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There are numerous guides, books, and websites that offer exercises and information for

practicing the TOEFL. A lot of students prefer to take the help of private tutors in order to get
better results.

First of all, you must visit the TOEFL website. You must review the patterns of the test
thoroughly. This test mainly tests the non-native English speakers language skills which include
reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. You need to know what is required in each and
every section. For instance, there will a passage in the reading section. The candidate has to
answer questions after reading the passage thoroughly to test the candidates understanding of it.
You will also have to write an essay to show your writing skills. The listening section will
require you to listen to a conversation and answer questions based on that conversation. Your
ability of speaking English will be tested on the basis of how you answer the questions. Knowing
the requirements of every section will better prepare you for the test by letting you know of the
areas that you need to work on.

The best way to evaluate your skills and progress is to take mock test. Take as many of them as
you can. This practice will definitely improve your skills and also prepare you for the real test.

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General strategies to help you prepare for the TOEFL test


Find out which version of the TOEFL you will take Depending on where and when you take
the TOEFL test, you will encounter either the Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) or the TOEFL
Paper-based Test (TOEFL PBT). Be sure of which format you will use. Your TOEFL score from
either test will be accepted by the colleges you choose, but the differences in the test formats will
influence some of your TOEFL preparation.

Approach the TOEFL test with a plan Spend enough time in TOEFL preparation so that you
know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Having this kind of understanding can help you
decide where to focus your energies as you prepare for the test. If you will be taking the Paper-
based Test (PBT), work through some practice tests and then concentrate your TOEFL
preparation on any weak areas. Take time to review your strong areas, but invest your time to
build up your weaknesses. If your exam will be the Internet-based test (iBT), be sure to visit the
TOEFL iBT Web site (www.ets.org/toefl) and examine the information presented there. In
addition, get your teacher's opinion on where you can best spend your preparation time. ETS
provides sample questions for both the PBT and iBT on its Web site.

To maximize your TOEFL score, be ready for test conditions and be well-rehearsed
Practice makes permanence! If you set aside time in a quiet place to take some practice exams,
you'll be ready for the rigors of sitting in a chair and focusing on the TOEFL test material. The
PBT is a 3-and-a-half hour test, and the iBT takes about 4-and-a-half hours. It's a good idea to
dress in layers and bring a sweater or sweatshirt because the temperature in the testing room may
be warmer or colder than you anticipated. You want to be able to show everything you know on
the test. English-language tests can be hard enough on their ownyou don't need to be dealing
with hot or cold temperatures during the test too.
Become familiar with the directions and questions before the TOEFL test Each of the test
sections has a time limit, and you want to make the most of the time you are given. Use a portion
of your preparation to become familiar with the directions for each section and how the questions
are set up. Then you can use all you time in answering the questions instead of reviewing the
directions.

Paper-based TOEFL tips and strategies

Reading Comprehension Skim the passage first to get a sense of the main idea. You can always
go back and look up specifics. Answer the questions that ask about vocabulary words and details
first. Then work on questions that ask you about the main idea or require you to make inferences.
You will answer 50 questions in 55 minutes.

Structure and Written Expression Think about the simplest, clearest way to express an idea. If
an answer choice sounds awkward or overly complicated, chances are good that it's wrong.
Brush up on your English grammar for this part of the test. You will have 25 minutes to
complete 40 questions.

Listening Comprehension Become as familiar with the English language as you can, including
learning vocabulary words and idioms. Practice working with the language in everyday life; this
will help you become more comfortable with it and understand it better. These 50 questions will
take 30 to 40 minutes to complete.

Writing Planning for a few minutes before writing will help you to write a more focused and
organized essay. It is important to develop your ideas and express them clearly, using examples
to back them up. Although the essay doesn't need to be grammatically perfect, try to make as few
errors as possible. Always save a few minutes at the end to proofread. You will have 30 minutes
to organize and write on your topic.

TOEFL iBT tips and strategies


Note taking, Just like in a college classroom, you will be allowed to take notes on what you hear
and read during the test and then use your notes when answering the questions.

Writing, On the iBT, the Writing test is 50 minutes and consists of two tasks. For one task, you
write independently for 30 minutes to support an opinion on a topic. For the other task, you write
for 20 minutes in response to things you hear and read. You need to be able to type on a
keyboard to enter your written responses.

