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Delta's Key to the Next Generation TOEFL Test by Nancy Gallagher Book Review
Introduction to the Big Brown Book
The TOEFL Test is being taken more and more throughout the world. This has created the need for practice and preparation, whether in a TOEFL Test preparation class or in self study. To this end, Delta Publishing and Nancy Gallagher have produced Delta's Key to the Next Generation TOEFL Test. This article will provide a brief description of the test, its purpose, and an anlalysis of the quality of this book along with its potential value to ESL students about to take the TOEFL Test.
"The Test of English as a Foreign Language ® (TOEFL ®) is a standardized test that measures the English proficiency of students who wish to enter college and university programs in the United States and Canada." (p.1) This TOEFL Test is given across the globe by Educational Testing Service. This test exists for 2 reasons: to protect the student (taking the TOEFL) and to protect the university, professors, and other students. This is as, without a passing score on the TOEFL, a non-English speaker may not enter a college or university. This prevents the student from entering a class that he or she cannot understand due to the language barrier and subsequently failing said class. Likewise, the professor needn't take time away from the rest of the class to explain what otherwise might be rudimentary knowledge leading up to the lesson at hand.
In her book, hereafter simply referred to as the Delta Book, Nancy Gallagher covers the 4 major points of the 2 types of TOEFL Tests available to participants. (The 2 types are the traditional paper based test, PBT, and the computer or internet based test, IBT.) While the Delta book focuses primarily on the IBT, it is completely appropriate to aid in preparation for the PBT. The 4 sections of interest are: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
The reading section tests a student's abilities at reading and understanding what is read. This includes understanding by means of induction, deduction, and other basic logical means of comprehending a text. The writing section seeks to reveal a student's skill at expressing herself in the written word with clarity and cohesion. As well, the reading section is large enough that it provides a wonderful opportunity for TOEFL teachers to assign homework from this section.The listening section will challenge speakers to properly discern ideas by means of giving opinion or explanation of dialogues and college lectures, as heard from a CD. The speaking section is similar to the listening section except that speaking allows the test evaluators to determine the level of verbal skills of a student. Taken altogether, the 4 skills sections will challenge while also preparing potential college applicants.
The TOEFL Delt Book does this quite effectively as each section utilizes academic English, albeit at a slightly slower rate (in the accompanying CD's), most times. Other times even advanced students will receive lectures at the very same speed as a student enrolled in a college or university. Thus, the lectures and dialogues on the CD tracks will challenge students of all levels, even many native English speakers.
The Delta Book does this most well with interesting lectures and readings about subjects as diverse as architecture and zebras, bacteria and nanotechnology. The range of topics covers a great percentage of the sciences and arts, completely preparing students for college by exposure to a goodly amount of both academic subjects and accompanying vocabulary. The Delta Book does this so well that it has become the standard in most TOEFL Classes in the United States and other nations.
In fact, while the Delta Book targets English as a Second Language, ESL students (known as EFL students in Britain), the reality of the richness of this text is more profound. Actually, the Delta Book would work extremely well for native English speakers who wish to enter college or university. Parents of such aspirants would do well to purchase this book.