A Three-Week TOEFL Study Plan

by on May 11th, 2010

TOEFLIf you’re a non-native English speaker, then you have two testing hurdles to overcome when applying to business school. The first and most challenging of the two is the verbal section of the GMAT. This section tests your knowledge of English grammar, style usage, reading skills, and analytical abilities.

Second, if English is not your first language, you will also need to supply an additional proof of your language ability and take a general English test.

This English test requirement for business school is often fulfilled by candidates by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Note that this test is not the only one available on the market; you can also choose the Cambridge Certificates, IELTS or PTE. However, from my personal experience and research, your best bet would be to go for the TOEFL because of several reasons:

  • It is accepted by most of the world’s universities
  • It is among the easiest of the lot, which means you can schedule less study time for this test and focus on other aspects of your application
  • A TOEFL testing center is probably not too far from you, no matter where you live, because of its popularity in higher education institutions
  • Most testing centers will offer a wide range of dates you can choose from to fit your application plan
  • The results are sent to you quickly, in about two weeks

The TOEFL can be taken in two formats: internet-based test (iBT) or paper-based test (PBT). The internet-based format was introduced in 2005 and has gradually replaced other forms of TOEFL testing (a computer-based version was also on the market for some time). Consequently, there’s a good chance you’ll be taking the TOEFL on a computer.

Before I start detailing the various components of the TOEFL and methods to approach them, you should remember one thing: the TOEFL is not like the GMAT, where a higher score can boost your chances for being admitted. If you score above a certain cutoff value (which varies from school to school, so look it up on official websites), then how much higher you score above a cutoff does not make a material difference to your candidacy. Generally though, most schools will be happy with a score above 100 (out of 120), with only the most competitive schools requesting a score of above 110 (for instance, Harvard Business School has this requirement).

First Three Days: Research the Test

Your first steps would be to understand how the TOEFL works and what is expected of you. You’ll find plenty of information on ets.org, the official website of this test. Some basic information you should know: the TOEFL contains four sections, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing, and each section is graded on a scale of 1 through 30. A total score is obtained by simply adding together each section score.

You should also use the ets.org site to register for the test. It’s also advisable to choose the schools you are sending scores to right now, since you are not allowed to do this on your test day (as is the case with the GMAT).

In these first three days, try to buy or order the Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT. For most test takers, this book (together with the PowerPrep software on ets.org – but be warned, it has a few bugs) is sufficient, since it contains a reasonable amount of practice and explanations for the various question types on the TOEFL. However, this book will not be enough on its own if your knowledge of English is not already at a proficient level. This is because the Official Guide does not supply grammar rules or vocabulary exercises. Its contents are devised to be enough if you simply need to familiarize yourself with the structure of the test, not to learn English from scratch. If you do find yourself struggling with grammar, then you should probably extend this plan by including a solid grammar review, such as the ones edited by Longman, Oxford or other reputed publishers.

Days 4 to 7: Reading

The next four days should include studying for the Reading part of the test. This section contains passages with questions that test your understanding of the text and the strength of your vocabulary. These questions are however markedly easier than those on the GMAT and will not prove to be a significant challenge to anyone who is comfortable with reading in English. The fact that the questions are also ordered to the flow of the passage makes it even easier for you to pick the correct answer.

In the days you have scheduled to prep for reading, you should read and practice with the corresponding section in the Official Guide. It is also highly recommended to read texts in English to simply train your eye for the structure of passages dealing with a variety of topics. Major media outlets (like the New York Times) and science magazines are good sources of such material and they also cover topics that could pop up on test day.

Days 8 to 11: Listening

Next it’s time to tackle the listening part of the TOEFL. Again, use the samples provided by the Official Guide to understand what you are required to do. You will hear a few passages, lectures or discussions, and will be asked to answer some questions on what you’ve heard. Personally, I’ve found most passages on this test to be quite engaging and interesting. They also have a pretty clear structure and the speaker’s train of thought is easy to follow.

Besides practicing with TOEFL-specific material, it’s also a good idea to tune into some televised shows in English or to browse the online library of sites such as cnn.com. You’ll find high quality debates or presentations on a number of issues to help you get accustomed to hearing all-English segments.

Days 12 to 15: Speaking

The Speaking section of the TOEFL is probably the most challenging in the whole test. There are two main reasons for this.

First, many test takers report at least some interference because of the fact that you are speaking into a microphone and so too are the other people who taking the test in the same room. Because students are nervous and try to come across as having strong opinions, they tend to speak unnecessarily loud, which could be quite disruptive if you’re not used to “zoning out” and focusing 100% of your attention on your own tasks.

The second reason for troubles in the Speaking part is the fact that your preparation time and effective speaking time are quite limited. I found it extremely difficult to formulate a well-thought answer in just 15 seconds, for instance, and to deliver it within 45 seconds. This is why practicing with a timer at home is essential. Read the instructions in the Official Guide carefully.  Also, have someone with a relatively strong knowledge of English listen to you while you speak and request their opinion of your performance. Another option would be to record yourself and then do a self evaluation.

One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer you with regards to Speaking would be to try as much as possible to use connectors in your answer. For every question, be sure to insert words such as “first”, “second”, “as a result” or “to conclude”. These words signal your grasp of English and your ability to create a structured and reasoned answer.

Days 16 to 19: Writing

The Writing section of this test is, unfortunately, insufficiently covered in the Official Guide. The book only provides a few samples, without any clear pointers on the appropriate design for an answer. As a side note, the samples they list are also pretty weak in terms of style and vocabulary. The Official Guide does provide a list of possible essay topics that you can use to practice. Again, use this list and have someone rate your essays.

To help you prepare for your Writing tasks, I’ve put together a list of tips and templates. You can check them out here. The main takeaway is to devise your answers using much of the same connectors as in the Speaking section. Also, each idea should be covered in a separate paragraph, following a structured plan that emphasizes the link between different parts of your reasoning.

Eve of the Test: Relax

On the day before your test, try to avoid any challenging material and just go for a light read in English or watch a few news segments. Do try to rest, because the TOEFL is a long and demanding experience. You should also bring some snacks and water with you to the testing facility to boost your energy in the break between Listening and Speaking.

On the big day, remember to be confident in formulating your opinions (whether spoken or written) and to double check any answers in Reading and Listening that you’re not 100% sure of. The TOEFL does have this option, since it is not an adaptive test like the GMAT.

Once you’re done, do share your experience on our forums!

168 comments

  • Hi Dana,

    what was your strategy for the reading section? The passages are long and boring. Did you read the whole passage and answer the questions or did you just go to the questions and read the corresponding paragraphs. I am told to take it again because my score was 93 and reading was the lowest 20. But, mostly because I found it very difficult to concentrate as the guy next to me has technical problem and they were talking and whispering to fix the issue. I could have asked them to stop but I was playing it nice and I end up paying the price.

    I was luck on the speaking part because I had 5 readings and by the time I get to speak others were already on the writing.

