The people around you can be great resources. Connecting with other TOEFL® test takers, past and present, can offer valuable insight into new preparation methods and how the test works.
We talked with Diksha Upadhyay, a student from New Delhi, India, who interns with an advertising agency in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, about her experience taking the TOEFL® test. She talks about how she prepared and where the TOEFL® test has taken her. Read on to learn more about her journey and her advice for other TOEFL® students.
Did you create a study plan?
I did! I planned each study session for a certain number of days and spent more time focusing on the most difficult sections. I also supplemented my studies with the official ETS® books and practice CDs. The ones I used were the Official TOEFL iBT® Tests Volume 1, and The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test.
English is one of the official languages of India. How was the studying experience for the TOEFL® test different since you grew up speaking and learning the English language?
I had never taken a standardized test before, so understanding the format of the test was very important. I also had to spend more time practicing the Listening section because the American accent was difficult for me to understand.
What do you wish you had known before taking the TOEFL® test?
I wish I had practiced speaking more slowly, enunciating more, and practiced rolling my R’s. In India, our natural pace of speaking is a lot faster, so my response might have been more difficult for the test examiners to understand and score.
Did you have any particular study methods that worked well for you?
The ETS® preparation material was very helpful. Also, reading articles from the editorial section of the newspaper helped with reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. I read the newspaper online to get used to reading on the screen, because the entire TOEFL® test is on a computer.
Do you have any advice for other TOEFL® test takers?
Divide the work and conquer. Do not try to tackle studying all at once. Spend time focusing on what you find the most difficult. Also, follow TOEFL® on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, because the brand posts a lot of helpful material that can supplement the study books.
After all of your hard work, where has the TOEFL® test taken you?
I am pursuing my master’s degree in communication and information studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and I’m interning at the advertising agency MRM//McCann in Princeton.
Feeling inspired by Diksha’s story? Register for the TOEFL® test today and start your TOEFL® journey here!