What Happens if I Get a Low Score in the TOEFL or IELTS?

What is the Minimum Score Required?

Most American Universities regard a score of 80 (out of 120) in TOEFL, as an acceptable minimum score for admission. However, students applying to high-ranking colleges generally need a minimum score of 100 on TOEFL or, a score of band 7 (out of 9) on the IELTS. What happens if you get a lower score than you require? Does that mean that admission is not possible?

What if I have Less than the Minimum Score Required in TOEFL or IELTS?

Low Scores in TOEFL/IELTS

For students, a low score does not necessarily mean an application reject. University admissions committees assess English proficiency based on other application criteria, apart from test scores. In case your score is less than the minimum required you may need to take an English Language course in the University, followed by a test. This course will have to be taken along with the regular curriculum and you will be required to pay an additional fee for it. The best thing to do is to retake the TOEFL and improve your score before joining the University. That way you can get an exemption from the remedial English course.

Good News for Indian Students

However, there is good news for Indian students. In 2011, the country average for India was 92 in TOEFL, much higher than the global average (which was about 68) and also the minimum requirement of 80 for American colleges. Institutions requiring an IELTS assessment, generally accept a minimum score of 6, which is also the present global average. Again, students from India fared marginally better than this figure with a mean score of 6.1. Hence, if you’re the “average Indian student”, you will probably do well on whichever English assessment test you take.

How Can I Improve My TOEFL or IELTS Score?

But, what if you have already given the TOEFL or IELTS and have a low score? How do you prepare? (Find out about coaching for TOEFL and IELTS.)

Preparing for TOEFL

After you have done this preliminary work, take a diagnostic test to find out where you stand. If you still feel uncertain about whether you can get the required score, join our 3-week intensive online/classroom course that will equip you with all the strategies and tips required to achieve your target score. Further, the detailed feedback on your essays and one-on-one appointments with the faculty will help you overcome your weaker areas. Click to find out more about TOEFL coaching.

Preparing for IELTS

Read the following recommended books

  • Intermediate English Grammar by Raymond Murphy (Cambridge University Press)
  • Advanced English Grammar by Martin Hewings (Cambridge University Press)

After you have done this preliminary work, take a diagnostic test to find out where you stand. If you still feel uncertain about whether you can get the required score, join our one-month intensive online/classroom course that will equip you with all the strategies and tips required to achieve your target score. Further, the detailed feedback on your essays and one-on-one appointments with the faculty will help you overcome your weaker areas. Click to find out more about IELTS coaching.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we understand the significance of this journey. Thus, we offer comprehensive GRE coaching in Pune, both online and classroom, to support you in this crucial aspect of your academic journey. Further, our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. To enroll in our comprehensive services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-020-67444222.

We offer GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, GRE Self Prep and guide students with university selection, application essays, and visa counseling under our Admission Counseling Services for USA, Germany and Canada.  

Coronavirus Lockdown: Tips for easy IELTS and TOEFL Prep at Home

As you are aware, most classes have been temporarily suspended and tests like GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS have been postponed due to Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown. Also, there is no clarity on when the classes will resume and situations will normalize.

To help you make optimum use of this lockdown time, we discussed in our last blog, a few tips that can help you to prepare for the GRE while at home. When it comes to TOEFL and IELTS, most of you are used to classroom practice and find it difficult to manage it at home. In this blog, we shall discuss a few easy strategies that will help you to overcome this hurdle and boost your prep even when at home:

