Monday, October 4, 2010

영어 (비지너스) Hint of the Day #5: 토익 How to Answer "Describe a Picture"

Here is the official TOEIC file which has sample questions, and a sample test as well.

You should always begin here before buying other guides, or taking classes.  The books that exist by the hundreds at Bandi and Luni's or at Kyobo Bookstore are all derived from the official guidance.  The official guidance is here, and it is free.  You should take advantage of this.

The point of this entry is to address the question "Describe a Picture."  The reason that I am beginning with this portion is because if you can do this correctly using my recommendations, then you will automatically be able to complete many of the other portions of the exam.

The key point of my advice is to learn how to organize your thoughts and present those thoughts in an organized manner. 

What does this mean? 
It means that your answer should be organized in the same way that you would write an answer to a question.   How do you do this?  You do it by thinking in something that I will call "outline form."  Outline form has the following organization.

I.  Main point
   a.  Subpoint #1
   b.  Subpoint #2
   c.  Subpoint #3
II.  Conclusion

If you practice answering questions by introducing a main point, and then following with 3 detailed points, and then end with a conclusion, then you will have a complete, coherent, organized answer.  I have not seen any other manuals, guides, etc that have recommended this approach.  If you are able to answer questions using this format, whether spoken OR written, then you will do two things.  First, you will not wander around aimlessly in your answer.  If you make your main point, and then the subpoints, and then a conclusion, you will have a focused answer.  Second, if you actually use the words "first, second, third (or last)," then you will be able to convince the listener/reader that you have direction, and a point to your answer. 

The importance of this approach cannot be underestimated.  If you master this approach, then you will be able to make presentations, write essays, and communicate with others in a foreign language and be easily understood and followed, even if there are small grammatical errors. 

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I am considering ending this blog, and writing two books, one designed for general English usage for Korean speakers, and one designed for Business English use (including 토익).  Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.  Any suggestions that you would have would also be appreciated.  Thanks!


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