TOP 10 TOEFL tips to ace the exam
If you are preparing for the TOEFL exam, then you must have understood that you need to have some strategies to nail the exam. If you have a good command of the English language and you have understood the TOEFL test structure then it is easy to have a good TOEFL score. We have made a list of TOP 10 TOEFL tips to make yourself ready for the TOEFL exam. 10 TOEFL tips
Understand the TOEFL test structure 10 TOEFL tips
The TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is an English proficiency test produced by an American company called ETS. It measures your English reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills, and your ability to succeed at an English-speaking university. 10 TOEFL tips
CEFR Assessment Test
If you are taking the TOEFL exam after August 2019, then you must be aware that ETS has changed the TOEFL test structure. This is one of the big changes ETS has done after a long time. The duration of the test has become shorter and also several passages of the question have been removed. 10 TOEFL tips
TOEFL exam is scored out of 120 and each section of TOEFL has a score of 30. So Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing has 30 scores each. 10 TOEFL tips
You don’t pass or fail the TOEFL. Each university has different requirements for the test. Even some universities will have specific requirements for individual sections of the test, for example, 26 out of 30 in the reading section. Before you begin studying for the TOEFL, research the universities you want to attend and find out what score you need. 10 TOEFL tips
Get ready for the Exam 10 TOEFL tips
From the past student’s data and interviewing lots of students we have understood you have at least 6 months to 1 year for preparing for the exam, especially if you have not taken the exam before.
If you are taking the TOEFL iBT exam, then you must know that it is conducted on a computer. While you take the exam, everything should be very familiar to you. You must be aware of the TOEFL test structure and also be familiar with the times allowed per section. This is very important as TOEFL is all about time management.
You must be aware of the all question types and formats, how many questions per section and also your what is the time allowed per section. These details are very important as this will help you manage your overall time for the exam. 10 TOEFL tips
TOEFL Vocabulary Quiz 1
You should be aware of the score you would like to have for your university and also choose the university you want to apply. Some universities require just an overall TOEFL score, but some schools require specific scores in each section. You should know exactly what you need to do get the required score.
The best way to practice for TOEFL is either practice with a book or practice online. The best would be practice online as you will be familiarized with the test with real-time simulations. Also, you can prepare several real-time mock exams as this will certainly help you get used to the time and also the exam structure.
Train your Eyes an Ears for the exam
TOEFL is the test of 4 skills i.e. Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. On the TOEFL you will read passages or listen to lectures on everything from astronomy and Greek history to psychology and biology!
It is very important to build your vocabulary for the TOEFL exam. There will be topics from multiple domains and sometimes the words will be very unusual. So to have a good TOEFL score, you must improve your vocabulary skills. 10 TOEFL tips
Here are some resources to get you started:
If you have just started studying for the TOEFL and it is difficult for you to read (or listen to) some of the resources above, that’s OK! There are still lots of resources available to you:
ESLPod – The episodes are short dialogues on a variety of topics. The dialogues include great vocabulary, phrases & idioms. Each episode includes a slow dialogue, a discussion of vocabulary, and a fast dialogue. The transcript is also provided on the website.
VOA Learning English – This section of the website has articles similar to the news section, but they are easier to read and the listening clips are much slower.
Listen a Minute – If you are still struggling with listening or vocabulary, this website will help you build up your skills.
Another best option to prepare for your vocabulary is to use Exam-Practice study sheets which will help you prepare for the TOEFL vocabulary.
Improve your note-taking skills 10 TOEFL tips
Note-taking skills will be very handy for you during the TOEFL exam especially for listening, speaking and writing sections. Also, this skill will be handy during your university studies.
In the TOEFL exam, the audio is played only once, so where there is a listening part you can’t go back or listen to the audio again. So your note-taking skills for these sections will be very useful.
This is a skill that takes a lot of practice.
- Don’t try to write down anything and everything you hear. Don’t just write down words that you understand. Write down the essential information that you will need to understand the lecture later
- Use symbols and shorthand. Everybody develops their own system for this.
- Practice, practice, practice! Practice taking notes while listening to BBC, TED Talks, NPR, or VOA. Practice while watching TV. When you have finished listening, you can go back and compare your notes to the transcript. 10 TOEFL tips
- If NPR, VOA and TED Talks are too long for you, practise note-taking with the shorter clips from Listen a Minute.
You will be given 3 sheets of paper for the exam. Every time you ask for a paper you will be given 3 sheets, but this is not the case every time. Sometimes it can take the time or sometimes the examiners can’t see your hand. Use your 3 sheets of paper wisely! Don’t use all 3 pages on a single lecture or conversation.TOP 10 TOEFL tips to ace the TOEFL exam.Click To Tweet
Your pronunciation should be clear
TOEFL examiners don’t score you for your accent, so it’s perfectly fine to speak with an accent, but make sure your pronunciation should be clear and properly understood by the examiner. 10 TOEFL tips
The speaking section measures three things:
- how well you answer the question and complete the task
- the grammar and vocabulary you use
- how well the person scoring the test can understand you
This is one area where it is important to work with a teacher or instructor. You need someone to tell you what you’re doing right and what you can do better.
When you are practising the speaking task on your own, record yourself. Most laptops and computers come with recording software. Recording yourself is important for two reasons:
- you can hear yourself speak and evaluate your response
- you can get used to speaking to a computer
It can feel weird talking to a computer if you have never done it before! Although our system allows you to record your voice and listen to your voice later so that you can hear your mistakes and improve on that.
