's Guide to the TOEFL® Test Podcast

Teachers may copy these scripts for use in class. You may link to this page, but it is not permitted to post these scripts on another website or to host the files on another server. All scripts are copyright 2005-2006 by the Center for Educational Development.

Monday, December 03, 2007's Guide to the TOEFL Test #29

How to Use iTunes U to Study for the TOEFL Test

Special guest Warren Ediger from gives his advice on using the iTunes U service to study for the TOEFL.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

TOEFL® Podcast #28

Using a Tutor

This is a special interview with Warren Ediger of I interview Warren about how best to use a tutor when preparing for the TOEFL or just for improving your English. For a transcript of this episode, see Warren's TOEFL Talk.


Monday, May 29, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #27

Marketing Lecture

Script by Katrina Carrasco

Audio Index
Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanation: 5:02
Fast dialog: 19:10
Questions: 21:36

During the next few weeks, we will be learning about the basic principles of marketing, from conceiving the idea for a product, to developing it based on market research, to promoting its sale. If you all read the assignment for last night you should already have an idea about what we will be discussing today.

What is marketing? The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines it as the “management process of anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” This definition describes modern marketing, because only recently have the needs and wants of the consumer played a part in influencing marketing strategy. It has only been in that last half-decade or so, in fact, that companies have based their product development on market research. Before market research was developed, companies produced whatever goods they felt were most useful, but left it up to salespeople to find the best ways to sell those goods to customers.

Two terms we will be using frequently in our discussions over the coming weeks are acquisition and base management. These terms describe two key parts of marketing strategy. Acquisition refers to the process of acquiring new customers, through advertisings, promotions, and product placement. Base management refers to the process of maintaining relationships with existing customers, as well as identifying other products they need through interacting with those customers.

One of the chapters I assigned for today was the introduction to advertising. As you would have read, advertising is a crucial part of marketing. Advertising plays a major part in the acquisition process, and it is probably the part of marketing that you, as young consumers, have most come into contact with.

Advertising and promotion are part of today’s basic marketing strategy, but they fly in the face of classical economic theory, which operates on the idea that supply and demand are not dependent on one another. If the supplier of a good promotes that good, they are in essence telling the consumer, or demand side of the equation, what it is that they want to consume. Supply is trying to influence demand. Some critics argue that this perverts the ideal free market.

Monday, May 15, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #26

Running into Someone

Script by Meropi Peponides

Audio Index:
Slow Dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 3:26
Fast Dialog: 23:40
Questions: 25:06

Anna: I was riding my bike across campus, when suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw someone step right in front of me. I yelled “Watch out!” so that he could move out of the way, and I barely missed him. But he dropped his notebook, and papers started to fly everywhere. I decided to stop to help him pick them up.

Anna: Hey, are you okay? I’m really sorry. I didn’t see you until the last minute, and I couldn’t stop.

Nick: It’s alright. I was just startled, that’s all. Thanks for helping me pick up my papers. I think we got them all. I’m so scatterbrained, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if something was lost.

Anna: Yeah, I’m the same way. Hey, you look really familiar. Have we met before?

Nick: You know what, I thought I recognized you. You’re Carl’s friend, right? We met at his party about a month ago.

Anna: That’s right! Good memory. Look, I’m really awful with names, what’s yours again?

Nick: I’m Nick. It’s nice to see you again.

Anna: Hey Nick, I’m Anna.

Nick: I remember.

Anna: Oh, of course. Hey, what are you up to right now? If you have time, I’d love to grab a cup of coffee or something.

Nick: Actually, that sounds great. I was meaning to ask Carl for your number so we could hang out sometime.

Anna: Really? What a coincidence that I ran into you then. Literally.

Nick: Yeah, it certainly was. Let’s get that coffee.

Monday, May 01, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #25

Finding a Roommate

Script by Meropi Peponides

Audio Index:
Slow Dialog: 0:55
Explanations: 3:07
Fast Dialog: 17:37
Questions: 19:05

Fiona: Hi, Chris. How are you?

Chris: Hey, Fiona. Thanks for meeting me here on such short notice. The thing is, I needed to ask you something and I thought sooner was better than later.

Fiona: No problem. It worked out that we were both on campus. What’s the question?

Chris: Well, I was thinking about how we have to move out of the dorms next year.

