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There are a number of skills that you need for the TOEFL. Some of them are clear, very obvious. You need the main language skills. You need reading, listening, speaking, and writing. These are the four sections of the TOEFL, after all. And of course, in your reading, in your listening, in your speaking, in your writing, you need grammar, vocabulary, and for speaking, in particular, pronunciation.
These are all normal English skills, these mean using English. So, they are important for the TOEFL clearly. But, there is more. The TOEFL also has some more hidden skills that you might not think about immediately, for example, taking notes. How good are you at taking notes?
Really think about that. Can you take notes quickly in English? Do you take the right amount of notes? Do you take the right amount of notes for the TOEFL, specifically? This is an important skill for the test. It’s one that you will want practice and improve while you are preparing for the TOEFL, because if you don’t do it well, you’re going to have problems answering questions in the listening section, in the speaking section, and in the writing section.
How about finding information in text? If you have a TOEFL reading passage, imagine 700 words of reading. It’s a lot of reading, and you need to find in that text just a few words, a very short topic. Then you need to be able to do it quickly, because there is a timer on the test. So going and finding the information you need fast is important.
It’s important for the reading section in particular, but it can be important for the essay and the writing section, too. Structuring your thoughts is very important for communicating in a limited time. So the speaking and writing sections both have a lot of structure in good answers. You need to organize the way you think, and the way you answer, so that the people listening can understand your big ideas.
And, of course, summarizing is important for the speaking and writing sections too, as well as for the reading section, because you need to be able to take information in the reading, or in the listening, and put it in different words. That’s very related to your vocabulary. Summarizing is important language skills.
Summarizing is, in order to summarize well, it’s important that you have language skills with vocabulary and grammar especially. So again, for speaking, and writing, and reading. And then there are these more broad test taking skills. These are not just about the TOEFL in specific, but about how well you take tests.
So, managing your time for the reading section, this is extremely important. If you take too much time on one question, then you lose points on other questions that you can’t answer because you run out of time. Staying focused, if you stop listening during the listening, or speaking, or writing sections, you miss information, and then you get questions wrong, which can hurt your score.
Following strategies for specific types of questions. So for example, in the reading section about vocabulary questions. There are very specific strategies to getting right answers, and I will talk about those in all of the upcoming lesson videos about strategy. So in general, you need language skills of course, reading, listening, etc. But you also need those TOEFL skills, which I’m going to explain more in further lessons about taking notes, finding information, etc.
And, you need to time yourself well. You need to stay focused. You need that energy throughout the full three and a half hour test. So, if you have trouble with test taking skills, you’ll also want to improve these largely through practice. It’s not just about how well you speak English or how well you write, and read, and listen.
It’s also about how you take the TOEFL that can really change your score, and that’s what we’re going to study in many of the upcoming lessons.
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