    I would love to hear your writing strategy.

    Thanks

  • I actually read the whole passage before going for each question. There are two main reasons for this:
    - the text are pretty well written (not to be mistaken with "entertaining", although I personally did like them) and you can see the flow of ideas quite easily by following the connectors: because, since, moreover and the likes. This overarching structure of the passage helps you better understand it as a whole and therefore it makes it easier for you to answer questions
    - the final question will inevitably be about the passage as a whole, so you really need to have a pretty good grasp of the thing to answer it
    In the end though, I've definitely heard some of my friends saying that reading each piece at a time worked best for them. What's the most efficient strategy for you then? I honestly don't know, but there's a simple way to find out: do two texts using each of the strategies and see when you performed better. As I've said, I personally believe that reading the whole thing first and then moving on is better.
    For writing tips and templates:
    http://www.beatthegmat.com/writing-tips-templates-t51509.html

    You can also read more debriefs (including my own) here:

    http://www.beatthegmat.com/english-language-tests-f58.html

    Enjoy!

  • hi,actualy im preparing foe toefl and i have only 20 days to prepare it.can u get me a proper schedule for preparing???

  • Hi raman,

    Well the plan outlined in this article is pretty solid, I think! You should probably go with the points mentioned above, especially since you have around 3 weeks to prep. Don't forget to base your prep around the Official Guide and try to stay focused in the exam!

    • I found it ,official guide is the best but cracking the toefl IBT book also good

    • Greetings, Ms. Dana !
      First of all, the above study plans are really comprehensive and fun-to-read (and do) as well ! By the way, I'm planning to take TOEFL on my 18th birthday (Dec. 15th). So I'm thinking of using the study plan to "ace" it, to follow my mommie's footsteps who aced it back in 2002 - and wish me luck :) !

      Please keep writing ! May luck and successfulness be with you, Ms. Dana...

      Best regards - Ivan

    • Thank you for your kind note, Ivan! Best of luck with prepping for the test!

  • Hi Dana,

    I am proficient in the English language. Please tell me if the Official Guide is enough.
    Can you suggest if Kaplan's guides for TOEFL are good or not?

    Also for GMAT is it okay if I stick to OG 12 only? Or I should practise from more books?

    Awaiting your response. Thanks.

  • For the TOEFL, you'll likely not need anything else except the TOEFL OG. I have not personally used Kaplan's TOEFL guide and have heard mixed reviews about them from friends, so I can't really say if it's good or not.
    The GMAT is different however and you'll definitely need more than the OG 12. You can check out some study guides here (they also have lists of books): http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/how-to-get-a-700-on-the-gmat, or you could register for our 60-day daily study guide: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-guide

  • Hello Dana,

    Before anything, thank you for the article. I also have about 20 days to prepare for the TOEFL. How many hours of studying would you recommend per day?

    Thanks!

  • I'd say not too many - maybe 1 or 2? It's really not that hard - you just need to get familiarized with the format of the test.

  • Hey Dana,
    Thanks very much for the useful timeline..
    I am currently preparing a book on TOEFL in Kurdish, which is my native language. I would like to get some benefitial resources from you on the TOEFL techniques and strategies.

    Many thanks,

    Dana
    Iraq-Kurdistan

  • Go with the Official Guide for the TOEFL. Also, check out our forum for the TOEFL, I've posted my own experience with it and a thread with tips and templates for the writing!
    http://www.beatthegmat.com/english-language-tests-f58.html

  • Hello Dana! Thanks for tips. I previously commented on the article. I took the TOEFL on the 28th. I got a 109. :)

  • Hi Chase! Congrats, that's an awesome score! Glad I helped even just a tiny bit!

  • Hahaha.
    I studied for TOEFL in a week and got 118.

    I don't even know why I had to take this stupid test, my English is exponentially superior to that of my peers in my high school....

    I guess because I used to live in India ?

  • Hi DanaJ,

    Thanks for the wonderful insight into the TOEFL preparation. My test is in 5 days and can you please suggest how to tackle the listening section. I tend to write a lot of details which I hear and sometime lose focus in the context and miss some details from which later questions are asked.

    Moreover if I follow the AWA writing templates in the writing section (task 2) is it good enough? I have got 5.5 in AWA and 740 in GMAT, but it was a few months back. Would greatly appreciate your response.

    regards,
    MBA22

  • Hey MBA22,
    Unfortunately my listening score was the lowest of the four (27) and I prepared too little for it, but you can read my test day debrief and maybe it helps: http://www.beatthegmat.com/my-toefl-ibt-117-120-t51448.html
    For writing, there are some templates I've come up with. I've received really positive feedback on them, so if you're interested check them out here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/writing-tips-templates-t51509.html

  • Thanks a lot for your response Dana J.

    But I was asking advice for listening and comprehension section (where you aced 30), not the speaking section(in which I believe you got 27). 

    By the way, went through your templates and they were great. Any other way to start the essay other than the creative way you started? (in case I do not have enough info as u did)..

  • Ah sorry I wasn't paying attention. For listening I didn't really take too many notes simply because in general, they won't ask you too detailed questions about stuff. They'll usually ask the general things you heard of and maybe if there's some sort of classification of objects, they'll ask what that was (I got something with bird feathers on test day). The point is to use shortcuts in your notes. Don't write entire words, but make your own shortcuts that you only need to use for a few minutes. For instance, say Dana is talking to Andrew about something. You should write D and A instead of the names.

  • hi DanaJ thank you to share us your succes, for me my score was 73 and I need it to 110 in 50 days, please can you give me any advice or how to improve my skill, it will very great from you

    my lesening 18 seaking 20 reading 17 and writting 18

    with all regards

  • Hmm... Your writing indicates that your knowledge of English is not that good. I advise you to read stuff in English every day, but also try to listen to people speaking in English every day. Use CNN.com for both as a starting point, they have some awesome videos and articles. For writing, check out this thread where I posted some writing templates: http://www.beatthegmat.com/writing-tips-templates-t51509.html
    Unfortunately though, you need to work on this a lot. Your score is quite low and you're looking for an almost 40 point improvement in less than 2 months, which I am not sure you can achieve. English skills take time to develop, but I guess you can give it a shot. The TOEFL really isn't about learning stuff by heart, but truly knowing how to use the language.

  • hi dana, thank you for this job,
    I have reading 18
       lestining 21
    speaking 20
    writing 20 all is 78
    and I need 100 please can you give me any advice I still have 20 days does it enough 

    thank you again

  • Hi,Dana I 've to complete a science project and write SAT II and Toefl within 35 days.I need tips on how to manage this situation .

  • @rayan: you need to work on your general English first. Reading is obviously a problem, so start reading materials in English every day. I recommend well known news sources, such as cnn.com or The Economist or WSJ. I also advise you to practice listening by watching news in English. Then you can use the Official Guide to the TOEFL to practice specifically for the test.
    @Olabomi: Unfortunately I don't know anything about the SAT II, so can't help with that. The TOEFL isn't a difficult test and I believe most people need only the Official Guide to the TOEFL to succeed. In case your English is a bit rusty though, I strongly advise you to expose yourself to it: read and listen to news in English, it's a good start.

