If you want to improve your TOEFL reading score by 3 points, always…  

 

Eliminate before you answer.  

 

It’s simple. For most question types, it’s important to eliminate answers before you choose the correct one. Time is an issue for many students, especially during the reading section. When you rush through the test, you pick the first answer that sounds right. That’s a bad idea. You want to make sure you look at every single answer choice before you move on to the next question. This is one of the first lessons I teach my TOEFL students:  

 

Instead of looking for the correct answer, try to find at least one incorrect answer for every question. 

 

This simple strategy increases the likelihood of you choosing the correct answer. 4 choices —– a 25% chance of getting it correct—– 3 choices —- a 33% chance of getting it correct. This doesn’t sound like a big jump, but for anyone who’s in business or likes to gamble, an 8% increase in odds is a huge difference. Here’s an excerpt from an example I found on the ETS website, the official destination of the TOEFL exam. 

 

This is a reading about water on Mars and the excerpt is from paragraph 1:  

 

 

When I see this question, I immediately identify it as a vocabulary question. I recognize the word, merge, and I go back to the passage to look for it. I find it in the following sentence: These flow features are extensive systems—sometimes hundreds of kilometers in total length—of interconnecting, twisting channels that seem to merge into larger, wider channels

 

 

A quick note about this example, the word channel does NOT mean a TV channel. Here, channels are the paths where rivers used to flow. Rivers carve out a section of land and make that part a bit deeper than the rest. So, if you have a telescope and look at Mars’ surface, you will see these snake-like paths where rivers used to flow.  

Anyway, I look at the last part of the sentence and it says: …interconnecting, twisting channels that seem to merge into larger, wider channels. Maybe I don’t know what the word merge means, but around it I see “interconnect” and I know that when a word begins with “inter-“, it usually means to come together. Also, after merge, I see the adjectives larger and wider, so I’m guessing that merge is a verb that means something like to makes something bigger or to come together.

 

I go back to the question. 

 

 

Now, if you don’t eliminate before you answer, you might see:  

a. expand

 

That answer looks pretty good, so you may choose it and move on to the next question. However, this is a mistake. You must look at all the answers and eliminate AT LEAST one choice before you make a decision:   

1. The word merge in the passage is closest in meaning to   

a. expand   

b. separate   

c. straighten out   

d. combine 

 

I eliminated separate because the words around merge are interconnectedlarger and widerSeparate has the opposite meaning. Great, now you’ve increased your chances of being correct to 33%. Let’s look at the rest of the choices.   

1. The word merge in the passage is closest in meaning to   

a. expand   

b. separate   

c. straighten out   

d combine  

 

I eliminated “c” and increased my odds to 50%. You don’t have to do this for every question, but if you can eliminate two choices before you answer, you greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll get the answer correct. 4 choices —- a 25% chance of getting it correct —– 3 choices —- a 33% chance of getting it correct —- 2 choices —- a  50% chance of getting it correct.   

Now, you just have two choices left, expand and combine and they both sound pretty good. Here, if you don’t know what merge means, you have a 50/50 shot of getting it correct. For this question the answer is actually D, combine. If you had answer this question without eliminating, you would have been incorrect.  

 

In conclusion… Always eliminate at least one choice before you answer a question. It’ll increase your odds from 25% to 33%. If you can eliminate two choices, even better!   

 Please comment below if you have any questions or extra information. Good luck and I’m always here to help ?

 

– Josh Teacher 

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If you want to improve your TOEFL reading score by 3 points, always… 

 

Eliminate before you answer. 

 

It’s simple. For most question types, it’s important to eliminate answers before you choose the correct one. Time is an issue for many students, especially during the reading section. When you rush through the test, you pick the first answer that sounds right. That’s a bad idea. You want to make sure you look at every single answer choice before you move on to the next question. This is one of the first lessons I teach my TOEFL students: 

 

Instead of looking for the correct answer, try to find at least one incorrect answer for every question.

 

This simple strategy increases the likelihood of you choosing the correct answer. 4 choices —– a 25% chance of getting it correct—– 3 choices —- a 33% chance of getting it correct. This doesn’t sound like a big jump, but for anyone who’s in business or likes to gamble, an 8% increase in odds is a huge difference. Here’s an excerpt from an example I found on the ETS website, the official destination of the TOEFL exam.

 

This is a reading about water on Mars and the excerpt is from paragraph 1: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I see this question, I immediately identify it as a vocabulary question. I recognize the word, merge, and I go back to the passage to look for it. I find it in the following sentence: These flow features are extensive systems—sometimes hundreds of kilometers in total length—of interconnecting, twisting channels that seem to merge into larger, wider channels

 

 

 

 

A quick note about this example, the word channel does NOT mean a TV channel. Here, channels are the paths where rivers used to flow. Rivers carve out a section of land and make that part a bit deeper than the rest. So, if you have a telescope and look at Mars’ surface, you will see these snake-like paths where rivers used to flow. 

Anyway, I look at the last part of the sentence and it says: …interconnecting, twisting channels that seem to merge into larger, wider channels. Maybe I don’t know what the word merge means, but around it I see “interconnect” and I know that when a word begins with “inter-“, it usually means to come together. Also, after merge, I see the adjectives larger and wider, so I’m guessing that merge is a verb that means something like to makes something bigger or to come together.

 

I go back to the question. 

 

 

Now, if you don’t eliminate before you answer, you might see:  

a. expand

 

That answer looks pretty good, so you may choose it and move on to the next question. Howerver, this is a mistake. You must look at all the answers and eliminate AT LEAST one choice before you make a decision:  

1. The word merge in the passage is closest in meaning to  

a. expand  

b. separate  

c. straighten out  

d. combine

 

I eliminated separate because the words around merge are interconnectedlarger and widerSeparate has the opposite meaning. Great, now you’ve increased your chances of being correct to 33%. Let’s look at the rest of the choices.  

1. The word merge in the passage is closest in meaning to  

a. expand  

b. separate  

c. straighten out  

d combine 

 

I eliminated “c” and increased my odds to 50%. You don’t have to do this for every question, but if you can eliminate two choices before you answer, you greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll get the answer correct. 4 choices —- a 25% chance of getting it correct —– 3 choices —- a 33% chance of getting it correct —- 2 choices —- a  50% chance of getting it correct.  

Now, you just have two choices left, expand and combine and they both sound pretty good. Here, if you don’t know what merge means, you have a 50/50 shot of getting it correct. For this question the answer is actually D, combine. If you had answer this question without eliminating, you would have been incorrect. 

 

In conclusion… Always eliminate at least one choice before you answer a question. It’ll increase your odds from 25% to 33%. If you can eliminate two choices, even better!  

 Please comment below if you have any questions or extra information. Good luck and I’m always here to help ?

– Josh Teacher 

Complete TOEFL Lesson Package
with Josh MacPherson
you have a test
we have a plan


These complete lesson packages are everything you need to get ready and ace the TOEFL once and for all

GET THIS PLAN NOW
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For this, we offer you the TOEFL Speaking Evaluation, a service that is designed to help you learn what your weak points are, so you can work on them.

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