Tips & Tricks for Mastering the TOEFL



First and foremost, read about the TOEFL. Then, once you’ve determined how much time you need to study and by when you need to take the test, register for the TOEFL. Registering for the test makes it real and may provide motivation to study. Then, do the following to prepare for the TOEFL:

Practice speaking, reading, writing, and listening to English on a regular basis.

Devote time in your schedule to doing each and find ways to structure and track your progress. For example, purchase a book or program designed to help students prepare for the TOEFL, or study with friends who are also taking the TOEFL, or are interested in practicing English. Practice often so that you feel as comfortable as possible with the language. TOEFL resources are available and may help you speak, listen, read, and write in English.

Find structured support.

Again, purchase a book or program that directs your studies; find a friend who is also studying for the exam or wants to practice his or her English; hire a mentor or tutor who can guide and direct your studies; or attend a respected language school in your area. In short, find someone (or something) who can provide structured support.

Study academic English.

Read academic articles and books in the English language. Read online (or paper) newspapers, magazines, and journals written in English. Read reviews and critiques written in English. Listen to books, interviews, and other audio tracks spoken in English. To practice speaking academic English, read any of the entities listed above aloud by yourself or to someone else interested in studying English. Study the English language as it’s used in academic settings.

Prepare for the TOEFL by using the TOEFL website to access resources.

Find sample questions, great tips, practice tools and tests, access to in-person support, and other invaluable resources.  Use this site to become familiar with all things TOEFL and to answer any questions that you might have about the exam and how to prepare.

Become familiar with the TOEFL’s format.

Depending on where you live, you’ll either take an internet-based TOEFL or paper-based TOEFL. Each has its own format. Become familiar with the format so that you know exactly what you’re walking into come test day. Become familiar with what to expect on test day and make sure you understand what you need to do immediately before, during, and after the test.

Prepare for test day.

Prepare for test day by getting plenty of rest, eating healthy food, relieving as much stress as possible (exercise, laugh, do something relaxing and peaceful), and preparing everything you need for the test prior to test day.


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Annie Rose Stathes is a Colorado-based writer, teacher and political scientist. Her background is in international affairs and she holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science.