Beyond Practice Tests: Factual Information Questions

Beyond Practice Tests: Factual Information Questions

Five ways to study Factual Information questions.

On a test like the TOEFL, Factual Information questions ask you to find an answer that the reading specifically answers. In other words, if you understand the vocabulary and grammar, you should get these questions correct all of the time. Here is a short reading and two simple Factual Information questions:

John went to the store and bought apples. After that, he went to the bank before stopping at the post office to mail some letters. Back home, he just watched some TV and took a nap.

What did John buy?

  1. a. Apples
  2. b. Oranges
  3. c. Bananas
  4. d. Carrots

Why did John go to the post office?

  1. a. to mail some letters
  2. b. to buy stamps
  3. c. to talk to his friend
  4. d. to get a package

Of course, these are easy examples, but if you study well, real factual information questions will be easy too. How can you study well? Of course, practice tests are very useful. But, what if you don’t have any more practice tests?

Here are five study strategies.

Reading and Writing Read a magazine article. When you’re finished, write down ten things you learned.

How did you know that? After you’ve written ten things you learned from an article, write down the ten sentences from the article that taught you those things.

Make Practice Questions Write practice questions for an article. Include the real answer and three wrong answers. When you choose the wrong answers, try to pick things that you might guess.

Try to know everything Look at sentences. Write down every fact that is in the sentence. For some sentences there might be ten new things that you can learn. Try to find as many as you can.

Be Random Randomly choose ten words, expressions, or sentences from an article. Then, read the article. Finally, create questions that use the things you chose as the answers.

After you take a practice TOEFL

After you take a practice TOEFL®

Would you make a dinner, but not eat it? Would you go to the beach and not go swimming? Would you write an essay, but not have someone look at it? Maybe, maybe, maybe; but if you did, you’d be missing the best part.

After you take a practice TOEFL test, you still have some important work to do. Just taking the test and checking your score is not enough. It definitely helps you, but if you do a little more, you’ll be helped a lot more. Here are some strategies.

Reading and Listening

For each question, ask yourself: What was the right answer? How do I know that was the right answer? What were the wrong answers? How do I know they were wrong?

Sometimes, this will go quickly—especially for “fact-based” questions where the answer is stated exactly in the test. But, for some questions, you will need a lot of time to figure out exactly why what’s right was right, and what’s wrong was wrong. Take your time. You’ll be glad you did when you take the real test.

Speaking and Writing

Listen to or read your answers and make outlines of what you said or wrote. For example:

Question: Do you prefer to live in the city or the countryside?

Answer Outline:

  • I prefer to live in the city.
    • More exciting (movies, concerts)
    • More people (friends, Koreans)
    • That’s why I prefer to live in the city

Now, ask yourself these questions: Are you happy with your speech/essay? Did you give good examples to support your opinion? Would you change anything? If the question asked you to repeat information, did you do that? Did you miss anything?

In general you want to review the tests so that you can really understand your mistakes and your success. If you got it wrong, figure out why. If you got it right, make sure you didn’t get lucky. You’ll be able to use the information to improve your future scores.

Don’t Waste Your Hard Work

Don’t waste your hard work (TOEFL Prep)

Some things to do in addition to studying

You need to do many things to get a good score on the TOEFL. Of course you should study hard. You need to learn more words. You need to read faster and understand more. You should be able to listen and talk about lectures and conversations on lots of different topics. And, of course, you have to be able to write quickly and clearly.

But, there’s more. Make sure you do these things too. Then, you’ll really get your best score.

Sleep right: How can you do your best work if you’re yawning? How can you focus for four hours if you need a nap? You can’t. So, make sure you’re rested. You need to make sure that you wake up at least three hours before you start taking your exam. Your body needs about one week to get used to a sleep pattern. So, you need to make sure that you’re awake three hours before your exam time for a whole week. For example, let’s say your exam is at 9:00am on March 7th. On March 1st, you should start waking up at 6:00am. That way, on March 7th, you definitely won’t be tired.

Eat right: The TOEFL is like a marathon. Basically, you need to concentrate for more than four hours without a break. That’s a lot. It’s important to eat food that will continue to give you energy during the exam. For example, if you eat a candy bar or something with a lot of sugar before the test, you’ll only have energy at the beginning of the test. By the time you start writing your essays, you won’t be able to do a good job. Your mind will be tired, and you won’t have any energy. However, if you eat bread or pasta the night before the exam, then you’ll keep getting energy throughout the test.

Also, get into a good eating pattern. Eat at the same times for one week before the test. Don’t eat during or right after the time that you’ll be taking the test. You don’t want to be hungry while you’re taking the test.

Study right: As much as you can, study during the times that you’ll be taking the test. And study for four hours with only a ten minute break after two hours. It can be difficult to concentrate for the entire test, so you need to train yourself. Lock yourself in your room and don’t leave for four hours. Take practice tests during this time.

Also, when you’re studying for the Speaking portion of the test, make sure you turn on the radio or television. Other people are going to be speaking while you are answering the speaking questions. You need to be used to ignoring other sounds.

Visit the Test Site: You absolutely don’t want to get lost on the day of the test, so make sure you know exactly where the test is. This means you should go to the building, walk inside, and, if possible, visit the room where you’ll take the test. This is important for two reasons. First, you shouldn’t worry about anything but the test on your test day. Second, people do better on tests in familiar environments. Don’t waste brain energy learning about a new environment.

* * *

Sleep right + Eat right + Study right + Don’t get lost = Better TOEFL score.

Website Review:

In short: A lot of pretty good stuff. Nice dialogues present idioms and expressions. The TOEFL vocab quizzes are good. Proverbs are well-defined. The readings will help intermediate to upper-intermediate students and they come with excellent comprehension questions.

Unfortunately, a lot of things also seem incomplete. For instance, the conversations from movies are nice, but readers can’t understand them because you don’t know what happened before you start reading. And there are no comprehension questions to go with them.

In general, the whole site is organized/labled poorly. After clicking around for over an hour, it was pretty easy to find everything, but it shouldn’t take that long.

For students: You might enjoy visiting this site every morning and clicking on “Conversations” to learn a new expression. Then, you can try to use it later in the day.

For teachers: If you’re preparing your students for a test like the TOEFL, but the TOEFL readings are too difficult, these readings are excellent preparation while the students work to raise their levels a bit more.

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