  • Hey Dana,
    Hope you are fine. Can you help me to improve my listening and speaking skill? I would like to talk to you on different topics and need your rating on those. I live in GMT+6 so let me know your convenient time if possible, I wil manage my time. Thanks. Take Care!

  • Hi Suman,
    Sorry but unfortunately I am extremely busy right now. Next week will be a little bit crazy! We've got so many events going on on BTG... It's still a good idea to practice though and for listening you can try checking out cnn.com for some nice videos.

  • Hey Dana,
    Pretty nice to see you helping people out here with their problems. keep it up. Well, I'm in a pretty confusing situation right now, I thought of taking the TOEFL in Jan first but to my bitter luck, all the dates have been booked :-( , However, there's a date on 17th Dec and 'm planning to take it, but I don't even know the basics of TOEFL, I took a practice test this morning to rate myself as to where I stand and I got Reading 26 and Listening 26 as for speaking, I had few problems and for writing I can manage,(they didn't provide me scores for this), so tell me what am I supposed to do? should I move ahead and book the slot or just book it in Feb? I thought of doing it in the earliest as Feb will be pretty late for application procedure. Help me!
    Thanks again in advance Dana, for your help. Hope you see your comment soon.
    Take care.

  • Actually I didn't study that much for the TOEFL, so I think it's doable in the three weeks you have ahead of you, given that your reading and listening scores are already pretty good. You need to practice a bit using the Official Guide to the TOEFL and see how it goes. I've also put together some writing templates that have been successfully used by myself and others: http://www.beatthegmat.com/writing-tips-templates-t51509.html
    If you want to learn more about my experience, check out my story: http://www.beatthegmat.com/my-toefl-ibt-117-120-t51448.html

  • WOW, that was pretty quick, I gotta smile on my face. anyway, i downloaded this practice tests online, it contains around 20 tests, a lot of pdf and audio files.. should I go through it or official guide is just enough. What I have noticed during this practice test, in the listening section, one must be pretty quick on taking notes-does the official guide helps in this? how to take notes and stuffs? and also if you can just post me some links on the speaking part, its much appreciative.

    thanks.

  • I don't really know which practice tests you are talking about, so I can't say if the stuff you've downloaded is useful or not. I'd say tackle the official guide first and see how you stand afterwards. If you feel the need for more practice, then use whatever else you have available.
    For the listening part, I usually took a lot of notes, but never used them. The official guide doesn't really help that much with it, but I guess it's more about figuring out a system of abbreviations so that you're fast enough (for instance, use --> to indicate causality). Unfortunately I don't have any resources on the speaking part, but I do advise you to practice it quite a bit!

    • Thanks Dana for a such an informative reply. I'm sorry for my childish questions but I really can't help asking you as I have no one to guide me, Hope you do understand. Well, for the listening part, do you have or know any assistance that would evaluate my speaking as I have been practicing my speech for quite a while since this morning, though I can evaluate myself but I really need someone to point my minuses. I know its quite hard but do you guys offer this assistance? and also, for reading part-- do I really need to know the English in depth or I can evaluate the meaning from the context of the paragraph. any tips on how to keep cool on the 'D' day coz my heart starts pumping rapidly when I'm in that situation. one final 'Q'- I have done this practice test this morning like I said and scored pretty good but will the TOEFL test be same or how hard will it be when compared to ordinary practice tests?
      Thanks again!

  • Hey Momin, really sorry but I can't help evaluate your speech right now. We're actually supposed to be on vacation (it was Thanksgiving yesterday), but I guess I keep checking my email for some reason :) A friend who knows better English than you do would really be of use right now. Or maybe there are TOEFL prep groups in your area? I'd do some online searches to see if that sort of help is available.
    For reading, you do need to know English well, but not to the point where you could write a novel or anything like that. Most of the time the answer to a question is right in the passage or can be deduced from the context.
    Keeping cool is all about realizing that this test is only something small in the grand scheme of things. You can always retake if necessary. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, because a the end of the day the TOEFL is just one very small part of your application.
    I can say that the TOEFL is similar to the practice tests you find in the official guide. I'm not sure what practice test you used though!

    • Hi Dana, the book and the practice test that I am in to, its ' The complete guide to the TOEFL test ' by BRUCE ROGERS, any idea on how fair this book/test is? and yeah, thanks a ton for the evaluating part. Do you mind if I keep updating you about my prep for TOEFL? perhaps, you can help me take the right steps, I can use a expert like you!

  • I've never used that book, so I can't comment on it. However, I'd check out the amazon.com reviews for it to see if it's good or not, that usually helps with figuring out the level of a book!
    In terms of updating me, that's OK, but please limit your messages. I do not have the time to answer to 4-5 messages a day from only one person. That's the sort of thing you pay tutors good money for! :)

    • yeah, thanks Dana.

  • Hi dana.Thanq for the useful information u share.My toefl score is 71.I have planned to retake the test and I have one month time.Please help me out to score atleast 90.

    Thanx in advance.waiting for u r reply....

  • Hey reddy, just follow the guide I listed above, it should be enough to help you increase your score. I also highly recommend exposing yourself to English every day, by reading and listening to the news for at least 30 minutes. That way you'll improve your base knowledge of the language.

  • hello dana,

    two question if you dont minde plz...do you have like a timetable for the sections, or what do you recommend...

    other question.. of what do you make notes in the listening section?

    thank you majorly for your help sir.

    regards,
    wartaal

  • Sorry I don't understand what you mean by timetable. I can't remember how long each of these sections takes, I took the TOEFL a long time ago. I always took notes for listening though, but I rarely ever needed to use them.

  • thank you very much for your reply dana.
    For the gmat i used a timetable for the verbal part...like i used 2 minutes for every question...do you have advice how much to spend on each question in order not to run out of time?

  • Wish I could help, but in all honesty I don't remember. Check out the TOEFL official guide for info on how long each section is and how many questions you'll get. I personally had plenty of time for reading and listening, but was under severe time pressure for speaking, where you need to prepare your answer in 30 seconds and then say it in less than a minute!

  • I want to get the software of TOEFL iBT Conqueror Suit 2.0.8.3 FULVERSION as free download. anybody may help me?

  • Hi Dana, Thank you very much for the articles and all of the answer. That's a lot of work. So my score was 64 in last April. I want to improve it at least 80. What do you think about how long time I need to reach my goal and how many ours I need. As you suggested I will read and listen every day.

  • I would say you need about 1.5-2 months of improving your English before you take the TOEFL again. English isn't easy to learn, it takes time!

  • hey dana,
            got ma toefl score ,its 73.should i take up a re-test?i kno its bad :( r is dr anythin dt i can do with the same score.

