TOEFL iBT | Reading | Techniques for Complete The Summary & Reference Questions

Welcome to the first-ever TOEFL iBT Reading section! If you guys are reading this on my blog, the podcast and video are down below. If you’re reading this on Spotify, thank you so much for supporting my podcast! If you’re reading this on Facebook, welcome to the live show! In today’s episode, we’re going to go over the 2 first types of reading questions on TOEFL iBT and how to navigate your way through them. I know quite a few of you have difficulty with specific ones, so I’ll cover all of them individually. Let’s kick this off.

Reference Questions

A Reference question is the type of reading question that will take you less than 30 seconds to read both the question and all the options. Also, this is probably the easiest TOEFL reading question type. Especially if you follow the strategies from this lesson, you will almost always get the question right! 

Let’s look at an example:

[2] Many millions of years after ferns evolved (but long before the Hawaiian Islands were born from the sea), another kind of flora evolved on Earth: the seed-bearing plants. This was a wonderful biological invention. The seed has an outer coating that surrounds the genetic material of the new plant, and inside this covering is a concentrated supply of nutrients. Thus the seed’s chances of survival are greatly enhanced over those of the naked spore.


The word “This” in paragraph 2 refers to: 

  1. the spread of ferns and mosses in Hawaii
  2. the creation of the Hawaiian Islands
  3. the evolution of ferns
  4. the development of plants that produce seeds


As you can see, in a reference question, you will see a word, usually a pronoun highlighted in the passage. You are asked what the highlighted word refers to. If it’s a pronoun then you need to identify what word the pronoun is replacing. 

Here are highlighted words you might be asked about:

  1. Subject pronoun: it, they
  2. Object pronoun: it, them
  3. Demonstrative pronoun: these, those, this, that
  4. Possessive adjectives: its, their
  5. Other reference words: the former, the latter, one, ones, another, other, others


Now, it is important to remember that you don’t need a full understanding of the passage in order to solve this question type. You just need to study the context surrounding the word. Usually, you just read the sentence where the highlighted word is mentioned, and then read a few sentences that come before it. 

Next, you need to analyze the sentence structure and find out the answer. 

Usually, you will see two structure types:

  1. Two sentences separated by a period
  2. One sentence separated by a comma

TOEFL iBT | Independent Essay | Evaluating an Essay #4

Welcome to another Patreon special! For every essay my students submit, they get a video response. In this video, I talk about many parts of the essay and how she can improve her essay leading up to her TOEFL test in about 4 hours. Hear the breakdown!

Podcast

TOEFL iBT | Integrated Essay | Chaco Great House | Full Essay Review & Listening

We’ve finally made it to our first integrated essay that has been written by one of my students. Chaco Great House is what we’ll be covering today. First, we’ll go over the potential grammatical mistakes, look at the sentence structures, etc.

After that, we need to see if the information we hear actually matches the information that was both in the article and essay. Remember, 60% of the focus must be on the listening portion with just 40% on the article.

Finally, I’ll make some notes and we’ll go from there. Remember, lots of the independent and integrated essay tasks are available on my Patreon, as well as essay reviews (price increase coming January 1st), so be sure to inquire!

Chaco Great House – Her Essay

In the lecture, the professor made several points about the Chaco Great Houses. The teacher argues that all the theories related to  the use of these architectures are not convincing. However, the author of the passage contends that these theories are competing and can provide plausible explanations. The professor’s lecture casts doubt on the reading by using several points that are contrary to the use of the space in the Chace Great Houses.

The first point that the instructor uses to cast doubt on the reading is that even though thiseven this architecture looks from the outside like apartment buildings, the inside space looks the opposite. According to the professor, if these architectures were constructed with a residential purpose, they shouldshould have more fireplaces where the families would have been able to cook. Furthermore, the professor argues that the Chaco Great House willHouse it will only have the space of fireplaces for 10 families. This point differs from the reading in that the reading states that Chaco architectures can holdheld hundreds of people.

Another point that the professor uses to cast doubt on the reading is about the use of Chaco Great Houses as storageas a storage. The teacher claims that if it will be used as a storage construction, it would have needed large container spaces. However, the reading states that the ideal size of these architectures would have made it perfect places to storestorage the grain maize.

Additionally, the instructor claims that the Chaco Great Houses were not used as ceremonialas a ceremonial gathering places. He explains that besides broken pots, specialists specialist founded also, building materials as sand and stones and even construction materials. For these reasonsreason, the professor claimsaims that, even archeologists can suppose that broken pots are related with special ceremonies; theceremonies the fact of having found otherothers materials can be more related that Great Houses can be useduse as a normal space for trash. However, the reading states that these broken pots can be interpreted as evidenceas an evidence that inside the Great Houses, the inhabitants performed important ceremonies.

