There are many advantages to taking an online class, from student-centered lessons to student independence in learning. Why not try it? It may surprise you and change the way you learn!
Everyone knows that good study habits mean higher test scores. Acquiring good study habits can seem like a challenge for those with busy schedules. However, planning out and organizing your study routine is much easier than you think. A few simple changes to one’s study plan can reap huge benefits for test scores and beyond. Whether you are studying for the TOEFL test in person or online, here are some useful tips that will maximize your potential for a high TOEFL score.
The next step is to spread out your study time over several weeks, scheduling sessions of time each day along with plenty of breaks. If you are learning chunks or pieces of information one day at a time, your brain will have the time to absorb everything and you will be able to retain more in the long run.
If you follow these simple tips, you may be surprised the next time you take the TOEFL test!
There’s no two ways about it, being a college student in the United States is expensive. This statement is even more true for International students from other countries. Here in Southern California, the average UCLA undergrad student pays about $13,000 for just their tuition and fees every year. If you take into account room & board and other expenses, this amount easily exceeds the $30,000 mark. By comparison, international students, who have to pay non-resident fees, have to spend about $27,000 for tuition alone with an estimated total annual expense of about $61,000. That’s more than double the amount spent by California residents!
To further compound the problem, financial aid is mainly offered to U.S. residents, whereas many internationals believe that they’re on their own when it comes to college money. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although it is true that Americans have more options, financial help does exist for international students in the form of grants and scholarships.
Grants & Scholarships:
Grants and scholarships are very similar in that they are often referred to as “gift aid” since they are in essence free money for school. Grants differ from scholarships in that they are often need-based and are usually offered by government bodies or large nonprofit international organizations. For international students, grants are usually offered for graduate programs and/or specific majors or areas of study. An example of a government sponsored grant is the Fullbright Exchange Program which is run by the U.S. Department of State. This highly competitive program awards internationals with money for transportation and full/partial tuition. Similarly, the United Nations and World Bank offer grants to qualifying students. Individual countries also offer grants based on specific fields of study that would benefit their local economy such as chemical or electrical engineering majors. Look on the Institute of International Education (IIE) website at www.iie.org to find information on further financial aid programs.
By comparison to grants, scholarships are almost always merit-based and are far more numerous. Unlike grants, scholarships are much less restrictive and their selection criteria can include a variety of factors including country of birth, religion, age, field of study, academic achievement, or even political affiliations. Scholarship awards can vary between each one but when it comes to education, every little bit helps. Contributors can range from small private organizations to big corporations such as Chevron.
Whether you choose to pursue a grant or a scholarship, a few useful tips to increase your chances of being selected include:
- Improving your spoken and written English. Most of these organizations require that applicants submit written essays and at times attend a formal interview. Being able to effectively communicate your ideas will help demonstrate why you are most deserving of financial help.
- Apply as much as possible and do your homework. Research as many grants and scholarships as you can and apply to as many as possible. Every little bit helps!
Most importantly, do NOT be discouraged if results are not in your favor. Perseverance is the pathway to success and the funds for college are definitely out there for those who look for it.
One of the most frequent questions TOEFL teachers get from students concerns how much time it will take to get a desired TOEFL score. There is no easy answer for this question because it depends on several factors:
- The Student’s Level and Target Score: Students planning on going to a community college in the United States typically need a score ranging from 45 to 60. If the student starts studying for the TOEFL at a solid intermediate to high-intermediate level, then this score can usually be reached in three months of full-time study in a TOEFL course. Full-time in the United States is 18 hours a week (before homework). However, four-year colleges and universities typically require a score ranging from 80 to 90. If an intermediate or high-intermediate student needs a higher score, it could take from six to nine months of full-time study in a TOEFL course to achieve the desired score.
- The Student’s Commitment: Student commitment and motivation are essential when studying in a TOEFL course. Students must have a clear goal (or TOEFL score) in mind and a plan on how to achieve that goal. This means joining a TOEFL course either in person or online and spending at least three to four hours per day, five days per week, studying strategies for the test and practicing the different question types. Like anything else in life, students must put in the time and actively study to get their desired score.
When students are planning on studying abroad and attending a college or university, they must take an honest look at themselves and their abilities. To start with, if a student is a “weak” intermediate level, meaning they are new to the level and still cannot do everything required of an intermediate level student, then he or she should consider taking ESL classes and becoming more fluent before studying in a TOEFL class. One key factor in a student’s lack of motivation is when he or she enters TOEFL too early (at a lower level) and cannot keep up with the amount of work required in the class. It is important to have a solid foundation and knowledge of English, particularly vocabulary and grammar, before enrolling in a TOEFL course.
