Test-Taker Issues #2 – Faulty Equipment

Faulty Equipment At The Testing Center

Howdy,

So for the last two-and-a-half days, I’ve been dealing with some rather frustrating technical difficulties which were caused by a third-party, but made it quite difficult for me to make any progress on The 3000 Most-Used Words in The English Language Guide, updating The TOEFL Testing Dates and Locations Pages, and a new project for The “TOEFL Free-For-ALL” – The Only TOEFL Vocabulary You Actually Need To Know.

So, a lot of stuff going on…  and then not being able to make any progress because of a problem which was not caused by me, is quite aggravating.

And this made me think about another issue that I have come across a few times since I’ve been helping people achieve Excellence on The TOEFL iBT Exam.  That problem being, faulty equipment at the testing center, causing test-takers to either not be able to hear the speaking parts due to noise in the room, poor headphones, or having their Speaking Section recordings completely messed up because of a bad microphone.


It is true that there is a chance to test the equipment at the beginning of the exam, before it actually starts, but that can not provide 100% assurance that the equipment will continue to function properly throughout the exam, or when everyone in the room is speaking at the same.


 

So, what to do?

Well, the first thing to do, is make sure that if you do not feel 100% confident that the equipment is working properly, raise your hand IMMEDIATELY and inform one of the people at the testing center…  it is, after-all, YOUR money that is being spent for this exam.

But…  What if your microphone fails and you don’t even know it; or if your headphones go out in the middle of the speaking part?

Or what it there is construction outside the window of the testing room and you can’t hear a damn thing?!?!

Well, for that, you will have to just wait for part two.  And this is not because I want to “leave you hanging’”, but because earlier today, I sent an email to the official organization that created and administers the exam, and we will have to see what kind of recourse a person can take in this situation.  I know that many people have complained about their support and customer service in the past, but let’s see if this is their moment to shine.


I will be back with more information about this as soon as I get it, and I’m planning on setting up a testing-center review board on the website, but I will need to actually have people talk to me about their experiences.

So that’s all for now…  But I’ll be back soon!

😉


Remember:  If there are any words (or phrases) in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up!  I suggest Wikitionary.com

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.

Have An Excellent Day!

 

Test-Taker Issues #2 – Faulty Equipment was originally published on TOEFL Excellence

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TOEFL Reading Section – Tip #1

TOEFL Reading Section Tip #1 – Dealing With Frustration

Over the weekend I have been trying to implement some ways for people to, not only be able to actually order the TOEFL Excellence Training Packages, but to also set up a crowd-funding campaign to start up the scholarship program for both training and registration for the TOEFL iBT Exam…

However, since I live in the farthest Eastern country in Eastern Europe…  nothing is easy.  PayPal doesn’t want to allow me to set up a payment system without a US bank account (or one in a country which I do not live in) – and with the crowd-funding site, there is a similar problem.

These are not permanent problems, just temporary obstacles…


And this reminded me of one of the best tips that I can give about The Reading Section of The TOEFL iBT Exam.


The Reading Section of The TOEFL iBT Exam is the only section where one can actually skip ahead to the next question and then go back to a previous one.  It is for this reason, that one should NEVER waste time on a question that they do not know the answer to, or that they are un-sure about.

Just like my temporary obstacle with setting up the payment gateways…  sometimes the answer is “not available” yet…

This can often-times be caused simply by the stress of taking an exam and working with a timer counting down continuously.


In The TOEFL Reading Section, there are 3 passages (on the normal version of the exam) and approx. 12-15 questions for each passage.  There are also, only 20/passage to complete this portion of the exam.

This means, that you have about 3-5 minutes to skim over the exam and an approx. average of only 1 minute for each question.  Some of them will take much less than that, but some will take much longer.

Additionally…

Another thing to take into consideration (which should also relieve some stress) is that you do not get a “0” (zero) on a question with a wrong answer.  You can only get a “0” (zero) on a question that you do not answer.

So if you spend too long on a question or task that is confusing – you may end up getting a zero on a number of other question that you knew the answer to, easily, but did not have time to answer.


Therefore…

When encountering a question that you do not know the answer to, just make a guess, or mark any answer randomly.  Then, make a note of which question that was on the paper that they provide for you to take notes.  After that, go on to the rest of the questions and finish them.  Finally, with the time that is left over, go back to the questions you were having difficulty with, and if you have time, you can review them.

But, if you do not have enough time to go back to those, at least you guessed or chose something…  Your guess may have been right.  If so, perfect!  Your guess may have been wrong.  No problem!  You will still get some credit for the question, and it is better than getting “zero”.

