TOEFL – READING COMPREHENSION TIPS!

RC TOEFL – READING COMPREHENSION TIPS!

The first Section that you will have in TOEFL iBT exam is the Reading Section. The Reading Section of TOEL iBT measures your ability to read and apprehend academic based passages in English. You have to have a strong and effective Reading Skills that will help you achieve high Score in the Reading Sectopn. As we discussed in our previous TOEFL iBT Format Blog; with its 4 Sectional division of Reading, Listening, Speaking & Writing, in my TODAYS BLOG, we will be learning about the 1st Section of READING SKILLS & its STRATEGIES.

There are 3 main purposes for Academic Reading in TOEFL iBT:

1. Reading to find related information

2.Understanding the Basic comprehension

3. Reading to learn

The Reading Section in TOEFL iBT consists of 3-5 Passages; each Passage is about 500-700 words long. Each Reading passage is followed by 12 – 14 questions related to the passage. The complete time frame for the reading Section is 60 – 80 Minutes, depending on the number of passages appear.

The total time dedicated to all the passage is for 60 -80 minutes for reading and answering the questions, this time as mention varies depending on the number of Passages that appear going up to maximum of 80 Minutes. The system will automatically stop you after the time ends, so you must be very attentive on the time. Thus, you must be not only good at reading and grasping the details of the passage but also pretty quickly in it.

 bookkeeping-tips10 Strategies for Reading Comprehension:

1) When you have at least 3 month in hand: I suggest you Read, Read & Read a lot. Keep a regular habit of reading English Newspaper that will particularly enhance your reading skills. Emphasis on academic based reading particularly, from university textbooks or other materials. Don’t just read on topics that interest you. Your Reading Comprehension passage comes from wide range of Topics, Therefore, expand your reading topics, whether is suits your interests of NOT, whether its boring or interesting, make it a point that you read from different subjects & topics like History, Arts, Sociology, science, Finance, Social science, Business journals, Archeology, Geography, Economics, and any others. Academic texts, apart from textbooks, these could be found in variety of articles in various Publications like Nat Geo Magazines etc. and academic publications Or on the Internet or your university libraries.

2) Strengthen your vocabulary: When reading any topic on different subjects you should make your own set of vocabulary. Improve your vocabulary by starting with Root Prefixes & Suffixes first, have a grip over your Root Words, the origin of these words, this you will find in my previous Blog on VOCABULARY. Then make separate list, organize your list in topics for better results may be alphabetically. Study through Flash cards, there are lots of flashcards available by various publications like Barron’s, Kaplan & Princton, study them when you are travelling in Train, Bus, Or Car make best use of your travel time. Or you can make your own flashcards to help you learn those set of Vocabulary. Use the words learned in your writings and speaking section of your TOEFL / SAT / GRE OR GMAT.

3) Take rough notes: You are provided with a rough sheet to take notes on them, make full use of it – take notes on that paper. It is an absolute essential element, as it’s difficult to remember all facts and details from a reading text in order to answer the questions. You don’t want to waste your time in searching details over & over again in the passage. So, the best thing to do is to keep taking note with line numbers for reference. While skimming and reading the texts you should jot down all key facts and details so find them when, you need them.

4) Skim the Passage: Skimming is reading the passage in about 30 seconds, just an over all look on the passage. Skimming means having a quickly glance of the Passage to obtain very first idea / imprint on what the passage is about, or get a rough idea of what is its main idea of it. Train yourself to skim quickly through the passage, without wasting much of your time and by identifying the main point & key words in the passage. Taking notes will help you sail through this.

5)  Read Passage after skimming : Once your skimming is done, read the Passage carefully looking for details & facts. Look for key words & Phrases mentioned in the passage. Particularly the 3 Major types of transition Words: Connection, Progression & Contradiction, along with them look for Phrases, idioms and Adjective words. It will enlighten you with author’s opinion and point of view. As only skimming is not enough. Reading it more carefully, but don’t forget you do not have much time. Keep taking notes; make it a habit whenever you solve any practice test. You need to understand the ClassificationOR Types of Passages like – classification, Rhetorical Type, Cause & effect, Persuasive, Factual Type, Detailed type, compare or contrast, Narrative, Problem OR solution, Sarcastic Type, etc.