The good news is if a student starts at the right level, has a clear idea of what score is needed, and puts in the time required to study for the TOEFL test, then he or she can generally estimate how much time it will take to obtain their desired TOEFL score.
Can strategic guessing make a difference in your final TOEFL test score? The short answer is yes (probably)! In the TOEFL iBT test, there is no penalty for guessing, so you should try to answer all the questions. Leaving the answer blank will definitely hurt your score; therefore, guessing and filling in all the answers will probably help your score. In other words, your chances of getting a higher score are better if you guess. So what is strategic guessing? Let’s look at a few important strategies:
• Assign each question a level of importance. Triage! In medical terms, this means to decide which patient to help first, depending on the type of injury or sickness. For example, a patient with a broken leg will probably be given priority over a patient with a sprained leg. This strategy should also be used when taking the TOEFL test. Triage the questions and manage your time accordingly. You want to spend more time on the questions you have a chance of answering rather than questions where you have no idea what the answer is. Spending more time on questions you are sure about will help you to use your time more effectively.
• Eliminate wrong answer choices. There are some questions where you will have an idea what the answer could be, but you are not sure. In approaching these questions, take a look at the answer choices and eliminate the ones that are definitely wrong. If you eliminate two answer choices as wrong and you have to decide between the remaining two answers, your chances of getting it right have increased fifty percent!
• Trust your first answer. If you have prepared for the test and have read the question and all the answer choices completely, then you should trust your first instinct, or what you thought was the answer initially. If you feel compelled to keep changing your answer for a certain question, trust your first instinct and go with that answer.
• Avoid patterns and choose your letter of the day. There are other questions where you will have absolutely no idea what the answer is at all. One thing you do NOT want to do is to look for patterns. There are NO patterns despite what many students may think. You may have several of the same letters in a row for answer choices and they are all the right answers. There are no patterns, so just answer the question according to your strategy. Have in your mind the “letter of the day.” For every answer that you have no idea about, you just mark your “letter of the day,” which is the letter you decided to put as an answer choice ahead of time in case you have no idea about the answer. This could be the letter A, B, C, or D. The important thing is to be consistent. This also goes for questions you have not been able to answer when the time runs out. That chances are better if you put one letter for the remaining questions. You will get more correct answers than if you randomly put any letter for the answer choices.
Remember, next time you take the TOEFL test, try to use strategic guessing. It won’t hurt your score and you may just get a higher score in the long run!
What is the TOEFL test and why is it important? The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, is a standardized test used by many colleges, universities, and professional institutions to assess the English language proficiency of non-native speakers. This test is administered at testing centers in 165 countries. It is offered online and is known as the iBT (internet-based test).
The exam covers skills in four areas – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – with a total of 120 points – 30 points per section.
Most academic institutions consider the TOEFL score in the admission process, and each school will set a minimum required TOEFL score, which may range from 61 to 111. The cost of taking the TOEFL iBT depends on the country or even the testing center, ranging anywhere from $160 – $250. Preparing for the TOEFL test may cost much more. In today’s world, there are many classes and resources, both in-person and online that can help students successfully prepare for the TOEFL.
Preparing for the TOEFL does not have to be stressful or expensive. Here are three tips that will help make TOEFL preparation both an enjoyable and rewarding experience:
- Practice, practice, practice: It is absolutely essential to be familiar with the structure of the test and to practice each section with regularity. If you attend a class in-person, make sure to join one where the teacher does a lot of timed practice sessions on each section of the test. If you find an online TOEFL preparation program, choose one with a lot of practice for each section. When you are intimately familiar with the test, you will be able to finish within the specified time and pace yourself in such a way that you won’t grow tired and will remain alert throughout each section of the test. Just like any physical activity, such as running or working out, if you practice regularly, you will have no problem keeping up your energy and staying focused on the day of the test.
- Make it interesting: The practice tests are not your only source of learning when preparing for the TOEFL. Real material is easily accessible online and often free. Radio news shows, such as NPR (National Public Radio) or videos like Ted Talks, help students hone their listening skills and learn new vocabulary. Watching subtitled films is another great way to get more exposure to English while enjoying a good movie.
- Get in shape for testing day: Showing up on the test day rested and clear-headed is a sure way to add to your chances of scoring high. Not only do you need a good night’s sleep the night before the test, but you should also be getting a good sleep every night for at least two weeks before test day. Go to bed at a reasonable time, get up early, and eat breakfast. The TOEFL test is about 4 hours and requires a lot of concentration. If you have practiced a lot, you can channel your energy into using all the test-taking strategies you have learned to ace the test.