Marmots, ungulates, cetaceans, lemurs, and albatrosses, oh my!
The TOEFL has a lot of information about animals and their behavior and adaptations. Many of my students panic—they don’t know how to spell the name of the animal or they don’t know what on Earth the animal looks like!
Good news. Many English speakers are not familiar with all the animals of the TOEFL either. The people who prepare the TOEFL are aware of this, and do not expect you to be able to spell the names of the animals...
During the lectures: Do not worry about spelling, just write the name down as best as you can. The name of the animal will be given in the questions.
During the speaking: Use the same strategy as above. Then, when it is time to speak, look at the question. The name of the animal is probably in the question. If it isn’t, simply repeat what you wrote down as closely as you can.
During the integrated writing: No problem! The name of the animal will be given to you in the passage.
During the reading: Look for clues. The animal will almost always be described or defined. In the following examples, the definition of the animal is underlined:
Cetaceans are mammals that live in a marine environment.
Marmots, large ground squirrels, live in North America.
Sometimes you need to use other clues in the description of the animal to make a conclusion about what kind of animal is being discussed.
The albatross uses its long wings to glide for up to 1,100 miles at a time. Juvenile albatrosses have dark brown feathers and a white face and body. Adults are white with black-tipped wings.
Based on the context, I know the albatross has wings and feathers. Only birds have feathers, so this must be a passage about a bird.
ONE MORE TIP! Learn as many names of animals in English as you can before the test. You cannot possibly learn the name of every animal, but a good rule is if you know the animal in your native language, learn it in English before the test.