Fiona: Yeah, I know. No more dining halls! I’m just excited about getting away from that lousy food, but of course that means I’m going to have to cook for myself. So I will probably be worse off.

Chris: Yeah. Anyway, do you know where you’re going to live next year?

Fiona: I hadn’t really given it much thought. Why do you ask?

Chris: Well, I thought maybe you and I could share an apartment. If you don’t mind moving a little further away from campus, we could probably afford to have our own rooms.

Fiona: Oh. Well, I don’t know if I want to move far away…It would be fun to share an apartment though in order to split the costs.

Chris: That’s what I’m thinking. Or we could find a couple more roommates in order to to afford something near campus. If you could find another girl and I could find another guy to share a room with, we’d be set.

Fiona: Maybe. Can I think about it and let you know?

Chris: Of course! Take your time. We have a while; I just wanted to start apartment hunting early so we could find something good.

Fiona: Sounds like a plan. I’ll let you know as soon as I make a decision.

Monday, April 24, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #24

University Bookstore

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index
Slow dialog: 1:06
Explanations: 3:19
Fast dialog: 16:22
Comprehension Question: 17:47

I went to the bookstore to buy the textbooks I needed for this semester. I went in and saw that the books were organized alphabetically by department. I found the Chemistry department under the “C’s”, but, I couldn’t find the books for the class I was taking. I asked one of the clerks.

Student: Excuse me, I’m having trouble finding the books for Chemistry 205. Could you help me?

Clerk: Sure. That’s Chemistry 205, right? Okay, that would be over here. What course section?

Student: Let me see. It’s section four with Professor Jackson.

Clerk: For that section, there’s a textbook and a course reader. There’s also a set of course notes.

Student: Oh, okay. If I get them and they’re the wrong ones, what’s the return policy?

Clerk: You can return textbooks within two weeks. You can return course readers, course notes, and lab notes, too, as long as they’re unopened. Just make sure you have the receipt.

Student: Wow, this textbook is $95. Are there any used copies and are all of these required?

Clerk: Sorry, but it doesn’t look like they’re any used ones and, yes, they’re all required, not optional.

Student: Okay, thanks. I also need to get a backpack, some notebooks, pens, and index cards.

Clerk: Those will be on the second floor. Anything else you need?

Student: No, that’s it. Thanks a lot.

Monday, April 17, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #23

Looking for a Class

Script by Meropi Peponides

Audio Index
Slow Dialog: 1:05
Explanations: 2:49
Fast Dialog: 14:27
Questions: 15:37

Christie: Hey, Garret, how’s it going?

Garret: Christie, what’s up? I’m doing alright. Really busy though.

Christie: How come? It’s only the first week. You don’t have homework yet, do you?

Garret: No, but I’m going to a bunch of classes to try to figure out which ones I want to take. So far I’ve chosen five, but I’m going to have to drop one.

Christie: Really? Which classes are you taking? I’m only taking three classes, but I’m looking for a fourth.

Garret: I have three history classes and two psych classes. My major is history, so I’m really trying to get those out of the way. I’m want to graduate at the end of this year.

Christie: That’s cool. I’m actually a pysch major. Which of your psychology classes do you like the best?

Garret: I really like Psych 123. It’s with Professor McCann, who is great. You should see if there are any openings so you can enroll in it.

Christie: Yeah, I’ll go online later today to see. I’ve heard good things about Professor McCann, too.

Garret: Hey, what are you doing right now?

Christie: Um, I was just going to walk home. Why?

Garret: The class starts in 10 minutes. You should come with me and check it out.

Christie: That’s a great idea. I’d love to!

Monday, April 10, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #22

Atmospheric Science - El Niño

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 01:16
Explanations: 03:41
Fast dialog: 16:35
Questions: 18:04

We’ve been talking about weather phenomena this week, and one such phenomenon that affects this region of the country is El Niño. An El Niño occurs when there is a warming of the ocean surface along the South American coast. This warm water current is usually associated with atmospheric changes. As the warm air spreads toward the east, it takes along with it rain. This results in rainfall in areas that are normally dry.

We classify an occurrence as El Niño when the water temperature is greater than 0.5°C across the central tropical region of the Pacific Ocean for a period longer than five months.

