How to prepare for the TOEFL – the Smart Way

1. Before starting to prepare for an exam, try to learn as much as possible about the exam itself. You can find about the requirements of the test, what score you need for college/university admission etc. Learn about where and when are the tests administered and how many days in advance you need to book for appearing in the test. The average score for the iBT is 70, but the best universities expect higher scores.

2. Learn Academic Style English: While preparing for the exam, make sure you study articles relevant to academic purpose. Try purports from textbooks, science journals, literary articles and encyclopedias. Reading these will help you become familiar with academic English and make the exam easy for you.

3. Take Practice Tests: There are many practice tests and sample papers available which you can use to set milestones in your preparation. If your preparation lasts for 3 months, then you can take one test at the end of each week to see how your score is gradually increasing. There are books available that have a compilation of these tests or CDs that give real-time experience of the tests. You can write down the scores of these tests in one notebook so you can compare them to see if your preparation is good or not. There are many websites from where you can download these for free.

4. Build up Stamina: The TOEFL iBT test takes about 4 hours. You should be aware that concentrating for so long is difficult. So, performance as the time goes on will weaken. In order to avoid this from happening, you can begin practicing for long hours. While taking sample tests do not take breaks in between but imagine you are writing the real test and take only one break. Practicing this way will maximize your attention span. Have a good sleep on the night before the exam and take a light meal before the exam.

5. For the Listening Section: During the listening section, you can take notes, and as they will not play the audio more than once, do not do so even during the practice tests. Do not get too involved in taking notes that you miss the next sentence that is being played. Moreover, try to listen very attentively and note down only the most important parts of the conversation, which will likely appear in questions following it. Remember to write down numbers and names, like, Dr. Wilbur, the teacher or 75 students in one class, etc.

6. For the Reading Section: Skim the passage first, read the questions and then read specific parts of the passages for answering the questions. Read your answers again, before going to the next question.

7. For the Writing Section: The essays should be simple and clear. Do not use words that you are not sure of, as you could lose marks. Use a lot of transition verbs and words for a good essay structure.

8. Tips for the Speaking Section: Practice speaking to yourself or a friend. Make a list of topics and use them while practice.


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