  • You see, the way you write indicates that there is a deeper issue with the way you approach English. With a 73, it will be difficult to get accepted to most schools. I feel that you need to work on your general knowledge of English before you re-start studying for the test. Take time with a basic grammar book and read things in English every day for a couple of months, it should help. Language skills can't be improved over night, it's a long process that takes continuous engagement.

  • Hi Dana,
    I took ToEFL about 7 times and my scores average about 104, but all I need is at-least 26 in speaking section. I do not know if I prepare well or not at all, my score stays 24 everytime. I tried hundreds for strategies, but no luck. Any advice or guidance from you. thanks

  • I would really recommend checking out a tutor for this one. The problem with speaking is that you need to have someone better than you listen to what you say and give you comments.

  • Hey Dana , Just want to thank you for your writing templates. It helped me score a 29 in the writing section of the TOEFL. :D My overall score (107 R-25, L:24, S:29, W:29 )

  • Hello Dana, i really need help on improving my score for Ibt toefl. Currently, i have a score of 94 ( Reading 23, Listening 23, Speaking 24, Writing 24 ) , is it possible to lift my score up above the 100 range, but i have SAT I coming up this December. So that leaves me about 1 month to study. For writing i aced the integrated task but unfortunately stay off topic on the person essay.

  • Hi! Here's my list of tips and templates for writing: http://www.beatthegmat.com/writing-tips-templates-t51509.html

  • I would also love to hear whether this mark is enough to apply to ivy league colleges. Do you even think i should reanswer the TOEFL exam again?

  • I think it really depends on each school. Most publish a minimum required score. However, most elite schools require above 100, I believe.

    • Thanks for the advice. I guess most of the school i want to go to mostly accept a tofel ibt score of 94.

  •  I read all your answers and everything seems to be so easy, but I'm afraid I'm not so confident like you. I tried to take the TOEFL exam twice, and the second time came after 6 weeks. Here you have my grades:
    1. R-11, L-19, S-15, W-18 = 63
    2. R-20, L-17, S-19, W-12 = 68
    I need a minimum 80 till the end of the year. What can I do?

  • Reading is the easiest to improve upon, I believe. If I were you, I would start reading things in English every day for at least 30 mins. If you can lock in a 25, it's already a solid one. Then you can also improve your writing - please see above posts linking to my writing templates. I recommend going over them a few times and trying your hand at a few essays. Listening can also be improved if you take your time to follow English language high quality programming - like CNN News. Here's the thing that makes it a bit more difficult though: your English will not improve over night. If you can spend time for at least one month getting yourself exposed to the language for at least one hour per day, you will do better. However, if you just take a practice question book and expect to immediately get better at English, it's likely not going to work.

  • Hi DanaJ

    I just have 1 day to prepare for speaking section as my exam is on 10th Nov. Can u tell me what could be done?? I have somewhat ok power over speaking.. 

  • I would say PRACTICE WITH A TIMER. The Speaking section flies by so fast, you'll miss it if you blink. Ask a friend to help you out on that.

  • Each integrated task in speaking section  would be of what duration? i mean the listening part would be of what duration? 

  • It varies between 30 seconds and a couple of minutes. Sorry going to work, am very busy. I suggest you look this up in your TOEFL official guide.

  • I DO TOEFL IN OCTOBER 2011 I DON'T GET MY RESULT,AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPEN PLS I NEED YOUR REPLY, GARUBA IBRAHIM ISOLA...?

  • Sorry but I can't help, you need to contact ETS or the center where you took the test.

  • I have my first TOEFL test on the 24th November, 2012. I felt prepared but after reading all your posts, I feel nervous, just wish me luck.

  • Relax, watch a movie the night before, don't stress out! Good luck!

  • Such a great post! I've taken TOEFL twice. Once in 2007 and another last month. My scores are excellent! I would like to offer anyone who is looking for help, especially in the area of Speaking section, SKYPE sessions. The sessions are free and are 20 - 30 minutes in length. Please email me at nanbp21@gmail.com to schedule an appointment.

  • Hello !!
    I am Hadeel and I am not native speaker. I am taking the ibt TOEFl in two weeks and I am so afraid because I have taken it before and I got 72.
    I have to get above 80 because of the university that I want to study in.
    Last time the graders told me that I am in intermediate level. I have been studying for 12 weeks since then.
    I want to ask, could I get the needed score??
    I do not know what to do, now I am preparing with Cambridge
    I need help !!!
    I am so scared !!

  • Being nervous never helps. Relax, take a deep breath, and try to collect yourself for this test. I am not sure whether you can get the 80 you are looking for. It seems you've studied quite a bit and the distance between a 72 and an 80 isn't hard to cover, but it all depends on the quality of your study. The instructors you are using at Cambridge should help you. You are paying them for a service, so don't be shy to ask for help.

  • Hi!, can you tell me how many errors you can only make to get a 28 on the reading sections? Thanks in advance! :D

  • It depends, because the scoring is based on what mistakes the people who take the test at the same time as you make. I would say max 3-4 though.

  • Hi Dana,

    The way you guide every individual is so good, Kudos to you!

    I need to have a TOEFL score before may 2013.
    I have no idea of this TOEFL and I need to get a min of 79 iBT.

    I got a score of 70 in BEC (vantage) in 2010,
    I hope with this BEC score you will be able to assess my level.
    Could you please let me know how to start with the preparation, the books which I need to read etc.,

    Also , Please let me know if this iBT can be taken up from our PCs??

    I wish you would help me out!

    Thanks.

  • Sorry but I have not heard of this BEC before, so I can't tell you. The article above contains some suggestions about how to tackle the TOEFL, there isn't much I can say besides that.

  • hi dana,
    i got 87 in my first attempt(s-26,r-18,l-22,w-21)..pls give some suggestions  to raise it to 95+.esp on R and L sections

  • It's all about practice with both. If I were you, I'd spend perhaps 30 mins per day either reading or listening to reports from English news outlets such as CNN or The Economist. In two-three weeks, I am sure your comprehension will improve.

  • Hi Dana

    Official Guide link to amazon.com needs to be updated. 

  • Thanks for the heads up. The article was written more than 2 years ago, some links have changed. I've updated them to the new Amazon page right now.

  • The results for my Toefl Ibt results are out. I scored a 99/120, (24 on 3 sections, 27 on writing.) I must say the templates really helped. Thanks to the suggestions of Dana J :D . I could have done better but sort of screwed up, however, I'm happy with this score.

  • That's great, congrats! Glad to hear it worked out, hope everything goes smoothly with the rest of the process!

  • Hey!

    i recently took the TOEFL ibt and scored 120. Prepared just the day before the exam do was surprised when the score came. I want to know if there is any benefit of getting a 100% on this test? I had taken the GMAT last year and scored 680 (Q:49 , V:34). there my verbal got screwed because some punk shouting in my ears in the last 10 minutes of the test .. so does the TOEFL score makes up in some part for the poor show in GMAT verbal?