So, how often do they occur? Generally speaking, we see El Niños every three to five years, although it may be as long as seven years between occurrences. We normally see these patterns in late December, hence the name “El Niño,” which means “the Christ child” in Spanish.

El Niño episodes in recent years have lasted no longer than a few weeks or a month. After this time, the weather patterns go back to normal. But, there have been some cases of it lasting longer--several months in fact--which can have serious effects on the economy, such as the local fishing trade and the international markets that rely on it.
Now, if you’ll turn to page 362 in your textbook, you’ll see a diagram

Monday, April 03, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #21

Cognitive Psychology Lecture

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:00
Explanation: 3:50
Fast dialog: 16:30
Questions: 18:17

We are going to spend this week talking about cognitive psychology. Like the other theories of psychology we’ve covered so far, cognitive psychology studies the mental processes that drive behavior. This behavior includes thinking, reasoning, decision making, and even emotion and motivation.

In 1967, a psychologist by the name of Ulric Neisser published a book called Cognitive Psychology. In it, he talked about how our minds—our cognition, our thinking—are part of everything a human being might possibly do. In short, according to Neisser’s definition, every psychological phenomenon is a cognitive phenomenon.

Cognitive psychology is significantly different from other schools of thought in the field of psychology in two important ways. Uh, first, cognitive psychologists accept and make use of the scientific method. Like other areas of science, cognitive psychologists believe that phenomenon can be observed, hypotheses can be formed about them, and predictions can be made using experiments. Cognitive psychologists don’t believe that introspection is a valid method of scientific study, such as the methods used in Freudian psychology.

A second key way that cognitive science differs from previous psychological approaches is that it acknowledges the existence of internal mental states such as beliefs, desires, and motivations. This is in stark contrast to the view taken by behaviorist psychology.

We’re out of time for today. Be sure to read Chapter 4 in your textbook and come to class Friday ready to discuss it. That’s all for today.

Monday, March 27, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #20

Getting In

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 0:55
Explanations: 2:27
Fast dialog: 14:03
Questions: 15:08

Juan: Hey, Aline, I wonder if I can ask you a question.

Aline: Sure, what’s up?

Juan: Well, I’m trying to apply for grad school, and wanted to get your advice on something. I have to get some rec letters from my professors, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it.

Aline: I’d recommend talking to them personally about it by making an appointment to see them during their office hours. Give them the form with a self-addressed, stamped envelop, and make sure they know the deadline for it.

Juan: So I shouldn’t just email them?

Aline: You could, but I think it’s better for them to place a face with a name by talking to them personally. Of course, you should also write a short thank you note to follow-up.

Juan: Got it. What about the transcripts? What do I need to do to get them sent to my potential colleges?

Aline: Most universities are going to want to see official transcripts. You can check online with the registrar’s office.

Juan: Thanks. You really know your stuff when it comes to grad school.

Aline: I’m hardly an expert, but I’m glad I could help.

Monday, March 20, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #19

Office Hours

Script by Meropi Peponides

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 3:16
Fast dialog: 10:50
Questions: 12:07

I was sitting in a lecture, waiting to get my test back. When I did get it back, I was shocked. My grade was a C-, even though I thought I had done really well. When I looked over the test to see what I got wrong, I couldn’t understand why I missed so many questions. I decided to talk to my professor about it after class.

Jack: Excuse me, Professor Meyers?

Prof. Meyers: Yes, did you have a question?

Jack: Well, there are a lot of questions that I missed on the test, but I can’t figure out why I got them wrong. I was wondering if you could explain them to me.

Prof. Meyers: Sure, I can go over them with you. The only problem is, I don’t have time right now, I have to get to another class. But could you come by my office hours later today?

Jack: Yeah, that would work. Where is your office located?

Prof. Meyers: It’s on the second floor of the Biology building. You pass by the lab, and there are a bunch of professor’s offices there. Mine is number 215.

Jack: Great, what time should I stop by?

Prof. Meyers: I will be there between 2:30 and 3:30 this afternoon.

Jack: Perfect, I get out of class at 2:15, and I can head straight over.

Prof. Meyers: Sounds good. If my door isn’t open, just go ahead and knock. I’ll be there.

Jack: Thanks, Professor Meyers. See you this afternoon!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast Special Announcement

Special Announcement

TOEFL Podcast will be returning soon with new podcasts. Stay subscribed to this podcast! Thank you!

