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TOEFL Preparation Tips

Written by  Rachit Agrawal

Reviewed by  Priyanka Bhargava

Published: Mon, September 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  Updated: Mon, September 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  9 mins read

TOEFL Preparation Tips

Written by  Rachit Agrawal

Reviewed by  Priyanka Bhargava

Published: Mon, Sep 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  Updated: Mon, Sep 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  9 mins read

TOEFL Preparation Tips

Preparing for TOEFL is not an impossible feat. The TOEFL exam, as mentioned is offered in three ways, the traditional internet-based test, the paper-based test, and the take-home internet-based test. Students can prepare for the test on their own by the means of self-study or by joining a coaching/ tuition class. No method of studying is the right way. Studying on their own or taking the help of tutors can both be helpful to the students, but it all depends on them. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing for TOEFL.

  • Get acquainted with the basics
  • Take practice tests
  • Become a good listener
  • Fine-tune your communication skills
  • Get into the habit of reading

TOEFL Reading Section Tips

The reading section of the TOEFL exam is the very first section of the exam. It sets the tone of your exam. TOEFL exam’s reading section tests the comprehension skills of the candidate.

The reading section typically lasts for sixty minutes or a bit more than that. Candidates must read 3-4 passages and answer 10 questions on each passage in the TOEFL iBT reading section. The number of questions that they must answer is not definite and it may differ. 

TOEFL Reading Tips - How to prepare? 

  • The test taker must be fully prepared to read and understand university-level passages that require advanced comprehension skills. This can be done by reading university-level passages, books, etc. 
  • Candidates must practice timed reading to quicken their pace.
  • Develop a reading habit.
  • Building a vocabulary greatly helps in preparing for this section of the exam.
  • The candidate must understand the type of questions asked in this section to perform better in this section.

TOEFL Listening Section Tips

The Listening section of the TOEFL exam evaluates how much a student understands spoken English. This section requires students to listen to a few lectures, conversations, etc, and then answer a few questions based on them. This section may last for over forty minutes. This section is important as it tests whether the student can comprehend what is being communicated to him.

TOEFL Listening Tips - How to prepare?  

  • The test taker must become an active listener. He must understand the essence of what he is hearing/ what is being communicated to him. 
  • Candidates must practice taking down notes and dictation to improve in the listening section.
  • Candidates can listen to podcasts to get familiar with listening and understanding the topic at hand.
  • Practice listening to different types of passages, conversations.
  • Develop a habit of creating summaries of the conversations, passages, texts.

TOEFL Writing Section Tips 

The writing section of the TOEFL is the last section of the exam. In this section, the candidate must complete two tasks in the given time. The candidate will be required to read a passage, listen to a brief, and write an essay as his response. The essay must demonstrate the candidate’s proficiency in the English language. It must be cohesive, eloquent, and to the point. The structure of the essay must be clear, and the essay must be grammatically correct.

TOEFL Writing Section Tips - How to prepare? 

  • TOEFL test takers must practice writing summaries of the texts that they read to enhance their writing skills. This will also help them in the listening section of the test. 
  • Candidates must improve their vocabulary and learn to use idioms and phrases.
  • Test takers must understand and use correct grammar and sentence structures.
  • Test takers must practice writing regularly to improve it.
  • Candidates must practice understanding different types of opinions and thought processes. This will help them form a rational point of view. 

TOEFL Speaking Section Tips

The speaking section of the TOEFL exam tests the test taker’s ability to interact and communicate with others. In this section, the candidate must demonstrate his English-speaking skills. He is evaluated on his English-speaking ability, the structure of his sentences, the grammar, and his vocabulary. Candidates must improve their oratory skills to perform well in this section. 

TOEFL Speaking Section Tips - How to prepare? 

  • Test takers must practice speaking in English to get used to the language. 
  • They must build their vocabulary and learn new words, phrases and idioms. 
  • Candidates must work on achieving the perfect accent. They must pay attention to the pronunciations too. 
  • Test takers must get acquainted with sentence structures, grammar rules, and other conventions of English. 
  • Candidates must practice reading about and speaking about a range of topics. 

Effectual TOEFL Preparation Strategies

Candidates must have a structured and effective preparation strategy for TOEFL. All sections of TOEFL must be given equal importance. Test takers must create a strategy that covers all bases and allows students to perform well in the test. Whether a student is studying on his own or with the help of tuition/ coaching classes, developing an effective TOEFL preparation strategy is a must. 

TOEFL Study Material

There is a wealth of study material available online for TOEFL. Some of the study material is free while some can be purchased at a small cost. It is extremely imperative that candidates only study from the genuine and trusted study material. They must refer to the TOEFL website for getting the correct information. 

Here are some links for some of the best study material for TOEFL :

About the Author & Expert


Rachit Agrawal

author • MBA • 2 years

Rachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.