TOEFL : My Experience & Test Day Tips!

Hello ! I am Chinmay & this is my first post for "Engineering Study : INDIA to USA". 

I appeared for my TOEFL on 27th October at Sangli Center. I received my result. It's 105. First things first, the center is excellent ! Administrators are very helpful, and they provide you with whatever you need during the course of the exam. This is not written anywhere else, but the Sangli center ( ITnium College of International Certification) is a prometric center. Hence you can be rest-assured about the quality of the center.

Anyway, following are some test-day tips I think all students would find useful before appearing for TOEFL :

1. Don't go into panic mode ! It's just TOEFL (& not GRE, CAT, GMAT, etc.)

2. Do take 1-2 minutes to settle down your nerves after starting Reading Section. You'll be able to grasp better and subsequently you can perform better. 

3. Dont do any kind of study on test day. It's of no use. Relax yourself ! (I watched Sachin Tendulkar's amazing cricket videos)

4. For people who are under the impression that Reading Section has lots of time, you are in fool's paradise. It takes up more time to solve questions due to the pressure.

5. Practice as much as possible! Solve practice tests only, it's enough. No need of any other books, E-books, etc. (Links I'll post at the end of this post)

6. Just bring your Passport and TOEFL Registration Confirmation to the center and nothing else is required! Bring your Passport, else you are screwed !! Administrators are extremely vigilant about it.

7. Wear Jerkins/Sweat-shirts on test-day. Test centers have AC at 18degC.

8. For writing section, just start typing. Because 20mins may seem adequate, but again, it's just about enough to proof-read your essay once. As and when you think about points to include in the essay, adjust them into the already written essay.

9. Listen and concentrate your hardest during the Speaking Section ! Many students think that if you dont yell into the microphone, your response wont be recorded. Guys, they have a voice check and microphone check before starting the speaking section!! No need to yell your head off ! You only end up muddling your own thoughts and of other students appearing for their test beside you ! Nobody benefits !

10. Try not to hesitate during speaking. It's hard, but you have to try. If you are unsure or become blank during speaking, take a pause for 1-2 seconds, then resume, but don't hesitate or stop in between sentences.

11. There's no need to rush while speaking out the responses during the Speaking section. 45/60 secs are more than sufficient to summarize the topic/conversation. If you do rush, more often than not, you'll end up messing it up..because of time limit and exam pressure. Moreover, you are being tested on your clarity, fluency and relevancy of content in your speech. It's not expected to recall ALL points from the lecture/conversation. But whatever you speak should be coherent, closely related to the topic and should summarize the topic.

12. There's no need to take writing material/scratch paper, etc to the testing center. Administrators provide you with the same !

13. Unlike GRE, for TOEFL you have to select 4 free Universities to send scores latest by 10pm the previous day of the exam. Eg: If exam is on 10th Nov, you can add,modify delete universities upto 10pm on 9th Nov. After that, no changes are permitted. To select these 4 free universities, go to "View Orders--->Click on your Order No----> Scroll down and you'll see option to send scores to Universities." After this, the process is self explanatory. If you wish to go in Engineering stream, you have to select "Physical Sciences" under department and select the branch according to your stream.

14. Administrators have the right to commence the test 1.5 hours after scheduled time. Eg: If your time is 10am, you can start the test upto 11.30am. Hence, don't be nervous if there's a delay. Make sure you reach test-center by the reporting time !

15. Use this link for TOEFL Speaking section practice. Loads of Practice material online. Excellent website.

16. Use this link TOEFL Writing section tips.

17. Finally, if you need TOEFL softwares, use this link.

18. From the software list:

          Barron's TOEFL iBT (7 Full Tests)---> Similar/1 Level lower difficulty than actual 
          Kaplan TOEFL (2 Full Tests)---> 1 Level higher difficulty than actual
          ETS Official TOEFL Software (2 Full Tests)---> Exact same difficulty
          Complete Guide to TOEFL-Bruce Rogers (4 Full Tests)----> Easier than actual
          Longman iBT (2 Full Tests + Loads of Skill Development)---> Similar to actual

If you think this post was helpful to you, please click on at the end of the post so that you readers can help in reaching out to maximum number of people in need of such tips.

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  1. Thank you! Very helpful post!

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  9. Hello Chinmay,
    I am appearing for TOEFL myself and taking up the exam in a month. I couldn’t be more nervous about it as English is not my strongest point. However, your tips are very helpful and I will certainly try to keep them in mind when appearing for the exam.

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