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115/120 oh my god!
I took the TOEFL on June 15th, and just logged in my account to see that the scores were already posted.
I still do not believe the number I see and my hands are shaking while I am typing this. Can this really be my score???
Before taking the test i read a bit around in this forum without being registered, so I guess I just want to give a little back for all the information I got here and tell you...YOU CAN DO IT!
The difficulty level of the texts and the length is comparable to Barron and Longman; so if you feel compfortable with the practise tests they give on their cds, you will not have a problem. As i was scared that the time limit would be too short, I did not read the entire passage first but answered the questions step by step only reading the passage or sentence /word the question was referring to. I already got a rough idea about the whole text this way. For the last questions, that actually require the knowledge of the whole passage, I just went back and had accumulated enough minutes just for this question to read the text completely and then crossed the answer alternatives off till only the ones were left that i thought would fit.
I did not have a good feeling after doing the reading passage, as i find the last questions (e.g. pick the 3 main things that are mentioned in the text) difficult as the answer choices here were all quite appealing. Important: when you done, go and check your answers...even if you do not want to check specific ones, it will instantly point out, if there are questions you did not attempt to answer..so just in case you forgot to answer one, this will point it out. Stupid me only glanced over that and so I left this section with the thoughts: crap..did I answer everything..and....stupid last questions.
Really should not have taken the emotions from the first section with me, did cost me some little points. Just saying this cause when i practised with Barron and Longman, Listening was my super favorite and most easy section. Rarely Rarely had a mistake in that. Again, the material of Barron and Longman is excellent. I found the speed and the slight accent was 100% like it was on Toefl.
This is my most beloved subscore as I thought i would be horrible in this section. Don´t get me wrong..I have no problem talking in English but when i was confronted with this section on Barron and Longman..my mouth just opened and closed like a frog and nothing came out of it. The thought of having to talk instantly about a topic without any preparation time (really..15 seconds?! that is not long)...I was just lost.
So as I had immense trouble with even getting a word out of my mouth instead of sitting there paralyzed, I googled for help like 4 days before the test. I found something that probably rescued me: Jason Renshaw and his free tutorials for speaking. He made me realize that all the brilliant long elaborated example answers you find in practise books are complete nonsense. For each type of questions he gives you templates, tipps and even better: you can listen to example answers he provides..and those are answers you can manage in 60 seconds. Really, anybody having problems with this section..HIGHLY recommend it!!!
So ..how did I feel doing this section? I started like 2nd person with this task so everything around me was pretty quiet. I tried to keep in mind what Jason had said and had actually used the 10 minute break to write down the answer templates and clues on my scrap paper. When I was answering, I realized that i sometimes used slang words like "stuff" or..."that is pretty awsome"..I know you can say that in more elaborate words, but if you under stress..you just say what comes to mind first. Most important: There were 2 answers I could not complete and was interrupted in the middle of giving my explanation or my reason for choosing option xy. That made me really mad cause i thought they would deduct points for it. Obviously they did not!!! So do not feel bad if you have problems with the time management. Yes, keep your answers really short and better just say 2 reasons than trying to ramble about several loose aspects: but do not freak out if you can not finish in time...does not seem to matter.
My husband was waiting for me outside of the testing room..when the speaking section started for me, the door was open that others could take a break..so I asked him later if he heard me..and he said: beside that you sounded nervous, it was fine! So..objective opinion is better than what you feel during the test i guess ;-).
Again, use the help of Jasons tutorial and templates. Memorize the structure, how he approaches the integrated task...and you will be fine.
I typed about 470 words in the Integrated Task, and I think about 633 in the second one. Any helpful advice i could give you, you will find at Jasons webpage. Definately read all example topics from ETS too. I procrastinated this till 2 days before the test and then freaked out when i found a promt that i had no clue how to approach it. I sat down with the promts and then googled for examples..but..that made me even more nervous. So..do it better than me: Use Jasons guide and then really practise with the promts. I had luck with my topic..I could relate to it and actually had good examples, but do not risk that..study those akward prompts.
So, what would i recommend for peparation?
Reading: Barron and Longman CD (lots of full-time and mini tests..pracise and real time mode)
Listening: Barron and Longman CD
Speaking: Use Barron and Longman CD as they simulate the the actual Toefl really good BUT DO NOT listen to their example answers. Instead use the Renshaw webpage, listen to his tutorials and his answers and judge your ability comparing your answers to his level.
Writing: Read the Promt List from ETS, mark those topics you have no clue what to write about and try to sit down and write outlines. Reading example answers online is helpful too (just do not do it so shortly before the test like i did, or you just go crazy about what others write and how great their essays sound). Then very importatn: Follow Renshaws advise!!!!! I used his structure, his templates..everything i could get from that page. I owe that score to him!!!
If you had English at School and maybe spend some time abroad in an English Speaking country, use the sources for about 2-3 weeks without stressing yourself..like 2-3 hours regular practise everyday.
For others i would say sure..take more time, but with these materials, you will do great!!!
My fingers are crossed for everybody else now..I was scared before taking the test, could not sleep and thought I would do horrible. Guys and gals..do not loose faith..YOU CAN DO IT!