I find topic-based (not skill-based) approach to TOEFL the easiest to handle and the most beneficial for the students as the lack of vocabulary is the primary concern, as I feel it.
Provided you equip the students with the right inventory of words, they will be cracking reading and listening, as well as speaking questions 4 and 6, way better. However, planning your syllabus around a topic means you have to browse lots of materials as most TOEFL preparation coursebooks tend to me skill- and strategy- focused, which I find less effective. Hence, I’ll be sharing my “clusters” of links and materials I have already compiled to make some teacher’s life easier.
Any TOEFL test-taker is almost bound to face a text or a lecture on biology. In my 2-months preparation courses I tend to focus on the most likely (and complex, and life-important) topics first (Education, Campus vocabulary, Biology (+Psychology + Medicine), Environment, + Business, (+Money).
Here’s the cluster of materials dealing with biology that worked well for my students.
1.http://quizlet.com/subject/biology-vocabulary/ – I use sets 6, 9, 11, 21 only. This is a free resource and you can create wordlist, print out flash-cards, create customisable quizzes. Full of other topical sets. Extremely useful. I do not start with the list. rather, I use it to reinforce, test and fill the gaps in the students’ knowledge after/while studying the next materials.
2.http://go.hrw.com/hrw.nd/gohrw_rls1/pKeywordResults?HM2%20CR – a great set of worksheets to START the module with. I chose the following:
|Concept Review: Photosynthesis and Respiration|
– I find those less specialist, being of general interest and containing really useful, core vocabulary.
(to be continued …)