    Thanks in advance for taking the time out and replying.

  • I would normally say don't worry about it since the TOEFL will prove you're good with English, but there is an exception: if you are part of an overrepresented group such as Indian or Chinese nationals, then you need your GMAT to be above average. It would be hard to mitigate a 680 in such a case.

  • Great guide and tips, by staying organized and preparing for all the different sections of the TOEFL before taking the test you can avoid having take the test twice. I learned it the hard way.

  • Hi everyone, 
    I read most of the comments and now im really stressing out : all of you are fluent in english, it's your second language, you learnt it when you were small.
    Are there people out there who have learnt english at school only??? seriously i am taking the test in 3 weeks and i just cannot say anything in the speaking section it all goes too quickly my brain doesnt follow up. Btw i am french... HELP

    • Hi lormia...^_^
      believe it or not, I started speaking English seven months ago and a month ago I took the test and I got 26 in speaking. Actually I prepared very well and all you need is practicing and everything will be fine. Just practice as much as you can....
      speaking questions in Complete guide book and Cambridge book are the best.. ^_^
      and the most essential thing is to be calm while speaking and keep it smooth and you will score high...

      Good luck !!

  • Some people have learned it at school only. It probably won't be super easy for you if you haven't practiced it, but try your best to do that in the next weeks. The test itself isn't hard enough to warrant panic!

  • Thanx guys for your comments.

    Hadeel: like, seriously??? seven months ago?? were do you come from??

    I bought the Barrons toefl ibt book and the answers for the speaking section are impressive - there must be about 5 differents ideas everytime in 45 seconds!!!! - are we expected to do that well? i mean, is it the number of ideas that we express that is going to get us a good score? I know it sounds like a stupid question but the whole test does not entirely judge you on your fluency in english - we are also expected to know the US university system. As if that wasn't already enough... :(

  • hi lormia...
    I am from Yemen, but to be honest with you ... I prepared intensively and i also used Barron. Look,, i found Barron is a little bit different from the real test; however, it is helpful ..
    As i said before, the books that i told you about are the best.... this is my opinion ^_^
    Practice from different books and believe me the test will not be hard because you will have practiced different questions and various ideas. ^_^

    wish you good luck^_^

  • Hadeel,
    As long as I go to the test and know how im gonna be eaten, im fine. Will try to find other books but ive got 2 weeks left and i doubt i'll even have finished the Barrons on time. I'll defo let you know! thx for your support :)

  • My toefl score is reading section - 17
    Listening 15
    Speaking 22
    Writing 21
    total 75. how to get more than 100 with in 15 days

  • I see your issues are in the listening and reading sections, not the other two where you need to produce content instead of processing it. I would first wonder whether you're having issues concentrating on a more passive task. If you feel fidgety and restless during the first two sections, that might be something you should work on for the next try: focus. I advise you to allocate an hour a day on reading and listening to high quality materials such as editorials on well known news websites like CNN or BBC. Other than that, some more practice from the Official Guide should help too.

  • Hi Dana

    I did follow your 3 week plan and I have got 109 (R:29 L:30 S:23 W:27) Your observations advice about each section were right on. Personally I did not have to do much practice for reading or listening as I found them to be easy. I had taken GMAT earlier so AWA approach helped in writing section. I found that I had most trouble with Speaking so I did enroll notefull.com Speaking course. I found that this course like most other courses was designed for people who are very weak in English. On the contrary I needed some intermediate level help to polish my speaking skills for which I did not have time to contact Joseph @ Notefull. my bad. But the templates provided website helped me score 23 in Speaking which otherwise might have been horrible. Goal is not to get overwhelmed by section.

    Preparation:

    For reading, listening and writing I relied on 3 tests that come with TOEFL Official book (Courtesy of Public Library). For speaking I did some practice using topics and templates provided by notefull.com. My goal was to be fluent and complete each task on time.

    My Test Day Experience:

    On actual TOEFL I found that all sections were very similar to OG Tests. 

    Reading:

    I did get confused in some reading section questions. I finished reading section with 5 minutes to spare. Review feature in the test is a joke. There was no way to mark a question for review, instead I had to read first line of question to decide if I want to review!! 

    Listening:

    The easiest section but required additional concentration as you cannot listen conversation again :) Also I did take notes as conversations were long and had lot of information. 

    Break:
    During break, I had 2 bites of dark chocolate and water. 

    Speaking:

    During instructions I noted down answer templates for each Task. I tried to follow approach from notefull.com and referred to my template structure but did not stick to it word by word.Speaking went better than my practice except Task 6 where I ran out of time. I was warned about it. 

    Writing:

    I did not face any problem except on Task 2 I ignored time and ran out of time while editing one of the paragraphs. I should have paid more attention to it. But it's water under the bridge. 

    What really mattered was the overall content and fluency of ideas in both speaking and writing. All in all I was happy that I found your article as well as notefull.com

    Future Test Takers:

    Please do not get tensed. Be Calm and work hard. Reading and Listening sections need constant work on your end.The goal for speaking and writing sections is not correctness of your ideas but fluency, continuity of thought and structure. You could even say that "Adolf Hitler is your fav leader" and provide enough reasons to get perfect score. Both in speaking and writing you will get hypothetical questions which you might not have heard before. But the key is to be cohesive, fluent and have a good structure. None of these sections can be miraculously mastered in a week or two. Use online tests to figure out which section needs more attention and work hard on it. Good Luck. 

    Thanks to you and notefull.com I was able to cross 100 mark barrier.

    PS: I have no personal benefit in referring notefull.com. Please check out their free videos on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/NoteFulldotcom) and decide. 

  • Hello! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the good information you could have here on this post. I might be coming again to your blog for more soon.

  • Hello Dana, thanks for the original post. I wrote the TOEFL on Mar 2 and got the results today, got a 117. I am happy about it, as I was applying to a top school that needed a minimum of 100. I had found Dana's post several months ago and had bookmarked it for future reference and about 10 days before the exam date I looked it up again to start my prep. I could only get about a week to prepare for various reasons.

    I am from India, I have several years of work experience, lived in the US for sometime and also attended classes on campus here in the US. While that background information is only for context, I feel from a preparation perspective, all you will need is some exposure to college situations, interactions with friends/colleagues etc. With this background 1-3 weeks is good enough to prepare.

    For writing, just go through Dana's post on templates for Writing, that should be good enough.

