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  1. Hi All! Looks like it hasn't been great for me :( Verbal - 650 Quant - 760 AWA - 5 Dunno how it's going to work out for me. Anyways, thanks everybody! -vemvin Edited by Erin so that the score is in the subject.
  2. That's SUPER!!! CONGRATS!!! And all the best!!! -vemvin
  3. Hi Fellow TMites and Erin (The Magician!) I finished my test today. I'm so glad it's over! :D Here are my scores: Listening: 28 Structure: 13 to 30 Reading: 30 Total: 237 to 293 I hope I get a good score for my essay. Coming to the test experience: I found that listening is slightly tougher in CBT than in the Paper based (I gave my paper based 3 years ago and my score was 657) So, one really needs to pay attention to every word that's being said. Since the next talk/conversation begins immediately after you answer one question on the previous conversation/talk, before hitting the confirm button, mentally prepare yourself to hear the next conversation or talk. Make sure that your concentration does not waver even for a second! The structure too was slightly tougher than the paper based, but to people who speak English habitually and read good material, it shouldn't be a problem. Reading was quite good. Not that the passages were easy, but there's normally a lot of time to think well and answer. So, I first answered all the questions and then used the remaining 30 minutes to check my answers, reading the passages again. Unfortunately, unlike the GRE, the essay section comes in the end here. And I was quite exhausted by the time I reached this section. Anyways, since the topic is from the list published, starting and points shouldn't be a problem. All you need to do is organize and type your essay. That's about it folks! I had only a week's prepration or so, and I'm glad it's over! I thank all of you for your support, directly and indirectly. Wishing you all the very best! -vemvin :)
  4. Hi All I'm back, this time in the TOEFL forum. :) You guys were a great help (I can't say how great!) for the GRE. And now it's TOEFL. And the test is just two days away!! The worst part is, I'm unable to come up with classy essays as I sometimes used to for my GRE AWA. Anywyas, here's one on this topic. All ye great brains, please read this one and let me know what's right/wrong and what needs improvement, ASAP if you please :D Erin, I'd be really very happy if you could grade this essay. Thanking you all in advance, Happy reading! -vemvin Modern day gadgets and processed food have revolutionized the way we cook. In my opinion, the fact that preparation of food has become easier has certainly improved the way people live. Preparation of food is no longer a time consuming process. Due to the availability of food that is ready to be eaten or that which only needs to baked before it can be consumed, has made life simpler. Prior to the availability of such foods, people had to spend a lot of time in the preparation of food. Due to this, the task of cooking was entrusted to one person, whose absence left others helpless. But now, the burden no longer lies on one person. The preparation of food is now a more personal activity than a communal one, thus giving individuals more freedom to choose the kind of food they eat. Modern gadgets have played a major role in simplifying the process of preparing food. Cooking is no longer a complicated process, the forte of only a few people. Prior to the existence of electric grinders, ovens and stoves, cooking was not only a tedious and laborious task but also a process which required the cook to be experienced enough to produce good food. For example, before electric ovens with temperature control existed, the baked product’s quality largely depended on the ability of the baker to maintain the appropriate temperature. But now, this task has been handed over to machines and the dependency on the baker has reduced. Thus life has improved, as food became easier to prepare. People no longer have to depend entirely upon the expertise or the availability of a cook to be able to eat good food. Cooking, in the present times, is viewed more as a hobby than a tedious task.
