20 tips for passing the TOEFL

1. Familiarize yourself with the TOEFL format

Most countries now offer the TOEFL computer format (iBT), and only paper (PBT) remains in only a few. Find out which test you will take before you start preparing for the TOEFL. You will not be able to take the test on paper if in your country it is conducted only in computer format. One of the reasons why people worry before an exam is that they don’t know what to expect. To avoid this, study the format of the test in detail – the ETS service has developed clear standards. No wonder this exam is called “standardized”.

 2. Review the TOEFL Requirements

The TOEFL exam is mandatory for all students who are not native English speakers and plan to receive postgraduate education in the United States. Most TOEFL are needed to apply to a particular business school. Before you start preparing, find out what the admissions committee’s requirements are. Please note that the paper and computer scores are different. Some schools require results of only specific sections. Each section of iBT is rated at 30 points. Usually, students get a higher grade for the written part than for the oral part. TOEFL results are valid for two years.

 3. Learn Academic English

 The TOEFL serves a different purpose than the rest of the English as a Foreign Language exams. It determines how successful you are at a U.S. university or college, as well as a number of other English-speaking countries. To get a high result, you do not need to understand business issues, as in the TOEIC exam. Instead, you should focus on learning the language you will hear in the classroom and on campus. In other words, read textbooks, encyclopedias, scientific journals, and research articles, not ads and reviews. Although you do not need additional information on the subjects, you should get used to the manner of presentation and language. Also, watch TV and modern movies.

 4. Solve practice tests

The best way to prepare for the TOEFL is to take practice tests. If you are attending a prep class, your teacher will provide you with a wealth of useful materials. If you are preparing for the TOEFL on your own, purchase a few basic benefits. Find a tutorial with exercises, vocabulary, practice tests, CDs, and answer keys with explanations. It is not necessary to work with the book from beginning to end, start with the sections that cause you the most difficulties. But do not trust the textbook too much – it can be much easier than the exam itself, so look for examples of tasks on the Internet.

 5. Find a Mentor

A native English teacher who knows a lot about TOEFL is a great help that a student can only dream of. You will have many questions that you will not find the answer to in the tutorial. Confused students often give up. It is very important that you find someone who answers questions and encourages you. If you can’t afford a tutor, find a student who has been preparing for this test. Sometimes other students can give great advice and answer questions. In addition, you yourself will help them, and teaching another person is a great way to learn yourself. If you have a Twitter page, search for “TOEFL”. So you will find teachers and students to subscribe to, and then – exchange contacts, support each other and advise where to find free practical tests.

6. Develop endurance

The TOEFL has been going on for quite some time. The exam in paper format takes about 2.5 hours, and in computer – as much as 4. Many students’ attention dissipates after two hours. This is the maximum duration of most classes, and then the indicators begin to decrease. If classes last an hour or two, then your brain will not be ready for four hours of work. Therefore, gradually increase the preparation time. Before the exam, you need to get enough sleep – you can’t afford to be tired.

 7. Be prepared

If you arrive at the test center, taking with you everything you need, you will feel calm and prepared. When you’re nervous, your memory works worse. Find out in advance how to get to the test center and where to park the car. If you take the test in paper format, you should have a few pencils, a sharpener, and soft erasers. Make sure your ID is valid. Do not forget the papers confirming the registration that you received from ETS.

 8. Don’t Rush

Arrive at the test centre at least 30 minutes before the start. Put on your wristwatch. If you take a paper version of the test, not all exam rooms have a clock. And in the computer version, the time is shown on the screen, however, the clock will help you not to be late! Keep track of the time. Many students do not pass the TOEFL well because they take too long to solve complex tasks and do not have time to finish. There is no break between the reading and listening sections. A ten-minute respite is given after the first half of the test, before the oral section. You will not have much time to write an essay, while you need to have time to make a plan and check what you have written.

 9. Develop typing skills

You will have to fill out the answers on the computer and type the essay. If you’re typing with two fingers, try to improve your skills before taking the TOEFL. You should be confident in typing on a QWERTY keyboard layout – practical typing tips can be found online. Even if you’re typing fast, take a few hands-on tests on your computer. Some students get so used to their computers that they get nervous when they have to work on a different keyboard and press the wrong buttons.

