One of the things that we always encourage at Veritas is to see the value in test preparation that extends well beyond the test. By preparing in this way, you’ll both leverage your preparation for something greater than the test, and likely also do a better job of preparing yourself for the test as well. On that note, Jon Hodge of Strictly English TOEFL Tutors has explained here how you can apply this type of approach to the TOEFL.
Leveraging Your TOEFL Skills
Many non-native English speakers applying to English-speaking universities think that the TOEFL is some perfunctory obligation that does not really capture their intellectual ability and will have no usefulness for them after they start their college studies. But this is not true. Of all the standardized tests, TOEFL requires skills that are immediately transferable to almost any academic environment, especially if you really learned those skills and didn’t just cram for the test.
First of all, the TOEFL Reading Section demands that you focus not only on content, but also on the organization of the writing and on the relationship between ideas. When your college courses are demanding that you read 200 pages a week, you need to read strategically and efficiently by always evaluating the text as you read. Someone who can score over a 25 (out of 30) on the Reading section of the test will probably be able to complete reading assignments quicker than students who score in the low 20s (which is still a respectable score for TOEFL).
Similarly, once you understand how TOEFL structures its lectures on the Listening Section of the test, you will be better trained to understand class lectures and how to take notes while following the lecture. Many students untrained in note-taking say that they do not take notes because once they begin writing their notes, they lose what the professor is saying. But good TOEFL tutoring trains you to take notes AND follow the new content the lecturer is saying, so that you miss nothing. This is not an intuitive ability, but a learned skill and preparing for the TOEFL is one effective way to master this skill.
Perhaps the most important part of the TOEFL for a college student to master is the Speaking section. Most college classrooms today were designed to have all the students talk in class. Student sit in a circle, and usually 10% of the course grade is based on class participation. If you’re unable to join the conversation because you’re shy, then you’ll get a lower grade. TOEFL gives you the confidence to speak without being afraid of your accent or your grammar. Now, it’s also true that talking a lot in class is not necessarily good either. Monopolizing the class, or taking a really long time and talking in a convoluted manner is distracting to the flow of the class. Teachers want your contributions to class to be concise, direct, and well organized. This is a hard to do well and it takes a lot of training. Because TOEFL requires you to answer its questions in 45 to 60 seconds, it trains you to contribute to class efficiently. Moreover, the TOEFL only give you 15-30 seconds to think of your response to its prompts, which means you’ll be better prepared to answer a question intelligently if a teacher calls on you in class unexpectedly.
For all the reasons above, we at Strictly English TOFL Tutors urge all TOEFL test takers to remember the skills they learned for the test and find ways to use them once they get to college.