View Full Version : Thanks Erin ..all credit goes to you.

06-18-2002, 11:19 PM
I received my TOEFL Scores for which I appeared on 05/06/2002 at New Delhi INDIA.Listening 27, Structure 27, Reading 27, Total Score 270 and Essay Rating 5.0.

Firstly, I would like to thank you as due to practice and guidance received by solving numerous excercises and writing essays I was able to face the actual test with confidence .

I am not really happy with my essay score ,but I think I took a lot of time in planning out the structure of the essay which ultimately cost me valuable marks.It is really suprising how fast the time of 30 minutes runs out.My essay topic was "Imagine that you have received some land to use as you wish.How would you use this land?Use specific details to explain your answer."

The difficult part was on deciding how to "use this land" and at the same time justify my decision,which took my valuable time.So, by the time I finished I hardly had time to revise my essay and correct typographical errors as the essay is automatically saved after 30 mins.

The best way to prepare is to write the essays and use the free service(if you can wait for 20-30 days) to get your score. Never, be tempted to exceed the time limit of 30 mins during practice.

Regarding other sections practice whatever excercises are available on this site.For listening section I watched BBC World,CNBC and CNN .

I am really impressed the way erin regularly maintains and updates this site and answers to queries.Whoever said "The best things in life are free" must have had this site in mind.

Thanks Erin ,Keep it up!

Sanjiv .

06-19-2002, 09:50 PM
Great job!!

Sanjiv, do you realize that you are the FIRST student to register for these boards?? Your i/d # is 3--after #1, admin, and #2, TestMagic. You're the first!!

And I'm so glad that you are still around today; that makes me happy.

Your scores are awesome! And good enough for just about any school! You are to be congratulated for your great score and hard work.

Thanks so much for your great essay advice. Time management is EXTREMELY important, not just for the essay section, but also for the rest of the test, so it's good for others to hear from their fellow test-takers not to overlook this seemingly unimportant part of test-taking.

Great job! I hope you will keep posting here and let us know where you end up going to school!!


06-19-2002, 10:02 PM
BTW, one of the very first essays I wrote for this web site was on this topic.

You can read it here:



06-20-2002, 03:08 AM
Thanks a lot, Sanjiv !!!
We really appreciate your valuable advice.


06-20-2002, 11:55 AM
Erin and Sajiv,

Any of you (still better, both of you :) ) please advice us on this...

How many essays does one need to practice before the actual TOEFL?

You might say "the more the better", or quote Einstein:

<span style="font-face:roman;font-size:20px;color:white;background-color:black;border:1px solid silver;text-align:center;width:70%;padding:20px;">"Everything that can be counted doesn't count and Everything that counts cannot be counted."</span>

But I really what to know. Being in the situation I'm in, I obviously can't do all. Is it better to write a few more complete essays with strict time limit OR just gather ideas for all 185 writing topics without bothering to practice structure,organization and timing?


Edited by - raghuveer_v on 2002 Jun 20 06:58:48

06-24-2002, 08:28 AM

I think you should not measure your prepration by the no. of essays you practice,but most important is to get the basics right.If you can write one essay and score 6 then whatever may happen(till you are not doing it delebrately)your score will always be in the range of 5-6.(That's my experience..)

Therefore, the most important points which I have learned ,and are applicable for any essay are :-

-Read the topic carefully ( Sometimes it may have a hidden clue or meaning)..Pay attention to words like support,Explain etc.
-Make a structured planned approach. (But,watch the time as too much time spent on planning will mean less time for writing...a mistake which I made and thus lost valuable 10 marks on the overall score).
-I really benifitted from the advice of erin that in case we have to take a stand in an essay it would be much better and also sensible to make the most obvious choice...as it is more easy to justify taking the time constraint into consideration.For e.g. if we are asked which is more benificial war or peace ?,the answer is obvious but then if I say war is more beneficial it cannot be said that I am wrong (as, it is a matter of opinion) but then I would have to give some solid logical arguments with supporting examples which may be possible but not easy in the 30 minutes.

The essay which I got in the exam is a good example of the same i.e. "The doctorine of the obvious".Honestly,I want to build a swimming pool on the land I get and invite all my friends and have a good time but then my objective is to get a good score in TOEFL, therefore in the test I wrote that I want to build a house for my old parents and then expanded on the same giving justfications and examples.It is more easier to support and above all looks "politically" correct.

Hope this helps.


06-24-2002, 03:54 PM
How many essays does one need to practice before the actual TOEFL?
Sanjiv has given you great advice, pretty much precisely what I'd tell you, so I don't think I can really even expand on what Sanjiv has said, only reiterate.

I don't think it's absolutely vital to practice writing essay after essay, especially if you're already pretty good at writing essays. From my experience, there are two main problems that most people have writing their TOEFL essays: 1. correctly interpreting the essay prompt, and 2. writing the essay in the alotted time.

The first one is especially problematic. In fact, more than half of all the essays I read (again, about 100/week), write about things that are not related to the topic. For example, one of the topics says something like "are games important for adults?" and more than half of all the people write about exercise, not about games (I've posted more on this topic elsewhere). And I'm sure you remember the topic about the most important discovery and many people wanted to write about inventions. There's more, but I think you get the idea, right?

When I have to write or score an essay, I look at the prompt over and over again, making sure that the essay is on topic. Some essays ask you to write about your opinion, others ask you to write about why people do certain things. You need to make sure that you follow the prompt exactly. I think our discussion on the topic of what you would like to study is a good one and shows me that you understand this point just fine.

I have a couple of other things to say, as well. First, I've found that people generally cannot improve their essays simply by practicing (other than getting the time down (get down = learn, perfect)).

Second, another common problem is that people tend to think that they need to use complicated grammar and sentence structure. While it is true that your essay will get a better score if it uses more advanced grammar and sentence structure, it is also true that a fairly simple essay can still get a 6.0. Let me put it this way: simple but correct is ALWAYS better than complex but incorrect. People need to remember that sometimes a simple mistake can totally mess up your essay--remember the essay the guy wrote about "latish?"

Anyway, enough on this. Let me take a look at a couple of the essays that you have posted for us...