How the TOEFL Is Different from Real Life English

All standardized tests (for example, the GRE, GMAT, SAT, IELTS, or FCE) have the same basic goal: they want to measure your ability in real world skills. And all of them have the same problem: they aren’t the real world.

Writing an essay in 30 minutes is not something you will do in an office. You will never have a multiple choice question about vocabulary before you can order a coffee at Starbucks. And you will never speak into a microphone about your role model for 45 seconds anywhere else except a TOEFL test center.

The TOEFL has a few specific features that are very different from anything you do in normal life. Continue reading

GRE Math for Non-Native Speakers

GRE Math might just seem a question of crunching numbers and getting the answer. Even if you know very little English, you should be able to come up with the correct answer, right? This notion is clearly wrong. And it doesn’t take long to disabuse somebody of it. Simply open the GRE Official Guide to a word problem in the math section. Some of the sentences are so convoluted, the math terms so dense, that even a native speaker has to read the question a few times before understanding what is being asked.

Of course, for the native speaker the task of answering a difficult word problem is even more difficult. Below are points to keep in mind if you are a non-native speaker tackling the GRE math section. Continue reading

Three Reasons Why the TOEFL test is Hard

toefl test

Let’s make something clear, first: the TOEFL test isn’t hard for everybody. If you have a lot of experience speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English, the TOEFL test might be very easy. In fact, if you have enough experience, you might not even need to take the TOEFL test. Your GRE, GMAT, or SAT scores in the reading and writing sections might be enough.

But if your English experience comes mostly from your education–high school and university English classes–then you might be surprised by the TOEFL test. Why? Continue reading

Magoosh’s GRE Flashcards : Learning made easy


For many students the biggest obstacle to overcome GRE Verbal lies squarely with its vocabulary. Compared to the Quant section, which many can grasp through intuition and a few formulas, the Verbal has those same brave souls running for cover. Enter Magoosh’s brand new online GRE flashcards. With so much at stake in grad school testing world, Magoosh has sought to level the playing field in the Verbal realm by offering their GRE flashcards available for free. That’s 1000 words that range from the absolutely-must-know to the nail-bitingly-tough, all absolutely free. What does that mean for the grad school applicant? GRE verbal just got a whole lot less scary. And that’s good for you. Check out some the standout features of their new tool. Continue reading