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.

Quick Steps to Paraphrase on TOEFL

 

You may feel frustrated if you struggle on how to paraphrase accurately on the TOEFL® iBT exam on the integrated writing and speaking sections. Luckily, if you follow a couple of simple techniques, you can polish your skills in no time.

What is a paraphrase?

A paraphrase is when one explains information from a specific source in one’s own words. It highlights the principal ideas, and it may be more specific than a summary.

Why is paraphrasing important on the TOEFL® iBT?

With the capability to paraphrase, you will have an advantage on the integrated writing and speaking sections of the exam. Once you understand the key ideas, paraphrasing will help you recall those points from the texts and lectures. Furthermore, it is a valuable skill, which will maximize your success in your academic studies.

How do I create an accurate paraphrase in my own words?

To paraphrase, you first need to understand the original meaning and have effective notes, so review note-taking techniques.

  • Take notes while reading or listening. Do not write sentences. Simply write the main idea in abbreviated form.
  • Look over your notes. Consider how you could explain the key points in your notes to an individual who hasn’t read or listened to the information that you did.
  • Write (or speak) your main ideas substituting synonyms, different sentence structures, alternate word forms, or other word order. For instance, rather than write an original verb, change that verb to a similar noun form in an altered structure or new order, but keep the same idea. Then, make similar relationships between key points and details from your notes.

How do I acquire and master paraphrasing skills?

  • Read passages and listen to lectures.
  • Take notes, but avoid copying words or phrases from the source (this will save you time in the writing period); use synonyms when you note take. Do not change the meaning in your notes, do not forget to take notes on key ideas, and do not add your own ideas to the source information.
  • Refer to your notes to present the key idea. Simplify the structure and words.
  • When you are paraphrasing a practice reading passage, go back to the passage to review if you paraphrased the principal ideas accurately. In study practice, you can listen to a lecture again to see if you paraphrased your notes well, however, on the exam day, since you only listen to the lecture once, you will be unable to refer to the lecture source.

 When I’m under pressure taking the exam, how do I PARAphrase quickly?

  • Put information into your words
  • Avoid copying
  • Reflect the same ideas or Rearrange similar text
  • All key points included

Sample Paraphrases:

Original text:

There are times when people copy ideas from internet because they have no idea how to paraphrase.

Paraphrase A:

At times, since individuals do not understand how to rephrase, they repeat things word for word from the web.

Alternate Paraphrase B:

Individuals duplicate word for word from the web at times since they do not understand how to create a paraphrase.

The Owl Purdue Online Writing Lab has paraphrasing practice.

If you like this blog, you’ll enjoy Secret Tips to Developing TOEFL Writing Skills.

Secret Tips to Developing TOEFL Writing Skills

book

Of course, if you still have not yet mastered fluency in written English, writing a quality essay may still be a challenge. You are probably thinking more than you need to. How can you make each essay a little better? Be careful not to repeat the same format again and again in order to move to the next level. Here are a few useful tips. You can use these techniques to constantly write excellent essays.

 

  1. Read others’ essays

To develop your own writing style, read essays written by others. 1. Read essays of other students or academic essays. In fact, if you read a wide variety of essays on diverse subjects, you can get insight into different types of argumentative styles. Clearly, the more you read and become familiar with alternate styles that exist, the more techniques you will have in your pocket to use in your own essays.

 

As you familiarize yourself with others’ essays, critically analyze what you like and what you do not like. Consider whether or not the writer is persuading you well. If so, how? Ask yourself, is the writer’s argument one-sided or does the writer support the argument with evidence such as reasons and examples? Contemplate if the writer is using an effective technique which you have not seen before so that you could incorporate a similar technique in your writing style.

A. Read online newspapers, particularly opinion pages to see viewpoints

B. Online magazines

C. Online journals

 

2. Use a dictionary and thesaurus to build your vocabulary

An extensive word choice permits you to express what you want in clear, concise terms. “Less is more.” Using essential, precise words is much more effective than being wordy with unnecessarily longer sentences.

