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Global Business Skills


How to Prepare for and Take the TOEIC
– Part 1a (Overarching TOEIC Strategies)


As I mentioned in an earlier article, the TOEIC LR (Listening and Reading) may not be a perfect language proficiency test, but it’s pretty darned good. In my opinion, and the opinion of many HR people who use it as a measuring stick to determine the language abilities of their company’s staff, TOEIC LR does a good job of predicting which people will be able to function successfully in a business environment where English is used for communication. To be perfectly honest, there are language proficiency tests out there that have even a higher predictive value than the TOEIC. But for reasons I will point out in a later article, these tests have not yet gained wide acceptance. In spite of how good these tests are, they face a serious uphill struggle to even compete with the TOEIC. The TOEIC simply is already too well known and too firmly entrenched in the minds of both test-takers and the users of the test results. The way I see it, the TOEIC is set to dominate the market for years to come.

The good news for those of you taking the test is that there are ways to increase the likelihood that you can achieve the score that your actual level of English deserves. I say this despite the official position of ETS (the organization that produces the TOEIC) that advance preparation for the TOEIC will have no real effect on the score you eventually get. It’s pretty obvious from both the number of TOEIC test-preparation materials available on the market (including, ironically, materials marketed by ETS itself!) and from comments that TOEIC experts receive from readers that there is a huge benefit from systematically preparing for the test. So what I’d like to do is to give you some practical, overarching strategies that you can prepare for taking the TOEIC exam in the most effective manner. After all, if your company underestimates your real ability because you did not prepare properly, with the result that you are not given the opportunity to do business beyond your own borders, then both you and your company lose out.

The most important idea behind successful preparation for the TOEIC is behavior modification , Those of you who have studied psychology know how difficult it is to change basic behavior. But it really is the key to maximizing your score on the TOEIC. Let me explain what I mean. I guess that most of you have taken the TOEIC at least once. In fact, many of you have taken it several times, but still have not been able to achieve your target score. Let me ask you a question: When you took the test, did you finish the Reading Comprehension section (Parts 5, 6, and 7) easily? Or did you find yourself in a kind of panic situation (“Oh, no! Only two minutes left!”), resorting to marking the remaining blanks without reading the questions (“B, B, B, B …”)? If you are like most people who take the test, you have found yourself running out of time at the end. The reason is almost certainly because you spent too much time in Parts 5 and 6, carefully reading all of the items, and carefully considering your answer. This approach, this behavior, needs to change. If you take the TOEIC in this way, the amount of time you have left over to answer Part 7 will be insufficient.


TOEIC勉強・受験法 - パート1a


先のコラムでお話したように、TOEIC LR(Listening and Reading)Testは語学能力検定試験として、完ぺきとは言わないまでもかなり良いものです。私の、そして社員の語学力を測るための目安としてこの試験を使用する多くの人事担当者の方々の意見では、TOEIC LRは、コミュニケーション手段に英語が使われるビジネス環境でうまく機能できる人材を特定するうえで非常に役に立ちます。正直な話、TOEICよりも的中率の高い語学能力試験は他にもあります。しかし、後続のコラムで指摘する理由によって、これらの試験はいまだ広く受け入れられていないのです。これらの試験は、その高い品質にもかかわらず、TOEICとの競争にすら悪戦苦闘しています。TOEICは、既にあまりに有名で、受験者と試験結果の活用者との両者の心にしっかりと定着しています。私が見るところ、TOEICはこの先何年も市場を独占することになるでしょう。


成功するTOEIC受験勉強の陰にある最も重要な考えは、行動修正 です。心理学を勉強した人であれば基本的行動を変えることがいかに難しいかおわかりだと思います。しかし、TOEICスコアを最大限にするためには、まさにこれが鍵なのです。どういうことか説明しましょう。ほとんどの皆さんがTOEICを少なくとも一度は受けたことがあると思います。むしろ、多くの方が何度か受験されたものの、いまだ目標のスコアには到達できていないというのが本当のところではないでしょうか。では、質問です。試験のとき、リーディングセクション(Part 5~7)を簡単に終えることができましたか?あるいはある種のパニック状態で(「残り時間2分しかない!どうしよう!?」)、残りの問題は設問を読まずにマークする手段(「B、B、B、B...」)に出ましたか?もしほとんどの受験者の方々と同じであれば、最後で時間がなくなったことでしょう。理由はほぼ確実に、Part 5と6で、すべての項目を注意深く読み、解答をじっくりと考えることに時間をかけすぎたためです。このアプローチ、つまりこの行動を変えなくてはいけません。このやり方でTOEICを受けると、Part 7の解答に残された時間が足りなくなってしまいます。


Robert Hilke