6) Make an intelligent guess the word meaning: Use your knowledge of Prefixes, Root & Suffixes in order to identify the meaning of the word from the passages; refer to its context to get the over all meaning of it. Guessing the words from the context is very easy, as it must not be a dictionary meaning. You save on time and it its very quick.

7)  Practice, Practice & Practice a lot: Practicing in a proper exam environment will help you deal with exam pressure better. Try to take a minimum of 5 Full-length Test before your main TOEFL Exam. You need to always remember that TOEFL is a standardized test. This means it always follows the same format. Keep practicing tests to familiarize yourself with the format and testing conditions and keeping track of your time.

There are lots of Free Online Testing site to help you attain good score in respective sections like:

1) http://www.testden.com/challenge/free-toefl.asp

2) http://www.4tests.com/toefl

8)  Remember: That all the answer are present in the Passage, you are not expected to answer from your opinion. Through the Reading Comprehension it tests your ability to understand and comprehend ideas related to the passage. Hence focus on reading & cognizing the over all idea of the passage.

9) As discussed earlier understand and keep taking note with line numbers so you can quickly reach that part, Note down the Main Topic or its Main idea and the Key words / points or Phrases when reading the passages, and use your notes for answering the questions.

10) Read the questions careful, remember if you interpret the meaning of the question wrong, you will choose a wrong answer, so be careful! However, remember that the answer to all the questions are in the information provided in the passages itself. Try to answer these questions using what you have understood from the read passages.

If you want to get a superb score in the TOEFL Reading Section my advice – Keep Practicing!

toefl-etsALL THE BEST for your TOEFL EXAM !!

See you in my next Blog on the Different TYPES of QUESTION & and its approach, under the TOEFL READING SECTION, which will help you score high in READING PASSAGES.

Till then Adios mi amigos !! 😀

Shraddha

SAT/ GRE – ESSAY WRITING TIPS !

Hello Guyz… Welcome once again to F.A.C.T.  – SAT Writing TIP!

  

bookkeeping-tipsStarting with SAT – Essay Writing Section!

One thing that you MUST always keep in Mind is that You MUST always KNOW the DIRECTION before hand, and do not waste your valuable time in reading Direction during your EXAM.

So Lets, start with few basic things KNOWING the DIRECTION : http://sat.collegeboard.org

The SAT essay measures your ability to:

  • develop a point of view on an issue presented in an excerpt
  • support your point of view using reasoning and examples from your reading, studies, experience, or observations
  • follow the conventions of standard written English

The essay gives you an opportunity to show how effectively you can develop and express ideas. You should, therefore, take care to develop your point of view, present your ideas logically and clearly, and use language precisely.

Your essay must be written on the lines provided on your answer sheet — you will receive no other paper on which to write. You will have enough space if you write on every line, avoid wide margins, and keep your handwriting to a reasonable size. Remember that people who are not familiar with your handwriting will read what you write. Try to write or print so that what you are writing is legible to those readers.

You can practice writing essays using the essay prompts from the most recent SAT from http://sat.collegeboard.org. website.

Few Very Important COLLAGE BOARD RULES :

Services-VISA-Img4Important THINGS During exam :

  1. A pencil is required for the essay. An essay written in ink will receive a score of zero.
  2. Do not write your essay in your test book. You will receive credit only for what you write on your answer sheet.
  3. An off-topic essay will receive a score of zero.
  4. If your essay does not reflect your original and individual work, your test scores may be canceled.

How does it look ??

SAMPLE ESSAY : The SAT examination begins with a 25-minute writing task: The essay; You have no choice of topic: you have to write on the prompt ESSAY TOPIC given in a text box. For example you may see something like this:

SAT2

Underneath the prompt is the assignment a statement that clarifies what you are supposed to do. For example, after the issue given in the prompt above, you might see: Assignment:  Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)

The examiners tell us in the Official Guide to the SAT that there is no formula for writing an effective essay. I suggest that you practice a few practice essays within a set TIME.

unanswered questions - brainstorming conceptBRAINSTORMING :NOW HERE IS HOW TO FRAME YOUR ESSAY :

Since the Essay is of 25 Minutes spend around 2 or 3 minutes making OUTLINES OR DRAWING notes and organizing your thoughts. Spend about 20 minutes writing your essay. Spend 1 or 2 minutes for proofreading your essay. Use & Divide your Time very Efficiently!

