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“TOEFL” [英語スピーチコンテスト 東部大会第3位入賞原稿]
Miori Hojo
Toyo High School
I hear there are a lot of ways to check our English ability. For example, EIKEN, TOEIC, TOEFL and so on. Honestly speaking, when I was a junior high school student, I never heard of the other official English tests except EIKEN. So, when I entered Toyo high school and heard about TOEFL, I didn’t know what it was. My brain was full of TOFU (that means white and soft “bean curd”). It was not kidding then, though it is a good joke now.
In fact, my class had a study abroad program in the U.S.A. or Canada, and we all would go there for 1 year. My teacher told us that we had to take TOEFL while we were studying abroad. Also, he told us to get 520 points at least, and if possible, over 550 points. Then, I didn’t know whether 550 points were large or small or if the test was difficult or easy. Anyway, I made light of it. “Yes, I can find a nice way easily.”
However, I realized that was a very silly idea soon. The moment we saw and listened to a few sample TOEFL questions, do you know how upset I was? I didn’t understand any questions at all. I lost all confidence in English. TOEFL has 4 sections, “Reading”, “Listening”, “Speaking” and “Writing”. They were all tough, and I nearly cried. Reading: one essay is so long. There are a lot of new words for me. Listening: a narrator is talking too fast. Speaking: I can’t. My brain is blank. Writing: I need more vocabulary and good typing skills.
I was at a loss. The only thing I could do was get some advice from my English teacher. He said with a smile, “You don’t have to worry about the test. It is very normal that you cannot do it well now. I will help you as much as possible. Keep trying and trust your possibilities.” The next day, he gave us a very thick TOEFL Book, and it was our start of studying for TOEFL.
While I was in Canada, I went to a high school and studied for TOEFL by myself after school, using not only the book my teacher had given to me but also the books I had bought at the bookstore. I repeated them many times. And I concentrated on listening to English at home and school. I spoke a lot with my host family and friends and I wrote many essays.
Time passed so quickly. After 8 months in Canada, I had a chance to take TOEFL. It was the first time for me and I felt very stressed while I was taking it. The score? It was fabulous…..actually very bad. It was 497. 550 was a dream. I was so depressed and asked myself what 8 months were…..but, I had 4 months left. I believed my possibilities. I repeated the books again and again. Two months later, I took TOEFL again. But my score rose to only 503 points. I couldn’t pass yet! Why? And what should I do for the next, which would be the last chance before going back to Japan? I saw 5 TOEFL books on my desk, which were dirty and had lots of my finger marks. I didn’t want to let everything I had done go to waste. All I could do was repeat the books and understand everything. I knew it was impossible, but I continued to study with the books.
I received the score card after coming back to Japan. It was 547, almost 550. Yes, I made it. These books told me a precious thing: “Never give up. Trust possibilities. Continue doing one thing. And you will win.”
These 5 books are like the bibles in my life. I will keep them on the bookshelf forever. And when I face some difficulty, I will open them. They tell me I can do anything.
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