My Experience Of How I Managed To Qualify TOEFL - SwisterNews


September 06, 2019

My Experience Of How I Managed To Qualify TOEFL

Before I begin narrating you my experience of qualifying TOEFL, I would like to introduce myself and would explain a bit about TOEFL iBT. My name is Surya Pratap Singh and I am 23 years old.
Now I am pursuing my doctorate in Material Science at Kyoto University, Japan. My research theme is photocatalytic methane conversion.

I was studying Chemistry in Masters at IIT Hyderabad, India when I appeared for TOEFL iBT. I was a bit nervous at the time when I was going to appear for the exam. But I knew that concentration is the key to ace the test and so during the test, I concentrated on even the minute details of the questions and then answered. Thus when the results were declared, I came through with flying colors.
There are three types of TOEFL test – PBT (Paper-Based Test), CBT (Computer-Based Test), and iBT (Internet-Based Test). Currently, iBT is the most common type of test and I also had appeared for the same. TOEFL iBT measures one’s ability to use and understand English. It evaluates four basic skills of English language – Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The internet-based test consists of the four sections; one for each skill, i.e.; reading, listening, speaking and writing section. Each section consists of 30 marks making total marks of the test to be 120.
Reading section measures one’s ability to understand academic texts. In this section, some passages are given to read. The passages are quite lengthy. The number of passages varies too.
You have to read the passage first and then have to answer the questions. The number of questions from each passage also varies. This section evaluates a wide range of reading abilities from academic vocabulary, the grammatical structure of sentences, and making appropriate inferences to abstracting the major idea from a dense text. My level of understanding in this section was “High.”
Listening section tests one’s understanding of listening conversations and lectures in English. In this section, you have to listen to some lectures and/or conversations and have to answer the questions. Questions can be based on what is stated or implied by the speaker. The number of lectures and/or conversations varies. This section evaluates a wide range of listening demands such as the way speaker use language for a special purpose (emphasizing to a point, expressing agreement or disagreement), understanding main ideas of the conversation and distinguishing more important ideas from less important ideas. My level of understanding in this section was “High.”

Speaking section tests one’s ability to speak the English language about familiar topics, a situation, and academic course content. In this section, you have to complete two types of tasks. In one type (integrated speaking questions), you have to read the passage(s), listen to the short conversation(s) and lecture(s) and based on these, you have to answer some questions by speaking for a specified amount of time. In the other (independent speaking questions), question(s) would comprise of the familiar topic(s) and you have to answer based on your experience(s) by speaking. This section evaluates your ability to speak in English about your experiences and opinions, about reading materials such as newspaper articles and campus bulletins and about academic reading and lecture materials. My level of understanding in this section was “Fair.”
Writing section measures one’s ability to write in English to communicate in an academic environment. You have to complete two tasks in this section. For the first writing task (integrated reading question), you have to read a passage and listen to a conversation or lecture. Both the passage and lecture/conversation would comprise the same topic. Based on what you have read and heard, you have to answer some question(s) by writing. The second writing task (independent writing question) involves answering a question based on your knowledge and experience by writing. The first task of this section evaluates your ability to understand the major idea of the lecture and passage, and to summarize the contents coherently. The second task of this section evaluates the ability to develop and connect your ideas on a particular topic to express your views with reasons and support. My level of understanding of the first task of this section was “Good” while of the second task was “Fair.”
This was all about the structure and pattern of TOEFL iBT test. Now I would like to share my strategy and tips with you guys to take the test. First I read about the TOEFL iBT test on the official  website of ETS. I gathered the information about test content, registration, and preparation of the test. I purchased “The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test.” It is computer software which contains three practice tests and some audio tracks. There are other paid preparation materials and some free test preparation sources also available on the official website of ETS. I started practicing the test and completed all of them soon. I scored quite good in the practice tests and this boosted my confidence. Practice makes a man perfect. So practice more. I have also referred to the official

YouTube channel named “TOEFL TV: The Official TOEFL iBT Channel.” There are many videos available on this YouTube channel covering a wide range of information from the official preparation and practice advice to success stories of some test takers. It helped me a lot. There is one more YouTube channel named “NoteFull TOEFL Mastery” which I referred to. I have also talked to my friends at IIT Hyderabad who had already taken the test. Their experiences and tips were also helpful.
There are some tips which I would like to tell you based on my experience for each section. First, don’t fear. It is a test to evaluate your proficiency in the English language and it is like any other test. If you practice well, you can crack it.
1. Reading Section: The passage in the reading sections are very lengthy and you might not be familiar with the topic of the passage. Thus it is not a good plan to read the whole passage first. The order of the questions is consistent with the paragraphs in the passages.
Therefore, it is advised to read the first question, read the first paragraph and then answer.
The same strategy is to be followed for other questions also. There are many types of questions – insert text type, including vocabulary, sentence simplification type, factual and negative factual information type and asking about the prose summary.

2. Listening Section: You will listen to the lectures and/or conversations only once. You will be provided with some scratch papers in the test. So it is a good practice to take the notes while you listen and then you can use your notes to answer the questions. Concentration is the key to score well in this section. So concentrate more on what the speaker says during your test. The questions might ask you about the inferences, about connecting contents and about details of the lecture and/or conversation.
3. Speaking Section: Generally, there are three types of questions which are asked in this section – independent speaking question(s), integrated speaking questions about campus situation and about academic courses. You will be given a specified amount of time to prepare your response against each question and then you have to speak for another specified amount of time. Write down some key points to address the question(s). Speak clearly at a normal pace, maintain it, take care of grammar and develop your answer in a way that is easy to follow. Use of perfect grammar is not necessary to score good.

4. Writing Section: Writing section contains two types of questions – Integrated writing and independent writing question. You can take notes. The most important point in this section is the development of your answer. Express the main idea of your answer in the first paragraph and then use two or three more paragraphs to explain your idea with proper reasons. Use some transition words in such a way that the whole passage is easy to follow.
So, guys, this was all about my strategy and tips to crack the so called TOEFL test.
Whether you are planning to study, work or live abroad, TOEFL test can help you get there.
TOEFL official says this. Good luck on your TOEFL test! I, here from, would like to take your kind leave. Thank you for reading.

- Surya Pratap Singh (E-Mail :


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