All things TOEFL iBT

Posts tagged ‘exam skills’

The art of essay writing

A quick read but to the point:

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Meta-writing: A dissertation about “doughnuts”

The Independent Writing task of the Toefl IBT requires the candidate

talk about a topic,

say if they agree or disagree with a statement,

choose the best alternative to allocate resources.

 

The text should take a four or five paragraph format of an introduction, body and conclusion in no more than 300 words.

The introduction should have the thesis of the text and the body paragraphs should have a topic sentence each.  The pargraphs should provide reasons and examples to support the main idea.

The conclusion summarizes the ideas presented in the text.

 

With that in mind, here is a reverse task, identify

  • the thesis statement
  • a topic sentence
  • a reason and/or example
  • a conclusion

Dissertation from a 12-year-old about doughnuts

 

Were the kid’s ideas and arguments clear? How would you grade this work? 

 

 

 

Eyes on the Prize

This can be very helpful when preparing for a test like the TOEFL iBT. Any candidate needs to draw up an action plan to achieve the final prize, which ultimately, is the desired score.

Teaching with Touchstone

‘To get where you want to be
You have to set a goal
And keep your eyes on the prize’

Bob Dylan

Simple, isn’t it?  Or is it…

There are 2 sides to motivating learners to work independently.  One is through assessment and the other is through engagement with the process and outcomes (the prize).  Let’s look at establishing the prize.

Working with learning portfolios, learners need to set goals, fill the portfolio with task output (e.g. voice recordings or pieces of writing) that prove by the end of the semester that they have achieved those goals.  We don’t have to adopt portfolios to borrow a little from portfolio philosophy to help us establish the prize for our learners.

There are different sets of prizes – long, short and medium term rewards.  Spend time getting to know your learners’ final aspirations for their careers or travel or social lives.  Get…

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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.  

You be the judge – Scoring the Independent Writing task

You be the judge!

You’re going to look at some model answers to an Independent Writing task and give a score for each.

First look at the rubric Scoring the Independent Writing Task on page 677 of the pdf version and on page 650 of the printed version. It says what is expected of a text to get a maximum score of 5 or a low score of 1.

Next, look at the exercise “Scoring the Response” on page 681 of the pdf version of the book and on page 645 of the printed version. Read Responses 1, 2 and 3.

What score, from 0 to 5, would you give for each response and why?

TOEFL iBT Integrated Writing practice

Your task for this weekend:

Practice Set 4: Integrated Writing.

Refer to the blog post on the same topic by clicking here.

Please post your answers in the Comments box. Give yourself 20 minutes and write no more than 200 words.