TOEFL Secrets Uncovered

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Taking the TOEFL

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) evaluates a test-taker's ability to use and understand English in an academic setting. Many colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand require foreign applicants to submit TOEFL test scores as part of the admissions process.

Why Take the TOEFL

The TOEFL is not the only English test that can be taken. Other tests include the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), which measures business English skills, and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), which also measures English proficiency. However, the TOEFL is the most widely accepted English-language test in the world. More than 7,000 institutions in over 130 countries accept TOEFL test scores.

Test Content

There are two different versions of the TOEFL test that can be taken: the Internet-based Test (iBT) and the Paper-based Test (PBT). In most cases, you will not be given a choice as to which version you can take. That is decided by the test center administering the test. Some offer only the iBT, while others offer only the PBT. Both versions of the TOEFL test your ability to read, write, listen to, and speak English.

Registering for the TOEFL

There are four ways in which you can register for the TOEFL: online, over the phone, by mail, and in person at a TOEFL Resource Center. Payment must be made on the day you register. Fees to take the TOEFL vary depending on your location, but generally cost around $170 USD. Registration is usually open three to four months before the test date. It is important to register early because seats fill up quickly.

Preparing for the TOEFL

Preparing for the TOEFL in advance will ensure a better score on the test. ETS, the company that administers the TOEFL, provides many free and fee-based test preparation resources on their website, including practice questions and an official test prep guide. Students who need additional help can consult one of the many different test prep companies that offer courses and other types of TOEFL test prep resources. There are also many free resources available online for students who are on a budget.

Test-Taking Tips
  • Familiarize yourself with the test and test directions prior to test day so that you can use your allotted amount of time to concentrate on answering the test questions.
  • Take time to read each question carefully so that you know exactly what is being asked.
  • Do not spend too much time on any one question--try to pace yourself throughout the test.
  • If you aren’t sure on an answer, eliminate the answers that are obviously incorrect and make your best guess.
  • Skim reading comprehension passages to get a basic idea of what the passage is about. If necessary, go back and reread to find specific details.
  • Express your ideas in a clear and concise manner when you complete the writing portions of the test. Remove any words from your sentences that seem awkward or unnecessary.
  • Save time to proofread your writing.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about online classes for OnlineClasses.org.
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Find Your Ideal Language Partner - Language for Exchange

Language for Exchange

Would you like to practice English with native people? Are you moving to Britain and would like to know people in advance? Would you like to teach your first language to others?

Language for Exchange is a good place to start. It’s a simple Web page where you only need to register in order to access a wide database of people from all over the World that want the same as you: to learn a language.

It’s that simple: fill in your data and choose your language partner. A free service that seems to have quite a lot users; you can see their profile and in some cases, even their photo. There are people of all ages and countries, with whom you can talk and practise your English.

The website also has forums and blogs in different languages, where you’ll find resources to keep learning.

Have a look and go on and practise real English!

Visit Language for Exchange

Guest post written by Silvia, Silvia is a graduate of translation and is an official interpreter of English. She works freelance (full-time) and has more than 10 years' experience in specialised translation. Visit her blog "English for Professionals".
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Are you afraid of making mistakes in English?

The best way to learn English is by losing your shame and the fear to be wrong; we’re all human and make mistakes. Moreover, as an additional language that you’re learning you should be less rigid about the potential for making mistakes as they’re likely to happen. Don’t think about a mistake as a step back but as something to learn from and by that improve your level of English.

Even people whose native language is English make mistakes. In order to illustrate it, we’ve selected a series of examples shown in a document written by Bernard Lamb, a lecturer at Imperial College London, which is considered as one of the top three colleges in England.

Some students that were awarded first-class honours degrees made mistakes like:

Mistakes in English
ErrorExplanation
Put implicated for implementedWrong use of the word
Put peace for pieceWrong use of the word
Put defiantly for definitelyWrong use of the word
Confuse effect/affectWord confusion
Confuse where/wereWord confusion
Confuse their/thereWord confusion
Confuse compliment/complementWord confusion
Confuse infected/affectedWord confusion
Confuse infer/implyWord confusion
It incorporate how an organisms adapt toGrammar error. It should be: It incorporates how an organism adapts to
A womenGrammar error. It should be: a woman
In 3 different countryGrammar error. It should be: in 3 different countries.
Put it’s for itsPunctuation error
Put bieng for beingSpelling error
Put recieved for receivedSpelling error
Put usualy for usuallySpelling error
Put totaly for totallySpelling error
alotTwo words written as one: a lot
InfactTwo words written as one: in fact
InorderTwo words written as one: in order
More overOne word written as two: Moreover
There forOne word written as two: Therefore

And these are just some of the most eye-catching mistakes; there are many more. If you want to see the original document, you can download it from this link or this one.