 

Write to the point with clear, accurate vocabulary. In English, there are constantly new advanced words to learn. These words can assist you in communicated your point much more efficiently. When you are able to employ strong vocabulary, it manifests your higher level of English, and your written argument may come across as more convincing in your essay. The more widely you read, write down new vocabulary you see and label them in categories according to topic. Review them in each study session. Try to use the new vocabulary in the correct context in your speaking and writing. Here are two links below which both have dictionaries and thesauruses.

  1. Avoid using the same words over and over again by substituting synonyms and/or new phrases
  2. Sign up for “word of the day” on a site
  3. Become familiar with synonyms and antonyms of your new vocabulary word
  4. Study lists of prefixes, suffixes, and roots of words to help you expand your word choice based on these meanings.
  5. Create a vocabulary journal where you write vocabulary from your reading. Divide it into sections so that all the words are categorized such as science, business, art, history, and then you can review them easily. Write synonyms, antonyms, and an example in context.
  6. Use these new words when applicable in your written practice. Push yourself to use at least two new vocabulary words in each practice essay you write before the exam day. Not only will you become more comfortable using the new words, you will be able to try other whether or not the words are used correctly in your writing.
  7. Avoid using advanced words that look fancy if you are not clear of the meaning. Using a long or quite advanced word choice, you can run the risk of mistaking the meaning. Only focus on using clear words that you can employ with no doubts of the audience understanding them, so that your vocabulary is comprehensive and easily understandable.

http://dictionary.reference.com/

http://www.thesaurus.com/

 

If you like this blog, then check out this article: Why Am I Not Improving English?

 

Top Strategies for Excellent TOEFL Writing

Do you struggle with how to best tackle which way to go about improving your essays on the TOEFL writing section? To beat both the integrated and independent in the writing section, a few straightforward strategies go a long way to boost your section score.

Are you typing at least 40 words per minute? Of course, you can type faster improving your ability through typing sessions. First, make sure to practice typing your English writing on a QWERTY computer keyboard. Since you will need to type in your task responses, the faster and more accurate you type on the keyboard, the better you can focus on writing a quality essay. Touch typing without looking at the keyboard will give you an advantage since you will be able to think in English while not looking at the letters on the keyboard. Type daily for consistent practice with speed and no errors. Aim for 55 words per minute. Some websites for English typing test speed and practice are these:

The Principles of Touch Typing

http://www.typingtest.com/touch-typing.html

Typing tutor

http://www.speedtypingonline.com/typing-tutor

Typing Tests

http://10fastfingers.com/typing-test/english

http://www.keyhero.com/free-typing-test/

http://typing-speed-test.aoeu.eu/?lang=en

http://www.powertyping.com/typing_test/typing_test.shtml

Timing, of course, is critical in each writing task. When you first start practicing, you may feel slow and not be efficient in finishing your essay on time within 20-30 minutes, depending on the task. Every time you practice a simulated timed writing, you will get closer and closer to finish your essay in time, so that by the time the exam day rolls around, you are confident and comfortable to complete your tasks in the given time frame.

It’s important to also make a strategic plan to expand your vocabulary day by day. Maintain a vocabulary list in a notebook with new words and use review time daily to learn the words. Attempt to use those words in your essay practice when your writing is checked by a native speaker.

While you are practicing writing, look at your vocabulary list and use some of those words in context in your writing. Write in a style which has a variety of grammar structures. Using alternative word choices and various sentence structures, you can master how to write them effectively. The raters of the exam count a variety of word choice and sentence variety as higher level writing.

Next, formulate your essay structure so it’s well-organized with an introduction, body and conclusion, and be sure to use that structure in practice and on the actual test day. Each of the three parts of an essay has structural aspects to follow so that each paragraph in the essay is ordered logically and flows smoothly.

After you learn the structure, familiarize yourself with how to organize the content in the essay. There is a planning stage, a writing stage, and a revision stage. During the planning time of 3-5 minutes, you create a mapping of ideas or an outline before beginning to write the essay. A solid planning such as idea mapping saves time during the writing period because all your ideas will already be organized. The planning stage has key words from the question, a list of mapped out phrases of reasons, examples, and supporting details of ideas for the body paragraphs (2-3.) Do not write sentences, only write words or phrases to create an order of ideas so that you can refer to your planning to develop a clear, logical, and well-organized essay.

