Friday, December 24, 2010

How to score high on the TOEFL iBT

This pamphlet is in reply to one of the queries of a fellow member in my forum in LinkedIn. The question was" How can I get a high goal on TOEFL? I feel it hard for me to remember the words" I think this question is in the minds of many others too.

Let’s look at it this way;

1. Define the term high goal first. Is it 100, 105 110, 115 or 120”? Or is it any thing above some score, say 105? Because the height of one’s goal may widely differ from those of others.

2. It is possible to get 30 out of 30 in Reading and Listening, because they are multiple choice questions and are unintegrated sections. A high- goal setter must get at least 28 in Reading and Listening each .As long as the answers are right, you are awarded the marks and there is no element of a review by a human examiner.

3. Tackling Writing and Speaking is a different ball game. You must know how to handle questions extempore in these sections. .

4. Task 1 in writing is an integrated question involving reading, listening and writing. Here your ability to answer the given question is what will fetch high marks. I find student very often failing to go through the directions of the question and write whatever they know about the given topic rather than answering the specific question asked.

5. Secondly some students are too lazy to take notes especially in the Listening part of the integrated Writing and try to recollect points from their memory of what they have heard. This will certainly lead to disaster. You must note at least few key words as you listen, from out of which you should develop the body of your answer.

I repeat, please, please read the question and give an answer relevant to what has been asked.

6. Task Two, mostly borders on preferences, debate whether this or that, or your stated stand on a given issue etc While the topics themselves are varied, how forcefully you present your views is what is judged in this section. .If you can make your examiner look up your essay with a raised eye brow, you are perhaps on your course for some high score. Remember to give as many examples as possible and indicate the examples by pointer words such as ‘ for example, for instance etc’ If you can stun the examiner by a befitting statement such as a quote, a proverb, then your aim of a high goal will be that much easier.

7. Speaking: The short speeches ranging from 45 seconds to 60 seconds are indeed a nightmare for the test takers. Remember to get your basics right on this section. Maintain the discipline of taking short notes in the form of a few words in the integrated portions and develop your answers from these notes.

8. In Speaking, you must practice how to come to the point directly from the start; don’t beat about the bush but hit the nail on its head in the very first sentence.

9. You can keep a partner for practicing speaking. Or do it in front of the mirror.

10. Reading: In my opinion full reading of the passage from head to toe is a waste of time. Instead, I urge students to read the question first and read the passage relevant to each question. Most importantly, if you not find an answer for a particular question, don’t get stuck. Move on to the next. If you have some time left after answering one full round, again you can go back to that particular question and re- try it in the light the increased knowledge you have gained from having gone through the passage in full. It will be worthwhile to remember at this juncture that the last three to four questions carry more marks than the earlier questions and the later questions are more complex and do require more time than the initial questions .You must spare adequate time to ponder over them and should have an adequate cushion of time to delve into them.

11. Listening: Answering listening questions is an art. The biggest problem in the exam hall is the noise generated by co-test takers, who may be responding to speaking questions. They may be using high decibels and this discordant ambience will disturb your focused listening difficult. In your practice sessions, you must practice listening amidst some blaring audio which should run simultaneously along with the listening session. Learn to converge your mental faculties in the midst of various kinds of disturbances.

12. I do not think it is prudent to take down notes while listening. This might work counter productive, eating into the time and energy needed to listen diligently. The important thing is to keep sailing along with the listening and if you have lost track, then the most important thing is to forget that particular question and move on. Listening texts are not repeated and nor do they wait for the test takers.

13 General: TOEFL is an endurance test. It may run for more than about four hours, if you are unfortunate to hit an additional research or unscored portion. You must be physically agile to encounter such an exacting test, so take some heath drink and energy cookies along with you to the hall. Particularly sleep well the night before. Very often people doze off in the listening section of the test for a while because of lack of sleep the night before, thus losing concentration and hopes for high scores.

14. The above lists are not exclusive discussions nor are the finite. They are my personal opinions and others are too welcome to add on to them, drawing from their own experiences. Meantime, let me welcome Chen to the forum with kudos, for starting a very useful thread on this open forum.