Summing up, you need to lose the fear to make mistakes.
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Job Interview - Avoid the pitfalls

Have you been selected to do a job interview? Congrats, you have taken the first and maybe most important step. Now it’s important to prepare that interview in order to avoid any mistakes that could reduce your chances of getting that job.

In this post we're giving you some tips so that everything will turn out fine in your next job interview.

Don't drop a clanger: The interview process can be difficult enough without making it harder for yourself, so it's important to know how to keep clear of the pitfalls.

Job Interview

Your CV has been picked out of the pile and you have been called for an interview. Apart from researching the company involved, it's important to prepare by brushing up on your technique. Using too many clich├ęs is a bad idea. Avoid using phrases like, 'I think…' or 'I suppose…' as this sounds too weak. Potential employers will be more impressed if you say, 'I am confident…', 'I can…' or 'I know...'

Don't apologise for any lack of skills or experience by saying, 'I am afraid that I only have…', 'I don't have much…'. Instead, highlight the positives you do have. When asked, 'What are your strengths?' do not say, 'I'm a good communicator and I like meeting people.' Interviewers will have heard this before. There are far more meaningful things that you can say to make you stand out. Similarly, when asked, 'What are your weaknesses?' don't opt for the 'I haven't got any' answer. Just as bad are, 'I am a perfectionist' or 'I am an over-worker'. These are over-used answers. Worse still is 'I don't suffer fools gladly'. Nobody likes name-dropping, so unless you are absolutely certain that this will assist you, try to avoid it.

No matter how much you hate your current job, do not make any negative reference to this, no matter how tempting it might be. Don't be over familiar with the interviewer but don't be weak. Make good eye contact and offer a strong handshake, but without staring the interviewer down or breaking every bone in their hand.

Finally, do not turn up for your interview without some practice – if you are getting married, you have a rehearsal, if you are acting in a play, you have many rehearsals and then a dress rehearsal, so give this occasion the time and effort it deserves.

Good luck!

Original article in Metro Ireland
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Game - What is the difference?

A little challenge for the weekend, would you be able to say the difference between the following two expressions:

Eats shoots and leaves.
Eats, shoots and leaves.


Continue reading to see the answer, but try it first without looking! :)

The first sentence informs us that a creature (like a panda, for example) eats newly emerging vegetative manner (shoots) as well as eating leaves.

The second one says that somebody eats something (say, in a restaurant), then they shoot a person/s with a gun and then they leave.

It is that single comma inserted after the first word in the second sentence (Eats,) that differentiates one meaning from the other and what a difference it makes.
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Netlingo - The Dictionary of the New Technologies

Netlingo

The Internet and the new technologies keep on growing. There are new words cropping up everyday and before we realize it, we run into new terms or abbreviations whose meaning is unknown to us. And what's worse, we look them up in a dictionary and we can't find them. What should we do then?

Netlingo has come to help us in this task. This hugely complete website has the mission to gather all these new words in one place. Internet-related words, technical terminology, tech jargon, terms glossary for newbies acronyms used in text messages (sms)... all this can be found in this website.

The site's neat design allows us to search by category: marketing, business, acronyms, programming, hardware, software... everything in English and using a plain language.

The first thing we find when accessing the website is 'the Word of the Day', a useful way to learn new vocabulary and that can also be customized: the Business Word of the Day, the Jargon Word of the Day, and the Acronym of the Day. It really is a very useful way to learn something new every day.

Finally, it shouldn't be forgotten that this site offers several tools to the visitor: a floating toolbar to be downloaded, a pocket dictionary, a widget for your desktop and also the possibility of visiting Netlingo's own blog.

In short, a great resource to keep you up to date with the new terms that appear in the English language :)

Link | Netlingo.com

Guest post written by Silvia, Silvia is a graduate of translation and is an official interpreter of English. She works freelance (full-time) and has more than 10 years' experience in specialised translation. Visit her blog "English for Professionals".
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