I'm brand new to the toefl.  what should i do first?

 

i'm looking for free practice to help improve my english and my test scores

 

i'm ready to get serious about my score--sign me up for the course!

 

A Step by Step Guide to TOEFL Success

Step 1: Determine your needs

If you are completely new to the TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, you may not even know exactly what it is or if you need to take it.  The TOEFL is typically used as a college entrance exam for non-native speakers, but it isn't the only one that can be used.  Some universities will take the IELTS while some will not ask for you to take an entrance exam at all.  For this reason, it is imperative that you find out if the schools that you are interested in require the TOEFL and what score, if any, is their minimum score for acceptance into their program. Start with the end in mind by knowing exactly what score you need from the very beginning.

Start off on the right foot by staying organized.  Search for the admission standards, often listed on the Frequently Asked Questions tab,for each school that you are interested in and then keep all that information in one easy-to-find place.  Download your free University Application Preparation graphic organizer.  Print it out and keep it by your desk or use the editable fields to keep a digital copy.

Step 2: Take a practice test

After you confirm that you definitely need to take the TOEFL, find out exactly where you are starting from by taking a full-length practice exam.  Do not study for this exam; just take it based on whatever you know right now.  Make sure that you are replicating the exam conditions as closely as you can.  This means, if at all possible, you should take the exam on a computer screen (instead of on paper) and you should absolutely follow the timing limitations and the structure of the exam.  You may want to consider using the TPO for this practice exam or a placement exam given to you by a language school.  This will give you the most accurate understanding of where you are starting from.  If you simply guess what you think you would score or you take the sections at a leisurely pace or on different days, you might not have a realistic understanding of your starting place and therefore you might be setting the wrong goals.

Step 3: Decode your practice score

Once you have your score, it is time to interpret your score.  Just looking at the final number will not necessarily be useful.  Instead, you need to identify what you need to know in order to see some significant improvements.  The first way to categorize skills that you need is to figure out what you need to know that is specific to the exam and what English skills you need to develop.  Exam specific information might mean getting yourself familiar with the structure, patterns, and scoring of the exam.  It might mean getting more comfortable with reading on screens rather than on paper and with typing on a QWERTY keyboard.  Having this background information means that on test day, you can skip reading the directions, saving you a little time, you can tailor your answers to exactly what the test graders are looking for, and your typing abilities won't hinder your progress on your essay.

For each section (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking), you will want to look at not only your total score for each section but how you faired on each type of question within the section.  For example, there are 10 main types of reading questions.  Did you get all the vocabulary questions right but missed all of the sentence restatement questions, for example?  A practice book might tell you what type of question was being asked, but if it doesn't, look at the stem of the question in order to classify it.  Inside Trello for the TOEFL, you will find graphic organizers to help you keep track of exactly what types of questions you are getting right and wrong.  Once you have done this, focus your attention on the patterns of questions that you missed.  Don't just think about the question on a surface level; ask yourself what are the skills that are needed to answer this question?  For example, vocabulary questions test your understanding of context clues while sentence restatements test your knowledge of paraphrasing.  The skills that are being tested are the same ones that you need in order to succeed on the exam, so it is well worth your time and energy to improve upon them.  Additionally, by looking at the skills instead of just the type of TOEFL question, you open up many more possibilities in terms of practice material.

As you begin to think about the skills you need to improve on, keep your focus on that word need.  There is a big difference between need to know and want to know and this is something that I've seen too many students make mistakes with in the past.  While wanting to know everything is often the sign of a highly motivated student, you can easily get overwhelmed by the amount of information or you can get distracted learning things that will not result in an increase in points.  Remember, by staying focused on learning what you need, you can improve your overall English ability while still seeing sustainable and measurable progress. 

Step 4: Make Your Study Plan

At the beginning of the year or when first signing up for the test, it is tempting to be overly optimistic when it comes to creating a study plan.  Also, what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else.  How should you get started?  When creating a study plan that you can stick to, consider these factors:

  • Your starting score. Make sure to take a practice test so you actually know where you are.  You might be pleasantly surprised by how well you do or it may help you keep your growth in perspective.

  • Your goal score. Don't just pick 120.  Look at the scores for your goal program before just selecting a number.  Look back at what you researched in step 1 of the plan.

  • Time til test.  If you only have 2 weeks until your test, you need to triage the situation and consider what you personally need to work on.  If you know what you have great listening skills and a short time to prepare, focus on your weaknesses.  Also, don't try to learn 150 vocab words every day until the test.  Nothing will stick if you overwhelm yourself.

