Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Prioritse Your Vocabulary Practice

An important piece of advice for scoring very highly on the TOEIC exam is to improve your vocabulary. This is a rather obvious statement, but it is true in several ways:
  • In the listening section of the test, if you can understand all the words that you hear, it will make it much easier to answer all the questions.
  • In the reading sections, if you can understand all the words you read, it will make it easier to answer the questions. Specifically in section 7, you will understand the articles, emails and memos you read. In Sections 5 and 6, you will be able to choose the best words for each answer.
However, if I said to you simply, "Improve your vocabulary", this would be terrible advice. It would take hours and hours of work simply to raise your mark by five or ten points. the amount of work needed, would not be worthwhile for the result you would get. Instead it is better to be focused on improving the right pieces of vocabulary. It is better to focus on specific areas that your are certain to see on the test:
  • Transport: You will hear and read lots about airports and train schedules and plans in the TOEIC exam. Try to improve your vocabulary in this area. A good tip is to read a lot of train and aeroplane schedules so that you know what the real thing looks like.
  • Meetings: There will be lots of dialogues and emails/memos about meetings. Every TOEIC test I have seen features at least one. Improve your vocabulary in this area because you will hear and read related subjects.
  • Hotels: There will be an email about travel and hotels or a conversation about booking a hotel. Practise the vocabulary here. Think about the words you associate with making reservations and staying in a hotel.
  • Office: The TOEIC test focuses on business. You will definitely hear something about the office. Think about office furniture and office descriptions.
  • Jobs and Departments: You will hear lots of vocabulary about jobs using the names of departments and job-titles. Make yourself familiar with the names of different departments within a company and the different job-titles you might hear.
  • Times: You will hear and see lots of words to do with times and dates. it is vital that you can use times and dates well and understand them.
  • Complaints: You will probably hear one dialogue and read one email where people complain about a product or service. Be clear on the language people might use in this type of situation.
  • Numbers and Prices: You will see advertisements and invoices in the reading section of the test and you will hear advertisements and sales presentations. Therefore, it is vital you are ready to hear numbers, prices and percentages.
These will not be the only areas that you need to practise. But, you will hear vocabulary that relates to all of these. So, be ready.

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