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How to Prepare for TOEFL

Whether you’re a first-time test taker or looking to improve your score, we’ve got you covered. We understand the importance of this exam in determining your English language proficiency and are committed to helping you succeed. From tips and strategies for each section of the exam to practice materials and study plans, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to confidently tackle the TOEFL. Join us as we delve into the various aspects of the exam, including reading, listening, speaking, and writing, offering step-by-step guidance and insights to help you excel.
Additionally, we’ll explore common challenges faced by test takers and provide expert advice on how to overcome them. With our comprehensive and detailed approach, you can feel confident in your preparation and approach the TOEFL exam with the utmost confidence. So, whether you’re just starting your TOEFL journey or in the final stages of preparation, this blog post is your one-stop resource for all things TOEFL. Let’s dive in and unlock your full potential!

Preparing For TOEFL: Why Is It Necessary and Important?

The majority of students opt to take the TOEFL examination as a prerequisite for their university application or enrollment in another educational program. In the event that you fall into this category, it is imperative that you approach the TOEFL with the same level of dedication and seriousness as you would towards any other significant examination.
Even if you possess a proficient level of English, the TOEFL examination demands more than just a basic understanding of the language. It necessitates the ability to comprehend and analyze complex academic content, as well as the capability to express oneself in written and spoken form at a level suitable for university-level education. If you find yourself lacking in these skills, it is imperative that you commence your preparations without delay.
The exam is highly structured, consisting of four distinct sections that test various language skills. It is essential for test-takers to familiarize themselves with all four sections and dedicate ample time to practice each one in order to achieve success on the exam.
The TOEFL exam consists of four main sections: Writing, Reading, Listening, and Speaking. Each section presents a variety of exercises that may appear unfamiliar to test-takers at first glance. It is essential for individuals to be well-prepared and acquainted with the test format and question styles in order to perform well on the TOEFL exam. Therefore, it is recommended to become familiar with the different sections and practice extensively before taking the test.

TOEFL Preparation Strategies

To get a good score in the TOEFL, it is crucial to become proficient in note-taking. Since audio clips are only played once during the test, it is essential to absorb all the information and be able to recall it accurately. Developing this skill requires practice, both in your native language and in English. The ultimate objective is to capture all the details shared by the speaker in real-time without missing anything. It is advisable to utilize a range of audio clips varying in length and complexity to hone your note-taking abilities. Afterward, review the clips and compare them to your notes to assess their accuracy. Additionally, pay attention to seemingly trivial aspects like the organization of your notes and the legibility of your handwriting. Mastering the art of taking notes confidently and efficiently will not only benefit you in the TOEFL but also in your future academic pursuits.
One of the most important steps in preparing for the TOEFL exam is to regularly take practice tests. These practice tests are crucial in determining whether or not you are on track to achieve your desired score. Additionally, they allow you to familiarize yourself with the format of the test, the types of questions you will encounter, and the time constraints you will face on exam day. There are various resources available for obtaining TOEFL practice materials, such as the free EF SET test for monitoring your improvement. In a recent article, I discussed the top five sources for TOEFL practice tests.
Develop the habit of reading on a daily basis because not only non-native English speakers, but even those who speak English fluently, enhance their vocabulary by engaging in regular reading. By immersing yourself in a wide variety of reading materials, you expose yourself to various ideas and new words. Additionally, by reading attentively and analyzing the texts closely, you improve your ability to comprehend what you are reading. It is important to read extensively and intently in order to broaden your knowledge and familiarity with different subjects in the English language. This is crucial because you never know what topics may appear on your TOEFL test, and it is advantageous to possess a broad range of knowledge and understanding to confidently tackle any subject matter.
Engage in the practice of listening to podcasts as a beneficial way to improve your English language skills. With a wide variety of English-language talk radio available online, such as the BBC or NPR, covering topics ranging from comedy to news, you can enhance your listening comprehension by tuning in to native English speakers conversing at their natural pace. By exposing yourself to different accents and dialects, you can train your ear to understand various forms of spoken English.
Additionally, by actively listening and mimicking the pronunciation of the speakers, you can work on improving your own verbal communication skills. Unlike watching movies or TV shows, where visual cues can aid in understanding, podcasts require you to rely solely on your listening abilities, making them a more challenging yet effective tool for language practice. So, make it a habit to incorporate podcast listening into your daily routine for a fun and educational way to boost your English proficiency.

How Long Does It Take To Prepare For TOEFL?

The recommended timeframe for preparing for the TOEFL exam is typically between 2 to 3 months on average. Nonetheless, it is highly advised to commence your preparation well ahead of time. The duration of preparation can vary, with some individuals needing only a few weeks to adequately prepare, while others may require a longer period of time.

10 Tips To Help Prepare For The TOEFL Exam

We have provided 10 tips to help prepare for the TOEFL exam!

