Importance of Analytical Skills for TOEFL, GRE, MBA

Whether you are getting ready to take TOEFL or doing the legwork for GRE or finishing your business studies, you’ll use your analytical skills. First, you’ll have to communicate, either written or orally, and share your analysis with others. Then, you’ll draw on your creativity such as your flexibility to see a problem from different perspectives or your capability to identify key data.

Possessing the ability to problem solve reveals your analytical skills to others. An interviewer, for example, would notice how you answered a behavioral question. A team, on the other hand, would see your leadership. Finally, a rater on a test would notice the process, logical or not, through how you addressed a prompt. Moreover, in various daily circumstances, analysis is needed.

Analysis helps you assess both simple and complicated problems. It encompasses your being attentive to detail on TOEFL and GRE, your ability to think critically, your capability to make decisions on tests and in studies, and your research skills to find a solution in case studies.

Not only are your analytical skills tested on exams but also in interviews, such as when you are up for a career move or when you put in a university application. During each of these processes, you may be asked to discuss an example to illustrate your professional and/or personal experiences.

Hence, being mindful of everyday problems that you solve, particularly ones that you creatively address, and the process you use to resolve these issues will help you build an analytical response for tests, business, and college studies.

Reflect on these key aspects and how you can highlight your experiences in answering in test situations and/or on campus:

  1. Researching
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Decision making
  4. Being detail-oriented

Researching

One fundamental aspect which shows your ability to draw conclusions around issues is doing research. Skills such as defining, collecting, examining data and deciding on a plan are needed to conduct proper research.

 

 

 

 

Critical thinking

Using your independent mind to evaluate a problem on the GRE or a prompt on TOEFL requires you to break down the argument. Organize your ideas using steps in your process to evaluate the situation. Try to look for patterns, identify facts, and pick up details which permit you to outline your argument and form a solution to the issues presented on the tests.

You need to analyze on the Analytical Writing on the GRE.

As your ability to think critically is essential to college studies, the GRE tests this. You’ll have to evaluate evidence, understand its relevance to the argument, and/or assess the potential bias in the evidence presented in the prompt. You’ll also need to examine the structure of the argument in terms of the evidence given, such as what premise, steps, and/or conclusion are stated. Furthermore, you may be required to distinguish between true and false arguments and notice holes in reasoning.

Let’s contrast the skill in TOEFL.

In TOEFL writing section in the integrated task, the main analysis you’ll need to perform is taking notes as you listen to the speaker focusing on which are the important details that relate to the information in the reading. Then, you’ll use comparison skills to review your lecture notes with your notes from the passage so you can construct your essay with accuracy. Of course, on this integrated task, you will not analyze using your own opinion since you are only focusing on the key details of what you read and mostly presenting what you heard.

In contrast, on the independent writing task, you’ll need to analyze the topic in order to write your opinion on the question, giving a supporting explanation with particular examples and details. You can be creative and make up an opinion if you are in a rush for time.

Moreover, in a professional environment or at the university, this skill comes in handy such as when you are listening to your team or classmates to assess a case.

 

Decision making

Coming to a decision about a specific course of action when different options are presented is essential to getting the best outcome. This skill draws on being careful in your assessment of the situation to be able to predict which choice leads to a successful result. Take the time to reflect on those special moments of key decisions at work or in other important life moments so that you can create vivid stories around those events for your MBA essays and interviews.

This skill comes in handy particularly on TOEFL or GRE. For example, when you respond to a prompt where you need to express your opinion, select an option and analyze making a list of pros or cons.

On multiple choice exams, use the strategy of narrowing down your decision making through a logical process of elimination. On the other hand, in the workplace or at university, take the time to research your selections rather than being too quick to judge.

Focusing on details

If you gain the ability to notice, keep track of and recall details, you’ll be a step ahead of your competitors. So, when you are taking a test, remember to follow directions, avoid written errors, and be careful about evaluating complex ideas. Especially in professional team situations, work needs to be completed in a precise fashion. Emphasizing the earlier example of the integrated writing task on TOEFL, focus on the lecture key points and lecture details related to the reading, which are essential to attaining a higher section score.

A practical detail-oriented work strategy is to be more attuned with your professional environment or with colleagues or classmates to not rush to any conclusions. Take the initiative to speak up to your team, ask detailed questions, and review work to demonstrate a quality approach to resolving any issue.

Whether you are preparing for test taking or the interviewing process, editing your C.V., working professionally, or continuing your studies, you must rely on these skills to enhance your productivity and results. Keep in mind putting these skills into practice each day when you are studying for TOEFL or GRE or getting ready for interviews, so you can land your dream choice.

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.

GMAT Verbal Sentence Correction Tips

Verbal

Verbal

Have you taken the GMAT once and felt that you want to raise your verbal score? Did you have difficulty getting through the sentence corrections? If so, consider your recent GMAT as a practice run to familiarize yourself with timing. To improve before your next attempt on GMAT verbal section, get strategies for sentence correction and implement those techniques in your daily studies to advance. Concentrate on content and timing.

