Hear from... English language students


...an English test taker

Name: Santa Pumpura
Studies: Fulton Montgomery Commmunity College 

If you want to transfer to a different school, you will have to take an English test, like TOEFL. 

Some schools do not require the score, but most private schools do. You need to check with the schools you are applying to. I applied to 3 private schools and all of them required TOEFL.

Usually the requirement is to have a minimum score of 100 in the internet-based test (iBT), but it depends on your school.

Guess what, I got a 100!

I know that a lot of students prepare for weeks, possibly months for the test…well I just scheduled one Sunday to have the test on the following Saturday.

The pressure was huge! I bought one book that gave examples on what would be in the test and one book that had common words in the TOEFL test. I went over both of them and did the exercises on the CD that was included with the book.

The night before the test, I went to sleep at about 9pm to have a good night sleep. I thought I had put my alarm clock on, but I hadn't! The next morning, I had wanted to be at the testing center at 7.30am, but my cat woke me up at 7.24am 

I rushed to the testing centre, but I was really late (it is normally a 25-30 minute drive). I went to the lady that called everybody in and she asked me for my passport...OF COURSE I'd forgotten it.

I begged, but she did not accept my driving license. Top tip: NEVER FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!

I went home and came back, rushed in the room and started my test. I was full of adrenalin from driving, so my reading part was not in the level of my abilities.

What happens in the test?


First you have to do your reading part.

In the textbook that I was practicing, the text was not as hard as I was reading in the actual test. I wasted my time too much in trying to read and understand the text and I lost time. It looks like you have a lot of time, but you really don’t for reading. You have to read 3-4 passages. It takes ages.


When you are done with your reading part, you jump into the listening part. For me personally I did not find a problem, but one thing I did, I took notes for every keyword and wrote them down.

When you are doing the listening part, you don’t see the question they are going to ask you about the previously listened text and they do not repeat the tape. Writing the words helped me to back up my memory of the previously listened text. It is just safe to take notes.

After that you have a short break to do whatever you want to do.


When the free time is up, you start with the speaking part. It starts with some free topic speech, but then it changes to a lecture and then to a dialogue. Again when doing the lecture and dialogue part, take notes when they speak to have some back up information.

I did write down some key points that I wanted to mention while speaking. One thing to remember, after the beep (to stop) they still have a 2 second recording gap, so do not say anything like I did.

I failed in one speech and at the end I quietly said, "God damn it" - Oopss!


The last part was writing. You needed to write two essays. One free writing, the other about a problem addressed in the article. I would suggest not writing fancy words really, especially if you are not 100% sure that this is how you write it. They care more about the structure rather than the fancy words.

What did I learn?

You cannot bring anything in the room, and it takes you about 4 hours altogether. It started at 8.00am and lasted till 12.00pm. I do not suggest to do the studying the way I did it, please do prepare, because we all are different and some need more time than others.

If you have any questions about it, you can always seek help in your advisor's office. 

For more of these adventures, check out Santa Pumpura's blog