Note Taking for TOEFL

Note taking is one of the most important skills to crack TOEFL. This technique if relearned well can fetch you really good scores especially in Reading and Listening section. We mentioned relearn because note taking technique that you might have learned in school days might not be good enough. Purpose of taking notes in school days was to either jot down important points which you can remember later in order to recreate your answers or to condense a chapter. In TOEFL, you are not only supposed to meet before-mentioned purpose but also apply it aptly in producing answers of the questions in limited time.

Have a purpose

Do not take notes just for the sake taking it. Think of the purpose of it. In case of Listening section, if you are supposed to solve Multiple Choice Questions after listening to the recording, take notes accordingly. You need to jot down ideas explained in few keywords, not in descriptive format. This will save time and also help you do justice to all points. In case you need to speak after listening to particular piece of audio, take notes in such a way that you can go back to each point and add few extra points that you -would like to add. This will save your ample of time allotted to prepare to speak.

Pay attention to tone or actions

This question is fairly common on TOEFL. After reading a passage or listening to the audio you might be asked to select tone or follow up action after conversation. While reading or listening try to judge mood of author or speaker and jot it down after the notes taking session.

Create a format

After sufficient amount of practice you will be able to generate you own format which will help you in variety of questions. You may have two columns while taking notes. In one of the columns you would like to take notes while to other column you might like to add your own ideas.

Grammar in TOEFL

Grammar in TOEFL

Although ETS doesn’t test you on grammar, your grammar will be obvious in your speech and writing. Using a wide range of different grammatical constructions enriches your language.

According to ETS, a student should “demonstrate effective use of grammar” and “exhibit a high degree of automaticity, with good control of basic and complex structures.”

In each of the six tasks in the speaking section, you have to express your ideas on a given topic for one minute. Though time is short, you rather be able to speak confidently, expressing your ideas clearly and without obvious grammatical errors. Writing your essay you’ll have another chance to demonstrate your grammar abilities. This section is one which “displays consistent facility in the use of the language, demonstrating comfort with various syntaxes, appropriate word choice and idioms, though it may have minor lexical or grammatical errors.”

Studying Grammar

  1. At first test your grammar through mock tests to define what you know well and what you should review or learn.
  2. Having identified a difficult area of grammar, select reliable materials (books, CDs etc.) to study. Better is from EST TOEFL Official Guide.
  3. Firstly, read and understand the rules for the grammatical structure you’ve chosen to learn. Make a brief note of the rules.
  4. Complete one of the exercises. Look into the Answer Key. Check your answers; analyze mistakes and points you couldn’t understand before.
  5. Write down any sentences that clearly demonstrate the use of the grammatical structure. Try to understand and remember them.
  6. Having understood how the grammatical structure is used, refer to a book, a magazine or a newspaper and find examples of the structure in a real piece of writing.
  7. Revise the grammatical structure frequently for 1-2 weeks. Try to use it correctly while speaking and writing.

10 Tips to Improve Your TOEFL Essays

Through experience we have found that there are many ways to improve your TOEFL writing by just applying common sense. You don’t need studying at all.

  1. Precise answer to the question

    It is found that students write irrelevant matter. For instance, other’s opinions are written when asked for student’s opinion. Your grammar may be perfect and your ideas may be great. Even so, if you don’t answer the TOEFL question, none of that matters. So, concentrate on answering the question well first.

  2. Simplify sentences

    Many people are found overly eager to use recently mugged up GRE words. Good writers express complex ideas in a very simple way. If you are able to do this, you will demonstrate strong writing skills. More importantly, short and simple sentences means fewer grammatical mistakes.

  3. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end

    Concentrate on formal essay structure rather than pulling of a radical writing strategy. Your essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. This structure helps organize your thoughts and easier to organize them in short time.

  4. Use topic sentences and narrate it

    A topic sentence is the first sentence of each paragraph in the essay’s body. Narrate it in your own words. It gives the evaluator two things: 1) a summary of what will be in the paragraph, and 2) an impression that the student has understood the topic well.

  5. Thesis statement

    The thesis statement is last sentence in the first paragraph (the introduction). It is the most important statement of your essay. It tells the reader exactly what your opinion is. I will help you bolster your structure.

  6. Do not begin with conjunction

    conjunctions are used to connect sentences-we almost never begin a sentence with one. The, but, and because are all conjunctions.

  7. Learn how to use the comma

    Using the comma correctly will give your writing its intended meaning. Learn the rules for using them in English as evaluator shall read the same sentence you wanted write.

  8. Be active

    In traditional writings passive voice is recommended. Still, we would advice to use active voice, as it is much stronger than the passive voice. Use the active voice as much as possible.

  9. Precise words and phrases

    Precise words and phrases make your writing easier to understand. They connect ideas and present them to the reader in a logical order. For instance: First of all…, In addition…, More importantly…, In closing…, In conclusion….

  10. Make good use of conditionals

    Ii was found that many students find it difficult to use conditionals. Learning the conditionals important than learning tenses. Conditionals are useful for expressing opinions and reasons. The two things you must do in the TOEFL independent writing tasks.

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