Shoot for how much you need your verbal score to improve on your next exam by calculating how long you have to improve your score. Then, come up with a study plan focusing on sentence correction techniques and reading quickly to gain a foot forward. During your time frame for verbal improvement, review challenging questions in practice and dissect these to examine what insight you need to resolve simple concepts.

Analyze a sentence correction question:

  1. What is the verbal trying to test?
    1. Categorize a question by topic and subtopic, by process/technique (i.e. idiomatic expressions, parallel structure, modifiers)
    2. Practice taking apart the structure in a sentence to understand the structural core of the sentence (subject – verb – object…) If you do not see the entire core at once, start with identifying a pattern of where the subject is, and then identify the verb, and so forth.
    3. Understand the content (facts, knowledge)
  2. How well did you answer what was tested?
    1. Did you do the best approach? Or is there a better approach to respond to the problem? How can you remember the better approach the next time you get a similar problem?
    2. Did you use skills to follow through?
      1. Either give up if it’s too hard for the timing (and answer quickly) or give an extra 30 seconds to figure out the core.
    3. Did you make careless errors?
      1. Why did you make each error?
        1. What can you change to minimize the chance of repeating the same future error?
          1. Read the whole sentence using your chosen answer to notice if something is not right
          2. How do you look for traps or “trick questions” that are in the question such as incorrect answers?
          3. What steps do you take to ensure you made an educated guess?
        2. Do you recognize a pattern?
          1. Do you make a connection to the last time you saw a similar question to answer correctly…what was similar with other problems?
            1. What have you done in the past that is similar? How? How could that help you to do the problem more efficiently and effectively?
            2. How can you notice similar problems? What can you do to maximize your chance of remembering?

 

Strategies to enhance your skills to improve sentence correction:

  1. Read through the correct answers
    1. Do not go through and actually do the problems, simply read through the wording of the correct answers. Since GMAT has a set writing style, by reading through the right answers, you will get an idea of the correct answers. In this way, you may be able to learn better how to eliminate choices if any choice appears that does not conform to the GMAT set writing pattern.
    2. Be careful, because you should not use this as your principal technique for doing “process of elimination” of answers. Only guess if you cannot identify other grammatically formal ways to eliminate answers quickly.
  2. Write your own sentences involving the same types of errors
    1. Do not try to include all the same error types that appear in each problem [or you might end up with sentences that are copies of the ones in the problem], but try to include at least a couple.)
  3. Make flash cards of the problems (on one side of the card, color code each split between the answer choices in a different color with a highlighter, and on the back of the card in the same highlighted color write a short explanation.
    1. Colors are an easy way to recognize different explanations, telling them apart, when you put lots of splits on the back of a flashcard.

When the actual test day arrives, actively resolve to identify less perceptible logic and grammatical errors.

 

Caution with timing:

Spending much time on early questions may hurt, not help your score. Otherwise, you may run out of time and leave some questions unanswered at the end of a section. As unanswered questions are counted as incorrect, move at a steady pace to get through the entire section rather than concentrating on any particular subset of questions. Even those with high levels cannot sustain accuracy through the first eight questions. So, give every question you r best shot, but do not let any one group of questions drive your test performance, and avoid spending way too much time on the first eight questions or you may have to race to finish the section, a poor choice.

If you like this blog, check out this post Rules How to Use a Semicolon Accurately in the English Language.

Use Technology for Proficiency in English

tech

 

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.

 

 

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.

Why Am I Not Improving English?

Woman Writing in Daily Planner

Avoid translating

  1. You are translating from your native language into English. That’s a big “no-no.” Avoid translating from your first language into English. You can speed up your progress in English if you simply focus on listening to English and catch the words you understand. Use the context to guess understanding. For instance, if someone says, “There will be a big shin dig this Friday night.” Imagine you don’t know the word shin dig. Don’t translate it. Just imagine what those words could mean in terms of happening on Friday night: a feast, a reception, a get together, a dance, or a dinner party.

 

  1. You are not practicing enough English speaking with a native. Dedicate enough study time to make advancements. Don’t expect to study English only a half hour per week and improve rapidly. Intensive language learning of a few set hours every weekday can expand your progress. When you do have a set study session in-person with a native speaker, don’t forget to speak. Sometimes, when you are conversing with someone in another language, it’s easy to just listen, but you won’t learn English faster if you don’t practice participating more in the conversation. So, the more you converse, the more you will learn to communicate better in English. If you spoke English just one time today, next time or tomorrow, try to speak two times. Of course, the more often you practice speaking, you can improve your confidence and your fluency in the language.

