[Test of English as a Foreign Language™]
In Only 6 Steps!
[Test of English as a Foreign Language™]
In Only 6 Steps!
TOEFL® is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service (ETS).
This publication is not endorsed or approved by ETS.
Copyright © 2002 LearningExpress, LLC.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
Published in the United States by LearningExpress, LLC, New York.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:
Chesla, Elizabeth L.
TOEFL Exam success from LearningExpress in only 6 strategic steps / Elizabeth Chesla.—1st ed.
ISBN 1-57685-421-3 (alk. paper)
1. English language—Textbooks for foreign speakers. 2. Test of English as a foreign language—
Study guides. 3. English language—Examinations—Study guides. I. Title.
PE1128 .C528 2002
Printed in the United States of America
For more information or to place an order, contact LearningExpress at:
New York, NY 10003
Or visit us at:
About the Author
Elizabeth Chesla is a lecturer in English at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, New York, where she coordi-
nates the Technical & Professional Communication Program. She is the author of several books and study
guides, including Write Better Essays, Reading Comprehension Success, Improve Your Writing for Work, and Read
Better, Remember More. In addition, she is a content developer for LearnATest.com.
CHAPTER 1: How to Prepare for the TOEFL
CHAPTER 2: Reading Comprehension Skills 23
CHAPTER 3: Structure: Grammar and Style 51
CHAPTER 4: Listening Comprehension 89
CHAPTER 5: Writing 107
CHAPTER 6: Notes on the TOEFL
Exam: Registration, the Computer-Based Test, 129
Scores, and Tips for Test Day
APPENDIX A: Answers and Explanations 141
APPENDIX B: Additional Resources 157
Need to take the TOEFL exam? You are not alone. Over 800,000 students take the Test of English as a For-
eign Language™ each year. More than 2,000 universities and programs in the United States and Canada use
the TOEFL exam to evaluate the English proficiency of applicants who are not native speakers of English. The
reason for this is simple: Academic institutions want to be sure that these applicants can read, write, and
comprehend spoken English so that they can succeed in the college classroom.
What This Book Is—And Isn’t
Because your score on the TOEFL exam can determine whether or not you are accepted into an academic
institution or program, it is important to prepare carefully for the exam. As you have probably noticed, there
are dozens of TOEFL exam preparation books available in libraries and bookstores. Most of these books
provide you with practice TOEFL exams to help you become familiar with the format of the test. But taking
practice TOEFL exams will do little to boost your score if what you really need is to improve your basic
That’s exactly how this book can help you. The goal of LearningExpress
1. To explain the format of each section of the TOEFL exam.
2. To offer speciﬁc test-taking strategies that you can use on the exam.
3. To review the basic reading, writing, and listening skills you need to do well on each section.
4. To provide exercises that help you build the basic skills and practice the test-taking strategies you learn
in each section.
Building your English reading, writing, and listening skills is important, of course. But before address-
ing these speciﬁc skill sets, this book takes you through a review of basic study skills and learning strategies. It
also helps you prepare a detailed study plan. The stronger your study skills, and the better you understand
learning strategies, the more you will get out of each skill-building chapter.
Each skill-building chapter of this book includes several practice exercises, and detailed answers and
explanations are provided in Appendix A. Appendix B offers an extensive list of resources to help you fur-
ther strengthen your basic skills. Chapter 6 provides general information about the TOEFL exam, including
notes about registration and scoring.
The TOEFL Exam: What the Test Is About
The TOEFL exam has four sections: Listening, Structure, Reading, and Writing. The Listening section meas-
ures your ability to understand English as spoken in North America. If you have lived in an English-speak-
ing country or region where the accent is different than you will ﬁnd on the TOEFL exam, you may need to
spend some extra time adjusting to the sound of American English. The Structure section of the exam tests
your knowledge of English grammar and usage, including topics such as verb tenses, idioms, and parallel
structure. The Reading section measures your ability to understand passages written in English. You will be
asked to identify the main idea, determine the meaning of vocabulary words, identify speciﬁc details, and draw
inferences based upon the passage. Finally, the Writing section will ask you to write a short essay on a gen-
eral topic. A list of possible topics is included in the TOEFL
Computer-Based Test Information Bulletin and
online at www.toeﬂ.org. (For more information, see Chapters 5 and 6.)
BECAUSE test centers fill up quickly, you should begin the TOEFL exam registration process right away. The first
step you need to take is to obtain the Bulletin. If you have access to the Internet, the easiest way to get the Bul-
letin is to download it from www.toefl.org. Bulletins for both the paper-based and the computer-based exams are
available on this site. If you don’t have Internet access, you can get the Bulletin from an English language cen-
ter or the international student office at the university to which you are applying.
