Alexandria begins step one of her new TOEFL Course.

Just finding out that she needed to score above 92 at her prospective graduate school, Alexandria subscribed to a TOEFL course called “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.” The online service features more than 330 TOEFL lessons to help Alexandria improve her academic proficiency in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking.  Today, she begins Step One: “Supersize your Vocabulary.”

Since it is NOT possible for Alexandria to memorize every vocabulary word on the TOEFL iBT, her first lessons focus on teaching her how to guess at the meaning of new vocabulary words using seven specific strategies. She learns and reviews the information and practice exercises, and now is ready to move on to the next lesson.

Alexandria’s next lesson is a twenty chapter E-book focusing on helping her to learn 200 basic-level words.  Each chapter introduces 10 words and includes audio files, matching exercises, reading exercises, and listening practice tests to help her learn the new words.  After 3 chapters, she takes tests her mastery of the words she is studying.  After 1o chapters, she takes a comprehensive exam testing her mastery of the first 100 words that she studies.  Chapters 11-20 follow the same format with unit tests and a comprehensive exam at the end of the book. As she finishes her studies with this E-book, she is ready to move onto the next lesson which focuses on more advanced vocabulary.

In this lesson, Alexandria will learn 1,500 frequently occurring words on the TOEFL iBT. Alexandria, following her teacher’s advice, creates a note-card system to learn the words in this lesson. She writes one word onto the front of a note-card with the definition, sample sentence, and other important information to help her remember the word on the back.  To help make the tedious process faster, she gets 10 of her friends to help her in getting her note-card study system ready.  Then she begins studying the cards to learn the words.  Furthermore, to aid her even more, she downloads all the audio files of the words onto her iPOD so she can listen to the words to and from work.  She learns the first 150 words and completes an online vocabulary quiz which randomly draws from a large test bank. Taking these quizzes regularly begin to cement the words in her long term memory.

After she finishes the vocabulary part of this course, Alexandria relies less on translating words in her own language, she improves her reading speed and comprehension, she now has the ability to create powerful rhetorical essays, she can easily understand academic lectures which use a wind range of academic vocabulary, and she improves her ability to speak fluently about conversational and academic speaking topics.

This article was written by Michael Buckhoff–co-founder and materials writer for Better TOEFL Scores and The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT, Composition and Linguistics Professor, TOEFL Specialist, ESL Master Instructor, and Placement and Testing Coordinator for California State University, San Bernardino.Follow more posts and videos from Michael at Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

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