    As with others on this forum, I felt the Speaking section needed some work from my side. I used Notefull.com's free resources on youtube and on their site. That should be good enough for most students, unless you have an issue with your English speaking as you are not exposed to scenarios tested on TOEFL or unable to generate content. What helped me the most are the tables & templates for each question that Joseph recommends. I will try and attach my templates some time, but you could just follow the tips Joseph gives you. One thing that I found useful and I would recommend anyone taking the test is, to prepare the template on the scrap paper provided by the test center. Once I entered the testing center (after the initial formalities), I was given a few sheets of scrap paper and then was taken to my computer to start the test, there are a whole set of instructions that take about 10-12 min to listen through and set your microphone and speaker vol etc. If you can do some of this reading earlier (about the test, about sections etc from the Test Prep CD or S/W or online on the ETS site) you can save time. During this time, reproduce all the Templates for the speaking section with sufficient space for notes that you will take when you listen to the Speaking Section. So even before the test has begun, you have 2 scrap sheets filled with templates. The templates even include some starting sentences, say Q1, "In my view/opinion, my ... for a couple of reasons, firstly .... for example ...., secondly, ..... for example ... that's why I believe ..." So when you take notes and also prepare for the speech you are filling in the blanks and while speaking at least 50% of the content can be read out instead of generating new content on the fly, which is where one finds it difficult. Of course, practice by recording your voice and doing a self-assessment according to the rubric provided in OG.

    Final Scores: R 29, L 28, S 30, W30

    Another piece of advice, don't panic if you are doing badly on the recordings or not able to speak meaningfully, use the time well or anything for that matter.... you will do much better when you relax and believe that you will be able to master it. (For a sample of where you stand, listen to the TOEFL iBT official videos on youtube that also contain a sample answer for some questions and how the presenter rates those responses, you will get confidence).

    Also, during the listening section I got distracted for a few seconds asking for additional sheets of paper when the proctor was walking around my desk, I missed a very small portion of the lecture/conversation at that time and as luck would have it, I missed one detail question that was on that specific subject, I had to guess the answer ... so just watch out, don't get distracted. All the best !

  • Thank you so much. I am a senior undergraduate student from Thailand. I took the test on March 2 and I got the score today (March 13). I scored 112/120. That is far too high for me hahah (I only got 87-89 4 years ago before joining college).

    Even though I spent too little time preparing for the test (about a week in total), the post and comments from this page were very very helpful. So, I'm not thanking just Dana, but also everyone here who commented and gave me a lot of ideas on how to prepare for the test day ^^

  • Congrats, Beam! Fantastic score! :)

  • Hello there, You have done a great job. I'll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they'll be benefited from this site.

  • Hi Dana, in the independent writing section, if a question asks for our opinion like 'which one do you prefer', can I write about the pros and cons of both the choices in say two different paragraphs and take a stand when I am concluding the essay? Or should I choose only one option and support it throughout the essay?

    • I think it's best just to state your opinion in the beginning and focus on supporting it. You may of course present some alternative arguments, but just brushing past them. 

  • Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that I've really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I'll
    be subscribing on your rss feed and I'm hoping you write again soon!

  • Hello Dana,
    Am thrilled with the info presented here from different walks of life. In Uganda where i come from, the seats are often taken months prior to the date since there are a few testing centers.

    I have just until 18th May to do the test.Well i haven't done much reading except your guides here.I just want to be to the point with what i should put my emphasis on as time is against me.I am fluent in English,but for the test bit of it, am kinda of scared.I have been studying in English for the last 16 years and i think i can ably pass it if guided by thee.
    Paul

  • I strongly recommend you try to get the Official Guide for the TOEFL. Use that as your primary source for inspiration, together with the writing templates. Also, don't forget to practice for Speaking with a timer!

  • could you advise any website or source to study toefl itp?
    thanks in advanece.

  • I strongly recommend using the Official Guide for the TOEFL for that.

  • thanks

  • hey Dana, I'm taking the IBT Toefl test in less than a week. Can you please suggest me a concise studying schedule for the same? I wish to crack it in my very first attempt.

  • Krut, I can only recommend that you follow the steps outlined above but in a quicker pace, perhaps spending 5-6 hours a day to complete your training.

  • Hello Dana.
    for example,i will do reading first three day.I can easily forget many important things in reading passage when i will be doing writing,i mean 11 days will pass from that day when i last have done reading.so how to solve this?should i do everyday repetition?

    P.s Sorry for poor grammer :)

  • Giorgi, sorry but I do not understand what you are asking... The Reading section and the Writing section are both on the same day on the test. As for studying, review the basic concepts and get accustomed with them. Take some notes on the important stuff and review them later on if you need to. You do not need to memorize practice passages presented in the TOEFL Official Guide.

  • tnx.......it is really helpful

  • i like it .....its really benefitial

  • Hello dear dana
    I took TOEFL twice  and I got ( reading12 listening16 speaking19 writing22)( reading 15 listening12 speaking19 writing22)
    I have 30 days to take it again.
    please help me, i am really stress out :(

  • Have you tried using some of the resources mentioned in the article? Additionally Kaplan publishes a guide to the TOEFL, that might also be an interesting one for you! Reading and listening to high quality materials in English such as CNN could really help as well.

  • Hi dana, I want to know the best book for toefl preparation?

    • I think the Official Guide to the TOEFL was the only book I reviewed, so unfortunately I cannot name "the best" because I just do not have a term for comparison. However, I do think the OG TOEFL was useful, especially if your English level is already good.

  • Hi Dana, your forum was a determining factor to my 104 score (R=24; L=29; S=24; W=27). It was my first time to take the TOEFL (last July 26th 2013). I found your forum about two months to the test date. But could effectively prepare for the test in only 2 weeks. A friend of mine gave me a Kaplan software which became a great supplement to the OG.

    As concerns the Test, I am very satisfied with all my scores.
    First, in the Listening Section, notes-taking kept me  focused and has proven, in my case, to be a trust-worthy success strategy. Second, in the Writing section, although I possess a sustained interest in writing on a variety of issues, Dana's writing template assured me of what was needed to have a high score at the TOEFL. As for the Speaking section, I finally understood the phrase "completely develop your answer" just on the eve of the test. 24 is indeed the best I could do then. Finally, my greatest embarrassment was in the Reading section. From my preparation, I was prepared for three reading passages with a time budget of 60mins for the section. But when I saw 120 mins, I blushed and needed to calm down my nerves. In trying to be more cautious, I took more time reading the first passage and as a consequence, earned a 7 mins lag behind the total time budget. Also, I took notes as I read the first two reading passages but this did not help me much in answering the questions. I had to use the "Skimming" strategy for the last two passages so as to catch up with my time lag

    Overall, the experience was a unique one and I believe the TOEFL is a very good test for everyone preparing for graduate studies. 

    I have registered for the GRE paper-based test. Any advice for me, Dana??? 

    This forum is also recommended for future test takers.

  • Congratulations on your score, Saner! Glad to have been of a little bit of help! Thanks as well for your write up, it's useful for other test takers down the line.
    Unfortunately my knowledge of GRE is limited to the fact that I think the GMAT is cooler :P But kidding aside, I can't really help because I have never taken the GRE. I suggest looking at materials from the same brand name preparation companies such as Manhattan GMAT.

