TOEFL Exam Preparation
THE TOEFL EXAM
The purpose of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is to measure English proficiency levels. It is largely an academic exam and the scores are used to determine whether the candidate will be accepted by universities in the USA, here in South Africa as well as by those in other countries. The content is almost exclusively based on the kind of academic material one would encounter in undergraduate university courses. At times this material is erudite and difficult to understand. Second language English speakers often become bogged down in complex detail and struggle to make sense of the main message. As this is an integrated test in which the four skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening - are blended, candidates are required to respond to the listening and reading section either by speaking or writing. This puts double pressure on candidates as they are not only required to understand the gist and supporting detail of the listening and reading passages, but they have to demonstrate this understanding with appropriate oral or written responses to questions based on the material.
The course we offer is designed to help students deal with these large blocks of complex material and to respond to the accompanying tasks in a competent and appropriate manner.
Students will learn how to separate main ideas from detail and how to cope with vocabulary and grammar they don’t understand. We will give students tactics for dealing with the writing section: they will learn how to create good opening and closing paragraphs, how to organize answers so that the message is clear, and how to use signposts and signals to show the reader how the main ideas are developing,
Students will also be given guidance with the speaking section of the test and the Trainer will provide detailed feedback on problems with pronunciation, audibility, grammar, coherence and communicative competence.
The materials used on this course mirror those of the TOEFL test so that by the time students come to take the test there will be no surprises. They will know exactly what is expected of them and will tackle all sections of the test with the confidence of prior knowledge and comprehensive practice.
Considerable practice is needed to raise language proficiency levels and we recommend a course of 60 hours (private lessons) to obtain the maximum benefit from guided practice and from detailed feedback from the tutor. The longer the course, the more conversant students can become with skills, strategies and tactics that can enhance their performance on the test and ensure that they obtain the score they need for entrance to universities of their choice. For those students already enrolled at our school, the aim would be to reach the Advanced class level and commit to a period of at least 3 months in the Advanced class.