part 1, you learned that having a notebook or computer files of notes is useful.

  • Read & make notes: When making the notes under each academic skill or sub topic, read your subject and make notes either writing comments or short summaries. (How to take notes effectively will be addressed under a different blog heading.)
  • Write key ideas taking notes: in addition to reading and note-taking, practice identifying the main purpose and writing down the main idea, key points and supporting facts from your memory of listening or reading into your notes. You will retain information better later on. Be sure if you write by hand to handwrite legibly, otherwise, it will be useless to read later on when you review and you might not interpret your notes or waste your valuable study time. Save time by composing neatly.
  • Highlight key points: if you are on the computer, highlight key information with colors (not too bright) in the file so that you can locate key words later on when you review. If you are using a notebook for taking notes, highlight with a colored marker (not too bright or it can distract you) to easily relocate key ideas. If you have these key ideas highlighted, it will be an outline of the information that you can review quickly at a later day.