Why is it Hard to Pass the TOEFL?


Is English a difficult language to learn?

Some might say that English is easy when you are exposed to it. Some say it is hard to get accustomed with the language with its different technicalities. Maybe it is safe to say that learning English is a long process – that a month is not enough to be considered good at it. Hence, non-native English speakers, such as Filipinos, take a lot of time in preparing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL test.

The TOEFL is an English fluency exam wherein an individual’s fluency in academic English is evaluated. Academic English is one tough area in English. Topics covered in the examination are from academic subjects in school like science and technology, history, and music. Like any other English proficiency examinations, it has four different sections – reading, listening, speaking and writing. Most TOEFL candidates take this examination to apply for work or pursue their studies overseas. There are different target scores required by different institutions of which candidates of the exam need to attain.

However, not all candidates are lucky enough to hit their target scores. There are some who are having a hard time getting their scores. Why is the TOEFL hard to pass?

• Familiarity with the topic
It is difficult to understand a given topic when you do not have any idea about it. Vocabulary words that are new can hinder someone from getting the right answer. When one is faced with a difficult topic, the individual has the tendency to lose focus on what he or she is reading or listening to. Once focused is lost, the performance in the exam is affected.
• Lack of notes
Taking notes is a skill one must have in the TOEFL. If the candidate’s notes are lacking and not enough, it will be difficult to answer detail questions. In taking down notes, do not write long sentences. Write in phrases and key words that you can understand. Make sure that you are getting the gist of the article or passage while note-taking as well.
• Inaudible responses
Since speaking is recorded, candidates are expected to be more relaxed in answering. However, some candidates fail to speak clearly while delivering a response. Open your mouth when speaking. This way, words come out clearly. Also, take note if the task is independent or integrated tasks. Know how to respond to these question types.
• Poor grammar
Grammar is very important. Poorly constructed responses get a very low score. One should have a strong foundation of grammar knowledge to effectively formulate responses that are appropriate and correct. Poor grammar makes a response dull, boring, and most of all, incorrect.

Learning English is a process. So, as early as today, start practicing your English skills for the TOEFL. Once you get accustomed with all of these, hitting the target score will just be a piece of cake.

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