  5. I agree with Ketan, Erin. If you think it's a good idea, please start a topic. If you feel there aren't enough contributions, you can always discontinue by closing the thread. -vemvin
  6. Hi Sow Here are a few things: * in your intro, you must state your stance. you may not support either side entirely, but even that you must state. you must'nt leave the reader to read in between the lines as to what you think. yes, you must definitely say what "you" think and why. * avoid using words repetitively, like use of "individual" in the second para. * also, make less use of "one" - you'll tend to write in the passive voice which is not very comfortable for the reader * take care of tenses - Abraham Lincoln "loved" to read. * also, you need to cover more points and elaborte on them. hope this helps.... -vemvin
  7. Hi Gautam here's what I think: you don't have to say this - that's why this topic is given. if you have something jing-bang to say, by all means do. but in case you don't, try with the key point in the essay. Start indicating your stance here itself. This is ambiguous. Don't jump your stance on the reader suddenly. I mean, start by saying that "while ther is something to be said about side A, side B is certainly so-and-so" I hope you get the idea. this is not what the topic is abut. read the topic atleast 5 times before you start making your points. underline/note down the key phrases and the relationship between them. not always what comes firt to your mind is what the topic is about. here for example, the issue is not whether or not cermonies and rituals are an integral part of our live. the issue is whether or not they define a culture, and whether or not they give societies/people an identity. again, since this is not what the topic is about, you'll need to say that you're first giving your ideas of the importance of rituals and ceremonies, after which you will head on to the topic whether they are important in terms of defining a culture too. using rhetoric questions, however, is a good practice - it emphasises your points. so do use them when you feel like. flaws in the above: (I'm not pointing out the good parts -saved them till the end!) * the common "man's" schedule - use of apostrophe is a must here * check the correct meaning of cliche - I don't thnk you should use it here * it is "extra currcular activities" - the plural must be given for activity * a persons - say "persons" or "a person" an election is the process of choosing a new representative. it is not a welcoming ceremony. watch out for such flaws. If you're not sure,don't use such examples. you could simply say "when a new president is elected, there is a ceremony to mark the occassion" or something to that effect. Pl. note that my intention is not to scare you or make you doubt your knowledge, but if there are obvious flaws, then they will only weaken your chances of getting good points. no, this point is not clear. I feel, that you must give one or two examples, but treat those complelty. merely mentioning them will not strengthen your argument. you need to explain in depth the whys and hows. don't base your essay completely on examples - use examples only to strenthen your point or to give proof that what you're syin is right. this is not a test of your general knowledge. you must not say wide variety, you must say "a" wide variety. Also, each is singular. so you must say "each follows his or her own rituals" please explain this. Make sure your conclusion states your stance yet again. summarize in a sentence or two your points,. and then make a general statement in support of your stance. well, your perspective is clearly very different. the kind of rituals and ceremonies that I could think of when I read the topic are related to culture, like wedding, funeral, etc. But the kind of points that you have made are good. I don't think you need to worry about your ideas. Just concentrate now on the flow of your essay and on the grammar. The ohter important thing is the depth in the essay. Your idea is to persuade and for that you must go as deep as possible in the given time. again don't get lost in the depths!! I know I have been nitpicking a bit, but do keep these in mind when you're writing your next essay. I'm sure things will automatically fall in place. all the best.... -vemvin
  8. Hi Nisha here's what I think: Nisha, this sentence is too long. you need to use pronouns very carefully. It's better to cut your sentences if they're tending to be too long. here again, usage of "this" - do restrict it. Your sentences are kinda complicated. They are not taking me to the point immediately. This'll require some practice, but you _must_ do it. your intention here is to get your point across to the reader the moment he/she reads it. And the moment it is read, the reader must think "ah! so this is her approach". Also, the first para, the intro, must clearly state your stance. it's not a rule, but it's the best way to show the way to the reader. The best part is that you have good points, and good examples to support them. But again, you need to organize your essay better. Also, the conclusion must first state your stance emphatically. then summarize your essay points and then say something really positive about your stance. this should not be the starting of your conclusion. also, it doens't make much sense. Please plan your essays in such a way that you have time to read them, and read them as a reader. Also, you must sparingly use words liek "I", "us", "our" etc. use them when you're giving your stance. use them, also, when your giving persoanl experiences. but other than that, make the essay look more like an academic paper. I would say that the test taker must plan to finsih the essay writing part in 40 minutes and not 45 minute, since it's certainly going to take some time deciding which topic to write on. And then one needs to wait atleast 5 secons before the laswt reading, so that you'll get the feeling that you're reading this essay for the first time. Also, make sure that there are atleast 10 seconds after you finsih with the whole thing. It'll make you more confident that you ahve finished it in time. I hope you didn't mind my frank opinion. I only want to help... hope all this helps.... -vemvin
