TOEFL: first impressions

This time I want to write about the first stumbling block in my way to a MBA: The Test of English as a Foreign Language, most commonly know as TOEFL.

The TOEFL is used to measure a person’s ability to read, listen, speak and write in English at a university level. If you want to study a MBA, it will be probable that you will have to take the exam, and you will need a good score!

Now days it is common to take the TOEFL iBT test, a new version of the TOEFL test. It is an Internet-based test (iBT), and it’s available in multiple countries. If you want more information about the test, to download sample material or to schedule an appointment to take the test, visit the official web page for more information: http://www.ets.org/toefl.

Depending on the location you choose as your test center, you will be offered different examination days. The nearest test center to my place offers almost a test day per week, so that allows me more freedom to choose my “judgment day”.

I’ve bought the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test, Third Edition to prepare the exam. I have been studying for a week or so and I have covered the first section: the reading. As I’ve said on another occasion, I’ve lived in the US for three years, and went to High School, so I knew that I would have some work done before even studying for the test.

In the reading section, you have to read several passages, covering a variety of different topics. The main purpose of this section is to assess how well you can read and understand the kind of writing that is used in an academic environment.

In all the practice sets that I have done for this section, I normally got one error, so I was very confident with the reading right from the beginning. At the end of the reading section of the book, you are presented a real practice TOEFL iBT reading test. It’s composed of three passages, each passage containing from 12 to 13 questions. I got an average result of 27-30 on the section, so that reaffirmed me that I can do well on this section of the test.

I must say that I got wrong two questions because I didn’t read and understood what I was being asked. Next time, I’ll have to pay more attention on reading and completely understanding every question before answering.

My main objective on this section is to score a minimun of 28. In order to get at least 110 on the test, I will have to score really high on the reading. I will have to do a really good job on the listening too, the next section that I’ll be preparing. The writing and speaking I believe to be harder than the other two sections, because it’s easier to make mistakes and to get lower grades.

I’ll try to cover the listening section this week. I want to try to finish the four sections before the end of the year, a complicated task now that I’m in the process of moving, and we have to get it done before the 30th of December.

See you next time!


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