  • Time to dedicate to test prep.  Be realistic. If you have a full-time job, school, or children to take care of, you know that it will be difficult for you to keep up with your goal of studying for 4 hours each day.  By selecting a reasonable goal, such as I will read and answer one set of questions every day, you will ultimately be more successful.  Remember, you can always add more if you find time.  For those procrastinators, keep yourself accountable by setting a recurring event on your calendar on your Smartphone or through Google.  If you are doing something else, this will motivate you to stop the other activity and complete the required studying.  Make it easier by keeping all of your study materials readily available.  Don't force yourself to go looking for your book every time. Instead, know exactly what you will do that day with careful planning ahead of time.

  • Available resources. What do you have that can help you study?  Do you have American friends to talk to every day or a Writing Center on the college campus that you are on with free tutoring so you can improve your grammar?  In addition to TOEFL books and materials, think about all of those other resources that you have access to and make the most of that, too

When making your study plan, remember to account for all the time you need to learn, practice, and review.  Don't forget about the importance of reviewing material. Reviewing your answers means doing more than simply checking to see if something was right or wrong.  Get into the habit of looking back at tricky questions to see what it was that made it challenging for you.  Just because you got it right that time doesn't mean that you necessarily have that skill mastered.  Reviewing is also essential when it comes to vocabulary.  I have seen students try to learn 40 or 50 words per day, and sometimes they will learn it enough in order to pass a vocabulary quiz.  But for most students, if I were to ask them the definitions of those same words the next week, they wouldn't recall them at all. Remember, we are interested in learning for the long term.  If you are going to invest time into learning new terms, make sure that you keep going back over them so you can use them on the test and later in your university program.  Build in time on your study schedule for review. For instance, you shouldn't schedule yourself to learn new words every single day of the week or schedule exactly 22 minutes to do a reading section and check to see how many answers you got right in that section.  

Creating your realistic and individualized study plan is essential.  Need even more pointers?  Check out the blog post on the most common mistakes students make when creating their plans.
 

Step 5: Stick to your study plan by making practice a priority and a habit

Make learning, practicing, and reviewing part of your regular routine by utilizing technology instead of letting it distract you.  Time tracker, calendar, reminder, and motivation apps and plugins could be incredibly valuable for keeping you on track.  Get the Technology for the TOEFL Round Up here.  While you don't need to use all (you don't even have to use any!) of these suggestions, you may find that by utilizing technology rather than avoiding technology, you are better able to meet your test-taking goals.

Because every student is motivated by unique factors and has different styles, some of these tools may speak to you more than others.  Use what works for you and leave behind what doesn't.  Your ultimate goal is to put in place systems that use your time most efficiently so you keep to the study plan you've made and can get to your goal score.

Vocab words:

   tempting: appealing or attractive

   triage: a process of assigning importance, typically used in medicine

   stick: slang for to stay with something (persevere)

   recurring: repeated


TOEFL OVERVIEW

Here are the essentials-- the structure of the exam and some tips-- for each of the 4 sections of the exam.

reading

The Reading section of the TOEFL is made up of 3 or 4 academic articles followed by roughly 12 questions about the passage.  If you have 4 reading passages, one will be part of the experimental section that ETS uses to test out new material and it will not affect your score, though you will not know which passage is the experiment.  

All passages on the TOEFL are non-fiction passages that look like excerpts from college textbooks. The subjects range, covering everything from agriculture to music, but you are not expected to know any outside information in order to succeed.  

The questions that follow each passage follow 10 distinct patterns, so make sure you practice each type and know which ones are your strengths and which ones are your weaknesses.

For each passage and set of questions, ETS gives you 20 minutes.  At the end of 20 minutes, the test does not automatically move you to the next section.  It is therefore important that you manage your time on your own knowing that the expectation is 20 minutes a piece.  In other words, if you have 3 passages with corresponding questions, you will be given 60 minutes that you must divide. Many students spend entirely too much time on the first set of questions, potentially costing them easy points on the last passage and question set.

 

What can you do to improve your Reading Section score?  

Follow these suggestions to increase your comprehension and ultimately your score.

  • Use the title to identify important terms. Pay attention when these words or their synonyms (words that mean the same thing) are used.

  • Practice taking notes on a different piece of paper. Although homework or in class practice may often be printed, you should practice abstaining from writing on the actual text. On the day of the real test, the reading passage will appear on the computer screen, so you will not be able to write on the actual passage. By taking your notes on a different piece of paper when you practice, you are simulating the test.  We want practice to be as realistic as possible so you are prepared the day of the exam.