TOEFL

  • Read news articles, story archives or any other interesting article for about 30 minutes every day and reflect on your understanding of it. While doing this, underline new words, write them down in a book, memorize them and try to use them while speaking. Some of the recommended reading sources are New Yorker, NY Times, Huffington Post, and TOI.
  • Listen more to native English speakers for getting a grip on pronunciations and speed. You can listen to FluentU videos, TED Talks, YouTube videos and podcasts, BBC Radio and NPR. Pause the audio clip after every few seconds and try to see if you are able to understand well and where you are falling short. For good lectures and conversations, go to Gothica on Youtube and practice.
  • For the writing section, pick the topics of your choice and practice timed writing for the essays. For Dilip Oak’s students, you can practice topics on Page 38 of the TOEFL book thoroughly.
  • For the speaking section, speak on any topic of your choice (timed for 45 seconds as per TOEFL requirement) and record it on your phone. For Oak’s Academy students, practice topics from Page 123 of the book, others can browse any topics online. Go back to the recording and check for fluency, grammar, pronunciations, clarity etc. Ask your friends or family to listen to your recording and get feedback. This will help you to improve more.
  • You can take a free practice test on the ETS official website.

 

IELTS

  • Read news articles, story archives or any other interesting article for about 30 minutes every day and reflect on your understanding of it. Read the National Geographic more since many IELTS passages are Science passages. For Oak’s Academy students, you can practice from IELTS Book 2.
  • For listening practice, go for TED Talks, FluentU videos etc. You can also access a lot of listening practice material on https://allieltsmaterial.blogspot.com/
  • For speaking practice, record a timed response (11-14 minutes) on your phone on any topic of your choice, go back and listen to it to know your mistakes and assess your performance. For Oak’s students, you can practice topics from Book 1.
  • or writing essays, Academy students can refer to Book 1 which has a pool of topics for task 1 and task 2. You can also write on any other relevant topic. For the initial one or two attempts, you may write an untimed essay. Once you get a hang of writing strategies, go for timed practice only.

Don’t Read This Unless You Have a Good Vocabulary!

The passage below has 20 high-frequency vocabulary words in it. See if you can understand their meaning from the context. If not read the meanings and sample sentences given below the passage.

When was the last time you played a game or pursued a hobby?

One can choose a hobby from a plethora of options, and explore them more or less deeply. Some try to develop their culinary skills, or attempt writing a book, or indulge in more erudite hobbies like numismatics or philately. Some set their heart on playing a musical instrument, like the guitar.

But people often abandon their culinary journey when their first curry turns out to be insipid. Those who take up writing may love the idea of writing, but when it comes to actually writing, they find themselves staring endlessly at a blank page or computer screen. Most people are too capricious and lazy to stick with a hobby that requires a bit of discipline to be really rewarding. In the end, many become disillusioned when it turns out to be more work than they expected, and their initial euphoria fizzles out. I do not wish to flippantly claim that a hobby is all play and no work; but once you have decided which hobby you want to pursue and have familiarized yourself with the basics of it, you will find that the work that is involved is pleasurable and rewarding in a way that your regular paid work can never be.

And how do you go about choosing a hobby? Above all, don’t be a skeptic: unless you believe in your right and ability to enjoy being a neophyte in a new field, you will not be able to take pleasure in it – and pleasure is the whole point. In choosing, you should use your intuition, and choose something which fits the soul. The trick is to know your inner self, and to be both idealistic and pragmatic at the same time in following it. To find a hobby that will suit your nature and circumstances, you need to make a list of the things you enjoy doing, and then consider how much free time and money you can devote to the activity you choose. No matter how ludicrous your idea for a hobby may initially seem, you have to boldly transcend your doubts and prejudices, and savor the excitement of novelty and uncertainty.

No matter how diffident one is when taking up a hobby, no matter how casually one pursues it, it is still important to have one. A hobby can kindle a new interest in life and reveal hitherto unsuspected aspects of oneself, even on occasion leading to a new career.

Now here are the meanings, with illustrative sentences. Read them through and then see if you can understand the passage.

1. plethora (noun): a large quantity:

“It was raining on the day the politician arrived at his next campaign stop, so when he got to the podium and looked out at his audience, all he saw was a plethora of umbrellas.”

“The response to the director’s new film was a plethora of disappointed reviews.”

2. culinary (adjective): relating to cooking:

“The man I marry will have to have good culinary skills, since I will be too busy with my career to cook, and I love good food.”