Know how to successfully write with connecting ideas, in particular, use transitions or phrases to introduce a reason or point, to give an example, to contrast an idea, to switch from one idea to another, to give more supporting information such as details, or to conclude. Some transition words are the following: first, second, next, in addition, moreover, for example, for instance, in contrast, on the other hand, to conclude, and to sum up. A list of transition words and phrases to be familiar with is at Study Guides and Strategies link.

How far have you come? Reflect on your writing advancement. Have a native English teacher or editor give you feedback on your writing according to the writing scores for TOEFL. Use the accurate input to get better on your writing techniques. Implement strategies to help you advance even further so that your writing progress is faster to get your goal.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll like Advance English Vocabulary with Flashcard Technology Tools.

How to Make a Strong Argument Essay

essay tip fiveHave you ever needed to write an argument essay on the TOEFL writing section, the independent task? Various categories of topics exist on the independent writing, one being make an argument. Clearly, it is important to know each category of the topics in order to address the question more readily in a particular writing. Becoming familiar with the make an argument list of topics below will help you become prepared for a potential topic you may receive on the day of the exam. Once you know these argument topics, you will be apt to tackle the argumentative essay.

  1. If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
  2. Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  3. Neighbors are the people who live near us. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good neighbor? Use specific details and examples in your answer.
  4. What are some important qualities of a good supervisor (boss)? Use specific details and examples to explain why these qualities are important.
  5. Should governments spend more money on improving roads and highways, or should governments spend more money on improving public transportation (buses, trains, subways)? Why? Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.
  6. In general, people living longer now. Discuss the causes of this phenomenon. Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.
  7. We all work or will work in jobs with many different kinds of people. In your opinion, what are some important of a good co-worker (someone you work closely with)? Use reasons and specific examples to explain why these characteristics are important.
  8. In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your opinion by using specific reasons and details.
  9. Some people believe that the Earth is being harmed (damaged) by human activity. Others feel that human activity makes the Earth a better place to live. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  10. Is it better to enjoy your money when you earn it, or is it better to save your money for some time in the future? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  11. What is a very important skill a person should learn in order to be successful in the world today? Choose one skill and use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  12. Why do you think some people are attracted to dangerous sports or other dangerous activities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  13. What change would make your hometown more appealing to people your age? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  14. A company is going to give some money either to support the arts or to protect the environment. Which do you think the company should choose? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  15. What do you want most in a friend–someone who is intelligent, or someone who has a sense of humor, or someone who is reliable? Which one of these characteristics is most important to you? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.
  16. Should a city try to preserve its old, historic buildings or destroy them and replace them with modern buildings? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  17. Many teachers assign homework to students every day. Do you think that daily homework is necessary for students? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  18. If you could study a subject that you have never had the opportunity to study, what would you choose? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details.
  19. Some people think that the automobile has improved modern life. Others think that the automobile has caused serious problems. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  20. Which would you choose–a high-paying job with long hours that would give you little time with family and friends or a lower-paying job with shorter hours that would give you more time with family and friends? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details.
  21. Some people say that computers have made life easier and more convenient. Other people say that computers have made life more complex and stressful. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  22. Some universities require students to take classes in many subjects. Other universities require students to specialize in one subject. Which is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  23. Is it more important to be able to work with a group of people on a team or to work independently? Use specific reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
  24. Some people think the Internet provides people with a lot of valuable information. Others think access to so much information creaste problems. Which view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  25. A foreign visitor has only one day to spend in your country. Where should this visitor go on that day? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  26. If you could go back to some time and place in the past, when and where would you go? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  27. What discovery in the last 100 years has been most beneficial for people in your country? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  28. If you could travel back in time to meet a famous person from history, what person would you like to meet? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  29. If you could meet a famous entertainer or athlete, who would that be, and why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  30. Many students have to live with a roommate while going to school or university. What are some of the important qualities of a good roommate? Use specific reasons and examples to explain why these qualities are important.
  31. People have different ways of escaping the stress of modern life. Some read, some exercise, others work in their gardens. What do you think are the best ways of reducing stress? Use specific details and examples in your answer.