  • Hi Dana

    I stumbled upon your website when i googled about on the preparation of TOEFL. I took TOEFL during my undergrad, which was computer based. Anyways , my uni requires me to score 79 and i need to score 18 points in each module. Prior to TOEFL, i took PTE , however i always scored low in my reading. It was very disappointing though. Hence i have registered for TOEFL since i have taken this test long time ago.  I would like to get your advice on reading module and i am little baffled about. I thought there would 3 lengthy passages and in total of 1 hour but i think you had 56- passages where you spent 1.5 hours ,correct me if i am wrong. Does that mean that reading module can take up to 1.5 hours ?

  • The difference is because of the experimental section, so to speak. You will have either additional reading or an additional listening depending on your luck. The additional things don't count towards your score, but they allow the test makers to collect more data on how people perform and to use that data to decide if the additional things you saw should be put in the real test. Unfortunately there is no way for you to tell if something is experimental or not, so you need to do everything the best you can!

  • Hey Dana can you please provide some sample paper for preparation?

    • Either sample papers or some good stuff to study online for TOEFL IBT. I only have 5 days for preparation.

  • Sorry Virender, I've been on vacation. Unfortunately I don't have any. Try to get the TOEFL OG asap to practice from that one. 

  • Hi Dana,
    I really appreciate the time you take to help others. I have my TOEFL exam next month.
    I checked out the link you provided for writing templates and its quite good.
    Can you help me with speaking section too? Is there some format or template? Something that helped you? 
    Thanks in advance :) :)  and cheers for the great work :)

  • Sorry but unfortunately I didn't devise anything of the sort... Writing was my passion at the time :)

  • Hi Dana 

    I am attending TOEFL workshop here .Just started with the workshop last Sat (it's once a week class- 4 hours ) . The workshop came with a book - The Complete Guide to the TOEFL .Gosh , the book itself is as heavy as Oxford Dictionary. Anyway,it is feasible to do reading for a week , listening for a week and subsequently ? My exam is on 12 Oct.

    Pls advice .Thanks

  • I think it is - it's much less dense than what you would expect :) The font isn't too small either. One week per section should be sufficient if you already have a reasonable grasp of English, but of course it all depends on your starting level. You can get familiar with the test structure in a fairly limited time, but you can't learn the entire language in just a few weeks.

  • Hi Dana !

    Thank you for your prompt reply. It has been very informative infos. I have another question - What is the best strategy for Reading module ? 

  • My strategy is always to read the passage once fully, focusing just on the content and not on the questions being asked. I find that helps me get a good idea of the general picture. You can also take very short notes if you find that helpful - I generally don't feel the need to, but it depends from person to person.

  • Hi,Dana,
     I'm taking the IBT Toefl test in less than a month time. Can you please suggest me a studying schedule for the same? I wish to crack it in my very first attempt. suggest some strategy for speaking & writing sections. 

  • Hey Amol, please check the schedule listed in the article above. I do not have a daily schedule for you unfortunately. I believe I link to a set of writing tips and templates in the article itself. For speaking, I highly recommend that you PRACTICE with a timer. The topics you cover are less relevant than getting a feel for the timing aspect itself. If possible, record yourself and evaluate yourself after each session as well.

  • I'm gonna take the TOEFL iBT in 3 days with the goal of getting 100 points. I'm so scared stiff with this requirement from the university as the admission requirement. I wish I would have more time to prepare.

  • hi dana,
    first id like to thank you for sharing experience and knowledge that help us toward the success.
    I want to ask you. I want to write the toefl ibt exam. but I don't know where to start from. I made a sample ibt test snd I got high intermediate level 59/120 my goal is 100
    can please advise me what books to study from. is thr official guide for toefl ibt sufficient? and there's another official guide for toefl. what's the differences. .
    Thank you very much

  • hi dana,
    first id like to thank you for sharing experience and knowledge that help us toward the success.
    I want to ask you. I want to write the toefl ibt exam. but I don't know where to start from. I made a sample ibt test snd I got high intermediate level 59/120 my goal is 100
    can please advise me what books to study from. is thr official guide for toefl ibt sufficient? and there's another official guide for toefl. what's the differences. .
    Thank you very much

  • Your current level could be improved so I suggest first building our your knowledge of general English. You should try to read and write high quality materials in English every day for at least 30 minutes. Some of my favorie sources are CNN, WSJ, The Economist. I don't think there's another Official Guide to the TOEFL besides the one published by the makers of the test - at least I don't remember seeing one. I have seen one Kaplan book on the subject though, but I never got the chance to review it.

    • thanks Dana for your help, beside improving my English on sources like Economist and CNN.... etc, what do you suggest me to study from? i will get the Official guide for ibt but i found it have only instructions on the exam and practice questions, but as to improve my grammar and know about English what books should i read from? is there any specific one?

  • hi dana,
    this is an excellent schedule. Thanks a ton.

    Could you review my essay ?
    i'll write it and mail you, if possible just give me an overview of how it is and where i can improvise.

    With your help maybe even i'll score 120 :D :D

    Thanks a ton

  • Ha sorry but I wish I had the time for that! I now work full time - around 60-80 hours a week. I just don't have the time to sleep too much let alone review essays. Sorry again, but good luck!

  • My Toefl exam center was a disaster - the invigilator was so unprofessional because she didn't care less and was talking on her phone. She left us for few minutes where i didn't have sufficient papers to take notes for LISTENING. To make things worst, she also provided a broken pencil where i had to wait for her to sharpen the pencil for me . Overall i did badly in listening . I was shattered because when i took the practice test, i easily scored 23-25 ..Now am re sitting for the test again. R- 18 L-11 S-19 W-21. How can improve my score. My Uni requested 79 overall but i want to get 100 because it's my personal gratification. Please advise me how to improve my score and i am taking the test in 20 days time . Since yesterday am very very devastated !

  • Hey Candy, sorry to hear about your experience. I believe you can complain to ETS, the organization that administers the TOEFL. There should be a complaint form somewhere on their website. I cannot say more than please look at the plan outlined above for instructions on how to prepare and good luck!

  • Hi Dana,

    Thanks again and yes i wrote on the complaint form at the ETS website. Will follow your guidelines again and i want to nail it this time .

    • Hey Candy,

      Sad to hear that you got a substandard testing center. I had a similar misfortune with my GMAT. Anyways, make sure you choose a different testing center the next time. Travel to another city if you have to. 

      If you would like to get more help on TOEFL or need your practice essays and speaking responses evaluated, do get in touch. My email is itsme.sankalp@gmail.com

      Best of luck!

  • HI Dana, 
    I have only less than 3 weeks for preparation and I need a score equal to 80 but I only had 54, is it real to gather almost 30 marks for a such short time?
    thank you!

    • Hey Anna, unfortunately I cannot say but it does seem pretty tight to get such a big improvement. I would recommend sticking to the tips provided above, perhaps those can help.

  • Hi Dana !! 