3. erudite (adjective): learned; having a deep knowledge of something; reflecting such deep knowledge:

“Let us now hear what the erudite professor himself has to say about this matter to which he has devoted so many years of study.”

“Based as it was on 20 years of research, his writing was erudite; unfortunately, however, he was unable to make his subject interesting.”

4. numismatics (noun, plural): the study of coins:

Numismatics is an important branch of archeology.”

5. philately (noun): the collection and study of stamps:

“When he told me that he had a passion for philately, I thought I would find him intolerably boring; instead, he introduced me to a fascinating new hobby.”

6. insipid (adjective): lacking taste (in both a literal and figurative sense); dull; uninteresting:

“The restaurant reviewer complained that everything on the menus was more or less insipid: he would have liked a little more spice in everything.”

“I once made an effort to read his poetry, but I found it too insipid to continue.”

7. capricious (adjective): impulsive; affected by short-lived bursts of enthusiasm; frequently changing one’s mind; resulting from or reflecting such impulsiveness:

“Being capricious by nature, he had started learning five different languages at one time or another, but had never progressed beyond the basics before giving up.”

“Thanks to your capricious decision to buy a dog, we have yet another mouth to feed in the house.”

8. disillusioned (adjective, past participle of the verb to disillusion): having the feeling that one’s expectations and beliefs about something have been disappointed and proved false:

“I had grown up believing that the university was a temple of learning filled with young people who were devoted to the search for knowledge and truth, so my first year of undergraduate study left me feeling deeply disillusioned.”

“After twenty years of work in the environmental movement, he retired a disillusioned man.”

9. euphoria (noun): intense happiness; extremely high spirits; exhilaration:

“I have never felt such euphoria as I did on the day of our marriage.”

“Most mountain climbers report that they feel a tremendous euphoria upon reaching the mountain’s summit.”

10. flippantly (adverb, from the adjective flippant): in a frivolous, non-serious, thoughtless manner (generally referring to acts of speech):

“I flippantly told her that our friendship meant nothing to me, but immediately regretted it.”

11. diffident (adjective): lacking confidence; unsure of oneself:

“Despite being told again and again that he was a musical genius, he remained diffident about his ability, and as a result retired early from his career as a concert pianist.”

“Let me assure you that your writing is of the highest quality: you have no reason at all to be diffident.”

12. kindle (verb): to light a fire; to bring something into being or inspire it, starting from a small beginning:

“As night fell, the trekkers gathered sticks and leaves and kindled a fire.”

“In his campaign speeches, the prime ministerial candidate tried to kindle his audience’s patriotism with fiery speeches about the nation’s growing importance on the international scene.”

“I gave her many books of poetry, trying to kindle an interest that we could pursue together, but she just wasn’t interested.”

13. skeptic (noun): someone who doubts:

“I used to be a skeptic in matters of religion, but at this point in my life I feel more inclined to admit that there may be a lot of truth in it.”

“The average voter is much more of a skeptic today than he was thirty years ago, and much less likely to believe politicians’ campaign promises.”

14. neophyte (noun): an absolute beginner in some field or activity:

“Despite being a neophyte in politics, the chief minister’s son was immediately given important posts and responsibilities.”

“Even when he was a neophyte in chess, he used to defeat serious players with years of experience.”

15. intuition (noun): a feeling about something that is not based directly on reasoning or logical processes of thinking:

“Most managers do not actually think through their decisions in a logical and systematic way, but depend on intuition to tell them what they should do in a difficult and complex situation.”

“I can’t really tell you why, but I have an intuition that something terrible is about to happen.”

16. idealistic (adjective): having high, noble, and possibly unrealistic ideals and principles; characterized by or reflecting such an attitude:

“When I was younger, I was very idealistic, and frequently chose to do what I thought was right, even if that meant sacrificing my own interests for the benefit of others.”

“The prime minister’s idealistic decision to institute a universal health care system proved to be an economic disaster for the government.”

