1. Get to Know the Format of the TOEFL Test:
If you want to take the TOEFL, it is very important to first get familiar with the TOEFL format. Check out the official TOEFL website to find information on the test format, find answers to your questions and to locate your testing centers.
Understand the TOEFL content. No matter which format you take, the TOEFL always has three parts: reading, listening and writing. The Internet-based TOEFL also includes a speaking section.
The Internet-based test (iBT) looks like this:
- Reading section: 60-80 minutes | 36-56 questions
- Listening section: 60-90 minutes | 34-51 questions
- Short break: 10 minutes
- Speaking section: 20 minutes | 6 tasks
- Writing section: 50 minutes | 2 essays
The paper-based test looks like this:
- Listening section: 30-40 minutes| 50 questions
- Writing section: 25 minutes | 40 questions
- Reading section: 55 minutes | 50 questions
- TWE test: 30 minutes | write one essay
Decide which format you want to take. Note that nowadays the test is usually taken via the Internet. The paper-based test is becoming less and less popular.Take a look at some examples of some TOEFL test questions. This will help you gain further understanding of the types of questions to expect. Read the questions carefully. Try to answer them and then check the answers.
2. Know Why You Are Taking the TOEFL Test:
More than 9,000 colleges, universities, agencies and institutions accept and require the TOEFL TEST in over 130 countries. To be well prepared, it’s important to know your reasons for taking the test.
For example, you might be taking the test:
- To find out your level of English with an official exam
- To apply to a university
- For a course or job
- For your immigration requirement
Make sure you know why you’re taking the TOEFL. Then, you can use this information to help you better focus your study time. For example, if you’re taking the test for a job where you’ll be talking on the phone a lot, it will be important to do well on the speaking and listening parts.
3. Have a Minimum Score in Mind:
Write down your minimum and your ideal scores on a piece of paper or a Post-it note, and put it somewhere you see every day. You might put it on your bathroom mirror, on the fridge or on the wall behind your desk. Every time you look at the piece of paper, you’ll be reminded to study to reach your goal.
Make sure your ideal score is realistic. This means to choose a score you could likely receive, not a score that’s too high. To make sure you could receive your ideal score, take a practice test and check where you are now. How many more points do you need to reach your minimum and ideal scores? How many months do you have to prepare before the exam? How much time can you spend each week studying? Your answers to these questions will help you choose a realistic ideal score.
4. Get a Study Guide:
When doing the exercises in a TOEFL study guide like this, here are some tips for the various sections:
- Reading. Underline the main ideas and take notes on the side of the book or on a piece of paper. Check your answers afterwards and review your errors. If you need to, you can use your dictionary during practice exercises.
- Listening. Write down notes while you’re listening to help you remember details. Don’t write down full sentences, just write down the most important ideas.
- Writing. Think about the topic first and then write down your ideas. Create an outline, including an introduction, your main points and a conclusion. Start writing once you have an outline. When finished, read it again and correct your mistakes.
- Speaking. Answer the exact question that was asked; don’t talk about something else. Keep it simple. Practice speaking in a relaxed tone.
5. Practice Reading Non-technical English:
The TOEFL test’s reading section, you will read some passages and answer questions related to them. The topics are all in non-technical English that everyone can understand. Here are some ways to prepare:Read for 30 minutes every dayStart reading for 30 minutes each day with clear focus and attention. There are some excellent websites with interesting things to read, including:
- Breaking News — This is one of my favorites, which uses the news to create a variety of readings and exercises.
- Story Archives — This has many news stories from CNN for ESL learners.
- The English Server — You can find many easy short stories and fiction here.
Improve your vocabulary
When doing this reading practice, be sure to underline new words. Look up their meanings in a dictionary and write them down in a notebook or on flashcards. Use these new words in sentences throughout the day, and during your speaking and writing practice.