  32. If you were asked to send one thing representing your country to an international exhibition, what would you choose? Why? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
  33. In your opinion, what is the most important characteristic (for example, honesty, intelligence, a sense of humor) that a person can have to be successful in life? Use specific reasons and examples from your experience to explain your answer. When you write your answer, you are not limited to the examples listed in the question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  34. Some people believe that a college or university education should be available to all students. Others believe that higher education should be available to only good students. Discuss these views. Which view do you agree with? Explain why?
  35. The government has announced that it plans to build a new university. Some people think that your community should be a good place to locate the university. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a new university in your community. Use specific details in your discussion. (Discuss both.)
  36. Some people trust their first impressions about a person’s character because they believe these judgments are generally correct. Other people do not judge a person’s character quickly because they believe first impressions are often wrong. Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples. (Discuss BOTH ATTITUDES in the essay.)
  37. Some people say that physical exercise should be a required part of every school day. Other people believe that students should spend the whole school day on academic studies. Which opinion do you agree with? Give specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  38. A university plans to develop a new research center in your country. Some people want a center for business research. Other people want a center for research in agriculture (farming). Which of these two kinds of research centers do you recommend for your country? Use specific reasons in your recommendation.
  39. Some young children spend a great amount of their time practicing sports. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. (Discuss both.)
  40. Some high schools required all students to wear school uniforms. Other high schools permit students to decide what to wear to school. Which of these two school policies do you think is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  41. If you could make one important change in a school that you attended, what change would you make? Use reasons and examples to support your answer.
  42. A gift (such as a camera, soccer ball, or an animal) can contribute to a child’s development. What gift would you five to help a child develop? Why? Use reasons and specific examples to support your choice.
  43. Some people believe that students should be given one long vacation each year. Others believe that students should have several short vacations throughout the year. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  44. Some people say that advertising encourages us to buy things that we really do not need. Others say that advertisements tell us about new products that may improve our lives. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  45. You school has received a gift of money. What do you think is the best way for your school to spend this money? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  46. Imagine that you have received some land to use as you wish. How would you use this land? Use specific details to explain your answer.
  47. What is the most important animal in your country? Why is this animal important? Use reasons and specific details to explain your answer.
  48. Many parts of the world are losing important natural resources, such as forests, animals, or clean water. Choose one resource that is disappearing and explain why it needs to be saved. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  49. In some countries people are no longer allowed to smoke in many public places and office buildings. Do you think this is a good rule or a bad rule? Use specific reasons and details to support your opinion.
  50. Plants can provide food, shelter, clothing, or medicine. What is one kind of plant that is important to you or the people in your country? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  51. When famous people such as actors, athletes, and rock stars give their opinions, many people listen. Do you think we should pay attention to these opinions? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  52. The twentieth century saw great change. In your opinion, what is one change that should be remembered about the twentieth century? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
  53. Some famous athletes and entertainers earn millions of dollars every year. Do you think these people deserve such high salaries? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  54. Is the ability to read and write more important today than in the past? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  55. People recognize a difference between children and adults. What events (experience or ceremonies) make a person an adult? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
  56. Your school has enough money to purchase either computers for students or books for the library. Which should your school choose to buy–computers or books? Use specific reasons and examples to support your recommendation.
  57. Imagine you are preparing for a trip. You plan to be away from your home for a year. In addition to clothing and personal care items, you can take one additional thing. What would you take and why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  58. A friend of yours has received some money and plans to use all of it either to go on a vacation/to buy a car. Your friend has asked you for advice. Compare your friend’s two choices and explain which one you think your friend should choose. Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  59. In your country, is there more need for land to be left in its natural condition or is there more for land to be developed for housing and industry? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  60. Many people have a close relationship with their pets. These people treat their birds, cats, or other animals as members of their family. In your opinion, are such relationships good? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  61. You have enough money to purchase either a house or a business. Which would you choose to buy? Give specific reasons to explain your choice.
  62. Of three government environmental policies–protect nature’s forests, protect clean air, and protect clean water–which is the best policy? What should the government do in those three cases?

 

If you like this article, you may enjoy The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure.

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.

 

 

Advance English Vocabulary with Flashcard Technology Tools

IS_FlashcardSets

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.