You can also send a written request to:
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
Don’t Delay—Register Right Away
Why the TOEFL Exam? Why Me?
Proﬁciency in English is essential if you are to follow class discussions and complete the reading and writing
assignments in most college classes. In many courses, you may also be required to deliver oral presentations.
And if you are applying to a graduate program, you may be given a position as a teaching assistant, which
means you will be expected to help undergraduate students with their schoolwork, instruct them, and grade
their assignments. In order to ensure that you can succeed even though you are not studying in your native
language, and that you will be a competent teaching assistant if you are applying to graduate school, colleges
and other institutions require you to take the TOEFL exam.
The TOEFL exam is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS
), the organization that also
administers other standardized tests, including the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT
) and the Graduate
Record Examination (GRE
). Even if you have lived in the United States or another English-speaking coun-
try for several years, you still may be required to take the TOEFL exam if English is not your native language.
Don’t be offended—this may be of beneﬁt to you because some schools will look at your verbal SAT score
with kinder eyes if you have done well on the TOEFL exam. Look at the TOEFL exam as an opportunity to
learn English better if you don’t know it well, or to brush up on what you already know if you are already pro-
Standardized Tests and Computer Skills
In July 1998, a computer-based version of the TOEFL exam was introduced, and the paper-based exam is rap-
idly being phased out. In addition to mastering the English language, students who plan to take the TOEFL
exam should develop their standardized test-taking skills and basic computer skills. In the United States, basic
computer proﬁciency is assumed in college, and many of your assignments will require computer work. Mul-
tiple-choice tests are also common in college, especially in the ﬁrst year when students attend introductory
or “core” classes that are required of all students. Therefore, studying for the TOEFL exam will not only help
you to increase your English proﬁciency, but it will also enable you to pick up other skills you will ﬁnd use-
ful in college.
➧ In the school year 1999–2000, more than 477,245 people registered to take the paper-based TOEFL
exam, and more than 348,417 people registered to take the computer-based exam.
➧ TOEFL exam scores are required for purposes of admission by more than 2,400 two- and four-year col-
leges and universities in the United States and Canada.
➧ The TOEFL exam is also used by institutions in other countries where English is the language of instruction.
➧ Many government agencies, scholarship programs, and licensing/certification agencies use TOEFL
exam scores to evaluate English proficiency.
➧ Native speakers of 145 different languages have taken the TOEFL exam.
➧ Citizens of more than 220 countries and regions take the exam.
TOEFL Exam Facts
Scoring on the TOEFL Exam
There is no single passing score on the TOEFL exam. The institutions to which you are applying determine
the minimum acceptable score. However, some colleges provide ESOL (English as a Second or Other Lan-
guage) classes. If you score below what is required by the institution of your choice, you may be able to reg-
ister for ESOL classes your ﬁrst semester and continue to take other classes when you successfully complete
the ESOL course. Alternatively, you can take the TOEFL exam again, but one of the goals of this book is to
prepare you to do your best and succeed the ﬁrst time around.
How to Use This Book
Though each chapter of this book is an effective skill-builder on its own, you will get the most out of this book
by beginning with Chapter 1 and working through each chapter. Some of the later chapters refer to ideas and
information discussed in earlier parts of the book, so you may ﬁnd it most effective to tackle Chapters 2–5
in order (you can read Chapter 6 separately at any time). However you proceed, read carefully, take good
notes, and use your time wisely. Remember that you are already on your way to success on the TOEFL exam.
[Test of English as a Foreign Language™]
In Only 6 Steps!
ULIO AND OKSANA will both be taking the TOEFL exam in a few weeks. Their proﬁciency in
English is at nearly the same level. They have both taken the practice exams in the TOEFL
mation Bulletin. However, Oksana has done a few things that Julio has not. She has created a
study plan, determined her learning style, and reviewed test-taking strategies. She has also been learning how
to relax so that she won’t be nervous during the exam. Although Julio and Oksana have about the same Eng-
lish skills, Oksana is likely to score much higher than Julio on the exam. And for good reason: she is better
prepared. She knows what to expect on the test, how she learns best, and what she needs to study. She has been
following a study schedule, knows how to tackle multiple-choice questions, and knows how to calm her nerves
so she can do her best on the exam. Obviously, you want to be prepared for the TOEFL exam—that’s why you
bought this book. But good preparation takes a lot more than just taking a practice exam or two. That’s why
this ﬁrst chapter is all about study skills and test-taking strategies. In this chapter, you will learn how to study,
how to better learn and remember, and how to tackle standardized tests like the TOEFL exam.
How to Prepare
The TOEFL exam is an important test, so it’s important to be properly
prepared. The advice in this chapter will help you set up an effective
learning environment and create a successful study plan. You will also
learn important study strategies and test-taking tips.