How to Use Communication Skills to Master the TOEFL Exam

Posted on January 14, 2015 | Filed in TOEFL

How to Use Communication Skills to Master the TOEFL Exam

Learn how paying attention to how you speak in your native language can help you master the TOEFL exam. Communication is about conveying a message and mastering the use of words and phrases is what the TOEFL aims to assess.

The TOEFL exam is meant to assess your mastery of English as a foreign language. Fluency is defined as being able to communicate in a language with relative ease. You are only as fluent in a language as you are able to easily convey messages, ideas, thoughts, using grammatically correct words and phrases. The best way to practice this skill is by analyzing how you communicate in a language you are already fluent in, your native tongue.

  1. What words do you use and why?

    Next time you are having a conversation with a person pay close attention to your choice of words. Think about what other words you could have chosen and why you decided to phrase your idea the way you did. Understanding the intricate differences in meaning that words have can be the difference between speaking a language and articulating your thoughts. Two words might hold similar meaning but the choice of one might convey an entirely different phrase. Take for example the words hit and attack. Both words describe an action but in a sentence can convey entirely different messages. If a person hits someone, it could be out of self-defense, it could be justifiable; it’s also possible that the person is guilty of a horrible act. All you know is that an act of violence occurred. To describe the same person attacking someone paints an entirely different picture. It becomes clearer who the aggressor was in the situation. When choosing what words to use in a sentence you must fully comprehend the details of the message you want to convey.

  2. Feel with your heart, think with your head.

    Communication should be genuine, it should not, however, be emotional. When you are having a simple conversation, your phrasing is clear and you make perfect sense. In an argument, however, you get passionate and emotional; you stumble over words and lose focus over the point you are trying to make. It is for this reason you should always keep in mind that you should communicate with your head, and feel with your heart. Allow your ideas to come from an emotional place, once you have your ideas you need to cut off the emotional source and focus only on how to best construct an argument. You have no personal stake in the argument; you are nothing more than a programmed machine with a mission. That mission is to use the words that you know to clearly convey a message.

  3. Listen first, speak second

    One of the easiest forms of communication is basing your messages on the messages you are receiving. When communicating you should focus more on the argument you are hearing. Listen closely and base every response on what you hear. Do you agree? Do you disagree? How and why? You are building your response on an already existing foundation. When you meet a new person, before you can judge whether you are interested in them or not you must learn their personality through their communication. The same holds true for the TOEFL. What are the questions asking of you? Once you understand the message of the question, you can easier develop an answer.

Communication is simple once you understand that every phrase should be a well thought out, constructed puzzle where every piece serves a purpose in making a whole picture come together. By paying attention to the word and phrase choices you make in every day conversations you will have a better understanding of how communication works. Using these skills you can learn to better communicate in a foreign language, developing not only a fluency in the language but the ability to articulate your thoughts like a professional speaker.

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