Tag Archives: English language

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Student Blog Post: How to Prepare for Standardized Tests Part 3

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Hi guys, this is Xiaoou Chen! It’s already summer. I hope you have all had a great time so far.

Previously, I have talked about the two sections—reading and listening—of the TOEFL test. Here are the two links that can direct you to the previous posts How to Prepare for Standardized Tests Part 1 and How to Prepare for Standardized Tests Part 2.

I am going to talk about the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL test in this post.

As I mentioned before, speaking and writing, in some degrees, are higher levels of English language learning than reading and listening are. Reading and listening are two types of input. However, speaking and writing are two ways of output, in which you need to use what you have gained from your input.

But do not worry. The speaking and writing of TOEFL are much easier than the impression I just gave to you.

Be specific about speaking, the first thing you need to do is to get familiar with its forms. So go and find a book, like TOEFL Official Guide, and complete this first task. Then you need to find templates (which you can easily find online) that helps you construct your language when you speak. After this you need to search all the real speaking questions from previous test or TPO and follow the templates and practice and practice. When you are confident enough and have memorized enough different templates, you can weave different parts from them together and form your own templates. This process takes time, but compared to reading, is a much easier task to cope with. Here is a post from a forum which I found especially useful for preparing speaking. Please take a moment and look at it. Here is the link: http://bbs.gter.net/thread-1596093-1-1.html

Finally as to writing, it is the easiest part of the entire TOEFL test and the score of which you can boost up most quickly. There are two sections in the writing part. One is dependent task, the other is independent task. In the dependent task, you need to read a short passage and then listen to a short lecture and, according to the reading and listening, write a short essay summarizing the opposing opinions and their reasons. To be good at this, you need to find a template, too, and practice. Try to memorize some universal sentence structures. You will find it very useful when you are nervous during the test and can hardly think anything good. In the essay, as long as you cover all the reasons and their main details, you can easily get a high score. The second writing task, I think, is easier to get a higher score than the previous one because in this independent task you can wield your English more freely and creatively. In this task you will be given a question and you need to choose one side and defend it. As a beginner you still need to follow some templates first and get used to the way that can “flatter” the teachers who score the TOEFL essay. This independent task doesn’t need you to show how profound a thinker you are, but want to see how logic a person you are and how well you can use your logic to defend your opinion.

These are all my tips and suggestions for you to prepare for the TOEFL test. I have to say a third time: there is no short path, be persistent and hard-working can help you cope with anything.

Thank you all for spending time reading my posts. I will try to bring something new in the next one.

Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions. I will try to respond in my earliest convenience.