Just as all of the questions and tasks on The TOEFL Exam, this mimics real situations in Life.  Therefore… make a guess, move on, go back to it later, fix it if it needs to be fixed, if not – don’t worry.


…  And I’ll “see” you all again soon.

😉


Remember:  If there are any words or phrases in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up.  I suggest Wikitionary.com

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.

Have An Excellent Day!


TOEFL Reading Section – Tip #1 was originally published on TOEFL Excellence

Frequently Asked TOEFL Question #3 – Reading Section Topics

Q:  What Are The Topics Of The Reading Passages In The Reading Section?

(This first entry comes from the FAQ page on the TOEFL Portal of GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!)

A:  The topics that one will read about are from:  The Arts, The Sciences, and History.

The level of difficulty for each topic is equivalent to what a person may find on any of these subjects on a Wikipedia page.  In fact, reading the first few paragraphs of any Wikipedia page (try the “random article” function in the left-hand menu) can be good practice for preparing oneself for The Reading Section…  As long as you know what information to look for, and you look up any new words that you come across.

You DO NOT need to know anything about any of the topics discussed before the exam as all of the information that you will need to answer any of these questions on each reading passage will be presented WITHIN the reading passage itself.

Therefore, studying endless amounts of vocabulary, will be a very poor usage of your TOEFL Preparation time…  (As I have written about here.)

And That’s That!

😉


Remember:  If there are any words in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up.  I suggest Wikitionary.com

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.

Have An Excellent Day!

 

Frequently Asked TOEFL Question #3 – Reading Section Topics was originally published on TOEFL Excellence

Planning For The TOEFL

Wow!  What a week it’s been so far, and it’s only Wednesday, but I’m including the weekend as well.  So the fact that I have been super busy over the last few days, with learning the new software for the site that will actually host the lessons for The TOEFL Excellence Training Programs, in addition to answering emails about both, the exam itself, and about the training courses for the exam – it makes me think about…  Planning.

And specifically about…

Planning For The TOEFL iBT Exam

I guess I must have been unconsciously planning ahead many many months ago – because I have already written a post about this as well.  So click the link below to find out what you need to know if you are planning to take The TOEFL iBT anytime in the future.

When To Start Preparing For The TOEFL iBT Exam

This is a very important element to consider BEFORE scheduling a date for the exam…  (Unfortunately many people, do that in the reverse order – scheduling a date and then planning…  not a good idea.)

So…  enjoy the post, let me know what you think, and I promise, for the next post, I won’t simply be directing you to another blog post…  even though it is an awesome one 😉


Remember:  If there are any words or phrases in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up.  I suggest Wikitionary.com

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.

Have An Excellent Day!

Planning For The TOEFL was originally published on TOEFL Excellence

The Most Important Thing To Know About The TOEFL iBT Exam

What Is The Most Important Thing That I Need To Know About The TOEFL iBT Exam?

It’s been a few days since my last post, and I was trying to think of what I should write about next.  There are so many things that need to be (and will be) covered, but then it occurred to me, that I have already written about it Here.


The Most Important Thing To Know About The TOEFL iBT Exam


The link (in the blue sub-title above) is to a post I wrote a while back – when the TOEFL Excellence Training Course, was still just an idea without a clear direction.

The reason that I am “re-posting” it here (well, the link anyway) is because, what I wrote is still just as valid as when I wrote it.  And unless the creators of the exam decide to make serious changes to the way they structure the exam, this will remain true…

…So much so that the linked blog post will be mandatory reading for every single one of the different TOEFL Excellence Training Packages, which are making some definite head-way, towards being ready for consumption.

So…

If you are reading this now, because you are planning to – or thinking about – taking The TOEFL iBT Exam, then I highly recommend reading the post linked above.

Let me know if you have any questions, either about the contents of that post or anything else related to The TOEFL Exam or The TOEFL Excellence Training Packages, which are well under-way

…  And I’ll “see” you all again soon. 😉


Remember:  If there are any words or phrases in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up.  I suggest Wikitionary.com

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.

The Most Important Thing To Know About The TOEFL iBT Exam was originally published on TOEFL Excellence

TOEFL Speaking Section – Tip #1

Speaking Section – Task 1

The TOEFL Speaking Section is the one section that people tend to worry about the most.  However, it does not have to be something to worry about.  This is because every task in the speaking section mimics a real-world event which everyone who would be taking the exam has already done numerous times.  Task one simply mimics a typical question that a person may ask when first getting acquainted.

That could be about:  family, friends, where you are from (and what it is like), favorite memories, people who have inspired you, etc.