 

  1. You lack confidence in your English abilities. How can you improve in the language if you do not believe in yourself? Be confident that you are learning, and you will acquire more language skills day by day. Avoid saying, “Sorry,” if you don’t feel confident using English fluently yet with a native speaker. If you come across a new word/phrase/express, you can always ask a native speaker, “What does (~phrase) mean?” Just because you may not be familiar with idiomatic expressions or advanced vocabulary, you don’t need to apologize if you are not at the highest level. Remember that you are trying. Give yourself a break because you are learning a language. Keep trying your best, be confident that you will learn more and more. No doubt, you will learn more vocabulary as you progress to a higher level.

 

  1. You are not listening to a sufficient amount of English daily. Perhaps you do not understand enough of what you listen to. Let’s say that you comprehend only about 65%. This is particularly a concern if you live in a foreign country (a non-English speaking place) and do not have access to listening to speakers of English face-to-face. Solution: get a native trainer online or in-person, or listen to English on the web. Practice listening to English every day to train your ears to focus on words you already know in English and listen for word chunks, phrases, which you may be familiar with to comprehend the context. Avoid listening just for grammar. You won’t be able to attain fluency by picking apart a conversation through grammar points. Stop trying to catch single words. Neither will you be capable of advanced fluency if you are concentrating only on individual words in a dialogue. You need to listen for how phrases are grouped together in a pattern. You can listen to music, television, or movies to gain more fluency and understanding. Tell your ears they must listen to English phrases, understand English in context, and capture the bigger picture, the overall meaning.

 

  1. You forgot what you already studied in previous lessons. If you are not remembering your intake, then taking notes on what you learned during your study sessions will help you review and keep the knowledge fresh. For example, keep an English notebook for acquiring more information. In your journal (digital or paper,) you can take note of phrases that are new that you can learn. Then, try to use these new groups of words if you think of it in context. If you write down only the vocabulary word, you may not understand in the future how to use it in context, so try to catch an entire phrase. Later, when you review your notebook, the whole phrase will serve as a reminder of the meaning in context. Consequently, it will be much easier to recall. Furthermore, it will be a base for you to move up to the next level.

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Steps to TOEFL Integrated Writing High Score

pen

The first task on the writing section of the TOEFL—the integrated summary—requires that you integrate three skills. It is a difficult task because it engages you in having to draw information from a reading passage and a lecture, two different sources on the same topic, and synthesize it in your own words. In this respect, it may be more challenging than the independent essay sole topic. Since the integrated tasks on the TOEFL give you multiple sources to work with, you have more information to deal with; consequently, the topic becomes slightly more complicated.

 

Step 1

Do not give your opinion. In the second writing task, the independent essay, you will be asked to give your opinion on an issue. However, that is not what is asked in the first writing task, the integrated summary. In fact, the question requires you to synthesize information from two sources–a reading and a lecture–and put that into writing, answering the particular question. So, concentrate on the information in the sources, citing them, and avoid wasting time thinking about your opinion on whatever academic topic is given.

 

Step 2

Know exactly where to look for the main idea and key points of both the reading passage and the lecture. Prior to writing your integrated essay in 20 minutes, you will be asked to read a passage on an academic topic and listen to a lecture on that topic. Though each deals with a similar topic, they give different perspectives of the topic. To read the passage, you will have approximately three minutes to read, and the lecture transcript will take about two minutes. You will need to use a practiced skill of knowing where to look for the main idea and three key points in the passage and how to predict and hear the lecture main idea and three key counterpoints. The main idea of the passage may be found after the topic, usually in the last sentence of the first paragraph. The key points are often in the first sentences of each following body paragraph. For the listening part, the main idea will be signaled at the start of the lecture, usually after the topic. It will often be the contrary to the reading point, so you can predict beforehand what you might hear. The lecture three key points to support the main idea will often follow a signal or transition word to indicate an important point is coming. You will need to take notes on those key points on a paper. No doubt, if you are not taking effective, organized notes that you can use to write from, it is difficult to construct a sound essay to answer the task and get a top score on this part of the writing section. Even though you can see the reading passage on the screen while you are writing your summary, during the three-minute reading time, it is wise to jot down the main purpose and key points underneath so that you can refer to them more easily. It will save you time and keep your writing logical and organized.

 

Step 3

Use a clear structure to accurately present the content points in the essay. Once you have taken notes on the key points in both the sources, you will have 20 minutes to write the essay. You need to answer the question, so read it carefully. Organize your essay with an orderly structure to answer the question. Be sure to relate the sources and give all the key points. Being precise with the ideas does not mean copying the exact words you read in the passage; paraphrasing in your own words is a sound strategy.

 

Step 4

Be familiar with what writing style you will use before you go into the exam. It is better to be prepared with the structure you will write in and the style of writing you will convey to answer the question concisely. A smooth, varied writing style connects ideas with transitions or introductory phrases, cites sources (refer to the author and lecturer) with effective reporting verbs, and employs sentence variety.

Use these four steps and you will be ahead of the game in the integrated task.