> Following TOEFL iBT experience was shared by Kartik Chamarty.
My TOEFL was scheduled first on Sept 18, 2011, and it was postponed the evening before, when I got a call from an ETS-woman, who said there were “technical difficulties” and “we don’t know when the test will be rescheduled to, but be prepared for something as late as Nov/Dec”.
Note, for all practical purposes, English is my native language, so I was disgruntled at having to write the test in the first place, and now they postponed it indefinitely, when I was planning to send in my university applications in the first week of October. Hence, my frustration. (Bordered on rage at times, but I have issues)
Finally, on Sept 23 at 1:30 pm, I got a call saying my test was the next day (24th) at 10am.
Again, thanks for the speedy notification and for assuming that I’m jobless on a Saturday. To show my disgust (not that it did me much good) I didn’t have a shower, wore all-black and landed there.
TOEFL ibT Experience – Test center
Did the usual stuff, verifying my identity etc and sat down at some computer.
During the mic testing, there was a pretty girl beside me testing her headset in a thick Indian accent. (nothing wrong with that, I have a fairly thick one too (pun not intended), but I’ll get to why I mentioned her later).
There was one idiot, who was shouting, “It is a warm and bright morning on the 24th of September and I am here to write my TOEFL test”, loud enough for his anxious parents waiting outside the building to shut their ears. (Well that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.)
Now for the individual sections, how I prepared for it, and my useless commentary.
TOEFL – Reading Section
Well, this should be a cinch for people who read anything in general.
For me, I had been reading editorials from The Hindu for just over a year.
Not all the editorials, just the interesting ones. And yes, interesting in the sense that I would be reading it even if I didn’t have to write the stupid exam.
Trust me, it makes a helluva difference in terms of your vocabulary pickup and comprehension when you’re reading something you love.
For me – Taliban/Af-Pak, Spoilt greeks and spaniards refusing to get their shit straight and reform etc etc.
Anyway, it just needs perseverance, as it can get pretty boring. So don’t keep repeating in your mind like a mantra, ‘this is pointless, this is pointless’, and you’ll be fine.
The pretty girl I mentioned before became pretty ugly when she started her speaking at the same time.
But this time, it was a whole hearted attempt at a born-and-bred American accent.
You don’t have to do a 180 just to be understood by other people, it really does sound nauseating when you try to be someone you’re not. (Although it’s pretty cool if you walk around with a stick in your hand, claiming to be Lord Voldemort.)
I debated waving my hands in front of her face, but then I remembered the videocams.
This is one of the sections I practiced seriously, as I have an unproven hearing problem, which has in the past supplied me with a whole bunch of unfriendly sobriquets. Four or five listening exercises from Barron’s.
Headphones, noisy environment with no rewinding is a perfect simulation of the real deal.
Then came the 10 minute break, which was, unfortunately, mandatory.
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