Are you taking the TOEFL soon? How do you get ready for the TOEFL test? In an earlier post, TOEFL Talk: The Whats and Whys, we discussed why taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or the TOEFL, is important. Now, let’s talk about how to prepare for the TOEFL fast.

1. Know what’s inside the TOEFL test. The TOEFL iBT test has four parts: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The test puts together the different language skills. For example, you will be asked to read a text, listen to a recording, and then speak to answer a question.

To prepare for the TOEFL, practice mixing the different language skills as well. Read academic texts and summarize the main ideas in writing. Listen to academic lectures and say what you think about the discussion.

It’s best to work with real learning materials. Many universities have free online libraries. and The Open University have great materials for university students.

2. Remember that the TOEFL is an academic English-proficiency test. When universities check your TOEFL score, they want to know if your English skills are good enough for you to do well in school.

During the test, you will read materials that university students need to study. You will also listen to university lectures or people talking about university life.

To get ready for the TOEFL test, study university-level readings and listen to podcasts or watch videos about university life. This will help you get familiar with the academic writing style and vocabulary.

Harvard University and University of Oxford have many interesting podcasts online.

3. Practice listening to different English accents. The TOEFL test will make you listen to different English accents from North America, the United Kingdom, New Zealand or Australia.

There are free websites like English Listening Lesson Library Online that let you practice listening to different accents. You can also listen to TED Talks and choose speakers from different countries.  

You can also take an English course online. Most online schools will allow you to follow the same course with different teachers, such as with Learntalk. You can prepare for the TOEFL test with different teachers to get familiar with different accents. That is why it is important to choose a school with teachers from all over the World. Many such as Cambly or Open English only have American teachers. This will be a disadvantage as you will not experience other accents.

4. Practice taking notes – and using a QWERTY keyboard! When you take the TOEFL, you will listen to around five short lectures that are three to five minutes long.  You will also listen to two or three conversations. Then, you will answer questions about what you listened to.

You are allowed to take notes, so practice listening to English and taking notes at the same time. Your notes will help you answer the questions.

An English-language keyboard is used for the test. To prepare for the test, practice typing on a QWERTY keyboard. Remember, the test has a time limit. If you know where to find the letters on the keyboard, you will save a lot of time.

5. Practice speaking out loud. In the speaking part of the test, you will answer questions out loud and record your answer. The TOEFL test gives you 45 seconds to speak, so practice answering within that time limit.

Practice sharing your opinion on the things you read or listen to. Make a list of general topics, like things you enjoy doing, people you admire, or places you love. Practice talking about them out loud.

To get ready for the TOEFL test, you can search for TOEFL speaking practice topics online. This Educational Information blog, for example, has a list of questions and answers.

Record yourself speaking. Practice in front of the mirror so you can see your how your mouth forms the words. Finally, find a speaking partner who can help you prepare for the TOEFL and improve your English skills.

We’ll be back with more TOEFL tips soon!

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