Task 1 – “Independent Question”

This is often referred to as “Question 1” but that is not correct, because technically, you are not being asked a question.  You are being asked to comment about some “personal” topic.

The reason they call this an “Independent Question” is because it is the only task in the entire exam which does not provide the material for you to talk about…  you will have to provide that on your own, based upon your own memory.

How To Prepare For Speaking Section – Task 1

The best thing you can do to be prepared for this task is to choose one family member, and/or friend who you can talk about easily because you have lots of memories with that person.

The reason that I say “and/or” is because quite often it is possible to answer a question with either one.  For many people, someone like a cousin can act as “both”.  And sometimes a friend can be so close he or she can almost be like family.

The person you chose, should be someone that you admire / look up to / are inspired by, or has done something really great for you in your life.

The memories that you should be ready to talk become even more valuable when they include some sort of local or cultural holiday, custom, or tradition.  And even more-so when they are set in your hometown.

Why?

This is because all of the subjects above are the possibilities for the types of questions that will be asked on Speaking Section – Task 1.  So the more of those elements that you have connected to a memory, means that you can answer virtually any question that is asked in this task without having to even think about it…  And that is one of the keys to this exam…  not having to think.

So…  for example – if the person I choose to keep in my “Speaking Section – Task 1 Arsenal”, is my best friend Ben (whom I have numerous memories with, and is like a brother to me), then I could use him to answer any question they could ask for Task 1 – whether it be about:  Best Friend, Favorite Memory, A Person Who Inspires Me…  and even about some local or cultural customs / traditions, as we have been together for many of them.


There is a lot more that I can and will say about this topic and this task.  And I will definitely go  into more detail on the same subject in future posts, but to say any more here, would only complicate matters un-necessarily.

This is one of the elements that will be covered briefly in the “TOEFL Excellence” – Full Course & Even more-so in the “TOEFL Excellence-Xtra” Course…  both of which are well under-way.

So… think of your Friend and/or Family Member so that you can add him/her/them to your OWN “Speaking Section – Task 1 Arsenal” – and stay tuned for more free samples from the paid versions of the various TOEFL Excellence Training Courses.

And don’t forget to take part in the first Survey Question…  Everyone who does so will get some kind of free prize based on his or her specific TOEFL needs.


Remember:  If there are any words (or phrases) in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up!  I suggest Wikitionary.com

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.

Have An Excellent Day!

 

TOEFL Speaking Section – Tip #1 was originally published on TOEFL Excellence

TOEFL Excellence Logo Contest

If You Can Design The Perfect “TOEFL Excellence” Logo, You Will Win…

Free One-On-One Lessons – Designed To Suit Your Specific TOEFL Needs

I am so busy with learning the software to actually put the TOEFL Excellence lessons on-line, that I have absolutely no time to also learn how to create a logo that looks good and suits the needs for the website.

For this contest, I need two different designs.

  1. A Banner Logo with just the words “TOEFL Excellence” (without the quotation marks)
  2. An Image Logo with just the word “TOEFL” and a unique design (without the quotation marks)

Both Logos should:

  • Look Professional
  • Be easily convertible to any size
  • Preferably not have any 3D reflections or shadows (but if you have excellent skills in this area, and you think you can impress me…  go for it!)

The Banner Logo should:

  • Only contain the words “TOEFL Excellence“(without the quotation marks)
  • Be easily convertible to any color

The Image Logo should:

  • Contain the word “TOEFL” (without the quotation marks) – and a unique design which somehow represents a “Global” theme
  • Be of equal (square) proportions (example:  250 x 250)

Submissions should be made in .jpg, .gif, & .png formats (all three) and should be submitted to:

cjamescote@givemesomeenglish.com

The winner will received specialized training, specific to his or her needs, towards obtaining the specific score that he or she needs on the TOEFL Exam.

!!! – Those entering this contest should have at least 6 months to 1 year of preparation time for the TOEFL exam. – !!!

Those who would like to enter the exam, but who don’t need any special training, may nominate a person of their choosing to receive the specialized training, or may allow me to choose the recipient for them.  The winner will also get a profile page (good for at least one year) showcasing 3 examples of their best work and up to three links to any on-line portfolios they have (as long as the work is not in any way “vulgar” or “un-suitable” for the audiences of this blog or any of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! websites.)

I look forward to seeing what you all have to offer!

-C.


Remember:  If there are any words (or phrases) in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up!  I suggest Wikitionary.com

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.

Have An Excellent Day!

 

TOEFL Excellence Logo Contest was originally published on TOEFL Excellence