Sunday, March 6, 2016

General Test Taking Tips regarding the TOEIC Exam- Reading Section

The Test of English for International Communications (TOEIC) will be changing in May 2016.  While this may be the case, there are many things regarding this test that will remain the same.  Below are some general test taking tips for this examination regarding if you take the test before or after May 2016:

  1. There is no way around the fact that unless a student knows a lot of English, they can't score highly on the TOEIC test.  A good way to know if a student is ready or not for the exam is for the student to partake in a structured training program either in a class or on a one on one basis.  If the student misses most of the instruction simply because the instruction is give in English instead of their native language, they should wait to take the test till their English has improved.
  2. A prerequisite to taking the TOEIC exam is for the test taker to be at a minimum at the upper beginner/lower intermediate level AND to receive instruction in English for a minimal score of 500.
  3. The reading section demands the critical skill of time management.  This is managed by becoming proficient with the reading techniques of scanning and skimming.  Unlike the Listening Section, test takers can take Parts 5, 6, and 7 in various orders in an effort to manage the clock.
  4. We suggest that students that are weak in the area of vocabulary to obtain a copy of the "Essential Words" for the TOEIC.  With this manual as your guide, start a word journal  and consistently find words that you don't know that are essential for success on the TOEIC and add to your word journal.
  5. The "Essential Words" for the TOEIC is also good for the determining parts of speech due to the essential words being broken down in their word families.  
  6. Are you able to look at a practice test problem and determine what "sounds" right?  If so, you are ahead of the curve and will be doing yourself a favor when it comes to time management.  Many have to look at the choices and eliminate based on the blank's position in the sentence or correctly choosing the right vocabulary word.
  7.  If the student does not know the key words, there is little they can do about it during the test so they shouldn’t waste time.  One recommended approach for handling this part efficiently is called the ‘2-Pass’ technique.  
  8. On the first pass the student goes through quickly answering all the questions they find easy. If they don’t know the answer within ten seconds, they skip to the next question. On the second pass, the student goes back to the more difficult questions left blank. If they still aren’t sure of the correct answer after 30 seconds they should guess and move on. This technique ensures that students don’t get stuck on the more challenging questions and end up wasting a lot of time.
  9. The skimming reading technique is used in parts 5 and 6.  To skim is to read quickly and superficially, in order to pick up the important or significant details.
  10. The scanning reading technique is used in part 7.   To scan is to look for specific information in the various targets in part 7.  The best technique for getting through this is to use PSRA.  This is to Predict what the target will be and how many questions, Scan the target by reading the questions and four possible answers before reading the target, Read around the scanned area if necessary, and the selecting your answer and moving on.  The whole PSRA process should take no more than 30 seconds per problem.  Two targets will have five problems and one target sets will have three problems.  If time management is a challenge, we suggest that you do Part 7 first.  
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Saturday, March 5, 2016

May 2016- The format of the TOEIC Test will change (ENGLISH Explanation)

       Background-  More authentic communication is needed according to Educational Testing Service (ETS).  The degree of difficulty and quality of tests will stay the same and the points are not changing.   

       Other factors regarding the new format that will not change are as the following:
  •     The amount of time to solve listening problems (100 questions, 45 minutes) and reading problems (100 question, 75 minutes) 
  •   Test takers will need to solve 200 questions in two hours and there will be no breaks during this time.
  •   The listening section will have all problems answered after listening to the conversation.
  •   The reading section, will have have the test taker read the sample writing and answer.
  •   Listening ranges between 5 to 495 points.  Reading ranges between 5 to 495 points.  Total is 10 to 990 points.  Scoring will be counted by 5.  For example, 450, 455, 460, 465, etc.
  •   Test is all in English with the format of multiple choice.  
  •   No translation will be done by student.          
  •   American, British, Canadian, and Australian English is used.  

         Things to prepare for that are different for the new version are as the following:

  •       New communication style such as texting, instant messaging, and multiple people chatting (3 or more).

  •  In particular, test takers will focus on the use of multiple information sources and choose the right answer. 

Ex-  New version of Part 2, Question-Response-  Some of these problems will have a map or graph and test taker listens to the conversation and answer the questions.

·        ·         Listening Change Points-  The number of problems have been reduced for Parts 1 & 2, but,  additional problems have been added for Part 3.  Also for Part 3, the conversations are shorter but there is more talking and there are problems using three people talking.  Furthermore, elision, the sound or syllable when speaking, (gonna=going to) and commonly used fragment sentences are used as well.

·         Parts 3 and 4 have listening conversations where a picture/drawing is linked to the conversation.  Test takers are to listen to the conversations and guess the intention.

·         Reading Change Points-  Part 5 will be reduced, but, Part 6 questions will be increased to four questions.  Questions that will confirm if the student is understanding the overall confirmation of a document will be added.  For example, choose the most appropriate sentence type of questions will be added.   Part 7 will have test taker choose the most appropriate place to add the sentence.  These kind of problems will be added.  There will be targets where texting, Instant Messaging, Online chatting with multiple people.  For example, the following questions will be added-  Read 3 related paragraphs and answer.  More questions will be added for reading.  Lastly, questions that will ask what is the intention of the writer will be added.