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TOEFL Comprehension TBIA09

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A. TOEFL Insight
TOEFL test is a test to measure English proficiency of nonnative speaker of English. It is
required primarily by English-language colleges and universities.
Types of TOEFL test:
1) PBT (Paper Based Test)
2) CBT (Computer Based Test)
3) IBT (Internet Based Test)
The paper version (PBT) has the following sections:
1) Listening Comprehension 50 questions 35 minutes
2) Structure and Written Expression 40 questions 25 minutes
3) Reading Comprehension 50 questions 55 minutes
4) Test of Written English (optional) 1 essay 30 minutes
The computer version (CBT) has the following sections:
1) Listening 30-50 questions 40-60 minutes
2) Structure 20-25 questions 15-20 minutes
3) Reading 44-60 questions 70-90 minutes
4) Writing 1 essay 30 minutes
The score of PBT TOEFL is ranging from 310 to 677 while CBT is ranging from 0 to
Tips to improve your TOEFL score:
1) Improve your knowledge of English Language Skills
2) Understand the test-taking strategy
3) Be familiar with TOEFL test
4) Practice more
5) Pray

- International
- Institutional
- TOEFL like/prediction
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B. Structure and Written Expression

1. Subject Verb Agreement
Subject-verb agreement is when the subject of the sentence correctly matches the verb
in number.
If the subject of the sentence is singular, then the verb must be singular
If the subject of the sentence is plural, then the verb must be plural
s on a verb usually indicates that a verb is singular
s on a noun usually indicates that a verb is plural
a) Subject and verb separated by prepositional phrases
When a prepositional phrase comes between the subject and the verb, be sure
that the verb agrees with the subject.
be careful to locate the true subject of the sentence. Subject and verbs are
underlined in the following examples.
- One of the boys is missing.
- The paintings by Pedro Reiss are bold and commanding.
- The president, along with three members of his Cabinet, returned to
Washington today.

b) Singular pronoun required singular verb
everyone someone anyone none (each/every)+noun
everybody somebody anybody nobody either
everything something anything nothing neither

- Everyone wants to be a winner
- Each of the managers wants her own phone line.
Each / every comes before singular subjects joined by and required
singular verb : Each teacher and student has a facebook account.

c) Plural pronoun required plural verb
both few many several

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- Both of her ex-boyfriends are attending the wedding.

d) Some pronoun can be singular or plural pronouns, depending on their use.
all most some half any
Subject can be plural or singular depending on what follows the preposition
- All of the ice cream is gone.
- All of the students are gone.
e) If two nouns or pronouns are joined by and, they need a plural verb.
- Omar and Ali drive to work on most days.

f) If two singular nouns or pronouns are joined by or or nor, they need a
singular verb.
- On most days, Omar or Ali drives to work.

g) If one plural and one singular subject are joined by or or nor, the verb
agrees with the closest subject.
- Neither the teacher nor the students like the textbook.
- Either the readers or the writer likes the textbook.

h) Subject verb agreement after inverted verb
After :
question words,
negative expression,
place expression,
condition without if,
and comparison,
the verb agrees with subjects, which may be after verb.
- (In front of the museum) was the school I worked on.
- What is your name ?

i) Some nouns (clothes and tools) are always plural in form and also take plural
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Clothes : pants, sunglasses, jeans, trousers,
Tools : scissors, pliers
Example : - The sunglasses are on the red table.

j) Some nouns are always singular in form and also take singular verb
Disease, academic subject, abstract noun, names or titles of book and movies
Example : English is my favorite subject.

k) Expression stating amount of time, weight, volume, money are plural in form
but take a singular verb.
Example : Three hundred dollars is enough for a new notebook.
l) Noun for nationality, if it refers to language, it needs singular verb, if it
refers to the people of the country, it needs plural verb.
Example :
English is widely used by people all over the world.
The English are discipline.
m) Collective noun are usually take singular verb, but it can also be plural if it
functioning independently.
(class, faculty, club, family, police, committee, etc.)
Example : - This club has a valuable history.

n) A number takes plural verb, The number takes singular verb.
Example : A number of people are attacking the office now.

