Vocabulary is one of the cornerstone skills for passing the TOEFL iBT, and part of having good vocabulary is increasing your knowledge of synonyms, a word which is in some way similar to another word in meaning. Whether you want to become a good writer, reader, listener, or speaker on the TOEFL iBT, you will need improve your knowledge of synonyms.
Maybe you are thinking, “Why are synonyms important to TOEFL iBT writing?” First, during the TOEFL iBT independent writing, you will need to re-phrase the writing task, thus making it part of your introduction, but you will not want to copy the writing task word for word. For example, if you are asked the question, “What are the benefits of studying overseas?” you may rephrase it as, “Getting an education abroad is valuable because…” Second, on both the independent and integrated writing sections, you should state a thesis in the introduction, after which you rephrase its main points as key words in your topic sentences in your developmental paragraphs. It is best if these key words in your topic sentences are not exactly the same words used in your introduction.
Third and most important, during the integrated writing section, you will summarize the reading passage as part of your response during which you show how the listening passage is related. If you copy the reading passage word for word, even a single sentence, TOEFL iBT human raters are instructed to give you a score of zero.
Therefore, you need to develop the skill of being able to paraphrase. Let’s suppose you want to rewrite the following taken from an academic reading passage: “Photosynthetic organisms are also referred to as photoautotrophs.”
Step 1: Identify nouns, adjective, adverbs, and verbs in the sentence and, then whenever possible, choose synonyms of those words (i.e., using different parts of speech if necessary) :
- photosynthetic organisms = living things using photosynthesis
- are also referred to = scientists additionally call
- Photoautotrophs = photoautotrophs
Step 2: Change the grammar from passive to active or vice versa; somehow change the word order of the sentence so human raters do not accuse you of stealing the grammar structure in the reading passage:
- Rewritten: Scientists additionally call living things using photosynthesis photoautotrophs.
- Original: Photosynthetic organisms are also referred to as photoautotrophs.”
As you can see, the rewritten sentence changes the word order, grammar, word forms, and vocabulary so that the rewritten version does not look exactly like the original.
For more information, go here:
Watch Video: Learn about S.T.E.A.L.T.H.