View Full Version : Helping out with TOEFL Study

June 18th, 2012, 15:40
A friend of mine (a 3rd year college student) is planning to study abroad in the US starting in fall 2013, and is currently studying for the TOEFL...and having some significant issues - particularly with anything that requires speaking.

The TOEFL speaking section has 6 questions, of 3 different types. The first two prompts ask for an opinion about a specific subject, and the reasoning behind that opinion. Next two involve reading an article and listening to a discussion, and then comparing the two in some way. Final two require listening to lectures/conversations and answering questions about them.

We've made plans for weekly Skype practices, but other than trying to make him speak as much English as possible, I'm not entirely sure how to help him improve...

Any suggestions? Advice? Resources you'd recommend?

June 18th, 2012, 17:08
How good is his reading? There are TOEFL books by level. You can always have him read one and discuss it.

June 18th, 2012, 17:22
He has a TOEFL study book, so I'm sure it has short passage prompts (for the reading section)...

The issue is that the speaking section only gives 15-30 seconds of prep time to think before you have to begin speaking. (for a ~45 second answer), so if possible I'd like to mimic those conditions or practice building up to long responses.

June 19th, 2012, 08:55
Okay, two stage the preparation. Have him have a piece of paper handy for that 30 seconds of prep. In that 30 seconds have him write out as many IDEAS as possible to answer the question, in Japanese. This is important, as If the ideas are stable then the production becomes easier, but if you have to fumble both ideas and translation in your head you end up looking terrible.

This makes a huge difference in my students who are prepping for TOEFL and university private entrance exams. Basically work on their brainstorming skills, let the language take care of itself.

As for listening, he needs to work on key word identification. Listening for topics, writing them down quickly. It's more token listening than holistic listening.