Monday, February 06, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #18

Lecture on Sociology

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:05
Explanations: 4:43
Fast dialog: 17:35
Comprehension: 19:43

An important theoretical perspective in sociology is the notion of symbolic interactionism. We’ve talked about how we examine social behavior in this course, and how that behavior arises from intentions and motivations—what we might call, uh, “meanings"—and leads to certain events or results. As social psychologists, we try to understand this relationship between the individual mind, the group, and the behaviors that result.

Let’s take a closer look at this idea. Our first task is to determine how our feelings and behaviors are influenced by the actual or implied presence of other humans. My feelings and behaviors are related to and influenced by the people around me, just as yours are. My level of trust, for example, is dependent in part on how you behave towards me, to some extent. Each individual influences the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of other individuals in our midst.

The second stage of our study deals with how these same individuals influence the broader beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of the group around them. There are many ways to do this. We may look at how groups behave, for example, in a school setting—the jocks over here, the good students over there, and so forth. We can look at group behavior in the workplace, looking at issues such as how people are motivated or influenced by the company culture of which they are a part. Our place of work can influence our perspectives on what is considered “normal” and deviant behavior, for example. Note that we are looking here at how individuals and groups interact, whereas in stage one, we looked at individuals influencing other individuals.

The final stage, you may have guessed, is examining how groups are influenced by other groups. Here we have a rich vein of possible subjects. Groups can ignore, hate, or feel a great affinity for other groups, depending on numerous factors.

So far, so good. Now, let’s move on to some practical applications of this…

Monday, January 30, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #17

Writing an Essay II

In this podcast, we discuss how to write an academic essay in English. Part 2 of 2 covers the body and conclusion of an academic essay.

Monday, January 23, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #16

Writing an Essay I

In this podcast, we discuss how to write an academic essay in English. Part 1 of 2 covers the importance of reading for improving writing skills, and what should go into your introduction.

Monday, January 16, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #15

Directions on Campus

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 0:50
Explanations: 2:27
Fast dialog: 13:44
Questions: 14:51

Simon: Hey, Paula, how’s it going?

Paula: I’m doing all right, not too shabby. Where are you headed to?

Simon: I need to go to the student health center. I’ve felt lousy for the past week, and I figured it was time to see a doctor. Besides, I haven’t had a checkup in ages. Good thing I have that mandatory health insurance.

Paula: Do you know the way from here?

Simon: To be honest, I’m a bit lost. I was told that the center was located across from the student union and next to the administration offices, but I can’t seem to find it.

Paula: Do you have a class schedule with you?

Simon: Sure, I think I stuck one in my backpack this morning.

Paula: There’s a map on the back page. Let’s take a look. Let’s see, we’re here and the health center is here. Just walk past that brown building over there and you should run right into it.

Simon: Thanks. Oh, no! I forgot my student ID!

Paula: I’ve got an extra few minutes. Perhaps I can walk you back to your dorm to get it.

Simon: Gee, thanks. I appreciate it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #14

Lecture on Biology

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:00
Explanations: 4:33
Fast dialog: 21:59
Comprehension: 24:01

We’ll continue our examination, then, of the, uh, branches of the science of biology. Biologists can specialize in and study many different things. But perhaps we should back up a bit and talk more generally about the study of nature in a larger context. The field of botany study plants—what kinds of plants, what their relationship is, and so forth. The field of zoology studies animals, and the discipline of anthropology is concerned with, well, us, human beings.

But when we talk about biology, we usually think about the different levels of organization. We begin at the very lowest, or molecular level, which includes biochemistry and molecular genetics. We then proceed to the cellular level, but not one related to your phone! No, the cellular level refers to the cell as a component of an organism. A developmental biologist studies how that organism grows and changes over time.

As we get higher up in complexity and scale, we begin to examine genetics and heredity, how the parent and the child or offspring are related and why. We can even study this notion of genetics in an entire population, what is known as population genetics.

So, as you can see, biologists study many different aspects of organisms, and attempt to understand how they are related. There are no hard and fast rules about biological development, but our study is guided by certain, shall we say, underlying principles. This includes, for example, the principle of universality, the idea that all living things share certain properties. All of us, regardless of species, are carbon-based life forms. That’s one universal, true of all living things that we know of. Another is that organisms pass on some of their characteristics via some genetic material, and that there is a common mechanism for this.

