Category Archives: TOEFL

Word of the Day Blog

alacrity-final

 

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Today’s word is:

Alacrity: noun Brisk and cheerful readiness

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What’s a “Good” TOEFL Score?

toefl_Preparation

If you are a non-native English speaker planning to attend a US university, you’ll need to take either the TOEFL iBT or IELTS in order to determine and demonstrate English proficiency. But what constitutes a “good” score? Instead of thinking in terms of “good” and “bad” it’s useful to see what your college or university requires and make goals to exceed their requirements. Having a goal in mind will help challenge and direct you in your study of the TOEFL, whether it’s through an English school or private classes. The world-wide average Internet TOEFL score in 2012 was 80/120.

Here is a chart from About.com that shows required scores for a few US universities.

Test Score Requirements
College
(click for more info)
Internet-Based TOEFL Paper-Based TOEFL GPA/SAT/ACT Graph
Amherst College 100 recommended 600 recommended see graph
Bowling Green State U 61 minimum not reported see graph
MIT 90 minimum
100 recommended
577 minimum
600 recommended
see graph
The Ohio State University 79 minimum 550 minimum see graph
Pomona College 100 minimum 600 minimum see graph
UC Berkeley 80 minimum 550 minimum see graph
University of Florida 80 minimum 550 minimum see graph
UNC Chapel Hill 100 recommended 600 recommended see graph
University of Southern California 100 minimum not reported see graph
UT Austin 79 minimum 550 minimum see graph
Whitman College 85 minimum 560 minimum see graph

If you’re looking to improve your TOEFL score, or study in the US to learn English, look at our school’s programs and contact us for details.

TOEFL Essay Checklist

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The TOEFL’s writing exam was previously administered as a separate test. Now, the writing section is Section 4 of your TOEFL iBT. It is divided into two sections: Integrated Writing and Independent Writing. The integrated section is writing which is based on reading and listening. You will read a passage on a particular topic, and then you will listen to a lecture on that same topic. During the reading and lecture, you’re able to take notes in order to collect your thoughts when writing. Afterwards, you will be given a question in which you must respond in 150 – 225 words.

The independent section will also be based on a question, but it will require you to give an opinion and justify your argument. The question will ask your opinion on a topic, such as “It is better to grow up with siblings than without. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay.” You will have 30 minutes to write this portion. When writing the independent portion, it’s important to remember this essay checklist from English Club:

Essay checklist
Do I have an interesting introductory sentence?
Do I have a thesis?
Does my introduction state the topics that I plan to cover?
Does each paragraph have a topic sentence?
Do I use examples and reasons to support my points?
Is my spelling and punctuation correct?
Do I use simple grammatical structure that I am comfortable with?
Do I use transitional phrases?
Have I covered both sides of an issue fairly?
Did I prove my thesis?
Does my conclusion end with an interesting thought or idea?

TOEFL Tips: Parts of a Paragraph

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From Testden.com:

Topic Sentence
What is the topic sentence?
The topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph.

What does it do?
It introduces the main idea of the paragraph.

How do I write one?
Summarize the main idea of your paragraph. Indicate to the reader what your paragraph will be about.

Example:

There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. First, Canada has an excellent health care system. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Second, Canada has a high standard of education. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Finally, Canada’s cities are clean and efficiently managed. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. As a result, Canada is a desirable place to live.

Supporting Details

What are supporting sentences?
They come after the topic sentence, making up the body of a paragraph.

What do they do?
They give details to develop and support the main idea of the paragraph.

How do I write them?
You should give supporting facts, details, and examples.

Example:

There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. First, Canada has an excellent health care system. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Second, Canada has a high standard of education. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Finally, Canada’s cities are clean and efficiently managed. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. As a result, Canada is a desirable place to live.

Closing Sentence
What is the closing sentence?
The closing sentence is the last sentence in a paragraph.

What does it do?
It restates the main idea of your paragraph.

How do I write one?
Restate the main idea of the paragraph using different words.

Example:

There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. First, Canada has an excellent health care system. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Second, Canada has a high standard of education. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Finally, Canada’s cities are clean and efficiently managed. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. As a result, Canada is a desirable place to live.

3 Tips for TOEFL Study

Young Woman Daydreaming in Library

Understand the TOEFL Format: Being prepared for the TOEFL test requires you to fully understand its format. One of the biggest reasons people experience stress during testing is because they don’t know what to expect from the testing situation. This can be alleviated by studying the TOEFL’s format and taking practice tests. Most TOEFL tests are taken online in a format called the iBT, but some test facilities still offer the paper version. Taking practice tests in the same environment you plan to take the test can help you anticipate what your strengths and weaknesses will be.

Learn Academic English: The TOEFL does not just assess your English abilities: It also analyzes your general college preparedness. This means you’ll be tested on topics and vocabulary that would be encountered in a university classroom. Without having attended a university, how will you know what to study? This is something of a catch-22. Taking an academic English program will help you be prepared for the university classroom, as well as the test you’ll take to get there.

Find an English Conversation Partner: Enrolling in an academic English program is a huge step toward gaining English proficiency, but to understand how English is actually used, English students must practice in a conversational setting. Finding a native conversation partner can help you gain confidence in your everyday speaking abilities. Having real-world experience will help what you’ve learned in books come alive.

Vocab

Alleviate: (verb) to make (suffering, deficiency, or a problem) less severe.

Facility: (noun) space or equipment necessary for doing something.

Anticipate: (verb) regard as probable; expect or predict.

Preparedness: (noun) set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters

Catch-22: (idiom) situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules.

Proficiency: (noun) a high degree of competence or skill; expertise.

Conversational: (adj) appropriate to an informal conversation.