  9. Hi Amigo! >Your essay is a true masterpiece. well, that's surely an overstatement! thanks anyway :o >There is no flaws as such in your essay. But, ideally, you could've used >the word express and its derivatives a wee bit less in the first >paragraph. Thanks for the tip! Yeah, after you pointed it out, I reread it. You're right - one should always look out for repetitiveness. >When's your exam ? :D finished it today! The writing sections were cool. But you need to really practise with time constraints. I think you should practise writing your essays for 40 minutes, becuse you'll definitely need time to think which topic to choose when you are given the options. And also, you need to have atleast 10 seconds after you finish writing your essay so that you feel sure that you've completed it. So, 40 minutes is the thing! And when is yours??? All the best! although my exam is over I'd like to continue contributing here. The essay writing part is truly an intellectul exercise and I like it very much :) Also, it's important that someone critiques the essys that you write. I would definitely like to help in whatever way I can. -vemvin PS:'ll be posting al my scores in 3 weeks time on the score reporting section. I'll give them all as a bunch. Wish me luck for my essays!!!!
  10. Hi Amigo I'm glad you find my suggestions useful. As for my essay, I've posted it, but it shows a question mark on the folder icon. Moreover it says it's not moderated. Also when someone enters that topic, there is no provision to enter comments, critique, etc. And I have no idea how to do it. Let me know how that's done please. Thanks! -vemvin
  11. Hi All Here's my essay on the topic. This is sort of similar to the other one on censorship. Please give your comments - good or bad. :D Thanks! -vemvin 82: "Government should never censor the artistic works or historical displays that a museum wishes to exhibit." Humans are born free – free to express and investigate. Is the government then justified in acting as a censoring body, deciding what we, as the public, should see and know and what we shouldn’t? I believe that, while it is necessary to uphold norms of the society, it is the right of every artist to communicate his expressions to the public by his artistic works, and the right of the people to know facts about the past, shocking or otherwise. Censorship of artistic works curbs an artist’s freedom of expression. It may be argued that the purpose of censorship is to filter controversial and questionable work, and provide the public with a healthy dose of artistic expression. However, it is an artist’s desire to express his thoughts, emotions and sentiments by way of his work. And after doing so the artist seeks an appreciation of his work from the general public. By regulating what the artist can express the government tends to discourage the artist in his or her artistic pursuit. When the artist knows that a certain work will not reach the public and hence will remain unappreciated, he or she will lose interest. Censorship confines the artist’s expressions. For example, if an artist wishes to express his or her unhappiness with status quo through a painting, he or she must be allowed to do so. By curbing this desire, the government is violating his right to expression. Censorship of historical displays too can prove detrimental to society. The purpose of historical displays at museums is to inform and educate the general public about events of the past. These are proof of the happenings of the past. While it may be argued that some selfish bodies may fabricate historical evidences to serve their own ends, it is true that they may even abuse censorship and withhold true information for the same purpose. By limiting the displays, the regulatory body is limiting the public’s access to information. For example, if there is evidence that a person in history, thought to be democratic in his rule was actually despotic, then the public has a right to know that. Complete absence of censorship, on the other hand, can prove harmful too. Society has some values and norms that need to be followed so that there is peaceful co-existence of all the people, whatever their interests and inclinations are. It is part of the duty of the government to maintain this balance. By giving unlimited freedom to artists they endanger the interests of some groups. An example of this is a painter who would like to depict the absence of God. While this is an expression of his feelings, it may not appeal to some sections of the society. This difference of opinion can lead unrest among the people, and ultimately the government is blamed for this unhappiness. To avoid such situations, censoring bodies are necessary. While this may be so, it is also true that the public today is more educated and more capable of deciding for itself what it wishes to see and what it doesn’t. The ability to discriminate between right and wrong is the strength of society today. Thus censorship is justified in some measure only. When the government exercises its control over artists and information sources, society is deprived of works of art and information about the past. Censorship curbs the artistic impulses of artists and discourages historians to bring to light more information about the past. Freedom of thought and expression are basic human rights, and no government must exercise its control over them.