Another universal principle is that all organisms are comprised of cells…

Monday, January 02, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #13

Lecture on Historiography

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:30
Explanations: 4:11
Fast dialog: 13:28
Comprehension: 15:15

Ah, good morning ladies and gentlemen. My name is Dr. Robert Lambert, and I am your guest speaker today. As I am sure that Dr. McQuillan told you, I am a visiting scholar from another university. Today we are going to talk about history, or more exactly, historiography. Historians used many different types of evidence in their work. These include a variety of sources, including written or printed information, interviews for contemporary historians, inscriptions, artwork, and findings from archaeology. Some of the most important names in the development of how historians go about doing their work were Leopold Ranke and AJP Taylor. These historians changed the way we look at history, and how we go about writing it.

Of course, historians have been debating the best way to write history since the ancient Greeks. The first great Greek historian, Herodotus, who we sometimes call the Father of History, had his own rather peculiar approaches to history and its writing. Other ancient historians, including Thucydides and Tacitus, also wrote about historiography, although the methods they used would certainly not pass muster today.

It is important to distinguish between the historian and the chronicler. A chronicler typically records advances as they happen, and often are simple listings of all of names, dates, and events. A history, on the other hand, is a systematic attempt to understand underlying causes and reasons for historical development.

I’ll answer questions in a few minutes, but first let’s look at the roots of historiography in the Greco-Roman context…

Monday, December 19, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #12

Campus Safety

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 3:39
Fast dialog: 13:30
Comprehension: 15:11

Good morning. I am Officer Brandon and I’m the head of Public Safety on this campus. I’m here today to talk about how to protect yourself while you are on this campus. Students new to the campus believe that once they are within the campus grounds, they can let their guard down. That’s not the case and I’m here to give you some tips to avoid problems.

One of the most serious problems on any university campus is attacks on students. These can be robberies or even sexual assaults and rape. To avoid situations that make you vulnerable to attacks, do not walk alone on campus. Have an escort and walk in well-lighted areas on pedestrian paths. Keep your eye out for strangers or suspicious people. The Public Safety office offers self-defense classes and I encourage you all to sign up.

The most frequent problem we have on campus is theft and burglary. Students often leave their backpacks that contain valuables, purses, or wallets unattended when they step away from a classroom, in the library or at the student union. Students also leave their dorm rooms unlocked if they leave for short periods of time. Always keep your valuables with you and always lock your doors. Don’t give a thief a chance to act.

Well, my aim today was to alert you to some potential problems that students may have on campus. If you have any questions or need help, please visit the Public Safety office. We are there to help you.

Monday, December 12, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #11

Meeting with a Program Advisor

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:01
Explanations: 3:35
Fast dialog: 14:22
Comprehension: 16:16

Student: Hi, I’m Mark Mendoza. I have an appointment with an advisor at 10.

Advisor: That will be with me. I’m Ambika Singh. Have a seat.

Student: Thanks. I wanted to talk with an advisor about my major.

Advisor: Okay. I don’t have your file or your degree plan in front of me. What year are you and what’s your major?

Student: I’m a freshman and I don’t have a major yet. I’m officially undeclared. That’s what I wanted to get your help on. I’m trying to decide on a major.

Advisor: Okay, what are you considering?

Student: I’ve been thinking about majoring in business or economics. I want to be able to get a job after I graduate, but I’m also really interested in studying psychology.

Advisor: Well, a lot of students major in one discipline and minor in another. They don’t necessarily need to be closely related. For instance, you could major in business and minor in psychology. Another option is for you to double major in both business or economics, and psychology.

Student: I’m worried about satisfying the degree requirements for both programs, though. I want to graduate in four years and with a good GPA. How many units can I take each semester?

Advisor: For undergraduates, the maximum load is 18, but I usually advise students against taking more than 16, especially in courses with heavy reading loads.

Student: Looking at the degree requirements, then, it would probably take me five years to graduate with a double major. I don’t think I want to do that.

Advisor: Well, then choosing one major and one minor may be your best bet.

Student: Yes, I can see that now. Thanks for your help.

Advisor: You’re welcome. You can make another appointment if you have any other questions.

Student: Thanks a lot. I will.

