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L e a r n i n g E x p r e s s ®’ s ®


[Test of English as a Foreign Language™]

EXAM SUCCESS In Only 6 Steps!

L e a r n i n g E x p r e s s ®’ s ®


[Test of English as a Foreign Language™]

EXAM SUCCESS In Only 6 Steps!

Elizabeth Chesla

TOEFL® is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service (ETS). This publication is not endorsed or approved by ETS. NEW


Copyright © 2002 LearningExpress, LLC. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by LearningExpress, LLC, New York. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data: Chesla, Elizabeth L. TOEFL Exam success from LearningExpress in only 6 strategic steps / Elizabeth Chesla.—1st ed. p. cm. ISBN 1-57685-421-3 (alk. paper) 1. English language—Textbooks for foreign speakers. 2. Test of English as a foreign language— Study guides. 3. English language—Examinations—Study guides. I. Title. PE1128 .C528 2002 428'.0076—dc21 2002010030 Printed in the United States of America 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition ISBN 1-57685-421-3 For more information or to place an order, contact LearningExpress at: 900 Broadway Suite 604 New York, NY 10003 Or visit us at:

About the Author Elizabeth Chesla is a lecturer in English at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, New York, where she coordinates the Technical & Professional Communication Program. She is the author of several books and study guides, including Write Better Essays, Reading Comprehension Success, Improve Your Writing for Work, and Read Better, Remember More. In addition, she is a content developer for





How to Prepare for the TOEFL速 Exam


Reading Comprehension Skills



Structure: Grammar and Style



Listening Comprehension






Notes on the TOEFL速 Exam: Registration, the Computer-Based Test, Scores, and Tips for Test Day



APPENDIX A: Answers and Explanations


APPENDIX B: Additional Resources



Introduction Need to take the TOEFL exam? You are not alone. Over 800,000 students take the Test of English as a Foreign Language™ each year. More than 2,000 universities and programs in the United States and Canada use the TOEFL exam to evaluate the English proficiency of applicants who are not native speakers of English. The reason for this is simple: Academic institutions want to be sure that these applicants can read, write, and comprehend spoken English so that they can succeed in the college classroom.

What This Book Is—And Isn’ t

Because your score on the TOEFL exam can determine whether or not you are accepted into an academic institution or program, it is important to prepare carefully for the exam. As you have probably noticed, there are dozens of TOEFL exam preparation books available in libraries and bookstores. Most of these books provide you with practice TOEFL exams to help you become familiar with the format of the test. But taking practice TOEFL exams will do little to boost your score if what you really need is to improve your basic English skills. That’s exactly how this book can help you. The goal of LearningExpress®’s TOEFL® Exam Success is fourfold: 1. 2. 3. 4.

To explain the format of each section of the TOEFL exam. To offer specific test-taking strategies that you can use on the exam. To review the basic reading, writing, and listening skills you need to do well on each section. To provide exercises that help you build the basic skills and practice the test-taking strategies you learn in each section.



Building your English reading, writing, and listening skills is important, of course. But before addressing these specific skill sets, this book takes you through a review of basic study skills and learning strategies. It also helps you prepare a detailed study plan. The stronger your study skills, and the better you understand learning strategies, the more you will get out of each skill-building chapter. Each skill-building chapter of this book includes several practice exercises, and detailed answers and explanations are provided in Appendix A. Appendix B offers an extensive list of resources to help you further strengthen your basic skills. Chapter 6 provides general information about the TOEFL exam, including notes about registration and scoring.

The TOEFL Exam: What the Test Is About

The TOEFL exam has four sections: Listening, Structure, Reading, and Writing. The Listening section measures your ability to understand English as spoken in North America. If you have lived in an English-speaking country or region where the accent is different than you will find on the TOEFL exam, you may need to spend some extra time adjusting to the sound of American English. The Structure section of the exam tests your knowledge of English grammar and usage, including topics such as verb tenses, idioms, and parallel structure. The Reading section measures your ability to understand passages written in English. You will be asked to identify the main idea, determine the meaning of vocabulary words, identify specific details, and draw inferences based upon the passage. Finally, the Writing section will ask you to write a short essay on a general topic. A list of possible topics is included in the TOEFL® Computer-Based Test Information Bulletin and online at (For more information, see Chapters 5 and 6.)