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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A full length GRE verbal test



a) nexus
b) atavist
c) cognate
d) vortex
e) reflex

a) Prim
b) unskillful
c) correct
d) strong
e) apt

a) vilify
b) infringe
c) advocate
d) enjoin
e) augment

a) love
b) absolution
c) blame
d) virtue
e) awe

a) delicate
b) solid
c) agreeable
d) liberal
e) wholesome

a) countenance
b) evasion
c) deposition
d) declaration
e) denial

a) clever
b) qualified
c) disabled
d) sharpened
e) casuistic

a) welcome
b) borrow
c) reset
d) save
e) swallow whole

9. The summers _______ drought has brought about a _______ shedding of leaves.
A. torrid…. Nonexistence
B. inconsequential…. Disastrous
C. rainy…. Colorful
D. severe …. Premature
E. unusual…. Traditional

10. The alarm voiced by the committee investigating the incident has a _______ effect, for its dire predictions motivated people to take precautions that _______ an ecological disaster.
A. trivial…. Prompted
B. salutary…. Averted
C. conciliatory…. Supported
D. beneficial…. Exacerbated
E. perverse…. vanquished

11. The………man treated everyone in a --------manner;
A. superficial---------thorough
B. Audacious--------belligerent
C. Supercilious--------depreciatory
D. Corrupt……….ubiquitous
E. Suspicious-----ingenuous

12. The fact that they cherished religious objects more than most of their other possessions _______ the _______ role of religion in their lives.
A. demonstrates…. Crucial
B. obliterates…. Vital
C. limits…. Daily
D. concerns…. Informal
E. denotes…. Varying

13. Many of the earliest colonial houses that are still standing have been so modified and enlarged that the -------design is no longer-------------.
A. Pertinent---------relevant
B. Intended---------necessary
C. Embellished------Attractive
D. Appropriate-------Applicable
E. Initial----------Discernible

14.At the age of forty-five, with a worldwide reputation and yet unbroken string of notable successes to her credit, Carson was at the _______ of her career.
A. Paradigm
B. Zenith
C. Fiasco
D. Periphery
E. inception

15. Social scientists have established fairly clear-cut -----that describe the appropriate behavior of children and adults, but there seems to be------about what constitutes appropriate behavior for adolescents.
A. functions----rigidity
B. Estimates---indirectness
C. Norms-------confusions
D. Regulations-----certainity
E. Studies-------misapprehension

Reading Comprehension
The full-time unemployment rate cannot be determined with great precision. One thing is certain: it cannot be zero or even close to zero. A zero unemployment rate would mean that no one ever entered or re-entered the labor force, that no one ever quit a job or was laid off, and that for new entrants or re-entrants, the process of searching for a job consumed no time. Moreover, full-time employment cannot be defined as an equality between the number of unemployed persons and the number of unfilled jobs. By this definition, almost any unemployment rate could be consistent with the full-time employment rate.
The customary definition of the full-time U.S. unemployment rate is the lowest rate of unemployment that can be attained without resulting in an accelerated rate of inflation, given the existing economic conditions. However, no one can be sure exactly what the unemployment rate is, based on this definition, since it is not possible to predict exactly how great a change in the rate of inflation will be associated with any given change in the unemployment rate. In the early 1960s, President Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) determined that 4 percent was the best estimate of the full-time U.S. unemployment rate. That rate was based on data collected during the period from mid-1955 to mid-1957, when the U.S. unemployment rate fluctuated around an average of 4.1 percent and the consumer price index advanced at an average rate of 2.5 percent per year. Although a 4-percent U.S. unemployment rate may have been consistent with an acceptably low rate of inflation in the mid-1950s, by the 1960s this proposition had become increasingly doubtful. Our experience since then has been such that those who accept the customary definition of the full-time U.S. unemployment rate now consider 4.5 percent to be the optimal rate under the existing circumstances.
The principal reason for this upward adjustment in the full-time U.S. unemployment rate is the changed composition of the labor force. As the labor force becomes increasingly composed of elderly people and women, the number of workers has increased. Similarly, the number of workers who are now eligible to collect benefits has increased. To the extent that these changes have increased voluntary and involuntary layoff rates and the average length of time unemployed persons spend looking for work, the full-time unemployment rate has risen.

16) The passage states that the full-time unemployment rate represents:
a) A rate consistent with the greatest number of job opportunities for the greatest number of workers.
b) The greatest degree of stability in the placement of the labor force that is practically attainable.
c) A figure below which unemployment is unlikely to fall without having negative economic effects.
d) An ideal matching of unemployed workers with the number and type of unfilled jobs available.
e) The unemployment rate most likely to help keep inflation at the lowest possible level.

17) According to the passage, all of the following factors must be considered in estimating the full-time unemployment rate EXCEPT
a) The percentage of women in the work force
b) The ratio of the number of unemployed workers to the number of vacant positions
c) The strength of inflationary tendencies in the economic system
d) The number of older people in the job market
e) The availability of financial help for those who are out of work

18) The primary purpose of the passage is to
a) Define a term
b) Correct a misconception
c) Suggest a new theory
d) Pose a dilemma
e) Make a prediction

19) The passage provides information to answer which of the following questions?
a) Why is a zero unemployment rate unlikely ever to be attained?
b) What is the likely future trend of the full-employment unemployment rate?
c) Why has the percentage of younger workers in the job market increased?
d) What rate of inflation is generally considered to be the highest acceptable rate?
e) To what extent do workers tend to quit their jobs as a result of increased unemployment benefits?

