15 Most Interesting TOEIC Lessons

By Alex Case
TOEIC classes can be the most painfully boring to both study in and teach, especially as there is no speaking part of the exam. Luckily, the format of the exam lends itself to some great games that also lend themselves to useful practice of the language and skills of the exam. 1. Reading race As […]

TOEIC classes can be the most painfully boring to both study in and teach, especially as there is no speaking part of the exam. Luckily, the format of the exam lends itself to some great games that also lend themselves to useful practice of the language and skills of the exam.

1. Reading race
As students will need to read really quickly to finish the test in time, it is very easy to justify adding a race element in even a very serious class. You can combine this with practice of students choosing the easiest questions to concentrate on by cutting up photocopies of a test so that each text only has one question. Students race to choose a text and question from the middle of the table, answer it as quickly as possible, have it checked by you, (whether you give them another chance or not if they are wrong is up to you), choose another text etc until the time limit is up. The winner is the person who has answered the most questions correctly.

2. Underline race
A similar game to Reading Race that is even easier and more useful for the students is to give them the correct answers and get them to race to underline the words in the text that have that information in. This is easier if you tell them exactly how many words to underline in each case.

3. Find the synonyms race
This reading racing game is a little more complicated but even more useful than the two games above. Students race to find words or sentences that mean the same as what the teacher says, e.g. “The client is unhappy” for “The customer isn’t satisfied”. This is great practice for when the words in the question and the text are not the same (fairly often).

4. Match the questions to the texts race
This game is similar to Reading Race, and can also be used as an intro phase for that game. Put exam texts with the questions separated from them in the middle of the table. Students race to match up the questions and the texts. This is not only a nice easy intro, but also good practice of skimming and scanning skills that they will need in the test.

5. Picture slap
To practice Listening Part One and add some speaking, put a whole selection of exam photos on the table between students and read out sentences from the tapescript. Students race to slap their palms down on the correct picture, not moving their hands if the sentence doesn’t match any of the pictures. You can then continue with the students reading out the tapescript sentences and then making up their own sentences.

6. Listening Part Two challenge
Give the students some Listening Part Two questions, but with the two incorrect answers removed and only the right reply left in . They must read out the real answer and two incorrect answers they have made up to other students, trying to fool them into selecting the wrong one.

7. Picture dictation
Read out the correct sentence from a Listening Part One task, e.g. “The man is reaching into his jacket pocket”, and get students to draw what they hear. Reveal the original exam photo and give points for the drawings which are closest.

8. Sketch race
This is very similar to Picture Dictation, but students race to draw the Listening Part One sentence, with points given for the first picture that (more or less) represents the right thing.

9. Picture search race
Students listen to a Listening Part One sentence and race to find a picture that represents the same thing- from somewhere in a collection of exam pictures, their textbooks, or just a normal colour magazine.

10. TOEIC Listening Part One mimes race
Students listen to a Listening Part One sentence (e.g. “The man is weighing something”), and race to mime that action as quickly as possible.

11. TOEIC Listening Give Us a Clue
One student tries to mime the action described in a TOEIC Listening Part One sentence, continuing until the other students say exactly that sentence. To make it easier, you can start the game with the students watching the mimes being allowed to look at a selection of possible sentences.

12. TOEIC Listening Pictionary
One student looks at a Listening Part One sentence and tries to draw a picture of what it says on the board without speaking, continuing until the other students say exactly what is written in the sentence.

13. Listening Part Two dominoes
The format of the second part of the TOEIC Listening lends itself to all kinds of matching games. A nice slow one to get students started is to make a set of dominoes with the questions and responses on them. Students can either play it as a competitive game, or work together to make the complete circle of cards.

14. Listening Part Two pellmanism
Another matching game that can be played with TOEIC Listening Part Two sentences is pellmanism (also called “pairs” or “memory game”). The sentences are placed individually face down on the table and students take turns trying to remember where the ones that match up are, turning them face up to check, and putting them face down again in the same place if they are not correct. The person who collects the most cards by the end of the game is the winner.

15. Picture brainstorm challenge
Teams compete to make as many true sentences about a Listening Part One photo as they can. You will need to decide how strict you are going to be about grammar mistakes before you start. Give extra points for guessing exactly the sentence in the test.

Written by Alex Case for Teflnet February 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
© Teflnet


  • Paola says:

    thanks, lovely ideas

  • Jenny says:

    Thanks, some great ideas.
    Any tips for online lessons with students who are extremely unmotivated? :(

  • Martin Lang says:

    These are great ideas for enlivening potentially dreary classes.

  • L!z4 Kurni4 says:

    thanks a lot. you make me easier in teaching… GBU

  • Simmi SINGH says:

    We were looking for new ideas. This is of great help. Thank you.

  • Dee O'Shea says:

    Just what I needed. Thanks a million!

  • Deborah Whittaker says:

    great ideas for the toeic. I have been teaching it for a while & slowly going bonkers trying to find interesting things to do with it.
    love the site, keep up the good work!

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