  12. Hi Amigo and Sow!! I agree with Amigo that your essays areshort. not that length matters, but you need to cover enough points to drive home _your_ point. What I find commentable (Yep, I'm back with my caveat!) is that you have not organized your essay well enough. First decide what points you want to cover wrt culture. Art? then tlak about museums. Music? then talk about cultural programs, auditoriums, etc. Also, the examples you have given are very obscure ones. Give those that are more universally known. Agreed, the readers are mostly Amercian residents, but it would impress them more when you talk about truly cultural centers. Maybe Rome and cathedrals, NY and Broadway. I agree with Amigo that you need to have a definite intro and conclusion. These are important, otherwise your essay looks incompltee or starting out of the blue. For more tips on these(!) look at my posting for the topic "Censorship...." Hope this helps.... -vemvin
  13. Hi Amigo! Your essay is good, but it has some flaws/deficiencies (I hope you don't mind my caveat!) Firstly, there seem to be two introductions. The first two paras are boh introdcutory and do not discuss one single point. You should combine both these and come up with a short introdcution. Secondly, you have kind of digressed. You moved on to a slightly related but differenct topic. Media is a victim of censorship. Freedom of expression is curbed by censorship. Instead, you spoke about how mdia interferes in the lives of people, especially the famous ones. Also, your expressions are a bit superflous: "Thus, censorship, though not always justified, has its uses sometimes. " In this sentence, you need not use "someitmes" since you've already said that it is not always justified. Look out for similar problems. As for the structure, it is good, since you move quite smoothely from one point to another and sum it up. Also, your points and examples are very good. But try not to base your argumetn solely on examples. I mean, say some general stuff, and then illustrate using examples. Another thing is your conclusion - you probably should chagne the order of the sentences to make it more effective. eg. "Thus, censorship, though not always justified, has its uses. Freedom to express ourselves, and the freedom to gain access to information, are two of our most important birthrights, and no one must deny us those." It kind of closes the topic with an extremely positive point on your side. Also, you should try to sum up the points you dicsussed. About your trouble with writing and ending. I hope you're first jotting down down the points you intend to cover in the essay and then start writing the body. The intro and the conclusion should preferably written in the end. However, I find it easier to start with the introduction. Yep, that's about it! ;) Hope this helps..... I will shortly post my essay on a similar topic. Do read it and let me know your views. -vemvin
  14. Hi! You need to work a lot on your grammar. Your points are good though. I suggest you start by reading more books and practising small essays and get them corrected by your English teacher. Once that is done, you can start to concentrate on the organization of your essay. You really need not worry about making your essay persuading - it already is! But you _must_ improve your langauage and grammar. Try getting in touch with your English teacher. You can also learn a lot by referring to some grammar teaching sites and by doing sentence correction questions. After all that, rewrite your essay. Hope this helps. -vemvin
  15. Hi Erin and fellow TMites!!! It is my opinion that the issue topics are tougher nuts to crack, mainly because some of the topics are so dry that it is difficult to take a stance or come up with good points in support of your stance. While it is true that reading essays posted by others can provide some input, it would be more beneficial to have points for each topic listed out. Erin can lock the topic once he thinks enough points have been covered. These can serve as quick guides to one who has trouble thinking of some points. TMites can continue to send in their essays for others to critique. In this case, the focus can be on the organization and structure of the essay, and its logical soundness. If all of you think it's a good idea, we'll come up with a thread for that too, and start contributing to it topic-wise. Hope to hear from you all soon.... -vemvin :)
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