TOEFL Exercise (Subject-verb agreement) :

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2. Pronoun
Pronouns are words that take the place of a noun or another pronoun. The nouns
represented by pronouns are called antecedents. Just as subjects and verbs must agree
in number, pronouns and antecedents need to agree in number. If the antecedent is
singular, the pronoun is singular; if the antecedent is plural, the pronoun is plural.

a) Indefinite pronouns (pronouns that dont refer to a specific person) like each,
either, neither, anybody, anyone, everybody, everyone, no one, nobody, one,
somebody, and someone always require singular pronouns.
- Each of the boys wore his favorite costume.
- Neither of the tenants could find her copy of the lease.

b) If two singular nouns or pronouns are joined by and, use a plural pronoun.
- When Grandma and Grandpa visit, they always bring presents.

c) If two singular nouns or pronouns are joined by or, use a singular pronoun.
- Remember to give Sophie or Jane her application.

d) If a singular and a plural noun or pronoun are joined by or, the pronoun agrees
with the closest noun or pronoun it represents.
- The coach or players will explain their game strategy.
- The players or the coach will explain his game strategy
TOEFL Exercise :

1. The answer is D because the pronoun should be is (refers to cyclone)
2. The answer is B

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3. Subordination
Subordination is the insertion of subordinate (dependent) clause into main clause
through the use of subordinating conjunctions.
a) Be careful of appositives
An appositive is a noun that comes before or after another noun and has the same
Example : Bambang Pamungkas, the best player in ISL, got a golden ball.

b) Use coordinate connectors correctly
When we have 2 independent clauses in the sentence, we need coordinate
conjunction such as and, but, or, so and yet, and also coma.
Example : Ahmad is studying, and his brother was sleeping.

c) Use adverb connectors correctly
Adverb time Adverb cause
after as soon as once when as now that
as before Since whenever because since
as long as by the time until while inasmuch as
Abu did not go to school because he was sick yesterday.
When I was studying, my father came.
Other connectors such as contrast, condition, manner and place has the same
structure as time and cause.

d) Use noun clause connectors correctly
A noun clause is a clause that functions as a noun. It is used in sentence as either
an object of a verb, an object of a preposition, or a subject of a sentence.
Noun clause connectors
who what whenever whether how
which that whatever if when
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whichever where whoever why
As object of verb I know how to use this device.
As object of preposition He is interested in whatever you do.
As subject of sentence That you do not come is not important for me.

e) Use adjective clause connectors correctly
An adjective clause is a clause that describes a noun. It is located directly after

Adjective clause connectors
who (for people) which (for things) that (for things or pople)
Whom (for people) Whose (possessive)
Modify object I am still looking for the material which is relevant
for them.
Modify subject A man whose shoes was lost is standing in front of
the door.

f) Use reduced adjective clause correctly
- In the reduced form, the connectors and also the be-verb is omitted.
- If there is no be-verb, we need to change the verb into the ing form.
- Only reduce an adj clause if the connectors are directly followed by verb.
- If an adjective clause is set off with commas, the reduced clause can be moved
to the front of the sentence.
- Example :
The woman who is teaching the children is my sister.
Reduced : The woman teaching the children is my sister.

Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, which is used for grand final match, is located in
- Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, used for grand final match, is located in
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- Used for grand final match, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium is located in

g) Use reduced adverb clause correctly
- To reduce adverb clause, omit the subject and be-verb from the adverb
- If there is no verb, omit the subject and change the verb to the ing-form.
- Not all adverb connectors can be reduced, only passive verb can be
Reduced adverb clauses
time condition contrast Place Manner
Reduces in
after if although
before unless though
since whether
Reduced in
once if although where as
until unless though wherever
when whenever

Example :
Although he is not selected for the team, he attends all of the games as fans.
- Although not selected for the team, he attends all of the games as

TOEFL exercise (subordination) :

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4. Parallel structure
We can achieve parallel structure by making the forms of words as similar as possible.
a) Parallel structure with coordinate conjunction
Coordinate conjunction (and,but,or) can join together equal expressions.
2 nouns joined by coordinate conjunction
We can use the car or the motorcycle.
2 verbs joined by coordinate conjunction
We are studying and playing together.
2 adjectives joined by coordinate conjunction
Her performance is interesting and empowering.
2 phrases joined by coordinate conjunction
You can choose this one or that one.
2 clauses joined by coordinate conjunction
Rahman likes reading and his brother likes writing.

b) Parallel structure with paired conjunction
Butand, not only but also, neithernor, eitheror
Example :
You can go either by bus or by train.
He has not only good intelligence but also good performance.

c) Parallel structure with comparison
morethan lessthan similar.to
-erthan asas the sameas
Example :
The information that I got is similar to the information that you told.
Our striker is taller than their goalkeeper.

