Daniel subscribed to a TOEFL course for two reasons: to improve his listening and reading scores. Unfortunately, he scored 5 and 7 points on those two sections, and he desperately needed to improve. How can he function in an English-speaking environment if he can not understand what others say to him and if he can not read what others are writing? After all, he needed to complete his MA Degree in the United States within the next 3 years, so he could get on with his life.
According to Michael, his TOEFL mentor, he needed to begin with improving his vocabulary. Therefore, he tackled all the vocabulary lessons head-on and started the process of learning 1,700 TOEFL words: taking each word from the list and placing it onto a note card with the word on one side and the definition and a sample sentence on the other; listening to the new words and completing matching, reading, and listening exercises; and downloading the words onto his computer and uploading them to his iPOD so he could listen to the words when he was out and about completing his daily errands. It was hard work and took a lot of effort on Daniel’s part, but he pressed on, each day studying 50 new words.
Then, once he had mastered the vocabulary words, he started the listening section of “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.” He went through each lesson, learning how to take notes, how to understand natural speech, how to understand the iBT listening question types, and so on. Now it was time for the real practice: 40 listening practice tests on a plethora of topics ranging from black holes to photosynthesis and everything in between. Michael warned him that these listening practice tests were technical and academic and that many of them were actually more difficult than the TOEFL iBT. But Daniel had to believe it with his own ears, so he took the first practice test on “The Sun.” The narrator spoke quickly and delivered a lot of facts. Indeed, as Michael had promised, the lecture was challenging, and Daniel scored 23% on the quiz questions after the lecture. However, he was not devastated.
Despite this low proficiency score, Daniel continued motoring through the listening practice tests, always keeping in mind the tips and tricks that Michael had taught him. Then, gradually, Daniel made improvements in his listening comprehension, and he felt that his ears were getting faster or that the narrator had slowed his speech. Of course, the narrator was speaking at exactly the same pace as the first practice test, but now, on listening practice test 33, Daniel’s quiz score was 61% on a lecture about “The Physics of Flying an Airplane.” Daniel was delighted about how much he had improved his listening comprehension, and now he was ready to tackle the next part of his online course: reading.
Like his progress in the listening section, Daniel was confident that, if he went through the lessons and if he followed Michael’s teaching tips, he would experience the same type or progress that he had made with the listening lessons. Hence, with his eyes pointed toward success, he continued onward knowing that passing the listening and reading sections of the exam were now withing his grasps.
|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.|