  • Read the full introduction paragraph, then the last question (it will always be a summary or an organizing into charts question), then the topic sentences of each paragraph.  Afterward, go back and skim the remaining sentences in order to save some time.

  • Outline as you read (not after-- outlining after wastes time). This will help you answer detail, summary, negative detail, organizing information into charts, and inference questions.  Also, make sure you practice outlining by completing an outline every time you have reading homework.

  • Look for patterns in your outline. Words that are repeated in your outline will likely help you answer questions. What do the important terms or examples in a paragraph have in common? What makes them different from the paragraph that came before? This may help you sort answers into the right section for category questions.

  • It is not important to understand everything you read. As long as you understand the gist--the most important points-- you can answer the majority of the questions.

  • Don't feel the need to answer all of the questions in order. You should go through all of the questions and answer the ones you feel comfortable with first. If you see that sentence 6 is an inference question and you tend to get those wrong, skip it and write a 6 on the top of your notes so you remember to go back and answer it.

  • Answer every question within the 20 minutes, and know that it is okay to guess. You should always eliminate (cross out) any wrong answers first because this will increase your chance at getting the answer right.

  • Keep track of the types of questions you are getting wrong on your score tracker.  

  • Read frequently in English, even if you aren’t doing TOEFL specific reading practices.  You can find many short (and some longer) articles to read with challenging, academic vocabulary in The New York Times and on The History Channel’s websites (History.com)


writing

The writing section of the TOEFL is made up of two short essay questions.  There are no multiple choice grammar questions that you must answer, but strong grammar knowledge is important for getting top scores on your essays.

Like the Speaking section, the Writing section has both independent and integrated questions.  Though many students feel that the integrated essay is more difficult, both the independent and integrated essays are given the same amount of weight when ETS, the creators of the test, score the Writing section.  Each essay is given a score of 0-5, averaged, and then put on a scale to produce a final score out of 30 points.

You will always see the essay questions in the same order.

For the integrated essay, you will begin by reading a short passage (about 250-300 words) in 3 minutes.  At the end of that time, the reading passage will disappear from the screen, and you will hear a professor speak about a similar topic for roughly two and a half minutes.  Typically the reading passage and the professor will disagree about the topic.  When the professor is done speaking, the reading passage returns and a question appears asking you to summarize the main points from the reading and the lecture, showing the relationship between the two. Most commonly, ETS asks you to show how "the lecture casts doubt on the points made in the reading."  You have 20 minutes to respond to the essay prompt.

For the independent essay, you will write about your opinions on a familiar topic which requires no outside knowledge.  You will have 30 minutes to brainstorm and write your essay.  (Remember, the writing that you do on the TOEFL iBT is all technically typing).

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO IMPROVE YOUR writing SECTION SCORE right away?

  • Learn the most common types of independent essay questions
  • Practice brainstorming within a time limit to be prepared for the independent essay questions
  • Free write about topics that are frequently asked about on the independent essay so you have thought of examples far in advance.  This will also help you locate words that you will likely need synonyms for.
  • Use a thesis statement in your independent essay and make sure it is in the right place
  • Vary your vocabulary for both independent and integrated responses
  • Pace yourself appropriately for both questions
  • Know the most common grammar errors and how to fix them, being sure to always leave time for this step at the end of each essay

listening

The Listening Section of the TOEFL will take between 60 minutes and 90 minutes depending on the length of the audio and the number of questions each test-taker must answer.  Just like in the Reading Section, ETS might give test-takers experimental questions that are used to make future TOEFL tests, making the test longer but not affecting the test-takers score.  

There are several types of audio recordings students will find in the Listening Section. 

  • Conversations are always featured in this section, with dialogues typically taking place between two students, a student and a professor, or a student and another campus employee.

  • Lectures where the professor does all the talking.  These are probably the hardest audio recordings for most students.  They can be on any topic, and students will hear only one speaker for the entire length of the lecture, which runs for several minutes.

  • Lectures with student interaction.  These lectures, too, can be on a wide variety of academic topics.  However, they can be much easier to follow if you use the question and answer format as a guide.  Listening to interviews could help you prepare for this type of lecture.

  •  A seminar style class.  It is possible that you will encounter an audio recording where students are doing the vast majority of the talking in a seminar style, with student conversation driven audio recording.  Though it is rare, you will hear a number of student speakers with the professor simply guiding the conversation.