Think over the following things:

  • What claims does the author make?
    • Why do they sound good? Is it the logic, the sources, the writing, the structure? Is it something else?
  • What evidence does the author present? (Look for his Examples)
    • Why does the evidence sound credible? How does the author present facts, and what is his/her approach to telling a story with facts?
  • Is the logic sound or faulty, and why?
    • Why is the logic sound? Does the author back up his/her claims with examples that are easy to follow?

                                            ——————-@–@–@–@–@——————

Scrutinize your ESSAY Carefully! 

  1. You have in all ONLY 25 minutes to plan effectively and write an essay on the assigned topic. You will have line space for writing notes to help you organize your thoughts, write within that only , as you will not be provided with extra sheet.
  2. Use Quotations related to the TOPIC of prompt issue at hand.
  3. Keep a tab on TIME,  plan your time during the practice test itself !!!
  4. Notice that this topic, or prompt, features a quote about an issue to which you are asked to respond. It is written with the intent that you will be able to respond quickly regardless of your background or interests.
  5. The Topic, or prompt, could have a one quote or a pair of quotes (two quotes) about an issue at hand to guide you better.
  6. Try not be over smart by using Large writing, filling pages, it does not serve the purpose,Try not to leave extensive wide margins.
  7. The assignment will ask you to give your view on a topic. Support your point of view with reasoning and specific details or examples out of your experience drawn by you over the years.
  8. Any Drift from the Topic mentioned to write on will not fetch you marks. So, Make sure that the essay you write is on the mentioned topic only.
  9. Use Correct Grammar, make it a point that you use correct form of Standard written English Grammar and your PUNCTUATIONs are used well.
  10. You are expected to write of Minimum of 3 to 4 Paragraph of ESSAY. Very short essays will receive very low scores. Aim for at least three paragraphs.
  11. Be clear & specific to your Point / idea / argument, not vague . Your readers are not, as you may suppose draw inference from your writing. They are looking for Clear,Logical & Specific details,with concrete evidence of some kind used to support your point of view and ideas.
  12. Remember: Your essay should be clear and effective.
  13. Do not forget to write the CONCLUSION, Without a proper conclusion it looks incomplete  you may loose points on it!
  14. Do not forget to PROOFREAD it, you might notice that Facebook & Wass app has ruined your English Writing with all the Shortcuts! as , wen U mght Bf9 with it!  (Avoid it – Rather NOTICE IT)
  15. Last but not the least, Quality Matters NOT the QUANTITY! , So don’t write lengthy essay write quality essay.

                                                    ——————–@–@–@–@–@——————

Essay-Writing-Tips1CREATE OUTLINE OF YOUR ESSAY within 2-3 Min.

Brainstorm and assemble, anther collect your Ideas into an outline. Write a topic sentence for your main ideas. Then, underneath, make bullet points for every Paragraph and list your supporting evidence as per requirement. Generally, you want a min. of 3 arguments or pieces of evidence to support each main idea.

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Explain, in your own words, what the issue is. Include a thesis statement, which is a clear statement of your point of view/ idea / argument.

Paragraph 2: Point one in support of your thesis Statement

  • Example 1 : ABCDEFG
  • DETAIL : …… Explain the point you are making with the aid of a specific example with detail, Write the point & example you want to use in 1 -3 words. Explain every point you make is related to the Question or Issue / Topic asked. Look at the ideas / points/ examples that you came up with. Choose one to three of your strongest ideas that supports your topic the best. You should be able to support these ideas with evidence from your ideas/ experiences & studies drawn from over the years.