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TOEFL Exercise :

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5. Inversion
a) Inverted subject and verb with question words
What, where,when,who,why,how
- When the question word introduces a question, the subject and the verb are
- When the question word connects two clauses, the subject and the verb that
follow are not inverted.
- Example :
1. Only the pilot can tell you how far the plane can go on one tank of fuel.
2. How can new students get information about library?
3. How long has it been since you arrived in the Magelang?

b) Inverted subject and verb with place expression
- Using here, there, nowhere or prepositional phrase expressing place.
- We can invert the subject and the verb after prepositional phrases that express
place as long as it is necessary to complete the sentence.
- Example :
1. Here are the areas that we need discover.
2. Nowhere has he founded sophisticated tools.
3. Around the corner are the offices that you are trying to find.

c) Inverted subject and verb with negatives
When negative expression appears in front of a subject and verb, the subject and
the verb are inverted.
no not never neither nor seldom
barely hardly only rarely scarcely
Example :
1. No sooner has she hung up the phone than it rang again.
2. Hardly ever did the goalkeeper touch the ball.
3. The police did not arrive in time to save the victim, neither did the
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d) Inverted subject and verb with negatives conditionals
This can occur when the helping verb in the conditional clause is had, should, or
were, and the conditional connector if is omitted.
Example :
1. The report would have been accepted, if more care had been taken in
checking its accuracy.
-The report would have been accepted, had more care been taken in
checking its accuracy.

e) Inverted subject and verb with negatives comparisons
Example :
1. Indonesia National Team has more spirit than Spain National Team.
2. Indonesia National Team has more spirit than Spain National Team has.
3. Indonesia National Team has more spirit than has Spain National Team.
4. We were more prepared than the other performers were.
5. We were more prepared than were the other performers.
TOEFL Exercise :

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C. Reading skills

1. Scanning
Scanning is looking through a text to find keywords and phrases that are likely to
indicate the specific information that you are seeking, then reading just this piece
of the text. In another word, we search for specific information that may be
somewhere a text. When you scan, your goal is to find just the information you
want. When youve found it, youre finished reading.
In TOEFL test, this strategy (scanning) will be useful especially when we face
reading comprehension question types such as :
Directly and indirectly answered detail questions
Pronoun questions
Transition questions
Vocabulary questions
Where-in-the passage questions
Before we read the passage, make sure that we have understood what the question
is about, we can get the keywords by using scanning technique.
Example :
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We can answer questions number 7 and 8 by using scanning strategy,
First, we need to get the key word from each question, the key word of question no. 7
is Atlantic city, and number 8 is Parker Brother.
Second, we need to scan the passage in order to find the key words or a related idea.
Third, we need to read carefully the sentence where the key word take place,
And the last, we look for the answer which is related to that sentence. (7. The
sentence is Atlantic city, the site of numerous pre-depression vacation, 8. The
sentence is Darrow made first games by hand and sold them locally until Parker
Brothers purchased the rights to monopoly in 1935 and.mass production, so the
answer is B.

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2. Skimming
Skimming : quickly running ones eyes across a whole text ( an essay, article, or
chapter) to get the gist (point) of it. The reader goes through the text extremely
quickly. The purpose of skimming is simply to see what a text is about. The
reader skims in order to satisfy a very general curiosity about a text.
In TOEFL test, skimming will be useful especially when we face reading
comprehension question types such as :
Main idea questions
Stated detail questions
Example :

Firstly, we need to read and skim first line of each paragraph.
Secondly, we look for common idea or theme from first line.
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Thirdly, we need to skim the passage to make sure that we have really found the topic or the
gist of the text.

3. Clustering
If you read one word at a time, both your reading speed and comprehension
will suffer.
Clustering is looking at groups of words that form phrases or clauses at a
Learning to read in clusters is not natural for your eyes to do. It takes regular

How to Cluster:
Select some light reading and read it as fast as you can.
Look at two or more words at a time, grouping them into phrases or
Reread the material at your normal speed to see what you missed the first
Try a second reading selection. Cluster and then reread to find out what you
missed in this selection.
When you can read in clusters without missing much the first time, your
speed has increased.

Example: Look at all the words in clusters of two or more words at a time.
At one time /in the Orient, /nearly every peasant hut /held its own loom./The family members
/took turns weaving/an Oriental rug, /with nearly 300 hand-tied knots /per square inch, /took
over a year /to complete. /Today /most oriental rugs /come from huge workshops /where
masters give instructions /that the weavers follow. /This method /steps up production /but
reduces creativity /in design./Mass production /of Oriental rugs /makes an antique, /worn-
looking rug /all the more valuable.
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4. Previewing
Previewing allows you to read quickly to grasp an
overall view of lengthy, heavy reading such as reports
and nonfiction books.
After previewing, you can then decide which parts of
the material you need to read more closely.

How to Preview:
Read the first two paragraphs of your reading material.
Next read only the first sentence of each of the following paragraphs.
Then read the last two paragraphs entirely.
Example :

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Cosby, Bill. How to Read Faster. Power of the Printed Word. New York: International
Paper Company, 1987.Miami-Dade learning assistance. study skills handouts

Learning Express, TOEFL Exam Essentials, New York: 2004

Phillips, Deborah, Longman Complete Course for TOEFL Test: Preparation for The
Computer and Paper Test, New York :Addison-Wesley Longman, 2001\