Monday, December 05, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #10

Feedback on a Paper

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 0:49
Explanations: 3:04
Fast dialog: 12:34
Questions: 14:07

Student: Hi, you’re James, right, the T.A. for this class?

T.A.: Yes, that’s right.

Student: I got my paper back and I have some questions.

T.A.: I wrote on each paper whether the student should revise the paper they turned in or start over and rewrite the whole thing.

Student: On my paper, you had written that I should revise, but I’m not sure how to proceed.

T.A.: Let me have a look. Well, your paper needs better organization. The introduction is fine, but the body is confusing and your main arguments are unclear. I think that this sentence here is your main thesis, is that right?

Student: Yes, that’s right.

T.A.: Well, that’s unclear. You have too many sub-topics and you jump back and forth between each one. It’s better to pick one major thesis and develop that fully, rather than to try to cover too many points in one paper.

Student: Well, I was trying to be thorough.

T.A.: I can see that, but your arguments need more development, and you can’t do that unless you pick just one major thesis. What I suggest is that you do that and cite more examples and evidence for support, and include more citations.

Student: Oh, I see. Okay, I’ll work on all of those issues.

T.A.: The paper also needs better transitions between sections. Right now, the paper lacks cohesion.

Student: Okay, thanks a lot for your time. Your feedback is really helpful. I’ll get started on those revisions right away.

Monday, November 28, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #9

Exam Results

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 0:47
Explanations: 3:03
Fast dialog: 13:34
Questions: 15:11

Woman: Hi, what are you doing?

Man: I’m preparing for the exam this week.

M: What did you get on the last test?

W: I really blew it. I got a 78. The professor graded on a curve and I got a “C-“. I just don’t do well on multiple choice tests. Last semester when I took the prerequisite, the professor had open-book tests. They were still hard but I did a lot better on those.

W: Well, a 78 isn’t so bad.

M: Yes, it is. And, it’s worth a large part of our grade.

W: Really? How much?

M: According to syllabus, it’s worth 40% of our final grade. How did you do?

W: I got lucky. I got a 91. I’m okay taking multiple choice, true-false, and short answer exams. It’s the essay tests that trip me up. It’s so hard for me to organize my ideas when the test is timed and there’s a proctor standing over me. I just stare at the blank blue book pages and panic.

M: You got a 91! You must be pulling a solid “B” in the class.

W: I would be if I had done better on the last two quizzes. I think I have a “C” average right now.

M: It sounds like we’re both trying to raise our final grades in this class. Do you want to study together for the next exam? It’s supposed to be a mix of short answer, multiple choice, and essay questions.

W: Sure, I guess so, but you’d better bring the pizza.

M: Sure, you’ve got it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #8

Asking Clarification Questions

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 0:52
Explanations: 2:50
Fast dialog: 11:37
Questions: 13:00

Professor: This theory is supported by a series of studies conducted beginning in the 1960’s. You’ll be reading about that in your assigned chapter for next week and we’ll be deconstructing it in class next Monday. Any questions?...Yes, you have a question?

Student: Could you please explain how this theory is related to the discussion we had last week?

Professor: Well, the ideas we discussed last week are the foundation upon which this theory is based. One is a precursor to the other. Any other questions?...Yes you have another question?

Student: Yes, I’m not sure what you mean by “deconstruct.”

Professor: When we talk about deconstructing an idea, theory, image, or whatever else in this class, I’m using it to mean that we will examine the underlying assumptions and the driving principles. Is that clear?

Student: I’m sorry, but I didn’t hear that last part. Could you repeat what you said?

Professor: I said that I use deconstruction to mean looking at the underlying assumptions and the principles behind the idea.

Student: Thank you. Will this be on the midterm?

Professor: As I’ve said before, any of the lecture or reading material can be on the midterm. If there are no other questions, I’ll see you on Friday.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Monday, November 14, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #7

Doing a Project Together

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:26
Explanations: 3:35
Fast dialog: 12:55
Questions: 14:27

W: Well, while we’re waiting for the other two members of our group, let’s read through the assignment guidelines for this group project. We’re supposed to come up with a presentation on one of the topics on this list.

M: Yeah, and the professor said that we have to work collaboratively. How long does the presentation need to be?

W: It’s supposed to be 15 minutes. We’re going to be graded on the presentation itself, and on how well we work as a team.

M: Okay, let’s get moving on it while we’re waiting. What do we do first? Maybe we should decide on a topic.