During World War I, the issue of neutral rights on the seas revived to plague America's foreign relations with the belligerents or Central Powers. One of the German justifications for its shoot-on-sight policy was, as we have seen, the fragility of the U-boat and its vulnerability to any armed vessels. To deal with this problem, in early 1916 Lansing proposed a modus vivendi: if the Allies agreed to disarm their merchant ships, the Germans would agree to the principle, suspended but not yet formally acknowledged, that their submarines would not attack such vessels without warning and without protecting the safety of civilians. In effect, the submarine would function as a surface cruiser and observe the previously established rules of naval warfare.
Unwilling to surrender what they considered to be a well-established right to arm surface vessels in exchange for a German concession to abide by existing international law, the British rejected the proposal immediately. Faced with this hostile response, Lansing quickly dropped the modus vivendi proposal. Unfortunately, he had opened a Pandora's box. In explaining it to the German government, Lansing had implied that the American government regarded Allied armed merchant vessels as warships. This had been the German position all along, and they eagerly seized on the opening the Americans had created. On February 10, the Kaiser's government informed the American State Department that beginning on February 29, German U-boats would resume their attacks on armed merchant vessels without prior warning. In effect, the truce ushered in by the Arabic pledge was over.
This sequence of events alarmed the pacifists and the isolationists. The Wilson administration, by dropping the modus vivendi, seemed to be saying that it accepted the British position that armed merchant vessels were not warships. If this were so, then by the administration's interpretation, Americans would have the right to travel on such vessels. Since the Germans now intended to attack them on sight, Wilson was almost guaranteeing a collision with Germany. Hoping to head off such a confrontation, Representative Jeff McLemore of Texas and Senator Thomas P. Gore of Oklahoma introduced resolutions forbidding American travel on armed or contraband-carrying ships. Wilson interpreted this as a challenge to his idealism and his leadership in foreign affairs and a cowardly surrender of American rights. "For my own part, " Wilson wrote the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "I cannot consent to any abridgment of the rights of American citizens in any respect. Once we accept a single abatement of rights, many other humiliations would certainly follow, and the whole fine fabric of international law might crumble in our hands piece by piece. " Congress backed down under the President's pressure and tabled the Gore-McLemore resolutions. Wilson's victory over Congress and the peace groups would later be viewed as a pivotal incident, since subsequent attacks on U.S. shipping drew America into the war.

20) Which of the following is the main idea of the passage?
a) The role of American diplomacy in enforcing international laws concerning sea travel.
b) How conflicts over control of the sea lanes helped lead to the outbreak of war.
c) The effects on international relations of internal political conflicts in the United States.
d) Wilson's failure to accede in certain steps that could have prevented United States involvement in war.
e) The disagreement between the Germans and the Allies over the rights of merchant ships and how it helped draw the United States into war.

21) According to the passage, the Gore-McLemore resolutions were introduced in an attempt to:

a) Conciliate the British
b) Avoid a confrontation with Germany
c) Appease pro-pacifist sentiment
d) Undercut the Allied bargaining position
e) Assert the rights of U.S. citizens on the seas

22) According to the passage, the U-boat was:
a) A formidable weapon against any type of surface warship.
b) Relatively vulnerable to attack by surface vessels.
c) Clearly subject to the same international laws that governed surface warships.
d) Generally unable to inflict serious damage on large surface vessels.
e) Considered by the Allies as subject to attack without warning.


a) redundant : criticism
b) deprecatory : panegyric
c) allegorical : maxim
d) symbolic : adage
e) laudatory : eulogy

a) talisman : charm
b) serum : antidote
c) exposure : weathering
d) indoctrination : disloyalty
e) invasion : fortification

a) porpoise : sound
b) hummingbird : hover
c) chameleon : disguise
d) tick : extract
e) eel : wriggle

a) ambulance : transportation
b) alcohol : antiseptic
c) cast : fracture
d) transfusion : blood
e) oxygen : shock

a) sullen : mute
b) splendid : enviable
c) cautious : examined
d) hospitable : homely
e) deafening : noisy

a) performance : audience
b) sleep : nightmare
c) disrespect : homage
d) cure : medicine
e) disturbance : tumult

a) ridiculous: familiarity
b) profane : sanctity
c) mystical : intolerance
d) dogmatic : impatience
e) detrimental : intention

a) attic : movers
b) factory : cars
c) kitchen : customers
d) library : readers
e) corridor : doors