In conclusion, the points made in the lecture contrast with the reading. The lack of space in these architectures, the not evidence of large space for storages and the discovery of different objects than broken pots demonstrate that the three theories about the use of Great Houses in Mexico are in doubt. 

Reading Article

The settlements of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon in American Southwest were notable for their massive stone buildings, known as great houses, containing hundreds of rooms and standing three or four stories high since the twelfth century A.D. Archeologists have been trying to determine how these buildings were used but still have not come up with a universally agreed-upon explanation. However, there are three competing theories that provide plausible explanations.

One theory states the Chaco structures were residential and held hundreds of people. Supporters of this theory look too similar architectural structures in more recent Southwest societies. One structure, in particular, that is strikingly similar to the Chaco buildings is the apartment building at Taos, New Mexico, which has housed several people of the centuries.

The second theory argues that the Chaco structures were used as food storage facilities. Since one of the main crops of the Chaco people was grain maize, it could be stored for an extended time period without spoiling. The large size of the structures made them ideal for storing large crops of maize.

A third theory proposes the houses were used as ceremonial gathering places. Archeologists discovered a large mound of old material near one house called Pueblo Alto. Further inspection of the mound revealed deposits containing several broken pots. It has been documented in other Native American cultures that during special ceremonies they ate a festive meal and discarded the pots that the meal had been prepared or served with. Because of these documented ceremonies, the finding at Pueblo Alto has been interpreted as evidence that people gathered there for special ceremonies.

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Listening

Podcast

TOEFL iBT | Integrated Essay | Sea Otters | Practicing your Note-taking

Welcome to the first edition of integrated writing! IN today’s episode, we’re going to read a passage, take notes in regards to the reading passage, and then the listening.  There’s are three phases to this today, and know that today is just the beginning. We’re going to have to do a follow-up to this video, too.

If you’re interested in the follow-up video or 1 on 1 coaching, make sure to reach out to me!

Podcast

YouTube

TOEFL iBT | Part 1 Question | Speaking | Spending vs. Saving

Months ago I had a client from Palestine who was looking to pass the TOEFL iBT, and because he would freak out so much, he would lose his thought, become discouraged and stop taking notes (as you’ll hear in the next few podcasts).

In this speaking question, he got only 15 second to prepare. Here’s how he did.

  • Thesis
  • Stance
  • Plan to buy a car
  • Save money for his wife
  • Buy a house

He had structure overall and backed up his thesis in terms of supporting details. However, it could’ve been better if he had said “invest” instead of “save.” Because if he saves money only to spend it on a car and house, that’s not really saving, right? But investing in future ownership is different. So it’s a little difficult to say which is better. Also, his grammatical errors were a bit of a problem…and that might make him stumble over his words, cause hesitation and lose his thought.

Podcast

TOEFL iBT: Complete the Summary Question | Patreon Sneak Peek

The “Complete The Summary” question is one of the two question types that are different from the usual multiple choice questions we’ve dealt with, so far. This question type requires you to choose three correct answers, not just one. It is also important to know that in this question, sometimes there are more than three correct answers, but you need to choose the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. 

This question type is normally the last question you’ll answer per reading passage.

Let me get this straight. Even though an answer choice is found and expresses an idea in the passage, it is incorrect because it does not express the most important idea?

Yes! That’s exactly right!

So what you need to do is determine if the answer choice is a main idea vs a detail or displaying wrong information.

  1. If an answer choice is a main idea, the answer choice restates the main idea of a paragraph or multiple paragraphs. That’s a good choice. In TOEFL reading passages, the main idea of a paragraph is usually found in the first two sentences of the paragraph. The remaining sentences are most likely supporting details. However, sometimes the first two sentences can be vague, so in this case, you’ll need to continue reading the next couple sentences to understand the main idea.
  2. If the answer choice is a detail, it’ll restate a minor point mentioned in a paragraph. Even though it is correct information, it’s not a good choice.
  3. If the answer choice describes content that is not found in the reading or is wrong according to the reading, then of course, eliminate it.

If you want to read the rest of the document, tune into my Patreon Badge (TOEFL iBT) down below or inquire about it today!

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TOEFL iTP | Reading | Susceptibility to Catching Colds

Welcome back to another TOEFL iTP reading! I see my blog exploding in so many ways, along with my YouTube videos and podcasts…so I’m doubling down on my blogs, videos, and podcasts with TOEFL iTP. So, today is the susceptibility to catching colds! Here’s the reading and questions down below.

