In my last article, I talked about being like the police officers from the TV show ‘Les Experts’. I explained that it was very important to look for evidence and reasons when you are answering questions on the TOEIC. Answering questions is great, but if you can explain the logic behind your answers it means that you will be able to answer more questions in the same way.
Looking for evidence is great advice. I recommend it to all my TOEIC students. However, there is another aspect to it that is also really important: Reading the questions carefully and listening to the CD carefully. This might sound like really obvious advice, but it is also very important. When you look for advice, you need to look at or listen to the tenses involved and the vocabulary involved (this is true of the whole test from section 1 all the way through to section 7). If you do not read and listen carefully, you will not understand correctly.
This all sounds extremely obvious. Why, you might ask, am I writing about something that everybody knows? The answer is simple. When many people take the TOEIC, they are worried about running out of time, so they try to ready quickly and try to answer quickly. They will look and listen for key words and just use those. This is crazy! The test is designed to ensure you cannot do this. Students who look just for key words will save time, but they will also make many mistakes.
Below are a few tips to help you read and listen carefully:
- · In reading sections 5 and 6, read the whole sentence and all four options. Section 5 is only a list of short sentences. You cannot save much time here.
- · In reading section 7, read all of the texts and all of the questions. There is a lot of information here and it takes time, but it is designed so that if you read the test well, the questions will be easier. If you read it quickly, it will be more difficult.
- · In listening section 2, listen to the questions carefully. Listen for (a) the question words like What Where and Why, (b) Listen for the verb in the sentence, and (c) Listen for any important nouns in the sentence.
- · In listening sections 3 and 4, read the questions carefully before you listen. Identify the question words, key verbs and key nouns. Then, listen to the audio very carefully.
This all sounds very obvious, but there are many students who do not do this. These are the students who get low scores!