Don’t Delay—Register Right Away BECAUSE test centers fill up quickly, you should begin the TOEFL exam registration process right away. The first step you need to take is to obtain the Bulletin. If you have access to the Internet, the easiest way to get the Bulletin is to download it from Bulletins for both the paper-based and the computer-based exams are available on this site. If you don’t have Internet access, you can get the Bulletin from an English language center or the international student office at the university to which you are applying. You can also send a written request to: TOEFL®/TSE® Services P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 USA 609-771-7100



Why the TOEFL Exam? Why Me?

Proficiency in English is essential if you are to follow class discussions and complete the reading and writing assignments in most college classes. In many courses, you may also be required to deliver oral presentations. And if you are applying to a graduate program, you may be given a position as a teaching assistant, which means you will be expected to help undergraduate students with their schoolwork, instruct them, and grade their assignments. In order to ensure that you can succeed even though you are not studying in your native language, and that you will be a competent teaching assistant if you are applying to graduate school, colleges and other institutions require you to take the TOEFL exam. The TOEFL exam is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS®), the organization that also administers other standardized tests, including the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT®) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE®). Even if you have lived in the United States or another English-speaking country for several years, you still may be required to take the TOEFL exam if English is not your native language. Don’t be offended—this may be of benefit to you because some schools will look at your verbal SAT score with kinder eyes if you have done well on the TOEFL exam. Look at the TOEFL exam as an opportunity to learn English better if you don’t know it well, or to brush up on what you already know if you are already proficient.

TOEFL Exam Facts ➧ In the school year 1999–2000, more than 477,245 people registered to take the paper-based TOEFL exam, and more than 348,417 people registered to take the computer-based exam.

➧ TOEFL exam scores are required for purposes of admission by more than 2,400 two- and four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

➧ The TOEFL exam is also used by institutions in other countries where English is the language of instruction. ➧ Many government agencies, scholarship programs, and licensing/certification agencies use TOEFL exam scores to evaluate English proficiency.

➧ Native speakers of 145 different languages have taken the TOEFL exam. ➧ Citizens of more than 220 countries and regions take the exam.

Standardized Tests and Computer Skills

In July 1998, a computer-based version of the TOEFL exam was introduced, and the paper-based exam is rapidly being phased out. In addition to mastering the English language, students who plan to take the TOEFL exam should develop their standardized test-taking skills and basic computer skills. In the United States, basic computer proficiency is assumed in college, and many of your assignments will require computer work. Multiple-choice tests are also common in college, especially in the first year when students attend introductory or “core” classes that are required of all students. Therefore, studying for the TOEFL exam will not only help you to increase your English proficiency, but it will also enable you to pick up other skills you will find useful in college. xi


Scoring on the TOEFL Exam

There is no single passing score on the TOEFL exam. The institutions to which you are applying determine the minimum acceptable score. However, some colleges provide ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) classes. If you score below what is required by the institution of your choice, you may be able to register for ESOL classes your first semester and continue to take other classes when you successfully complete the ESOL course. Alternatively, you can take the TOEFL exam again, but one of the goals of this book is to prepare you to do your best and succeed the first time around.

How to Use This Book

Though each chapter of this book is an effective skill-builder on its own, you will get the most out of this book by beginning with Chapter 1 and working through each chapter. Some of the later chapters refer to ideas and information discussed in earlier parts of the book, so you may find it most effective to tackle Chapters 2–5 in order (you can read Chapter 6 separately at any time). However you proceed, read carefully, take good notes, and use your time wisely. Remember that you are already on your way to success on the TOEFL exam.


L e a r n i n g E x p r e s s ®’ s ®


[Test of English as a Foreign Language™]

EXAM SUCCESS In Only 6 Steps!

TOEFL Exam Success  

TOEFL ® In Only 6 Steps! L e a r n i n g E x p r e s s ® ’ s [Test of English as a Foreign Language™] In Only 6 Steps! Elizabeth Chesla L e...

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