To get: free TOEFL Tips Emails, then Become a Free Member

TOEFL Tip # 53: Improving TOEFL Comprehension Via 360 Research

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on July 30, 2009

Since TOEFL is a Test of ENGLISH as a Second Language, you can greatly improve your TOEFL score by improving your English comprehension. One way to do that is to initiate a 360-review of an academically-oriented or politically-focused news story. 360-Research means looking at the story from all possible angles. For example, you could:

1. Read about the story in respected American news papers such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Huffington Post.

2. Read about the story in respected English-Language magazines, such as The Economist, The New Yorker, and Slate.com.

3. Listen to radio reports about the story on NPR.org or on respected radio shows like On Point, Talk of the Nation, Here and Now, or The Diane Rehm Show.

4. Watch videos about the story on youtube.com or on your local Public Television station.

5. Look up key ideas relevant to the story

6. Follow the story on Twitter.com

7. Read about the story in your own language.

This last point is very helpful. Because it is hard to understand the more subtle ideas in news stories, it is often good to read about the story first in your own language. That way you’ll understand the story, which will improve your comprehension of the story in English. Once you understand the story in your own language, then you’ll be able to focus on how the English is conveying the same idea. This is particularly helpful when the entire story focuses on one central idea or quotation. For example, do a search in your own language for Judge Sotomayor’s statement that “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” In Spanish, one blogger translated this as una latina inteligente podría tomar mejores decisiones que un hombre blanco que no ha tenido las mismas experiencias vitales”, and if you search the web in Spanish for “Sotomayor,” you’ll find every hit mentions “latina inteligente”. So when you read “wise latina” in English, you’ll quickly figure out that WISE must mean INTELIGENTE, since you’ve seen “latina inteligente” 20-30 times already.

Here are some links to get you started for a more recent story: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

NEW YORK TIMES

BOSTON GLOBE

THE HUFFINGTON POST

THE NEW YORKER

Slate.com

Talk of the Nation

PBS: (click on the STREAMING VIDEO link)

Youtube

RELEVANT LINKS:

Definition of racial profiling.

article about racial profiling.

Definition of 911 calls.

Definition of sensitivity training.

Article on how diversity training doesn’t work.

JAPANESE ARTICLES

Do this once a week on a new topic, and your English will improve much more quickly!

GOOD LUCK!


Categories: Industry Issues,Listening,Reading,Speaking

No comments so far. Leave a comment.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

will not be published