1. Get to know the format

Regardless of how proficient you may be in English, it is still possible to be disoriented by the structure of an examination. It would be beneficial for you to invest some time exploring the official TOEFL website in order to become acquainted with its functioning and obtain any necessary information. It is important to note that there are two options available for taking the test: the internet-based test (iBT) and the paper-based test. Presently, the iBT is widely favored and is likely the method you will be utilizing. Nevertheless, it is prudent to be aware of the layout and format of both options.

3. Have a Routine

It’s best to start preparing for your test as early as possible. You can make a plan and follow it to save time and be more productive. Instead of waiting until the last minute, you should focus on studying for a shorter amount of time each day. For example, if your test is a few months away, start with studying for an hour every day. As the test gets closer, you can increase your study time to two or three hours. In the week before the test, you can reduce your study time to just an hour or less to review and practice.
It’s best if you don’t have to study all at once for your test because you’ll already be ready from practicing regularly.

4. Read and Listen to English Outside of TOEFL

You don’t have to only study for the TOEFL test. The test is not just about grammar, it measures how well you understand and use English in real life. If you read books, watch videos, and listen to music in English, you will learn without even realizing it. It’s fun and you will learn a lot without trying too hard.

5. Speaking Practices

Speaking a language can be difficult because we might feel embarrassed or lack confidence. Also, when we talk, we don’t have a lot of time to think, so we can make mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes when they speak, even people who speak different languages. I make mistakes when I speak English, and it’s the language I grew up with! I’m sure you make mistakes in your first language too. But we don’t worry about them too much because we are usually more confident.
Practice speaking English by talking to someone or by talking to yourself if you’re shy. In the TOEFL iBT test, you will speak into a microphone, so no one will hear you in person.

6. Time Your Writings

Writing quickly when you’re in a rush can be hard. It is good to decide how much time you will spend writing. This helps you plan, write, and check your work with enough time for each step.

7. Practice Note Taking

In the TOEFL test, you can only listen to each audio clip one time. So, you have to listen carefully and take notes to help you remember what was said. But it can be hard to write as fast as people talk, so it’s important to practice taking good notes.
Good news, I have a simple trick for you called keyword notes.
When I say, “My name is Sean, I’m thirty years old and I’m from Ireland,” it takes me longer to write it down (10 seconds) than to say it out loud (3 seconds).
The important things to know are that there is a person named Sean who is thirty years old and from Ireland. If you write down these key details, you can figure out the rest in your mind.
First, listen to short and easy audio clips on YouTube or somewhere else. Take notes of the important information while still making sure you understand what the clip is about. After listening, use these notes to put the story or clip together again.
You can write down things in your own language if it helps you understand better. As you keep practicing, you can try harder things and see how well you can do.

8. Take Practice Tests

Every week or two, take some time to do a big practice test. This will help you get better at the test and get used to what it’s like.
Practicing a lot is the very best way to get ready. When it’s time for your real test, you’ll be so used to it that nothing will bother you.

9. Gamify TOEFL

Getting ready for a test doesn’t always have to be serious and stressful. Whenever you have the opportunity to make it more fun and easy, go for it!
When we turn learning into a game, it helps us remember things better and learn more effectively than just reading from a book.
To help you learn new words, you can play games like Scrabble, Pictionary, or 30 Seconds. For practicing speaking, you can try to remember the words of a song and record yourself singing it. Just do whatever makes it fun and easy to remember!

10. QWERTY is the Key

The computer keyboard with letters in a certain order can be tricky if you’re not used to it. Since I learned to type on it when I was young, I never really thought about how difficult it might be for someone new to it.
If you are taking the TOEFL iBT test, make sure you practice typing on the keyboard a lot. You don’t want to run out of time for your essay because you are typing too slowly.

What to Do and How to Prepare the Day Before the Exam

No matter if you started getting ready for the TOEFL test six months or only one week ago, the advice for how to prepare the day before the test is the same.
The best thing to do the day before the TOEFL test is to take it easy, rest, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to learn new things or rushing through practice. If you make mistakes or feel confused, it will just make you more anxious.
The night before the big test, it’s a good idea to stop studying early and go to bed early. If you want to stay prepared, you could just go over the test format or think about how to manage your time during the test.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Prepare for TOEFL

What is the best way to prepare for the TOEFL?

A good way to get ready for the TOEFL is to practice by taking tests that are similar to the real one.

How long does it take to prepare for TOEFL?

It takes around 2 to 3 months to prepare for TOEFL.

Is getting 120 on TOEFL hard?

Yes, it is possible to get a perfect TOEFL score, but it is very uncommon.

How hard is TOEFL?

The TOEFL Test is a really hard test, even for people who speak English almost as well as native speakers.

Would you like to put into practice what you have learned about How to Prepare for the TOEFL Exam? If you wish, you can explore over 20,000 interactive video lessons on EnglishCentral, improve your vocabulary, and practice pronunciation. Alternatively, during live 1-on-1 English lessons, you can review what you have learned with your personal English tutor. How about signing up for EnglishCentral and starting to learn English right away?

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How to Prepare for TOEFL