Another critical factor that plays a part in susceptibility to colds is age. A study done by the University of Michigan School of Public Health revealed particulars that seem to hold true for the general population. Infants are the most cold-ridden group, averaging more than six colds in their first year. Boys have more colds than girls up to age three. After the age of three, girls are more susceptible than boys, and teenage girls average three colds a year to boys’ two.

The general incidence of colds continues to decline into maturity. Elderly people who are in good health have as few as one or two colds annually one exception is found among people in their twenties, especially women, who show a rise in cold infections, because people in this age group are most likely to have young children. Adult who delay having children until their thirties and forties experience the same sudden increase in cold infections.

The study also found that economics plays an important role. As income increases, the frequency at which colds are reported in the family decreases. Families with the lowest income suffer about a third more colds than families at the upper end. Lower income generally forces people to live in more cramped quarters than those typically occupied by wealthier people, and crowding increases the opportunities for the cold virus to travel from person to person. Low income may also adversely influence diet. The degree to which poor nutrition affects susceptibility to colds is not yet clearly established, but an inadequate diet is suspected of lowering resistance generally.

Bruce Rogers pbt toefl
  1. The paragraph that precedes this passage most probably deals with
  • minor diseases other than colds
  • the recommended treatment of colds
  • a factor that affects susceptibility to colds
  • methods of preventing colds among elderly people

2. Which of the following is closest in meaning to the word “particulars“?

  • minor errors
  • specific facts
  • small distinctions
  • individual people

3. What does the author claim about the study discussed in the passage?

  • it contains many inconsistencies
  • it specialized in children
  • it contradicts the results of earlier studies in the field
  • its results apparently are relevant for the population as a whole.

4. It may be inferred from the passage that which of the following groups of people is most likely to catch colds?

  • infant boys
  • young girls
  • teenage boys
  • elderly women

5. There is information in the second paragraph of the passage to support which of the following conclusions?

  • men are more susceptible to colds than women
  • children infect their parents with colds
  • people who live in a cold climate have more colds than those who live in a warm one
  • people who don’t have children are more susceptible to colds than those who do

6. The phrase “people in this age group”

  • infants
  • people in their twenties
  • people in their thirties and forties
  • elderly people

7. The author’s main purpose in writing the last paragraph of the passage was to

  • explain how cold viruses are transmitted
  • prove that a poor diet causes colds
  • discuss the relationship between income and frequency of colds
  • discuss the distribution of income among the people in the study

8. The word “cramped” means…

  • cheap
  • crowded
  • depressing
  • simple

9. The author’s tone in this passage could best be described as

  • neutral
  • humorous
  • tentative
  • critical

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TOEFL Speaking & How You’re Graded

How your speaking response is graded.Task Fulfillment

Pronunciation & Intonation
Flow & Speech
Correct Grammar Usage
Vocabulary Usage (Appropriacy and Range)
Support & Development
Connections & Coherence
Task Fulfillment (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Task fulfillment is about how well you respond to the question you are given. TOEFL raters are looking for a response that answers the question directly, with relevant ideas that are fully developed. Fulfilling the task means answering all parts of the question completely.Score:
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 The response is unconnected or minimally connected to the given task

2 is mostly connected to the given task/question, but presents some ideas and information that are not directly related to the task/question may focus more on the reading passage than the listening

3 is connected to the given task/question, but may not be fully developed generally focuses on listening passage but may include a few unnecessary details from the reading passage

4 directly addresses the task/question and is fully developed focuses exactly on the points from the listening that satisfy the requirements of the task
Pronunciation & Intonation (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Pronunciation and intonation is about how you form English sounds and how you use natural English intonation. Your pronunciation and intonation can damage your score if it is difficult for the raters to understand what you are saying.
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 The response requires significant effort by listener because speech is mostly unclear, due to errors with: individual sounds and clusters word and sentence stress final intonation

2 The response requires some listener effort because speech is sometimes unclear, due to some unnatural use of: individual sounds and clusters word and sentence stress final and non-final intonation

3 The response may require effort by listener at times, though speech is generally clear, with: some sound and cluster pronunciation mistakes unnatural word and sentence stress some unnatural intonation

4 The response requires almost no effort by listener because speech is clear, including: natural sound and cluster pronunciation mostly natural intonation natural word and sentence stress, which may be used to convey subtle meanings
Flow & Speech (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Flow and speech is about how quickly you can speak and how much pausing and hesitation you use. You don’t have to speak quickly, but just quickly enough to sound natural and explain all of your ideas. Raters want to hear natural rhythm and flow.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 has disconnected speech that does not flow naturally has mostly short and overly basic utterances includes many unnatural pauses and hesitations that may make the listener uncomfortable

