TOEIC Beginner: How To Conquer TOEIC From Zero?
1. Evaluate your English proficiency level
Toeic Beginner, get to know yourself first. Before studying for TOEIC, it’s necessary to evaluate your English proficiency level so that you can draw up a specific plan to achieve your target score.
There are two ways for you to identify your current English level:
– Take an online test on website or mobile apps
– Take an online test in TOEIC centers.
2. Roadmap for toeic beginners
2.1. Phase 1: Building English foundation
The first and foremost thing before starting studying for TOEIC is to develop a daily self-study habit. Spend at least 30 minutes every morning practicing listening to English and about one hour absolutely focusing on studying. After determining the goal and developing a self-study habit, you will begin to build your English foundation including grammar, vocabulary and listening practice.
– Grammar: In this phase, you shouldn’t learn advanced grammar such as inversion or mixed conditional. Instead, you should learn basic grammar such as present simple tense, past simple tense, future simple tense, present continuous tense, past continuous tense and present perfect tense.
Besides, you need to pay attention to other grammar topics such as Subject-Verb agreement, Gerunds & to infinitive, V_ing & to V and parts of speech (noun, adjective, adverb and so on).
TOEIC beginners can refer to the following grammar materials:
- English grammar in use (Raymond Murphy)
- Understanding and Using English Grammar (Betty Schrampfer Azar – Stacy A. Hagen)
- Destination B1
- Longman English Grammar Practice (L.G. Alexander)
– Vocabulary: It’s advisable for you to learn new words in phrases or collocations rather than single words only. In addition, it is recommended to learn vocabulary by topic.
There are a variety of vocabulary books such as:
- 600 essential words for TOEIC (Lin Lougheed)
- Check your vocabulary for TOEIC (Rawdon Wyatt)
- TOEIC Vocabulary Prep (Kaplan)
or learning new words on websites or mobile apps are also a good way.
It’s noted that learning new words needs to go with learning pronunciation. Pronunciation is a key to help to enhance your listening score. TOEIC beginners need to grasp IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) to know the accurate pronunciation of words.
– Practicing listening: Short, simple audios with tapescripts are appropriate for TOEIC beginners. You should try to understand 60-70% of the content of audios. Sources for practicing listening include Listen a minute and TED-ed.
To practicing listening effectively, you can refer to the following 4 steps:
– Listening to the audio without looking at the tapescript to evaluate your listening ability.
– Looking at the tapescript while listening to the audio to understand the content.
– Listening to the audio without looking at the tapescript and at the same time, transcribing.
– Listening to the audio and at the same time, shadowing the audio.
2.2. Phase 2: Getting accustomed to the test
– Grammar: After having a deep insight into basic grammar topics in phase 1, in this phase, learners should learn more difficult ones like relative clauses, inversions, conjunctions, prepositions and conditionals.
TOEIC Preparation Vol 1 & Vol 2 are two recommended books that can help you to bolster the English foundation as well as have a close insight into the test format.
– Vocabulary: 600 Essential Words for TOEIC by Raymond Murphy with not only daily English topics but also TOEIC ones such as General business and office issues is a suggested book for TOEIC learners.
– Practicing listening: You can consult TOEIC Preparation because it provides various types of questions as learning instructions. Additionally, you should apply 4 steps for practicing listening as mentioned in phase 1 to gain the target: answer correctly 4/6 questions in part 1, 20/25 questions in part 2 and 25/39 questions in part 3.
2.3. Phase 3: Practicing intensive sections
Learners should concentrate on practicing intensive sections such as TOEIC Reading Part 6 &7, especially Part 7 which has long been considered the most difficult with long passages and a large number of questions. To cope with this part, learners need to master the Paraphrasing technique comprising using synonyms, using antonyms, using passive voice, using listing and using word family.
Besides, it is recommended that learners should focus on challenging listening parts such as Part 3 and Part 4, simultaneously, referring to some books such as ETS 2020, ETS Summer, YBM or Sparta.
2.4. Phase 4: Test
The final step of the journey to conquer TOEIC is to test yourself with mock tests. By taking mock tests, you can realize your mistakes, draw experience and thereby enhance your mark.
3. Notes for toeic beginners
Preparing knowledge & strategies
Preparing necessary knowledge and strategies helps you go 90% of the way to achieve high scores in the TOEIC exam. The remaining 10% depends on your confidence and calmness.
It’s ineffective for you to cram too much knowledge at the same time because it will make you find it hard to take in.
Doing mock tests regularly
Doing mock tests regularly is an ideal way to learn new words and assists you in getting familiar with the test format.
Allocate learning schedule appropriately
You should not spend too much time on practicing one part that you like most. Instead, you should spend time on practicing all parts. It’s suggested to draw up a specific learning schedule.
Mental preparation stimulates your thinking. Before the exam, instead of learning new knowledge, you should revise the knowledge you have learned. Don’t let anxiety affect your health. To have a good spirit, it’s advisable to combine studying with relaxing.
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