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How to study for GRE and TOEFL at the same time

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How to study for GRE and TOEFL at the same time [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2015, 06:49
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If you are planning to apply to graduate school in the United States or in Europe, there is a good chance you will have to take both the TOEFL and the GRE. Having to study for two different exams may sound scary. Luckily, the GRE and the TOEFL test a lot of the same skills, but in different ways. You can actually prepare for both of these tests at the same time.

GRE Verbal Reasoning and the TOEFL

The GRE Verbal Reasoning Section is a lot like TOEFL Reading. Both exams test reading skills in similar ways, with similar question types. In both sections, you are asked to understand basic information, make inferences, paraphrase, summarize, recognize new vocabulary words, and so on. There is one big difference between GRE Verbal Reasoning and TOEFL Reading. The GRE tests vocabulary at a much higher level. However, you will still need the simpler vocabulary of the TOEFL to understand reading passages on the GRE. Because of this, it’s useful to study TOEFL vocabulary and GRE vocabulary together. You can make word lists that combine words from both exams. You can also study words from both tests using the same methods: flash cards, mnemonics, and so on.

GRE Verbal Reasoning is also like TOEFL Listening in some ways. TOEFL Listening also requires test takers to comprehend, infer, paraphrase, and summarize language. Comprehending both spoken and written English can give your overall English ability a real boost. This may be just the boost you need to do well on the more challenging GRE.

GRE Analytical Writing and the TOEFL

The GRE has two different Analytical Writing tasks. In the Analyze an Argument Task, you will read an argument someone has written. Then you will analyze how well-supported the argument is. You will need to identify good evidence, weak evidence, and missing evidence. The Analyze an Issue Task asks you to give your own opinion on an issue. Your opinion should be well supported and reasoned.

The GRE Argument Essay is similar to several TOEFL Tasks. TOEFL Speaking Task 3 asks you to understand an argument that you hear, recognizing the reasons and evidence that a speaker uses. TOEFL Speaking Task 4 asks you to identify spoken supporting details for a short written article. Speaking Task 5 asks that you analyze two different proposed solutions to a problem. The Argument Essay is the most like TOEFL Writing Task 1. In both cases, you need to understand a written argument. However, the GRE requires you to analyze the argument yourself. In contrast, TOEFL Writing Task 1 only asks you to listen to a professor analyze the written argument.

The GRE Issue Essay is very similar to three TOEFL tasks. You need to speak on a personal issue in your life and support what you say in TOEFL Speaking Task 1. Speaking Task 2 is even more similar to the GRE Issue Essay. In both the Issue Essay and the Second TOEFL Speaking Task, you need to state and support an opinion about a public issue. The Issue Essay is almost exactly like Writing Task 2 on the TOEFL. In both tasks, you are asked to write a well-supported opinion essay about a public issue. In fact, the questions for the GRE Issue Essay and TOEFL Writing Task 2 are remarkably similar. The biggest difference is that the GRE asks the test taker to write more, and in greater detail.

Summary and Takeaways

As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to practice TOEFL Reading and GRE Verbal Reasoning at exactly the same time. The skills and questions are similar enough that you can mix them together smoothly. Similarly, TOEFL Listening practice can be mixed with GRE Verbal Reasoning practice for great skill building.

On the other hand, it is probably better to alternate between TOEFL Speaking/ Writing tasks and GRE Essays. TOEFL Speaking and Writing tasks help you build basic skills that will help you on GRE Writing. In this case, you can treat TOEFL Practice as a kind of warmup exercise for GRE Practice. This is especially true with TOEFL Writing Task 2 and the GRE Analyze an Issue Task. You could even treat the second TOEFL Writing Task as a rough draft of a GRE Issue essay, rewriting it as a more complex GRE task.

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Re: How to study for GRE and TOEFL at the same time [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2017, 19:26
Each of the two scored Verbal sections you will encounter on the GRE consists of approximately 20 questions in 30 minutes – obviously, that gives you (on average) 1.5 minutes per problem, but keep in mind that during that time you will also have to read and process several Reading Comprehension passages.

Each of the two scored Quantitative sections consists of approximately 20 questions in 35 minutes, or 1 minute 45 seconds per problem. Many students have serious difficulty completing 20 problems in this amount of time.

GRE is section-level adaptive, meaning that your performance on your first verbal section will determine the difficulty of the next verbal section you receive, and your performance on your first math section will determine the difficulty of the next math section you receive. Fortunately, there is no penalty for guessing on the GRE, so there is no reason to ever leave a question blank. If you run out of time, save the last thirty seconds to randomly guess on the last few. If you use the “mark” feature to flag a question for review, pick a random answer anyway, just in case you don’t have time to come back.

Here are some good guidelines for how much time you can afford on each problem type:

On the GRE, if you can’t perform within the time limits, your hard work simply won’t result in the score you want. A good rule during studying is: If you can’t do it within the time limits, it doesn’t count.

On both Verbal and Quant: Always use a timer when practicing! This means using a stopwatch when doing practice problems on paper, and taking online practice tests under standard testing conditions. Because you’ll be taking an exam under rigid time constraints, it will be important to strategically manage your time — even during practice sessions. Although the revised GRE that debuted on Aug. 1, 2011, allows you to go back and review your answers within a section, you’ll need to make sure you leave yourself enough time to complete all the questions within each section.

One important consideration for managing your time is that it’s important to have extra focus on the early questions of the math and verbal sections. If you answer these early questions correctly, the computer-adaptive testing system will provide you with more high-value questions, which will help you achieve a higher score. If you get them wrong, however, you’ll be stuck with lower-scoring questions. For the first 10 or so questions, move slowly and double- or triple-check your answers. However, you should always keep an eye on the clock, making sure you have enough time to finish.

Don’t waste your time trying to guess whether the questions on the exam are getting harder or easier. Moving deliberately through the exam will help increase your score; trying to get into the computer’s head will not.

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Re: How to study for GRE and TOEFL at the same time   [#permalink] 23 Sep 2017, 19:26
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