2 attempts but has some difficulties maintaining natural rhythm and fluid speech attempts more than just basic utterances, though stops frequently to prepare ideas or self-correct may contain some long pauses and unnatural hesitations

3 sustains mostly natural rhythm, though at times breaks it with unnatural linking or stress has some unnatural pausing and hesitation

4 has mostly natural rhythm is generally quite fluid and sustained has minimal unnatural pausing and hesitation
Correct Grammar Usage (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Correct grammar usage is about how you use English grammar and sentence structure. Raters want to see that you can use what you know correctly. Your grammar doesn’t have to be perfect to score high, but mistakes shouldn’t interfere with your meaning.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 Meaning is often difficult to understand because of significant and frequent errors with: nouns verb tenses adverbs and adjectives, including some phrases word order articles, pronouns, quantifiers, prepositions gerunds

2 Meaning is sometimes obscured because of errors with: noun and noun phrases verb (tenses and modals) adverbs and adjectives (including phrases) word order articles, pronouns, quantifiers, prepositions gerunds

3 Meaning is generally clear despite some errors with: noun phrases and clauses verb (tenses, modals, and passives) adverbs and adjectives (including phrases and clauses) word order articles, pronouns, quantifiers, prepositions

4 Meaning is not affected by grammatical errors, though there may still be minor errors with: noun phrases and clauses verb (tenses, modals, and passives) adverbs and adjectives (including phrases and clauses) word order art
Vocabulary Usage (Appropriacy and Range) (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Vocabulary usage is about how you use English words. Raters are looking for responses that use different words correctly and accurately, and that use a wide range of words that help listeners understand.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 includes mistakes with basic word form includes limited vocabulary, with repetition and reliance on vocabulary from the question prompt often uses inappropriate or incorrect words or wording

2 may include some incorrect word forms attempts to use a range of words and phrases but may make errors that confuse the listener makes somewhat accurate word choice but at times leaves the listener guessing

3 uses mostly correct word forms uses a range of words and phrases that is mostly appropriate, possibly including some idiomatic language makes generally accurate word choice with only some effort by the listener

4 uses generally correct word forms with only minimal errors effectively uses a wide range of words and phrases, which may include phrasal verbs and idioms includes generally accurate word choice and at times demonstrates sophistication
Support & Development (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Support and development is about the content of your speaking response. Your content should be related directly to the topic, and you should have several main ideas that support your opinion or position. These ideas should be persuasive or compelling.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 does not include much relevant information has no or very little detail or explanation

2 includes some important information but not all key ideas presents several ideas or some information incorrectly or imprecisely may show lack of understanding of key ideas from listening and reading

3 includes most important information or key ideas may include some inaccuracies or imprecise ideas shows generally good understanding of key ideas but may not describe them specifically

4 includes all key ideas required by the question may have slight errors shows very good understanding of key ideas and the ability to explain them well includes all key ideas required by the question may have slight errors < 
Connections & Coherence (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
connections and coherence are about how you put your ideas together and link different sentences to each other. Raters want to see speaking that flows naturally from idea to idea without confusing the listener.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 has little or no connection between ideas, making the logic difficult to follow includes no effective words or expressions of transition, introduction, or conclusion

2 has some connection between ideas but may jump between some topics, causing some listener confusion includes some brief or simple words or expressions of transition, introduction, or conclusion

3 has generally good connection between ideas includes generally good range of words or expressions of transition, introduction, or conclusion but may not feel wholly unified

4 has very good connection between ideas that are logically and effectively ordered includes a range of words or expressions of transition, introduction, and conclusion which conveys a feeling of unity and completeness

TOEFL iBT | Listening | 8 TOEFL Listening Question Types

Welcome to the first of its kind! TOEFL iBT Listening has finally arrived! In this episode, I will go over 8 of the different types of listening questions. I used the audios from mybesttest.com and do not own the rights to them, just to be clear. In saying that, you guys will hear how I compartmentalize information and how to follow the flow of the conversation because that’s what the majority of these tests are about. So, if you want exclusive mock-tests and more of these types, tune into my Patreon or ask me questions about the TOEFL iBT speaking, reading, writing and listening classes that will debut soon!

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TOEFL iBT Coaching | S1 : E1 | Speaking Questions 1-4 Breakdown

Welcome to my first-ever online training! For those of you tuning in for the first time, thank you so much for checking this out.  In this segment, I will break down speaking questions 1 -4, how to answer them, the note-taking, etc.  Down below are the comprehensive notes to it all. Keep in mind with your recommendations will come more episodes.  Also, if some of you are interested in a free podcast session in regards to doing the speaking questions, make sure you message me! Interested in online group classes? This is also available! But until then, enjoy this 45-minute video/live class and ask questions in the comments!