Tips for Studying the TOEFL

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    Practice makes perfect. This goes with any test and the TOEFL English proficiency exam is no exception. You may not get a perfect score but try for the best score you could possibly attain in limited study time. Before studying, take a practice test to determine your initial skills.

    Research the scores needed for each school

    Find out the minimum accepted scores for your target schools. Plan your study schedule and commit to it. Then gather the needed materials and the support system required to attain your desired “ideal” score. This score is probably higher than the minimum accepted scores by those target schools. Dream big but remember to be realistic. There are many other schools that accept students on a conditional offer that you attend English courses during the summer or even allow you to retake the TOEFL before the school year starts.

    Support system

    Studying for exams can be arduous and stressful. Building a support system of your family, friends and study group can make the process much easier. A study buddy forces you to commit to your schedule, and you can also help each other study. Furthermore, realizing your limitations and seeking help from professional English exam tutors could also increase your chances of reaching your ideal score.

    Practice makes perfect

    Use English in your daily life with friends and family to familiarize yourself with the speaking section. You should always try to practice speaking alone out loud. Everyday try to read international news such as those on CNN, the Times and other respectable news sites. Getting accustomed to reading everyday will also make you read faster. Make sure while reading to go back and question yourself that you have understood those topics clearly. While reading try to also build your vocabulary and look up for the definitions of words you do not understand.

    Similarly, listening skills can be developed at the same time as speaking skills. Try listening to native speakers on YouTube, television shows, and movies. While listening try to focus on the main ideas, purpose, transition words and intonations. These same techniques apply to the TOEFL test as well. Writing also requires a lot of practice. Try writing a journal every day in English and always check your grammar and spelling. Practice with timed writing as part of your study schedule.

    When you are ready, take the timed practice tests again to measure your progress from the first practice test. ETS provides free practice tests and TOEFL Practice tests online are the only official practice tests that allow for the real experience of the TOEFL iBT. You may want to take advantage of these free practice tests and practice sets available online. The TOEFL Practice Online may be very useful because it is most like the real TOEFL iBT test. While taking practice tests, try to set the environment to be as much like the actual test center as possible.

    Practice does make perfect so remember to be consistent and committed to your study abroad plans. With that in mind, you will certainly accomplish the ideal TOEFL  score and be admitted to your dream school.

    Section Time Limit Questions Tasks 
    Reading 54–72 minutes 30–40 questions Read passages and respond to questions
    Listening 41–57 minutes 28–39 questions Answer questions about brief lectures or classroom discussions
    Break 10 minutes
    Speaking 17 minutes 4 tasks Talk about a familiar topic and discuss material you read and listened to
    Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Read a passage, listen to a recording, type your response


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