W: I don’t think we can do that without the other two people. Let’s brainstorm on what the major tasks are that need to be done.

M: Sure, that makes sense. Then, we can assign responsibility to each of us for the tasks. We want everyone pulling their own weight. We need to research the topic and write up an outline for the presentation. Someone needs to actually give the presentation.

W: Well, I think it may be a good idea for all of us to give some part of the presentation, to share the load. For instance, one of us could do the introduction and conclusion, and one of us could give the historical background. Then, someone else could give the facts and figures and one of us could handle the graphics. What do you think?

M: That sounds okay to me. Here comes the other two. Let’s bring them up to speed.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Monday, November 07, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #6

Asking for an Extension for an Assignment

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index
Slow dialog: 1:00
Explanations: 2:56
Fast Dialog: 12:50
Questions: 14:05

Student: Professor Eng, could I speak to you for a minute?

Professor: What can I do for you?

Student: Well, it’s about the paper that’s due on Thursday. I was wondering if I could get an extension?

Prof: I don’t give extensions unless there’s a very good reason.

Student: Well, you see, I’ve been sick and haven’t been able to do the library research I need for the paper.

Prof: This paper was assigned at the beginning of the semester so you’ve known about it for six weeks. I purposely give students plenty of notice so that they can budget their time accordingly. I understand that you’ve been sick, but I can’t give you an extension because you’ve procrastinated.

Student: I didn’t wait until the last minute to do the assignment. I started researching my topic weeks ago. In fact, I’ve already written a rough draft of the body of the paper. But, I need a couple more sources for the conclusion.

Prof: I’ll tell you what. If you can get a note from your doctor, I’ll give you an extra few days. Otherwise, it’ll still be due on Thursday.

Student: Okay, I understand. Thanks, anyway. I’ll try to get it done by Thursday.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Monday, October 31, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #5

Registering for Classes

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index
Slow dialog: 0:47
Explanations: 2:42
Fast Dialog: 13:23
Questions: 14:45

Female: It’s such a hassle registering for these classes. On top of everything, I have to find myself an apartment.

Male: Yeah, I know what you mean. I had to wait in line for 25 minutes just to get a form to register with.

F: You mean you didn’t do it online?

M: No, I didn’t know you could. Did you?

F: Absolutely. It was still a hassle, but it beats standing in line. Just login with your student ID number and then use the last 4 digits of your Social Security number as a temporary password. You can reset the password once you’ve logged in.

M: But I’m always afraid the computer is going to screw up my schedule somehow.

F: Don’t worry about it. It is not a big deal. If you get a confirmation page and print it out, you can always use that at the registrar’s office to show them your correct schedule.
M: Great. I’d love to have a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, so I’d have Tuesdays and Thursdays to schedule my work-study assignment.

F: Makes sense to me. I hate having classes on Fridays, though. I end up blowing off classes more than attending them.

M: I hear you. Well, I want to go home and login to the website, but first we need to eat. I’m starved!

Monday, October 24, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #4

A Full Load of Classes

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index
Slow dialog: 1:04
Explanations: 2:52
Fast Dialog: 12:21
Questions: 13:37

Professor: Well, Jessica, I think you should really take something less than a full load of classes this semester.

Student: But I was hoping to finish my minor by spring semester.

P: I understand that you want to finish up and get a job, but given your current GPA, I can’t recommend taking such a heavy load.

S: I see what you mean. Couldn’t I take an incomplete on some of the classes, then finish the work over the break?

P: It doesn’t quite work that way. You can’t plan on taking an incomplete in a class. If the professor finds out that was your intention all along, he’s likely to say no. Besides, you can’t possibly finish up all the work in a just a few weeks.

S: But if I don’t take 18 units this semester, I’m going to have to get a part-time job, since my financial aid is running out.

P: Well, let’s see if we can’t figure something out. Here, hand me your schedule of classes. Let me take a crack at it and see if I can find a good mix of classes for you to enroll in.

S: That would be great. I really do appreciate your help on this, professor.

M: It’s no problem. That’s what they pay me to do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #3

Late for Class

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index

Slow dialog: 1:03
Explanations: 1:58
Fast Dialog: 6:11
Questions: 6:50

Student: Good morning, Professor Ubeall.