Paragraph 3: Point two in support of your thesis statement

    • Example 1 : ABCDEFG
    • DETAIL : …..Explain the point you are making with the aid of a specific example, again write the point & example you want to use in 1 -3 words supporting your IDEA!
    • Use Correct TRANSITION WORDS to connect two Paragraphs.

Paragraph 4: Qualification

  • Example 1 : ABCDEFG
  • DETAIL : …… Explain that, under certain circumstances, the opposite point of view might be correct. (This is to show that you are aware of all aspects of the issue, even though you are 80-90% convinced of your thesis.) [Sometimes this paragraph is replaced by another point and/or further discussion or reasoning.]

Paragraph 5: Reinforcement of thesis / CONCLUSION

Show how your  idea / argument/ viewpoint, despite the qualification you have just made, is more persuasive under the present circumstances.Draw your themes together.

                              ————————@–@–@–@–@———————-

5-paragraph-essay-outline1

I hope you got how to Write an effective Essay for SAT or GRE. Plan & Write effectively!

 Tell us about your Experience, Tips, Ideas on SAT / GRE ESSAY – see you soon with New TIPS on Other Writing Topics!

Have Fun! Gracias , Amigos! 🙂

F.A.C.T. Or VISIT Our FACEBOOK PAGE on FACT  🙂

FACT SEMINAR in APRIL!

Hi Everyone!

MISSED the SEMINAR ??  NO Worries… Call on the respective Office to Meet the COUNSELLORS, One on One, for Expert Guidance ON YOUR CAREER!  OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE on F.A.C.T. !

Careers after 12th & Diploma are getting increasingly “UNCERTAIN” in India. Every year, lacs of students appear for IIT-JEE, AIEEE and the state CETs. A Seminar by well known Career Advisor Mr.Sunil Shah who guided more that 10,000 + students to study abroad ranging from HSC to Ph.D.

Image

We are very pleased to say that the dates for our Seminar for X , XII & Diploma students in the month of April 2014 are as follows:

PLACE – DATE    –  DAY  –   SEMINAR TIMING         – PHONE No.
Thane – 05 April’14 – SAT – 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm    – Call on  025397777
Dadar – 05 April’14 – SAT – 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm    – Call on  024170056
Borivali – 05 April’14 – SAT – 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm  – Call on  028984773
Vashi – 06 April’14 – SUN – 10:00 am to 12.00 pm – Call on 065224435

Its always better to take a Professional Guidance before starting thing on your own, it give you a clear picture of the Process!

So, complete your online Registration soon & for more details about the event and happenings at respective days, Visit us on http://www.gurukulonweb.com/hsc.html Or CALL US on the ABOVE  RESPECTIVE Nos.

 

Image See you soon then! 🙂

 

What after HIGH SCHOOL ??

   life_after_highschool           On Crossroads ??        

                                               Well… we all face a time in our lives when we ask ourselves the question: what next? One such a time and I think the very first time would be when we finish our Higher Education. As a typical child goes through school, he or she is only focused on the task at hand which is getting good grades or doing well in sports. And while primary education has its good and bad points, the worst flaw by far that I think it has is the fact that it doesn’t prepare you for what comes next. This leaves kids feeling confused and often times completely clue less about what they want to pursue in college. All they know is that it is absolutely essential that they go to college but what they’re going to do there and how they’re going to do it comes as a complete loss to them.

When I say how they’re going to do it I literally mean ‘’how are they possibly going to do it’’ because frankly speaking ‘’it ain’t easy’’ and I don’t see it becoming easy anytime soon because the school isn’t helping out, in the end the students suffer. The college application process can be long and arduous, while students can find what they want to study with a bit of soul searching, no one is going to help them get to the actual place where they can pursue their interest. If a student decides to go to college for such and such reason that may be the easiest part as the journey is harder than the decision. Once you find out what you want to do, the next big question is how you’re going to do or achieve it ? and that brings in many more problems for you to overcome, there are a few steps you could follow to make that whole process easier:

FACT  1)    Get Professional Guidance : Its your Career!

