The TOEFL is a standardised English language test to help foreign students realising their academic goals. The test itself is a tool that reinforces one’s desire to learn something in a foreign language which can sometimes represent a big obstacle because of a language barrier. For some, learning a new language is something they can struggle with all throughout their life. The test helps alleviating those doubts by preparing the student for a level of English they would meet once their education started.
It is important that the student figures out where they stand from a language standpoint beforehand and if there are any problems they need to be resolved. This is logical; as they would not have enough time to progress with the language once the classes start. All in all, the TOEFL is a great help for not just the students, but the establishments as well, allowing them to focus on those who have the highest chance of successfully completing the courses based on their academic merits.
The preparation process
At one point the TOEFL was a strictly paper-based test where the students had to sit in and complete it within a certain amount of time. That second part hasn’t really changed, but it’s very rare to find paper-based tests these days. Some country and some establishment still do it, but the vast majority of the tests are filled out on a computer. That is the platform where the students receive all four major sections of their exam, listening, reading, speaking and writing. The online TOEFL preparation is a big part of the equation, one that should never be taken lightly.
Which site to choose?
There are dozens of TOEFL sites out there that promise to offer the students’ relevant test material and a similar online environment that’s supposed to simulate the real thing. There are quality sites that actually offer some version of a free online TOEFL practice test as well. The registration is relatively easy; the student usually needs to enter a username and a working e-mail address before starting out. Most sites offer a limited number of tries before charging something, usually a relatively small fee. Some sites worth that fee some do not.
As often is the case, it is important to distinguish. The best way of getting some valuable information about those sites is visiting different TOEFL forums where the students share their experiences about online TOEFL preparation. Nothing can beat that valuable first-hand info because it reflects on the actual quality of those sites and the information they provide in their tests. A site with outdated tests will quickly develop a bad reputation and vice-versa. Nothing can beat first-hand experience and the best place to find that on the internet is a subject-specific forum.
If possible, finding a site that does something differently, possibly in a more interactive manner can be key for some. Most people actually prefer to learn that way, even if they don’t realise it. Those methods are extremely effective because the subject can learn without actually feeling the weight of the process, something many struggle with. Usually when they know that we have to acquire certain knowledge within a limited time period, people struggle with putting in enough effort. Their attention slips away and they are left with a vast and probably dry material and very little time to learn it. With an interactive site that offers a quality free online TOEFL practice test, it can all be quite different.
Use several sites for the different sections
Remember, the TOEFL test itself incorporates four different task types that are called “sections”. Those four are listening, reading, speaking and writing. When searching for the relevant material, one has to realise that a site can offer valuable test samples for one of those while not really giving any relevant material on the others. Personal preference obviously plays a huge part in all that. One usually has to have a positive opinion about a method or material in order to be able to learn it effortlessly. If we don’t believe a material to be good, chances are that we won’t be able to learn it in a way that will help us out during the examination. Finding quality material of course is extremely important, but finding one that appeals to our perception can turn out to be just as valuable.
Whichever one chooses, there are other steps
Regardless of the selected site and material, one can take other measures in order to ensure ending up with the best score possible. One of those steps is trying to think in English. What may sound far-fetched at first, will actually start to make sense, as soon as the preparation starts. The truth is that we all think in our mother tongue unless we purposely challenge our brain to do it in a different language. In the case of the TOEFL, this language is the English language which is great for several reasons and with that we can hop onto the next examples.
Music and movies
There are no better ways to create an effortless learning process than taking advantage of our love towards movies and music. Most of us love those activities. They challenge our brain in a way that regular material never could, not unless someone really likes to learn in the traditional way, which let’s be honest, is not that common. By listening to an American or other English speaking movie or some music, we will be able to improve all four elements of our language knowledge, which will almost surely pay dividends during the exam.
Author Bio: James Liu connected with TOEFL Network at Richmond based Institute of education. This is online TOEFL e-learning website, offering iBT TOEFL practices and teaching materials for students to prepare for TOEFL test.