Remember, you will need your listening skills in other sections of the TOEFL due to the integrated format of the TOEFL iBT.  This means that you will need to draw upon your listening skills in the Speaking and Writing Sections, making listening a very important ability to master on this test.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO IMPROVE YOUR Listening SECTION SCORE quickly?

  • Be familiar with who works on a college campus.  This will make it easier to know what a conversation between a student and a university employee are about
  • Practice taking notes during academic lectures.  You can and should use a abbreviations and other shortcuts when taking notes
  • Don't use subtitles when you are practicing listening
  •  Get familiar with common phrases used to introduce topics, examples, or transition to a new idea during lectures
  • Use student and professor generated questions to keep your notes organized
  • Listen for definitions when practicing with academic passages

Speaking

The Speaking Section of the TOEFL is made up of 6 questions and takes 20 minutes.  Many students find this to be one of the most nerve-wracking sections of the exam because they don't feel confident in their speaking abilities or they feel uncomfortable speaking into the microphone.  The good news is that the Speaking Section is one of the easiest to prepare for because the 6 questions follow the same exact pattern in the same order every time.

  • Question 1 is an independent question on a familiar topic.  It asks you an entirely open-ended question.  Voice your opinion and talk about your own experience.  Questions here might be about your best friend, a favorite teacher, or a place you would like to visit.

  • Question 2 is also an independent question on a familiar topic, but it is actually a little easier than question 1 because you are given choices to pick from.  This will help you save time when you are deciding what you are going to say during your preparation time.

  • Question 3 is the first of the integrated questions.  You will read a short passage about a campus event and then you will hear one or two people discuss their opinion on the topic.  You must summarize what the speaker says.

  • Question 4 follows the same structure as Question 3, but it is on an academic topic.  The short reading passage will look like a paragraph from a college textbook.  After reading this, you will hear a professor explain the concept further, often using specific examples.  You will be asked to summarize this.

  • Question 5 is also an integrated question, but you will not have a reading passage.  Instead, you will hear two people having a conversation.  One person will have a problem while the other makes several suggestions on how to solve the problem.  You must summarize what you've heard and then make your own recommendation.

  • Question 6 is typically the question students struggle the most with.  You will listen to a professor give a short lecture on an academic topic.  The professor usually breaks the topic down into 2 or 3 categories or examples.  You will then summarize what the professor said.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO IMPROVE YOUR speaking SCORE soon?

  • Use all of the time given to complete your response.  Do not stop talking
  • Be confident and do not mumble when giving your answer
  • Practice talking into a recording device
  • Brainstorm ideas to talk about for independent speaking questions long before test day
  • If you make a mistake, fix it
  • Give plenty of examples to get you to the time limit
  • Take notes using shorthand
  • Move your scrap paper up to the screen so that you can see both the time and your notes simultaneously
 

Need More Practice?

You already know the basics: the structure of each section and the most important strategies.  But these tactics require practice to master.  Need to know where to find great TOEFL practice?  Here are the best sites on the web for free practice that will get you TOEFL-ready!

 
 
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Find more reading practice online-- for free

You already spend lots of your time each day on your computer or browsing the internet on your phone.  Take the time to read from sites that write at a high level and on academic topics.  Here is a round up of the best places that regularly publish current events and textbook-like passages perfect for you to use to practice TOEFL reading comprehension.  Best of all, they are free.

The History Channel

Here you can read short passages from On This Day In History, or search a topic that you are interested in and read for several pages about it.  This website is useful because it is written in an academic tone and the website covers a wide range of topics. 

I particularly recommend the section of the website called Hungry History.  It combines historical facts with information about food from different time periods.  It is both interesting enough that you might impress your friends with some of the highlights from the passage later while being formal enough to make for a challenging read.

 

The New York Times

The New York Times is an American newspaper known for its academic style.  The vocabulary here is similar to what you will see on the TOEFL and the articles are of a good length.  After reading each article, ask yourself, what is the author's attitude toward the subject?  What is the main point of the reading passage?  Use the vocabulary words that you do not recognize to practice vocabulary in context.

The New York Times is written at a very high level, so if that is too much of a challenge, you might want to look into Upfront, their magazine for high schoolers.  The site isn't as open as it used to be, but you can get a subscription or check to see if your library has a subscription.

If you are a teen, during the summer, the New York Times also hosts a writing contest to encourage continuous reading.  Simply respond to any article you read during that week, and you might get selected to be featured on their website.

