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TOEFL Tip #90: Reading and Listening: Use a Holistic Approach

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on March 11, 2011

Many people lose a lot of time on the Reading and Listening sections of the TOEFL because of the way they approach the questions. They mentally review everything they know about the reading or listening passage in order answer the first question, then they stop thinking, move on to the next question, and start all over again. It’s almost like they empty their minds, and each question is about a new topic.

Don’t do this! All of the questions work together. Treating them like separate items will slow you down. You might even make mistakes that you would not otherwise make.

Instead, use a holistic approach on the Reading and Listening sections. That is, keep in mind that the questions are pieces that work together to form a unit, and each of the pieces depends on the others. Think of the questions as a jigsaw puzzle: when working on a puzzle with an outdoor scene, you group all of the blue pieces together because they’re probably the sky, and you can guess that all of the green pieces are the grass, and so on. By grouping each color together, you can find the piece you want more easily, rather than having to search through all of the puzzle pieces each time.

If you think holistically about the questions for a Reading or Listening passage, you will realize that information from an earlier answer can help answer a later question. We’ll have an example of this in next week’s post, on March 18th.

Thinking holistically can not only save you time on the Reading and Listening sections, but it can also boost your confidence. Having a technique to help answer difficult questions means that you won’t waste precious time, and you won’t panic. Try it as you practice, and see the difference that holistic thinking will make!

Categories: Listening,Reading

1 comment so far. Leave a comment.

  1. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » Use a Holistic Approach: An Example

    wrote on March 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    [...] last week’s post, we talked about using a holistic approach for answering questions in the Reading and Listening [...]

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