Professor: Good morning, Julie. What can I do for you?

Student: Well, I just wanted to explain why I was late to class today. You see, I needed to go over to the advising center to get my registration schedule signed.

Professor: I see. Are you taking the next course in this sequence?

Student: Now that I’ve finished the prerequisites, I might as well.

Professor: I would recommend it. The papers you’ve turned in so far are are quite good. I think you have what it takes to do well next semester.

Student: Thanks for saying that.

Monday, October 10, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #2

Questions About Formatting

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

Audio Index

Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 2:33
Fast Dialog: 9:15
Questions: 10:08

Student: Excuse me, professor. Do you have a minute?

Professor: Sure, I can spare a little time right now. What can I do for you?

S: I wanted to ask you if it is possible to hand in a draft of the paper to see if I’m on the right track?

P: I’m afraid not. I have to be fair to the other students, and I didn’t offer them the same opportunity.

S: But I’m really worried about not getting the formatting correct.

P: Just pay attention to the guidelines I passed out in class. If you want, you can talk to my teaching assistant about it more. To make an appointment with her, talk to the department secretary.

S: Okay, I’ll do that. Thanks.

Monday, October 03, 2005

TOEFL® Podcast #1


Welcome to the TOEFL® Podcast! If you are studying to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, either in the paper-based, computer-based, or the new Next Generation TOEFL® format, then this podcast is for you. The TOEFL® Podcast will help anyone studying for an exam that requires listening comprehension, including the IELTS and other similar exams throughout the world.

Each weekly TOEFL® Podcast will have four parts. First, you’ll hear a portion of a conversation or a lecture similar to one you may hear in your classes in the United States. This first portion is done slowly, to give you a chance to pick up the new terms and vocabulary. The second part of the podcast is an explanation of some of the key vocabulary and expressions from the sample conversation or lecture. Third, you’ll hear the conversation or lecture again, but this time at the normal speed that you will hear in the actual TOEFL® examination. Finally, we ask you a few comprehension questions to check your understanding, similar to what you may hear on the TOEFL®.

The approach we use in this podcast to prepare you for the listening comprehension section of the TOEFL® or similar exams is very different from other books or courses. Many people think that you should listen to native speakers talking as they usually do—very fast—so that you can get used to understanding them. Unfortunately, for many learners of English, this is too fast for them to understand much of what is said. Sometimes you may only understand 40-50% of what was said. This is a very inefficient use of time, since you can only pick up new words and phrases when you can understand their meaning. Listening to native speakers only speaking at a native rate means picking up fewer new words in English than if you listened to them more slowly.

Our approach is very different. Here, you will listen to English conversations using the same words or phrases as a native speaker uses, but more slowly and clearly. This way, you can actually understand and pick up these words. After a couple of times listening to the podcast, you will be able to comprehend up to 80-90% of it. This is a much better and more efficient use of your time. As your English gets better and better by listening, you will be able to understand what native speakers are saying when they speak fast.

Of course, the TOEFL® exam will have native speakers speaking at the regular—that is, a fast—rate. You have to eventually be able to understand that type of talking. But first you have to expand your vocabulary and pick up the new words and phrases. Then you can worry about understanding at a faster speed.

Most TOEFL® books give you sample listening exercises and introduce you to the types of questions on the test, but they don’t actually teach you any of the English that you’ll need to know to succeed on the TOEFL®. In the TOEFL® Podcast, we explain words and phrases that will help you improve your ability to understand spoken English.

TOEFL® Podcast is currently produced by a team of volunteers at the Center for Educational Development, in Los Angeles, California. My name is Dr. Jeff McQuillan, and I’m the host of TOEFL® Podcast. I have been teaching English as a Second Language for many years both here in the United States and in other countries. I received my Ph.D., my doctorate, in applied linguistics and education from the University of Southern California. I taught as a university professor for several years here in California and in Arizona. I have written many articles and books on the teaching English.

Our podcasts are short, so they won’t be as long as the conversations or lectures you may hear on the TOEFL®, especially the new Next Generation TOEFL® that will be used beginning in 2005 and 2006. However, you will still pick up new terms and learn how to listen to lectures and conversations. We look forward to seeing you next time on the TOEFL® Podcast.

Note: TOEFL® is a registered trademark of the Educational Testing Service, which does not endorse and was not involved in the production of this podcast.