How to Prepare for TOEFL Exam

TOEFL stands for Test of English as Foreign Language. It is to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers who wish to study in American universities. The easiest way to register for the TOEFL exam is by logging on the official website where all steps are properly explained and students can take the test as per the schedule provided on the website.

Format of TOEFL

This is offered in two formats, paper-based test and internet based which is more predominantly used. It is a 4-hour test with a 10-minute break and consists of four sections. Namely, Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

The Reading Section comprises of a passage based on which 36 – 56 questions are to be answered. The Listening Section is where students are made to listen to a lecture, classroom discussion or conversation and answer the question based on that. Students are supposed to speak on a topic in the speaking section. Writing section is where they are supposed to write on a specific topic given, which is generally linked to the reading and listening sections.


Each section is for 30 marks, total for all tests comes up to 120. It is imperative to understand that every section needs to be completed and every question needs to be attempted. This scoring is of a basic pattern and not attempting one question loses one whole marking and effects the whole score.

Improve your English

Read quality English books and listen to lectures, read newspapers, listen to radio broadcasts, podcasts and interviews. Make dictionary, encyclopedia and thesaurus your best friend. Learn idioms and try to use them in sentences. Talk to people and ask for feedback. Correct your English grammar and try as much as you can to improve your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. This also helps in personality development.

Practice Tests and Preparation Classes

As any exam requires, start looking at sample papers for your reference as well as practice them over and over again until you can see improvement in yourself. Practice real-time tests and give yourself the whole experience that will in turn prepare you for the actual test. If there are any prep classes going on close to you, take them! You never know what you might learn and find useful.

Buy TOEFL Help Books

Purchase a known book to get better at your TOEFL skills. The most common book is “The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test” and also do your research online for books of similar kind.

Online Research

A lot of people who have appeared for TOEFL and many others share their experiences and tips to study for the TOEFL. While it’s easy to get sidetracked by other articles, stick to what you will need to know and what will help you take the test better.

Get Familiar with Questions

Try to set a pattern for which questions or sections you are good at and try to work on ones you need improvement. Type of questions need specific answers and learn to master the art of answering to the point and thorough. Pay attention to detail in certain sections and amp up your attention and awareness in others that require you to do so.

Preparation Time

Give yourself enough time to get familiar with and prepare thoroughly for this test. As much as you can, try not to pressure yourself with the burden of last minute preparations. This test is valid and quite regularly conducted. Be sure to check the TOEFL website regularly to stay up-to-date with necessary information.

Formulate a Strategy

Draw up a pattern and carefully assembled strategy to help you study better and give an excellent test. Try not to over achieve nor prepare for the modest best. Attempt each question and do not leave it unanswered. Try to divide your time carefully through the questions and try not to waste unnecessary time in detailed and long-drawn answers. Work smart and swift. Notice if questions have a pattern and try to read questions in your head so that you can better formulate an answer.


There’s no point getting over your head about this test, give it your best and approach this with a calm mind. Stress can lead to anxiety and apprehension. Have a mini-TOEFL-after-party and treat yourself!

karthikeya Boyini
karthikeya Boyini

I love programming (: That's all I know

Updated on: 20-Jan-2020


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