Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

Analyzing a picture for the TOEIC and other standardized exams

11 Aug News | Comments

Analyzing a picture for the TOEIC and other standardized exams

Here in Taiwan, many university students are required to achieve a certain score on a standardized test, such as the TOEIC or Taiwan’s own GEPT exam, in order to graduate. Students who fail to achieve that score will typically have to enroll in an additional English class in order to make up that deficiency. Thus, it’s important for them to have some knowledge of the Tricks of the Trade that will enable them to–as Army recruiting commercials used to say–Be All That You Can Be come test time! In this essay, I’ll talk about the skill of rapidly analyzing a picture so as to be able to comment on it, answer questions, and so forth. I’m not sure where I got this method from–I’d like to say I created it, but I didn’t–and if a reader finds the original source, kindly let me know.
Now, the steps:

1.Look at the photo (globally–in other words, in one sentence, what’s going on here? A man is getting out of a truck. A woman is speaking into a microphone. Etc.)

2.What do you see in the photo (nouns: people, places, things–stuff!)?

3.What actions are taking place (verbs: is somebody standing, walking, talking, looking, reading, etc.)?

4.Locations (the man is seated behind the desk–the book is on the table–etc.)

5.What do you know is true?

6.What might be true?

About the 6th step: let your imagination do whatever it wants to do here! The reason is that whatever might be true isn’t backed by evidence (after all, you can’t hear what’s being said by the people in a photograph, right?). Thus, whatever you come up with can be a source of incorrect answer choices when you have to use your Process Of Elimination skills to sift through The Wrong Stuff in the answer choices (apologies to Chuck Yeager!).

The first time or two that you analyze a picture this way, whether practicing by yourself or with friends, you may well find it to be slow going. Don’t worry about it–after you’ve done it a few times, you’ll find that your brain and your eye will go through the steps very quickly. You will soon find yourself able to rapidly look at a picture and quickly figure out what’s going on (and for Step # 6, above, what’s probably not going on!).      So what are you waiting for? Get some photos and other pictures–the ones in whatever book you’re studying to prepare for the TOEFL, GEPT, BULATS, etc. will do just fine–and do what it takes to get to Carnegie Hall or to pass your exam: practice, practice, practice!

–Please feel free to forward widely as long as credit is given to Daniel Steve Villarreal, Ph.D. (萬丹青),

(c) Daniel Steve Villarreal, Ph.D. (萬丹青)

Daniel Steve Villarreal, Ph.D. (萬丹青)
Assistant Professor of English (MOE # 036823)
Licensed Court Interpreter # 315 (Spanish-English, Texas) Master designation
1-on-1 & small-group English & Spanish instruction (specializing in on-site Workplace English, test preparation–TOEFL, TOEIC, GEPT, GRE verbal, ACT verbal, etc.–& Translation & Interpretation)
Spanish-to-English translation
Language learning website with free newsletter subscription–please Like the American Older Brother page on Facebook!

Leave a Reply

$0.000 items