November 10, 2011

How to Prepare for the TOEFL

If your first language isn’t English, but you want to attend college in an English speaking country, you will probably need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as part of the admissions process. Some organizations, such as government agencies, scholarship programs, select businesses, and licensing bodies may also require that the test be taken before you can become an employee or be considered for their programs. In short, if you hope to live, study, or work in an English speaking country, you should familiarize yourself with the test. Following are a few tips on how prepare for the TOEFL.

What the TOEFL Tests

If you’re not fairly fluent in English, the test may be difficult for you. It’s designed that way. The purpose of the test is to ensure that students are able to understand and communicate in English well enough to get along in an English speaking country. More specifically, it tests a student’s aptitude in the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Unless you speak and understand the language fairly well, the exam could be hard for you.

Test Content

The Test of English as a Foreign Language lasts approximately 4.5 hours. There are various sections, each timed individually. You will need a passing grade in each section before you can be accepted in most colleges in English speaking countries. There are 6,000 plus schools in more than 100 countries that include TOEFL scores when considering an applicant whose first language is something other than English. The test consists of sections on speaking, which takes 20 minutes to complete; reading comprehension, which takes from 60 to 100 minutes to complete, the listening section, which takes from 60 to 90 minutes; and a section on writing, which takes 50 minutes to complete. The TOEFL is taken in a controlled environment, and you must use a computer. Due to the fact that there is more than one version of the test, it is recommended that you prepare by taking practice tests.

Initial Preparation

Because the test is extremely important for some people’s futures, a number of Internet websites have been developed to help them pass the test by supplying preparation test material. One of the most prominent is, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping students pass the TOEFL. Another Internet website,, also helps students prepare for the test. There are many other websites that contain information that could be useful to you. If you enter TOEFL, or TOEFL Preparation, into your search engine and follow some of the links that come up, you can learn more about how to prepare for the test. You can also get a free copy of a sample test by visiting the Internet website,

TOEFL Prep Resources

To prepare for the TOEFL, you should study material that is similar to what will be included in the test by reviewing the format and sample questions. By doing so, you will be able to determine exactly what is expected of you when you take the test. In order to prepare properly for the test, you should do as much research into the TOEFL as you can, and determine what is required of you while you’re taking the test. A public library or an online support group can help you get ready. Some materials are free online, including sample tests, questions, and skill-building exercises. You may also want to join a study group. Such groups can found by posting inquiries on social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. If you need more help you can hire a tutor. Each section of the test is scored equally, so don’t overemphasize any particular section when you study. If you have trouble understanding any of the sections, you should spend a little more time on that area, but don’t neglect the other three.

Taking the TOEFL

When the time comes to actually take the test, you should do well, providing you took the time to prepare for it, and studied hard. Make sure you arrive at the test site a little early so you won’t be rushed at the last minute. You should also be sure and get a good night’s sleep so you are well rested. Don’t take a cell phone or computer into the test room--all the materials that are needed for the test will be supplied for you. Take your time during the exam, but don’t linger over any particular question. Try and remain calm, and pace yourself.

Guest post from Taylor Harris. Taylor writes about online schools for


Ronaldo Lima, Jr. said...

Thanks for sharing this description and intial tips for the TOEFL exam, Karen. I'm sire many students will benefit from it!

Alex said...

check out: Vocabulary Builder

Alex said...

Great post! There is a method to remember up to 100 words per day which I use personally - use flashcards. Flashcards are always with me - in queue, bus, shop. To build cards I use Accelebrain

readingcare said...


I love this type of blog very much it will really helpful for having good score in TOEFL reading practice tests and TOEFL listening practice tests.

Keep it on with this type of post.

Priya Mathur said...

nice post..thank you for sharing this information and tips about TOEFL with us.