17. pragmatic (adjective): realistic; having a sound sense of what is really possible and necessary; characterized by or reflecting such an attitude (opposite of idealistic):

“The new president of the company was much more pragmatic than the previous one, and instituted reforms which quickly made the company profitable again.”

“I take a pragmatic view of marriage: it should be seen as an institution that exists to make both partners happy, and if it ceases to be this, then it should be allowed to come to an end.”

18. ludicrous (adjective): ridiculous; absurd; laughable:

“Your plan to equip the doghouse with a solar-powered heating system is ludicrous.”

“On his first day of work he came to the office dressed in a ludicrous multicolored costume adorned with peacock feathers, mirrors, and chains, and was immediately fired.”

19. transcend (verb): to rise above; to overcome:

“Great works of art are the ones that deal with issues of universal and eternal importance, and thereby transcend the particular historical circumstances in which they were created.”

“Amazingly, she was able to transcend the terrible problems and challenges in her life and become the first person in her family to go to university.”

20. savor (verb): to enjoy the taste of something; to fully enjoy something:

“Just savor the wonderful taste of this garlic and carrot pickle!”

“As he felt his life drawing to an end, he made more and more of an effort to savor each and every moment and experience to the fullest.”

TOEFL and IELTS Must Read: All the Most Important Information

Indian students applying to a foreign university have to take exams to certify that they have the required basic minimum skills in English. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are the two leading tests for this purpose.

This post gives you links to some of the most important information about these two tests of English proficiency published earlier on this blog. Take a look. You may find answers to questions you have been waiting to ask.

  • Some students want to apply for admission to a German university. Some to a British or, Canadian one. Some to a combination of American and other universities. So, which exam should you take? If you are confused, find out here: IELTS or TOEFL – Which Exam Should I Take?

Continue reading

TOEFL and IELTS: Which Test is Easier?

Comparison and Overview

Overall, as tests of language IELTS or TOEFL are equally easy, since both test English language skills at a very basic level. Both also contain four sections – listening, reading, speaking and writing (the essay section). Grammar is not tested in a separate section in either test; rather, it is tested as part of the other sections. But there are some differences.

The main difference between the two is the format of the test. TOEFL is internet-based (iBT), IELTS is paper-based. Further, all sections of TOEFL are tested on the same day, while the speaking portion of IELTS, which needs a scheduled appointment for a one-on-one interview, may fall on another day. There are also a few other variations in terms of testing time and in the type and number of questions asked. For example, the TOEFL, unlike the IELTS, contains integrated questions in which you may be asked to listen to a conversation, read a passage and then speak or write out a response.

Below is a quick overview of the main features of the two tests.

Continue reading

TOEFL Prep – Nice Resources at toeflgoanywhere.com

For takers of the TOEFL examination, the www.toeflgoanywhere.org website offers a host of preparation materials and tips for cracking the exam. One easy-to-use resource is the Online Study Group that presents a creative and interactive way for students to pick up helpful hints.

The Study Group covers all the four sections – Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing – in four separate videos, each showing a conversation among four friends. The casual style of the videos makes it much easier for students to grasp the strategies than reading study material about the exam.

The videos mainly focus on important support skills such as paraphrasing and summarizing, which come in handy for the Writing, Reading and Speaking sections. The suggestions for the Listening section include simple things that one can do as part of one’s daily routine – watching American sit-coms and listening to English songs to improve vocabulary, for example. Or, reading aloud articles from magazines to improve fluency in speech for students who find it difficult to come up with quick answers in the Speaking section.

The Study Group videos are an interesting and quick way to learn some basic strategies for the TOEFL exam, and are especially useful for students who are just starting out on their TOEFL preparation. So, if you haven’t yet begun on your TOEFL preparation, take fifteen minutes out of your study schedule to visit this link:

http://www.toeflgoanywhere.org/meet-study-group-tips-test-takers-you

Raj, Val, Min and Celia will share important tips with you based on their TOEFL experience!