 

Ready Theory

This is an excellent website for practicing both vocabulary and reading comprehension.  First, you need to register for a free account through the site.  Don't worry, they won't spam you, and the service is free, so there is really no downside.  After you register for your account, you will take a placement test so you will get reading passages that are at the appropriate level.  The questions are automatically graded and the system will keep track of how you do.  Another great feature is that the website keeps track of what types of questions you get right and wrong, which is great for finding out what you need to target for the TOEFL.  Occasionally you will be given a fiction passage through Read Theory, something that is not tested on the TOEFL, but overall, it is a fantastic place for reading material. 

 

Newsela

Newsela is another site that offers leveled reading passages suited to each individual's needs.  This website takes current events and rewrites the information at several different Lexile levels.  New articles are added daily and many of them come with multiple choice quizzes on the side to check comprehension.  Because these articles are about timely topics, students respond really well to them, so I love using this site in the classroom.  Some of the articles can even get students thinking about issues that might come up as independent speaking or writing questions.

 

Twitter

Although most people think of the 140 character limit when they think of Twitter, I think of TOEFL reading practice.  Why?  People are constantly sharing newspaper and magazine articles using this platform.  I love linking to interesting articles about culture, science, and the people who have shaped and influenced the modern world.  These are the same types of passages you will encounter on the test day, so be sure to get in those extra few minutes of practice each day by doing something you already do already: checking your Twitter feed.

 

Find the right practice-- writing for the toefl

Whether you are brand new to the TOEFL or you have taken the test before, the best place to start when it comes to preparing for the writing section of the exam is from ETS itself.  They have two very informative videos on the format and grading of both the independent and integrated essays.  Knowing the criteria before writing the essay is essential.  Teachers and tutors might want to consider watching this with students during class or session time because the information is so valuable. Click here to view the video on integrated essay and here to see the one on the independent essay

ETS also has previously released many independent essay topics, which can also be found in their Official Guide to the TOEFL book.  It is easy to replicate and anticipate new independent essay questions because they follow certain clear patterns.  

I love posting writing questions on Instagram, and I use quotes each Wednesday to generate new writing prompts.  Because one of the most common independent essay questions on the TOEFL is simply do you agree or disagree with the following statement, using quotes to as the statement allows you to have nearly unlimited practice.

If you need a little bit more structure, be sure to get the One Month TOEFL Challenge printable.  There you have 30 free essay prompts presented in an organized list to keep you on track.

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Speaking

Improve Your Pronunciation and Fluency-- Free!

In order to help yourself prepare for the speaking section, check out these great resources.

Rachel's English

This website is great for practicing specific sounds.  Rachel, an English teacher, shows students how to position their mouths in order to make the blended sounds that are often difficult for non-native speakers.  Rachel guides students through minimal pairs and reductions in order to help students reduce their accent and sound more natural.  She has a ton of high quality, free resources, that you can find here

English Central

This website is great for improving your vocabulary as well as your speaking abilities.  The way it works is quite simple.  First, you listen to a video.  The video is captioned, and you can click on any word in the script in order to get a definition and repeated pronunciation.  At the end of the video, hit the "learn" button.  The video will automatically remove certain words.  You need to type in the missing word that you hear, and the definition will appear again.  All of the above is free with a basic registration for all the videos on their website.  You can also get a limited amount of speaking practice with the free account.  Essentially, you repeat a line and their voice recognition software tells you how accurately you performed.  If you want more personalized attention and even more speaking practice, you can upgrade to a Premium or Platinum account, giving yourself access to more speaking quizzes and even online tutoring.  The link to the website is here.

Talk English

There is a lot of great information on this website.  It isn't the most user-friendly because everything is very compartmentalized.  However, if you take the time to go through it, there is a lot of great vocabulary and pronunciation advice here: http://www.talkenglish.com

Easy World of English

This website breaks pronunciation down into several helpful categories.  You can listen to the pronunciation and repeat the word or pairs of words.  The sections on verbs are particularly useful, and the resource is free here.

Make Your Own Speaking Practice

If you've gone through all of the speaking practice in your book, don't start to stress. Use your friends, your creativity, and a few specific websites to keep producing extra material to practice with.

