Thanks for your letter. I would like to comment on what you wrote.
I agree that reading newspapers is a good language practice. I learnt a great deal of vocabulary and some grammar from it and I gained reading fluency. However, I must tell you I learnt a great deal more from practice tests and other exam preparation materials when I was taking exam preparation courses for Cambridge exams in London. I acquired English through exam preparation, so doing practice tests is not a peculiar way of learning English for me.
You wondered what those high-achievers learn from practice tests. I think they learn something from their mistakes. When they do a practice test, they make mistakes. They analyze why they got them wrong and try not to repeat the same mistakes again when they take another TOEIC. If they manage to avoid making mistakes, they will get 990. They don’t need explanations for each correct answer because they can figure it out by themselves. So it doesn’t matter if they can't read the explanations in Korean.
You mentioned that all the practice tests are very similar and so you don’t learn new stuff from them if you have already done several tests. For me, that’s a positive aspect of TOEIC practice tests because it means the language used in them is easy for high-achievers. I believe in extensive reading and one of the most important principles of extensive reading is to choose easy materials. Reading easy materials a lot is better than reading difficult stuff a little. Also, in order for extensive reading to work, learners have to enjoy what they are reading. If you really like the TOEIC and enjoy solving mock questions, TOEIC practice tests can be good study materials for you. One TOEIC practice test has about 10,000 words, so if you do one test a day for 100 days, you will be exposed to 1,000,000 words. This will make a big difference.
You asked me whether those high-achievers need to do practice tests. They don’t have to if they don’t like them. If you don’t enjoy practice tests, it doesn’t work. You should find something else instead, like newspaper articles. Some enjoy TOEIC practice tests, some don’t. Some enjoy newspapers, some don’t. Some enjoy novels, some don’t. Some enjoy movies, some don’t. Some enjoy sitcoms, some don’t. If you don’t enjoy, you don’t learn much. That’s my belief in language learning. So it is important to find materials you can enjoy. And that can be TOEIC practice tests for some people.
Joe will appear on a radio show on Sunday.
TOEIC lovers vs. TOEIC haters: Why do you love/hate the TOEIC?
Date: November 24
Time: 9 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Guests: Joe F, Jun, Kiyo
Do you love or hate the TOEIC? Why? Give us your comments on the TOEIC.
This program will be in English.