 10. Learn to take notes

By passing the TOEFL iBT, you can make notes for each section. In addition, this is an important skill that you will need in a university or college class. During the preparation, write out the main idea and the main details. Practice all day listening to the news, reading websites and watching TV. Develop your abbreviations for commonly used words and expressions.

11. Answer every question

Don’t leave blank answers. It is better to remove all the obviously wrong options and make a balanced assumption. Then you are 25% likely to be able to answer correctly. When you’re done with a section or question, try not to think about it anymore and focus on the next assignment.

12. Secrets of the “Reading” section

THE TOEFL iBT no longer tests grammar, but you do need to demonstrate knowledge of grammar in the speaking and writing sections. It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with basic academic vocabulary – read textbooks. You don’t have to understand every word in a piece of text to answer a question. Learn to read without a dictionary. First, briefly read the passage and questions, and then go back to the text, to read in more detail. Questions are usually presented in the order in which they appear in the passage. In advance, familiarize yourself with the types of tasks that are found in this section: often there are questions related to the main thought, and tasks for vocabulary. Also, you will be asked questions about the details of the text and asked to draw a conclusion. And you won’t have time to re-read the entire passage.

13. Secrets of the “Listening” section

When preparing for the listening section, do not play the tape or disc more than once. Only one attempt is given in the exam, so learn to hear everything the first time. Do not return to the question that has already been answered – you will not be able to change anything. Learn to catch by ear the main idea, the way of presentation (comparison, contrast, etc.) and key details.

14. Secrets of the section “Oral speech”

Before answering, you can collect your thoughts for a couple of seconds. However, try to make your answer take the maximum allotted time. If you have a few seconds left, you can briefly summarize your speech. For poor pronunciation, points are removed, so try to avoid long words, the transcription of which you do not know. You will also lose points for misuse of words and expressions.

15. Secrets of the “Letter” section

In the first part of the written section, you will have to make connections, so memorize expressions from practice tests. Try to write simply and clearly. You will not be able to check spelling and punctuation, so do not use words and punctuation marks in which you are not sure. Be sure to make an essay plan before you start writing – it will save you time in the future. When preparing for a TOEFL essay. , find the most convenient format for yourself and stick to it. For example, you always formulate a thesis in the third sentence of the introduction or conclude with a question. Use many examples to justify your point. Your essay will become smoother thanks to the word-bundles, so remember them in a list and learn how to type quickly. Leave time to re-read what you have written.


16. Develop all 4 skills

Some make the mistake of taking the test too early. Perhaps your reading, listening and writing skills have already reached the desired level, and you still need to work on oral speech. If you do not show yourself well in this section, you will have to retake the entire exam. You can’t retake just one partition.

17. Dress comfortably

Dress so that you are comfortable on the exam and you can take something off or throw something, because you can not predict whether it will be cold or warm in the exam room. Wear your favorite shirt. When you’re comfortable, your numbers are higher! Do not wear tight clothes – you will have to sit in one place for a long time. At the same time, try to look as good as possible. In other words, dress up for success!

18. Be sure to eat before the test

Four hours is a long time, and you will not have the opportunity to have a snack. Food or drinks are not allowed in the examination room. Eat thoroughly before the exam. Do not abuse caffeine, otherwise you will be shaken. Do not eat too much sugar before the dough, otherwise you will quickly get tired. You should have enough water (but not enough to waste precious time in the restroom).

19. Visit the official TOEFL website

The official TOEFL website (www.toefl.com) provides useful materials that can be downloaded for free. You’ll read a list of essay topics, find important information about test centers and updates, learn answers to many questions, and get advice on useful resources and manuals.

20. Reward Yourself

By taking the TOEFL exam , reward yourself for all the time and effort you’ve devoted to learning a foreign language! Give yourself something or go somewhere in the evening. No matter how successfully you pass the exam, you deserve a reward. Write down what it will be like before you go to take the test. It’s always a good idea to look forward to something.

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