For independent speaking questions, talk to your friends and family in English whenever possible.  Yes, the questions on the actual test are a bit artificial, as is the amount of time you need to speak in order to give a response.  But think about what ETS is trying to replicate.  They want you to be able to be able to give information about yourself, your background, and your opinions in real time, without pauses. This is exactly what you do when your friend asks you what you want to do tonight.  Although he or she might not ask if you prefer to go to the movies or if you'd prefer to participate in a physical activity, like ice skating or hiking, you still need to tell the person what you think and why.  This every day practice will make you feel more comfortable.  If you have another friend who is studying for the test as well, you can actually do this with time constraints.  Meet at a coffee shop and have each person write down 5 new questions and put them on slips of paper.  Have the other person draw a slip, respond for 45 seconds, and then together evaluate the response.  Then repeat the same process so both you and your friend get time to answer and make improvements.  A bonus to this setup is that you are thinking like the makers of the test.  Remember to make some questions completely open-ended while others should have two clear choices to pick from.

Making new integrated speaking questions is more difficult, but it isn't impossible.  In order to practice Speaking Question 3, start reading the students newspaper from your dream school online.  This will get you familiar with the types of announcements that would happen on a college campus.  Teachers might consider bringing in several copies of a local college newspaper, assign students different articles to read and create transcripts for, and then have the student "present" to the class.  To get more speaking practice for Question 6, watch a short clip from Biography.com's Classroom section and answer one of the questions from the listening comprehension section verbally. 


Listening

Often students find the listening section quite difficult, and as a result, it is easy to go through the listening exercises in textbooks quickly.  How can you study when all the exercises are over?  Take a look at these excellent websites in order to help students improve their English skills and get ready for the lectures on the TOEFL.

PBS

If science lectures are particularly hard for you, this is a great place to practice.  Not only can you sort videos by length and difficulty (make sure you select grades 9-13), you can also limit the videos to whatever type of science lectures you think are particularly hard.  This website has everything from lectures on astronomy to biology to earth science to medicine. If you watch more than 3 videos a day, you will be asked to create an account, but this is free and PBS is a well-respected educational company, so do not have any concerns about making an account. With your account, you can also save your favorite videos to watch again, which is a particularly useful feature for teachers and tutors.

 

Voice of America

This website provides a written transcript of each news story it reports.  A dictionary is automatically linked, so this can also really help you with your vocabulary as well.  This is a great place if you struggle with the Listening section and the videos on PBS might still be too difficult.  Also, you will stay current with the American news by watching this channel, which is another great benefit.

 

TED

On this website, you can find lectures on a wide variety of topics.  Business leaders, government leaders, and well respected scholars are all here.  You can search by topic and you are sure to find something that interests you because they have over 1000 lectures!  Also, many of these have been translated into other languages, so a transcript might be available in both English and your native language.  If you go to the link for the new Ted Education section, each video comes complete with a short quiz, so you can test your listening skills!  Some videos here also have a link labeled think; if you click on this, you will have additional essay questions to practice with that relate in some way to the video you just listened to.  This is a great, and very interesting, source for lectures!

 

The History Channel

There are many different topics here, from American history to how the universe was created, so find something that interests you!  Also, many of the videos have transcripts available as well.

 

If you want to watch some of their awesome documentaries, you could learn a lot about American culture while getting great listening practice.  After I raved about how much I loved The Men Who Built America, one of the students in my class watched the entire series by renting it from the library that very weekend.  She told me that my recommendation was great and that it exceeded her expectations.

 

ESLvideo.com

This website provides a place where ESL students can take tests made by ESL instructors.  Use the highest level available on the site, High Intermediate, for students planning on taking the TOEFL soon.  If your English isn't quite there yet, but you aren't taking the test for a while, you may want to start at a lower level and move up after you have built your skills a bit more.  Regardless of what level you choose, the process is always the same.  After you watch a public domain video (the length of which varies), you can take a quiz that will be graded automatically.  Teachers and tutors can save time and students get instant feedback.  This website is really a win-win for everyone.  

Bonus tip: Check out the videos I've made over on ESLvideo.com.  All of the questions that I've created are modeled after those on the TOEFL.  That means you have lots of listening practice--free. You can find them all here, but be sure to subscribe to the Newsletter because there are some listening practice questions made exclusively for those VIPs in my #TOEFLTribe.

PS-Teachers and tutors, check out my tutorial on how to create and use ESLvideo.com with your students.


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  •  12 modules made up of text, audio, video, and even quizzes to make sure you understood all of the most important information
  • An in-depth breakdown of each of the most common styes of question
  • Strategies for writing each part of the essay, from introductions to body paragraphs to conclusions
  • Time management tips to help you stay within the time limit
  • Workbook to keep you on track and organized.  Use it to help you take notes during each lesson and to review concepts after you've been through the complete course.
  • Bonus modules with grammar help and vocabulary tricks 
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