“Should I Study Vocabulary For The TOEFL Exam?”





Vocabulary - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!




“Yeah, Sure…  Maybe…  But, No…  Not Really”



Allow Me To Explain…


[su_dropcap style=”flat”]S[/su_dropcap]ure!  You CAN study vocabulary for The TOEFL Exam.  It certainly won’t hurt your score.  Unless, you spend all your time studying vocabulary, and not spending any time actually learning…



[su_dropcap style=”flat”]H[/su_dropcap]owever — if you are able to successfully implement higher-levels of vocabulary into your Speaking & Writing responses — this will definitely improve your score.  But this is not the most important thing that you need to be studying.



Why Vocabulary Is NOT The Most Important Thing To Study For The TOEFL Exam



[su_dropcap style=”flat”]Y[/su_dropcap]ou do not NEED to study vocabulary for The TOEFL Exam as there is no “Vocabulary Section” in the exam.  There are vocabulary questions with-in The Reading Section — but the way that these questions are formulated are to test your ability to LEARN new vocabulary if you do not already know it…  Not to test the vocabulary which you already know.  (And here’s the most important part)…



All The Answers To The Vocabulary Questions Are Contained Within The Reading Passages



…Or they are words that you should already know at the level of English needed to take The TOEFL Exam


Celebration - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!


[su_dropcap style=”flat”]T[/su_dropcap]his is done by either directly stating the meaning of a chosen word — or by explaining it in the context, either directly, or through implied meaning.  AND — the questions are multiple-choice — so if you are not sure, you can usually guess correctly by eliminating the obviously wrong choices.


What About All Those Books About Vocabulary For The TOEFL?


[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap] have seen lots of book and various documents floating around the internet (usually for free down-load) with titles like: “The 500 Words You Need For The TOEFL”“2000 Words for…”“Essential Vocabulary for…” – Blah blah blah.


Will Those Books Be Helpful?


[su_dropcap style=”flat”]M[/su_dropcap]aybe…  They could be helpful in expanding your English if you learn one new word.  But will they be USEFUL to you in achieving the score that you need to get on the The TOEFL Exam?


No!  Absolutely NOT!

Shitty Books - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]U[/su_dropcap]nless you are taking a year, or more, to prepare for The TOEFL Exam — those books will only waste your time and mental energy!  This is because they have no logical focus.  Do NOT spend any money or any time with those books, or any books like them.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]T[/su_dropcap]o prepare for the exam, you need to maximize your time and efforts.  Do NOT waste your time with anything which will not be on the exam.  Those books have NOTHING to do with actual The TOEFL Exam (except that they mention “TOEFL” in their title).  If they have vocabulary used in Reading or Listening passages from text-books or examples from past exams, you can almost guarantee that those questions will absolutely NOT be on the exam that you take.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap] have examined many of these books and documents — and what they do is simply put in a huge amount of vocabulary, from many different topics, on the INCREDIBLY slim chance that MAYBE one of those topics will be the subject of ONE of the Reading or Listening passages.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]B[/su_dropcap]ut — with literally thousands of possibilities for subject matter — and the fact that the organization administering the exam changes it EVERY TIME (so that people can’t steal the questions and cheat on the exam) — the chances that anything in those books will help you to achieve the score you need on The TOEFL Exam is VERY slim.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]Y[/su_dropcap]our time is much better spent working on HOW to actually respond to each TASK and how to use certain skills to FIND the answer, rather than trying to prepare for every single possibility in the Univers.  That is, in fact, the actual purpose of the vocabulary question-types:  To determine if you are able to learn new information.  Not to test the vocabulary that you already know.


Over-Studying - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!


[su_dropcap style=”flat”]N[/su_dropcap]ot having a vast vocabulary, but being able to effectively fulfill each task is FAR more valuable to you than having a large vocabulary but having no idea how to put those words together.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]T[/su_dropcap]his would be like a person who wants to be a painter — who has lots of different high-quality paints & brushes — and plenty of gorgeous models who are willing to pose for him or her — but then, does not even know how to get the paint out of the tube — let alone how to mix the colors to get exactly the shades that he or she desires in order to create a beautiful painting.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]S[/su_dropcap]o please…  DO NOT waste your time with books (and videos) that try to teach you vocabulary about subjects which are almost certainly NOT going to be on the exam.


So…  What Should You Do?



Learn Vocabulary That WILL Be On The TOEFL Exam



  • The vocabulary that you WILL need on The TOEFL Exam has to do with the words that will actually be used IN the exam itself;  in the questions and the directions. This is what I refer to as:  Functional Vocabulary — In other words…  this is the vocabulary that you MUST know in order to actually “Function” while taking The TOEFL Exam.
  • Then there are the words that you will be expected to already know in order to be able to function in an English-Speaking University-type setting.  This is what I refer to as:  Level-Checking Vocabulary — In other words…  they are just “Checking” your “Level Of Vocabulary” with these types of questions.


[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap]n addition to this, there are words which may or may not be on the exam, but will be very good for you to know as they relate TO the exam and the understanding of the concepts of learning and academia.


All Of Which Are Listed In The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! TOEFL Database


[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap]f — when going through the list — you find a word that you don’t know, or can’t define…  Then look it up — read all the definitions — learn its etymology — and see how changing the word to its different forms can actually change its meaning.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]A[/su_dropcap]nd then — if you have any questions — feel free to ask me.  I am always happy to help when I am able…  And that is essentially what I am here for.


Have An Excellent Day!



Remember:  If there are any words in this post that you do not know – look them up.  Though you do not need to waste time memorizing lists of vocabulary before taking The TOEFL Exam, it is always a good idea to look-up words that you do not know.  Even if you think you know them, you may be surprised, so if you see a word that you may “know” but can’t actually define or explain…  look it up.  I suggest



And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.


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