I discovered the TOEFL Pro blog today.

Found this useful for DS: An Idiom a Day Take the English Idiom test

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Anyone teaching test-takers? Have you used Bruce Stirling’s texts (below) before and what do you think of them??? I found his blog TOEFL PRO to be somewhat useful .. see sample page here

Argument Mapping – A New TOEFL Strategy
My TOEFL text – Speaking and Writing Strategies for the TOEFL iBT – represents a new approach to preparing for the TOEFL iBT. Why is my text different from all those other TOEFL texts? Because my text has one core strategy. That strategy I call argument mapping. Argument mapping means you use one map – an argument map – to develop and deliver responses for all six speaking tasks and both writing tasks. Why is my argument map so effective? Because it has been classroom-developed and test-proven for over five years – and because it is based on the theory that test-takers acquire speaking and writing strategies faster and more proficiently through visualization. Let me explain.

You know what a map is, right? A map is a bunch of lines and arrows pointing you in the right direction so you will not get lost. In other words, a map is a visual solution to a problem. My argument map does the same thing: it solves an argument problem by pointing you in the right direction when developing and delivering spoken and written responses. By following my argument map, you will not get lost. You are in control from start to finish. Best of all, you will know exactly what to say and write when practicing and on test day. This eliminates guessing while developing confidence. This, in turn, will result in maximum scoring. Why maximum scoring? Because my map has been designed to give the speaking and writing raters what they are trained to look for: six coherent spoken arguments and two coherent written arguments. How do you play the TOEFL speaking and writing game and win? By giving the raters what they are trained to look for.

As I mentioned, argument mapping is based on the theory that test-takers acquire TOEFL strategies faster and more proficiently through visualization. Why is visualization more effective than using text to teach strategies, the method all the other TOEFL texts use? Let’s use an example. You’re visiting a big city and you’re looking for the train station. You stop a stranger and ask for directions.

“Excuse me,” you say. “Can you tell me how to get to the train station?”

“Sure,” the stranger says. “It’s easy. Piece of cake. Go straight for ten blocks. Then turn left at the first red. Then walk for three more blocks and turn right at the bank. You will then see a big blue sign. No green. Right, green. Next to that is an old church. Keep going for three more blocks and turn left, then right, then left. The train station will be straight ahead. Okay?”

Okay? Hel-lo! Right? Left? Church? What? Help! Now look at this example.

“Excuse me,” you say. “Can you tell me how to get to the train station?”

“Sure,” TOEFL Pro says. “Let me draw you a map.”

Which solution is best? The map, obviously. Why? Because it provides a visual solution to your problem. Best of all, there is no guessing. You go from A to Z with no trouble at all. That is what argument mapping does. That is why my text Speaking and Writing Strategies for the TOEF iBT represents a new approach to teaching essential TOEFL speaking and writing strategies.

Want to learn more about argument mapping? It’s all in the book.

ee more and KIV at Amazon.com Speaking and Writing Strategies

Also the same author’s 500 Words, Phrases and Idioms for the TOEFL iBT plus Typing Strategies text does look better than the usual references/texts which are mere word-lists.

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