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OET and TOEFL—English tests to go abroad

The OET and TOEFL, all have four parts to the test—Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. You receive results for the four sub-tests that make up the OET as one of five grades – A to E. A is the highest grade, E is the lowest. TOEFL score will range from 0 to 120 and is calculated by combining your TOEFL scores on each of the four sections. LISTENING: The listening test is important because the test takers want to understand if you can follow a conversation or a lecture .These conversations are usually in foreign accents—British, Scottish, American (TOEFL) and Australian or New Zealanders’ (OET). If you want to practice, watch TV programs/films from English channels, to understand various expressions. Although English is an international language, it is spoken differently in various countries .Familiarize yourself with the way it is spoken in these countries. READING: All the tests give at least 2-3 reading passages; about 500-700 words in length and you have to find answers to the questions from the passage. Reading comprehension is an important part of these tests and the key questions will be based on your understanding of the vocabulary and your expertise in gleaning out information from the passages. The reading test will carry on for an hour or more, so it might get a bit tiring and difficult for you, even if your English is good. Practice by reading English newspapers and magazines and books. You can start with simple English reading like small fiction stories and then gradually start reading non-fiction. The passages are taken from scientific, historical or even medical journals (in the case of OET); therefore the reading is pretty heavy and is not very interesting. Make a practice by reading quickly and skimming through information and taking down notes. Improve your vocabulary by going through the meanings of words you do not know, using a dictionary. WRITING: The writing tests come in the form of composing a letter (OET) or an essay (TOEFL).The TOEFL has an integrated writing section where you have to listen to a speaker and read a passage and write an essay on how the listening and reading are related. This is a tough test since this tests your vocabulary, grammar and spellings. Even a good English speaker


may not write well. Since the writing tasks are timed –about half an hour to one hour, the key here is to structure and write down your thoughts in a limited time. Brush up your grammar; practice writing simple essay topics and write letters pertaining to your work or subject—place an order, complaint letter, introductory letter etc. For OET practice by reading case sheets and preparing reference letters on the case. SPEAKING: The TOEFL has six speaking tasks out which four are integrated tasks; the OET asks you to participate in a role play between a patient and yourself. The questions may be recordings (as in TOEFL) or asked by a live examiner (OET) .All your answers are taped and analyzed by test examiners later. As long as you display that you can speak fluently, and understand the task, you will not fail the test.Many candidates do not do well on the test just because they get nervous or tongue-tied and lose time thinking. Practice speaking with a friend or a person who knows good English. Speak on different topics for five minutes and ask your friend to converse with you on different topics.

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