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TOEFL Tip #155: Managing Your Note Paper

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on May 18, 2012

Understandably, ETS wants to make sure that no information about the TOEFL exam leaves the test center. This ensures that the test’s answers cannot be given to a future test taker.

One way that ETS promotes security is to limit the amount of paper you receive. If everyone in the test center is given the same quantity of paper, then the monitor (first definition) will know to collect that number of pages from you. If you give the monitor only three sheets of paper when she knows everyone got four sheets, she will ask you for that fourth sheet. This means you cannot hide that fourth paper in your pocket with all the answers on it.

But this security measure poses a risk to your TOEFL score! You can easily imagine how this might happen: you need more paper, but the monitor is busy with someone else, or she is looking somewhere else and doesn’t see that your hand is up. You’re wasting valuable waiting to catch her attention – time that you can’t afford.

So here’s what we suggest to help you manage your paper:

1. You will be given three or four pieces of paper at the beginning of the test. Even if you think you don’t need the paper, take it anyway. It’s better to be prepared!

2. Stack the sheets together, and lay them in front of you so that the pile is longer from left to right (the same as “landscape layout” for a printer). Fold all the sheets in half. This makes every sheet into a little book with four pages. Now you have four “pages” per sheet of paper instead of only two (front and back of an unfolded sheet).

3. Use only one of these “pages” for each Reading passage and each Listening passage. If you have large handwriting or tend to scrawl your notes, you will need to practice writing a bit smaller and/or more neatly to use your paper more effectively.

4. On the break, ASK FOR MORE PAPER. Do this even if you’ve got some sheets left over! It’s better to start with four new sheets instead of having only one or two sheets when you start the Speaking section. You will have to surrender any pieces of paper that you’ve used.

5. Fold your sheets again and use one “page” for each of the Speaking tasks.

When you manage your paper this way, you will not run out of space for notes during the second half of the test. You really do not want to have to raise your hand, and wait for the attendant to see you.

Not only will you never run out of paper if you follow these steps, but you’ll also keep your notes more clearly organized. Besides having to wait for more paper while the timer keeps running, you don’t want to get confused because you crammed all of your notes from multiple lectures or passages onto the same page!


Categories: Listening,Reading,Speaking,Test day,TOEFL for Pharmacy,TOEFL for University,TOEFL Preparation

3 comments so far. Leave a comment.

  1. alvaro salguero

    wrote on July 3, 2013 at 9:05 am

    thank you for all the information, I really take seriously you send me , so please, could you send me the toefl tips from the #1, until now, I want to review all and kept with me ,thank you.

  2. Strictly English TOEFL Tutors

    wrote on July 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Hi Alvaro.

    You can read ALL of our blogs online. and in many ways:
    1. click on OLDER POSTS at the bottom of the TOEFL TIPS page. That will take you back one at a time.
    2. Use the SEARCH box on the TOEFL Tips Page to find particular topics.
    or
    3. click on one of the CATEGORIES on the right side of the page.

    GOOD LUCK and ENJOY!

  3. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » Any Digitized Text Can Be a Lecture

    wrote on November 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    [...] of our previous blog articles have taught you great note-taking techniques. But you have to practice them, and this requires that you to have a lot of lecture material on [...]

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