The moment you decide on studying abroad, you seek help from your friends/ seniors and Family friends. Then your family friend who’s son’s classmates uncle’s brother’s cousin went to US! Uff…! But this is not how you plan out on your CAREER! Some things need to be left to Professionals, they have experience in the field sending 1000’s of students & your friends/ seniors / family friends lack this.  It is no harm to take guidance, after all it’s the matter of your Career!  In fact you have to do it at some point so why not now ? and ask them for their guidance even if ,it comes at a cost, the money is well spent as they take help you along every step of the process and ensure you reach, your dreams career.

Think  2)    Do not be afraid : Stay clam & Think straight!

Fear and anxiety is one of the main reasons that students these days hesitate while doing something difficult, but important. They get depressed about their future and how to go about it & don’t know whom to approach. When students get anxious about themselves and their future they may feel themselves inadequate to take on the world and this may tend to lead to procrastination while doing something important. So realize that you are taking the next big step on the road down your career path and just act, do not think.

 Time  3)   Act Fast : Time is a crucial factor in Application Process.

When you apply for your higher studies especially when your destination is the U.S. the best thing to do is to apply early as this can increase your chances of getting a good amount of scholarship (sometime upto 100 % scholarship) and helps make the application process smoother and  much more easy. In addition to this, you can get done with the application process; students usually apply to Universities during their senior year of high school, so if they do not apply fast they will be wasting valuable time which could be used studying for their final exams, Universities hold the marks students get in these exams in high regard.

College-Scholarships  4)    Start early : Get Scholarships & Acceptance

‘Early bird catches the worm’– Means Success comes to those who prepare before hand & put in effort, but I say – Scholarships & Acceptance comes to students who prepare well in time and work Smart. Now, if you are one of those straight A students who ace every class and have some big names in mind like UC Berkeley, UC Davis / UC LA / Princton/ Virginia Tech or Yale while considering their higher education then it is best to start applying early preferably the 11th Grade. Even if you aren’t such a student you can spend 11th grade preparing for college admission tests like the SAT I or SAT II ( Subject SAT if required for your Course) because they count a lot when Universities look at your application file.

These are just some of the steps you can start off with when you consider higher education, there may be some others which your Career Counsellor will take care of but the point is, that you should do everything possible to make application process easier, especially when you plan to study abroad. Just keep in mind that you aren’t going to university just to get through it, you’re going there to learn and grow, be smart as an individual. So when you think of universities don’t think of it as a hurdle, soon to be over, think of it as an experience to will have, friends to be made, and knowledge to be gained.

See you soon…

FACT  😉

Surviving the 21st century, a professional’s survival guide (Part -2)

(Read Part-1) 

During my eventful career as a business consultant and a career consultant, I have lived through a few more recessions and global economic shakedowns than I would care for. The one fact that was reinforced with unfailing regularity during these tough times was that – the ones who survived – and in fact sometimes flourished – were those who took a real passion in their professions, in other words, loved what they did – and was not just in it for the money. Though this might sound something out of a corporate motivational lecture, it is a fundamental truth of life that generates excellent practical real-world monetary dividends.

To elaborate on the above – when money is the sole motivator for choosing a career the end result is usually mediocrity, the mass of “casualties” that are the inevitable fallout of any major global shake-downs or economic meltdown are these “professionals “ in the wrong field, i.e. who jumped in on the bandwagon in search of a quick buck, basing their choice of careers solely on market trends.

Such a class of professionals usually provides grist to the mill of mediocrity, they have their uses when the economy – or any specific industry – is on the upswing, this is when organizations tend to be flexible with KPIs like productivity and profitability because the top-line looks so good and the future looks rosy. However they are the first casualties when things take turn for the worse. They were the casualties of the “dot com bust”, “the economic meltdowns” or other gazillion other debacles that the world of business and commerce has seen.   In other words they stop being RELEVANT.

Any career or education consultant will vouch for the fact that two questions they are asked most often are – “what is the job opportunity in this field” or worse “which field has better job opportunities”. These are possibly the single biggest career-destroying questions one can ask. To start with, one needs understand the clear distinction between the concepts of a job vs. that of a career, to put it succinctly a job is a temporary state of affairs – you may be in a job for 3 months or 30 years, but a career is something that defines your overall personal brand as a professional. To illustrate the point better consider the two following statements as the opening phrase of your CV and choose which you would like to be the statement that defines you.