    I just want to say many thanks to you and for having this blog which is truly guidance for all of us . I am not sure if you remembered that i wrote to you a month stating that the testing ctr was messed up hence i scored poorly. Thank you for asking me to lodge a complaint at ETS website , which i initially hesitated but i did though. I received an email from them and they will refund my money for the last exam . Also i sat again for the second time and i scored higher than what the Uni required. I am very proud for scoring high in Reading module as it was my weakest since i have taken other test which i failed in Reading. Overall thank you heaps for everything despite it may not be a direct assist : ) Have a good ! 

    • Fantastic news and congrats on the high score! :) All's well that ends well!

  • Hi DanaJ, reading your blog was very interesting and at the same useful. I am planning to sit for TOEFL in a month's time as I my peferred university requested it for my MFE application. Therefore, as i am not familiiar with the toefl test, can you please clarify for me more about the difference between computer based test and the internet based test. I don't seem seeing the differentiation from the ETS website. If i normally order and pay for the test through the website, what type of test should i expect to sit for. Otherwise, My writing and speaking skills are too low, any suggestion to upgrade them. and the last, you mentioned about a TOEFL guidebook, will i be receiving it for free once i pay for the test or I have to buy it from the internet, EBay....i.e. Thanks again for your help. I really enjoyed reading your blog. wish u the best of luck. Jamal

  • As far as I know, companies prefer you to take the internet based test and that's the only test offered in most places except the most remote locations. I strongly advise you to go for the IBT version. The TOEFL Official Guide needs to be purchased separately from a website such as the one you mention. As for improving your writing and speaking skills, there are a few tips in the article above. Good luck!

  • Hi, my Toefl score is 79 but i'll take it one more time to score higher. I think that instead of taking courses, i can buy a toefl book and study by myself. What do you guys think about that, i mean is it possible to study toefl by myself?

    Thank you

  • I think you can study by yourself. However, to really improve your score you need to go beyond just using the TOEFL textbook and really try to work on your English. You can achieve that especially by reading and watching high quality material in English every day, for instance by reading news websites like BBC, CNN or science reviews. If you expose yourself to the language at least 30 minutes per day, your skills should gradually improve in a few months.

  • Thanks for replying Dana. According to my toefl results,i got 80, i need to improve reading and writing parts. So i thought that i can do that by reading and watching news as you said. I don't think that i have take courses for these two, right?

  • No, that's probably not necessary, but you do need to practice and be serious about it. The English required on the TOEFL is not hard, but you need to have your mind set on it.

  • Hello everyone, my name is Ricardo Neves and I just wanted to let you know that I scored a solid 111 on the TOEFL and am now eligible to apply to Top MBA programs such as London Business School, Harvard Business School and Wharton! I took it twice, since at my first time I felt sick during the exam and had to take an unscheduled break during the listening section which ruined my chances of having a good score. I started studying 2 months before the exam while studying for the GMAT too. I just did the 3 exams from the TOEFL guide and 1 Mock Exam from ETS Practice. One program that really helped me was NoteFull. It has a free email course now, so just in case you want some extra help, check it out: https://av107.infusionsoft.com/go/toefl-book/rsn64160/. In this link you can check the free youtube videos for the speaking part which in my opinion are outstanding and helped me reach a solid 29. For the writing there´s nice free videos too. If you feel engaged by these videos and need extra help you can find in the website paid courses designed for each need you have. If you need any extra advice from my experience with Notefull I´ll be happy to share my success story!!

    • Hi, Ricardo.
      Did you buy some product of the Notefull or only watched the free videos and the free lesson in the website?
      I would like to buy the complet TOEFL mastery, bu i am doubt. What do you think?

  • hello Dana,
    am going to take TOEFL pbt exam for the second time i score 490 for the privious exam and i'm not good at structure and gramer part what am i suppose to do can you give me some advice.

  • Hi Mahlet, have you tried looking into some basic grammar books such as those published by reputed houses like Oxford? That may be what you need in terms of grammar. Other TOEFL preparation materials I have seen to not cover the basics but more assume you already know these, focusing more on test structure.

  • Hi Dana
    I know this might be off the topic.I am preparing for GMAT.May I know which forum are you in so I can write my weakness to get assist from you.

    Thanks

  • Hey sorry but I haven't been nearly as active in the past 1-2 years after leaving Beat The GMAT, where I worked as a product manager for a while. I continue to answer some high level questions that pop up on my articles, but not more than that. I think there are plenty of really great instructors who can answer your questions in the forums. Good luck!

  • Hi Dana I am preparing for TOEFL and done with reading and listening section from DELTA, ETS, but I am facing problem with writing and speaking section, kindly give me suggestion for th same, so that I could keep my preparation up to the mark. 
    Thank you

  • Hi Dana, I am preparing for TOEFl, and facing problem with speaking and writing section, kindly give me some suggestion regarding the same.

  • Hey for writing, check out this list of tips and templates: http://www.beatthegmat.com/writing-tips-templates-t51509.html
    For speaking, the key is to practice with a timer. Have someone who perhaps knows English better than you time your practice sessions and listen to you speak. Even if you do not have anyone who speaks English among your close friends, I still feel practicing with a timer is essential. For me the biggest stumbling block was timing the whole matter, as I wasn't used to speaking on various topics on such short notice. Good luck!

  • Hello,
    Im shabnam,i live in iran,and my brother lives in toronto of canada.I need TOEFL PBT score to have an opportunity to live in Canada.I didnt have any experience for this exam befor so i dont know how to start studing and what sources should i study.can you help me? thank you.

  • Hey I think the article above should provide some guidance. I strongly suggest getting your hands on a copy of the Official Guide for the TOEFL and working through that. Also, you should improve your knowledge of the language by reading things in English every day as much as possible.

  • Hi Dana,

    I am writing my T

  • Hi Dana,

    I am writing my Toefl exam third time and both the time when I was unsuccessful the problem was with rerading section. In my other three sections I score around 25. But in reading section I am stuck on 16 score. I have practiced lot of exams concentrating on reading section more second time but still went unsuccessful. I need score of 90 and to achieve that target definitely need to improve my reading section score. I am not too found of reading and never used to read novels, articles also very rare. Now my next attempt is in coming 15 days. Can you please give me some tips to score more atleast 25 in reading section. I also want to know which articles will be the best to read, as for instance at New York times online there are thousands of articles to choose from. 

    I will be very thankful to you.

    Kind Regards
    Nidhi

  • Reading really comes with practice, unfortunately! There's no immediate cure, no quick manual or set of rules you can go through quickly and become better at it. So in the end, practice is what will make you better. Your ideas of reading from good sources are the right steps to take, and to be honest, no matter what you read it will help. Beyond that, have you tried note taking? Some people find that note taking really helps with their reading. Try to keep it to short notes, nothing beyond the basics.

  • Hi Dana,

    I've taken the GMAT and got 30 in verbal. Do you think I should still review for a month for TOEFL?

    Thanks,

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  • Hi Dana,
    l want do my TOEFL exam by next month, l have 4week for me to prepare for the exam. How can you help me out on my reading , writing and listening.

    Thank

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