Well, Natalie and I have had two days getting organized and starting some of the exercises that are intended to prepare her for the TOEFL exam. It has caused me to do research into TOEFL and better understand why it is needed. I also am getting a better appreciation of the difficulty of the exam and the skills that are required for a person to pass the exam.
There are two typed of exams. There is a Paper Based Exam and a Computer Based Exam. While both test the same areas of competency, they obviously are administered differently. The latter requires the individual to have some basic computer skills.
TOEFL has four areas that are tested. They are Listening, Structure, Reading and Writing. The main focus of TOEFL is to allow a college to determine if a student, whose primary language is not English, can take classes in that university and obtain a degree. The fee for taking the test is $150. Therefore you need to feel you are prepared before you go take the TOEFL test.
Natalie is preparing herself for a Master’s program which would be in a foreign country. That is the objective of our exercise. Monday we spent time having Natalie take one of the computerized tests to get an evaluation of what her needs are. I now have a better understanding of how to proceed.
Using the materials I have, as well as materials I am finding on the Internet combined with some items that I will create, I think we will have a pretty complete study package. One of the things I have found that is suggested is for the student to do as much reading as possible of all English materials. In this area, I am having Natalie read two books. Both are John Grisham books. I feel he is a good writer and the material should be interesting.
I am using two books for this reason. I have not read either book. Currently she is reading the first by herself and marking areas in which she has difficulty. This will allow her to read at her speed and get the enjoyment of the book with only the interruption of having to look up words that she may not be familiar with.
The second book is the new book by Grisham titled “The Innocent Man”. I am going to have her spend an hour a day reading that book to me out load. This will allow her to improve her pronunciation and me to have a lovely lady read one of my favorite author’s books to me. I guess you might say that is killing two birds with one book.
This afternoon, I am planning a field trip up to the Fronteria. If possible I will get some photos of that area. I intend to use the trip to have Natalie describe where we are and what she is seeing on the drive. Just having more English conversation will also help her.
I thought I would take this time while Natalie is reading by herself to organize for the field trip and to describe my thoughts on where we are and how the process is starting and how it will go forward. As things progress, if I think that there is anything of interest, I will make other entries.