In Part 1, I stated the first reason why students need to take practice TOEFL tests: Students need to become comfortable taking the test.
In Part 2, I stated the second reason: Students need to find their specific weaknesses and target them.
In this post, I’ll give the final reason why students need to take practice tests. Please emphasize these reasons to make sure your students take their practice tests when assigned, and when they do take them, to do so seriously.
The TOEFL is a long test. It lasts around four hours, including downtime between sections. It is often difficult for students to maintain a high level of concentration for that amount of time.
Similar to Reason #1, drills alone fall short in preparing students for the rigors of the TOEFL. A student who is only used to doing short, 20 minute drills cannot expect the same level of performance when having to do four hours of work.
Using the soccer (football) analogy from Reason #1, you must sometimes go through simulated practice games that last the full official 90 minutes. Although it’s not always practical to do these full sessions, at some point they must be done so that the players can make sure they can finish strong all the way through the end. (There is no one who can come in and substitute for you if you get tired half way through the TOEFL.)
I always recommend students take as many full simulated tests as possible after finishing instruction and before taking the actual test. (At a minimum, students should take at least one full practice test, but two or three is preferable.) This serves two purposes:
- Increasing stamina, as stated before, and
- Finding last minute problems, which the student might be able to address before taking the actual test.
To summarize the three big reasons why students need to take practice tests: (1) students need to become comfortable with the test layout; (2) students need to know their weaknesses, so these weaknesses can be addressed; and (3) students need to build stamina in order to maintain a strong effort across all four sections of the TOEFL.
I hope this information will help you to encourage your students to keep taking those practice tests!
Until next time,
Ed, founder of ScoreNexus
PS: Make sure you have your students taking high quality, accurate TOEFL practice tests–like ScoreNexus practice tests, of course. So much of the TOEFL material out there, even from famous publishers, is just plain wrong. Testing your students with inaccurate material is a waste of their time, and arguably makes them worse off.