“An electronics engineer with 5+ years of experience……”  

“An assistant manager with ‘xyz’ organization since 2002…..”

If you chose the second option, we wish you all the best and you can stop reading here.

If you chose the first option congratulations! You are already on the path of a successful career and your “relevance quotient” just went up a notch.

Now that we have established what you want your “brand identity” to be, the subsequent steps obviously are planning towards the goal and execution.

Planning: Ideally this stage should start from high school however, it is never too late. One of the most effective methods for narrowing down ones areas of interest, is to run, what I call the “boredom” test, i.e. if you did not feel like –or were bored of – studying during a particular study session; which is the subject or the book you would reach for to make the best of a bad situation? Look back and you will have your answer about your ideal choice of career.

Continued in Part 3….

Getting your USA Visa

You have given your GRE, TOEFL, applied to the universities in USA and have even got accepted to the program of your choice and that too in the University of your choice. So now what? The biggest question of all- Will I get my Visa?

Getting Visa is the biggest concern of both the students and their parents who wish to pursue their higher studies in the USA. The day of the Visa interview is enough to give the jitters to the most confident of students as it is after all the deciding factor in whether the student will be able to pursue his/her dreams of studying in the USA. So let’s just talk about how to go about the Visa Interview.

Firstly and most importantly it is imperative to get your Visa interview appointment as soon as you decide on the university and get your I-20. Remember that your I-20 is required for your Visa. Also do remember that you take your appointment for the interview well in advance so that you can leave for the USA early and have enough time on your hands to settle in(because believe me there is seriously lots to do) before the actual commencement of your program.

The Visa interview may last for 3 mins or for 15 mins. It really depends on the Visa officer. Unlike any other myth the only thing that the Visa officer looks for in a student is whether how serious the student is about pursuing his/her studies once he/she goes to the USA. DO NOT LIE or exaggerate to the officer about your past or your goals for he is sure to see through the farce. Being honest and clear of your achievements and aims in life will only help you to get through your interview successfully.

Moreover make sure that you have all the required documents with you at the Interview (including the SEVIS receipt) and that they are neatly filed or arranged systematically in the folder (check how it is to be done). The Visa officer may not even see your file if he is convinced that you are a genuine and sincere student. The biggest of all- answer all the questions in fluent English as it is after all the official language of the US and is also the medium of study. So DO NOT become so nervous as to stammer or speak in grammatically incorrect English.

Remember it is only through your confidence and your veracity that you will pass your Visa interview successfully. All the Very Best.

Getting into a Good University…

Whenever we talk about giving TOEFL or GRE or for that matter any other competitive exam, it is typical to feel tensed or nervous. But what is more important is just how we handle this stress. It is true that we have to score if not high, at least a decent score on these tests so as to increase our chances in getting admitted to a good university. But even after studying diligently we may still not score well. At such a time it is imperative to not get depressed or disheartened and instead try again with all the confidence and sincerity.

Moreover it is significant to understand that our test scores are not the only ones that decide our chances in getting into good universities. It is the entire package that the admission officers see and that in turn decides the ultimate outcome. For example if you are active in extra curricular activities throughout your academic career then that is an appealing facet of your personality as it shows that you have an insatiable interest of learning new things and are not just a bookworm. Thus it is this quality that helps you stand apart from the rest.

So even if you do get low test scores do not get depressed. Concentrate on how you can otherwise present yourself in an appealing light. But do remember that some universities do require a minimum score as their eligibility criteria, especially in TOEFL so do check out every university’s terms and conditions and also carefully scrutinize their course content. You may come across some variations which may ultimately decide your interest in that particular University. So be vigilant while deciding on the University in which you wish to pursue your education and also develop your personality as much as you can so as to befit your interest.

It is important to know that it is your uniqueness that ultimately increases your chances to get in the University of your choice. Overcome your weaknesses; acquire skills that truly draw out your personality. Show passion for what you want to learn for in the end it is your fervor and zeal to really gain knowledge that truly matters.