You must get used to a QWERTY keyboard
The final and the last section of the TOEFL exam is the writing section. And you will need a QWERTY keyboard to type your answers into the computer. All the TOEFL exam centres will use these keyboards so you must be used to this keyboard for faster and better writing. If you are used to the keyboard you will save a lot of time. The keys should be saved on your muscle memory so that you don’t have to find your keys for typing which will take a heck of a time.
Learn Touch Typing 10 TOEFL tips
Most people type by using the “hunt and peck” method: you hunt (look) for the letter you need on the keyboard, and then peck (hit it) with one finger. When you learn touch typing, you will learn how to use all your fingers to type WITHOUT looking at the keyboard! It’s a much faster method of typing, but it takes a lot of practice. Touch typing is not essential for the TOEFL, but it definitely helps you type faster.
Some useful links to practice typing :
Build command over writing section
You must know by now that the last section of the TOEFL exam is the writing section and also this is the section where students score the lowest. To nail the writing section, you must be well prepared with essay writing.
There is a word limit and if you cross the word limit, it’s not a positive sign, your scores will be low. You should practice with keeping in mind the time of the writing section. TOEFL writing section is for 30 mins each for 2 tasks.
An English essay has a very specific format, and this format may be different than the format that you are used to in your language. Essays in English follow this format:
- Introduction: The first paragraph introduces your essay, and tells the reader your opinion and what you are going to talk about in your essay.
- Body: The middle of the essay on the TOEFL is 2-3 paragraphs that support your opinion.
- Conclusion: The last paragraph summarizes your essay.
One paragraph is one thought. The first sentence of each paragraph explains what the paragraph is about, and the rest of the paragraph uses clear, specific examples to illustrate your opinion.
If you follow the above-mentioned format and practice for TOEFL writing, it will surely help you with the exam. If you can crack the writing section, you will surely get good marks in the TOEFL exam. 10 TOEFL tips
Here are some more writing tips:
- When you start practising your essays, don’t worry about time. Begin by taking as long as necessary to write a good essay.
- Once you are able to write a good essay, start timing yourself and getting faster at it, until you can write a good 300-word essay within 30 minutes.
- Answer the question that you are asked! Don’t try to change the question. If it asks you to make a choice, make a clear choice – don’t try to argue both positions. There is no right or wrong answer. Your essay is scored on how well you answer the question.
- Type your outline in the essay space on the computer! You waste time if you write it by hand and then type it.
- Keep it simple and be specific!
Practice makes perfect
Yes, as the old saying goes “practice makes perfect“. There is no easy way to crack the TOEFL exam. You have practice hard to ace the TOEFL exam.
You can make your own study schedule and follow a daily routine. Work on your skills and get used to the exam. If you know your weak areas then work on them and try to improve your weak areas, also try to identify your strong areas which will certainly give you an advantage.
You can practice online or with books, whatever is comfortable with you. Also if you think you need classroom coaching for the TOEFL exam, try to find a TOEFL centre near you. With experienced teachers help you can improve your TOEFL score and you can consult a teacher to give you recommendations for your study plans.
You can also follow Exam-Practice site to prepare for your TOEFL exam.
Learn how to relax!
The new TOEFL test lasts for 3 hours and you must be prepared for a 3 hours long exam. If you are not concentrated enough you might miss out questions especially in the listening section where the recording is played only once. So you will need a good concentration and must be relaxed to answer the questions properly. It is important to remain calm and relaxed throughout the test. 10 TOEFL tips
Before the test:
- If possible, visit the testing centre ahead of time. Make sure you know where you’re going and how long it’s going to take you to get there. The last thing you want to do is get lost or stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the test!
- Don’t try to cram the day before the test. Just relax and rest.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
The day of the test:
- Eat a good breakfast!
- Before you leave your house and on your way to the test, make sure you warm up your brain! Read something in English for 30 minutes, preferably something you have read before. (You don’t want to stress yourself out before the test!) Listen to English. Make sure your brain is thinking in English before you start the test!
During the test:
- Take deep breaths throughout the test. Make sure your breathing is normal.
- There is a 10-minute break between the listening and speaking sections. Use this time to go to the bathroom if you need to, eat a snack, and do some stretching to relieve the tension in your back and shoulders!
- If you miss a question or you feel like you didn’t do well in a section, don’t worry about it. Just go onto the next section like it’s a new test. This is where being prepared for the test helps. For example, if you know how many questions you need to answer correctly to get your required score in the reading section, missing one question is not a problem.
Remember, you can always take the test again!
Take several mock exams before the real TOEFL test
Before you take the real test, it is highly recommended that you take at least 2 real-time mock exams so that you get used to the exam and also the timing of the exam.
As the exam is 3 hours long, you must get used to the time. Also taking the TOEFL online mock exams will help you with question types, various sections and also times per section.
Students rarely get the score they need the first time they take the test.
Here are some things that might be a surprise the first time you take the test:
- The test goes by very, very fast!
- Some test centres are very large with lots of people taking the test at the same time. There is a lot of noise and a lot of distractions.
- Someone may have started the speaking section while you are still listening. You might be trying to write an essay while the person next to you is doing the speaking section.
- You may not be able to get the proctor’s attention to get more paper or to get help with your computer.
You can read more frequently asked questions here on the ETS website. You must pay the full price each time you take the test.
More information from the ETS website: