All things TOEFL iBT

Archive for June, 2013

Independent Writing – The pros and cons of …

Two related topics to explore the pros and cons format of TOEFL Independent Writing, which can also be applied to the Independent Speaking tasks.

The pros and cons of applying for a study program backed by government or private institutions as opposed to paying your own tuition.

The pros and cons of studying abroad as opposed to studying in your own country.

This kind of essay requires that you present advantages and corresponding disadvantages of the topic. You do not necessarily have to choose.
What is essential is that you present a benefit or a drawback and give an example of how it can happen. You are comparing and contrasting two sides of the same coin. 

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Seize the opportunity

  1. The best time is now.
  2. Opportunity only knocks once
  3. Don’t let the it slip through your fingers.
  4. Make the most of every situation
  5. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today
  6. Take the bull by the horns
  7. It’s your turn to shine
  8. Step into the limelight
  9. It’s now or never.
  10. A once-in-a-lifetime chance
  11. Don’t throw away your chances
  12. Don’t play with your luck.

The proverbs and sayings above all cover the same idea: SEIZE THE DAY

How do these words of wisdom relate to the current Brazil riots across the country because of bus fares (the original reason)?

We all have a right to know – Integrated skills

Shakespeare once said that ignorance is bliss. Many Americans would probably agree with him, in light of the recent surveillance programs scandal involving the National Security Agency. Or maybe they wouldn’t.

The debate now spins on the figure of ex- CIA technician Edward Snowden, for some a hero, for others a traitor. Why did he decide to blow the whistle? Watch the video to find out.

There are many words for someone like Snowden, someone who reveals top secret information and unleashes a scandal of catastrophic proportions.

Whistleblower = Squealer = Snitch = Rat = Canary = Sell-out

Regardless of the name you use, do you think Snowden did the right thing by revealing this kind of information? What reasons do you have for your view?

Independent Speaking/Independent Writing – Good manners

Before you answer the question:

Complaining about or showing disapproval of someone’s annoying behavior nowadays is like making a storm in a teacup: no one seems to care anymore.

Speaking your mind makes you look like the fussy one: someone who is always hard to please.

Would you consider any of these things annoying? Where would they usually happen?

  • Not using the indicator
  • Speeding
  • Not respecting pedestrians
  • Revving the engine
  • Blowing/honking the horn
  • Using the shoulder as a lane
  • Slurping your drink
  • Eating smelly food

Of course, there are many other behaviors that piss us off everyday. Here is the question at hand:

Do people from your country have good manners? Give reasons and examples to support your view.

You have two alternatives: record an answer by clicking on the Vocaroo icon below or write an answer in the Comments.

If you´re recording, don’t take more than 45 seconds.

If you’re going to write about it, write at least 300 words in 30 minutes.

If you want to do both, by all means do so.

Powered by Vocaroo Voice Recorder

Not as efficient as we think

 

Have you ever heard of these techniques? 

  • Elaborative interrogation

  • Self-explanation

  • Summarizing

  • Highlighting/underlining

  • Keyword mnemonics

  • Imagery

  • Re-reading

  • Practice testing

  • Distributed practice

  • Interleaved practice

According to a recent study published on BBC, most of the techniques students use to prepare for tests are not effective – so when we think we are getting an upper hand on our studies we are actually wasting a lot of time that could be spent practicing a hobby or broadening our cultural horizons,

The question is, like anything in life, we have to find what works for us, even if that something just has a psychological effect.

So which of these techniques do you use? What other techniques do you normally resort to and how effective are they?

Which of these techniques would be useful to prepare for the TOEFL iBT?

Post your answers in the comments box.