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Hello Everyone! I have been very busy helping people pass their TOEFL and IELTS tests and I wanted to share some of the things I have noticed with my students this past year. There are a few things you should focus on to pass including....
Believe it or not, many students have told me that if they don't have an honest answer for one of the independent speaking question, they simply say, "I can't lie". While I understand and sympathize with anyone who thinks this way, please keep in mind that your objective here is to pass the test. You are not being tested on your ideas as much as the level of your English speaking.
Quite often students will get a question which requires them to talk about a personal experience which they might have never actually had. One way to answer such a question is to talk about someone who actually had this experience or perhaps borrow an experience from something you've read in a book or seen in a movie.
Choosing from two options can be tricky and I am going to tell you why. What I notice is that sometimes students will be asked to choose from two options and say why they prefer the option they chose. Since this is a very short speaking answer (45 seconds), there really isn't enough time to COMPARE AND CONTRAST the positive and negative aspects of your choice. Furthermore, if you start talking about why you don't prefer one of the choices, you might end up running out of time before you start talking about why you prefer your choice.
Should you take notes during the TOEFL listening and speaking section? From my experience, even if you have a high level of English you probably wouldn't get higher than 23 on either section. Please remember that during the real test their will always be the distractions from other people sitting beside you and possible malfunctions of the computer you are using. Therefore, taking notes gives you a better chance to be able to follow something when you are under pressure. If you need more help, please contact me for private lessons.