Listening, During the Listening test, which runs from 60 to 90 minutes, you answer sets of 5 or
6 questions that are based on lectures and conversations, each of which lasts from three to five
minutes. You will hear more than one native English accent.

Speaking, During the Speaking test, you will spend 20 minutes responding to six tasks. With
each task, you will have a short time to organize your thoughts before responding. Two tasks will
require you to talk about a familiar topic. Four other tasks will be "integrated," asking you to
speak in response to things you have heard and read.

Reading, You will receive a glossary that will define certain key words in the Reading test. The
test lasts for 60 to 100 minutes. You will be presented with three, four, or five passages from
academic books and will answer 12 to 14 questions that are based on each of the passages.

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1. Familiarize yourself with the TOEFL format


Most countries now offer the Internet based TOEFL (iBT). A few offer only the paper-based test
(PBT). Make sure you find out which test you will be taking before you start studying for the
TOEFL. You cannot choose to take the paper based test if your country offers the iBT. One
reason people experience exam stress is because they don't know what to expect before a test.
Prevent stress on exam day by studying the format of the test in detail. ETS has very clear
standards about the format of their test. This is why it is called a "standardized" test.

2. Research TOEFL score requirements


The TOEFL is required for any non-native English student who wants to go to a post-secondary
school in the United States. Most people take the TOEFL in order to apply to a specific school or
program. Before you begin studying, find out what the requirements are for the schools you are
interested in going to. Remember that the scores for the paper based test are different than the
scores for the iBT. Some schools will look at your scores from different sections. Each iBT
section is scored out of 30. Many universities expect you to achieve higher writing skills than
speaking skills. TOEFL scores are only valid for two years.

3. Learn academic English


TOEFL is used for a different purpose than other ESL tests. The TOEFL measures your ability to
succeed in an American university or college. Other English-speaking countries also require
TOEFL scores as a prerequisite for admission. You don't have to know about the business world
as you do in the TOEIC test. Instead, you should concentrate on studying language that you
would hear and see on campus and in the classroom. In other words, you should read textbooks,
encyclopaedias, journals and research articles rather than advertisements and resumes. You won't
need to know any background information about certain subjects, but it will help you to become
familiar with the presentation and language used in academic material. You should also watch
modern television and movies. If you have a friend who goes to an English university, go to class
with him as often as you can. Borrow his books and hang out with his friends.
4. Use practice tests
The best way to prepare for the TOEFL is to practise doing the tests. If you are taking a TOEFL
class, your teacher will provide you with plenty of material. If you are studying for the TOEFL
on your own, you will have to purchase a few key resources. Find a textbook that has exercises,
vocabulary, practice tests, CDs, and explanatory answers. You might not want to work through a
book from front to back. Work on the sections that you find most challenging. Don't just rely on
one book. You might have a book that is much easier than the official TOEFL. Look for free
samples on the Internet to supplement your textbook. Make sure the question types are up to
date.

5. Find a mentor
A reliable native English teacher who knows a lot about the TOEFL is one of the best resources a
student can have. You will have many questions that your textbook can't answer for you.
Frustrated students often give up. It is important that you have someone who will answer your
questions and encourage you when you feel down. If you cannot afford a teacher or a tutor, find
a student who has studied for the test before. Sometimes other students can give you excellent
hints and help you with grammar questions. You might be able to help other students with their
questions too. Teaching another person is a great way to learn. If you use Twitter, search for
"TOEFL". You will find teachers and students to follow and network with. Join the TOEFL
Group on MyEnglishClub. Provide support to others and share tips on finding free practice tests.

6. Build up your stamina


The TOEFL test takes a long time to write. If you are taking the paper based test it will take you
about 2.5 hours. The iBT is much longer. You can expect to be at the computer for 4 hours.
Many students have an attention span of about two hours. This is the maximum length of most
classes. After this amount of time performance starts to weaken. If you keep your study sessions
to one or two hours, your brain will not be prepared to work for four. Start off with short study
sessions, and work up to longer ones. It is absolutely necessary that you get a good night's sleep
before this test. You cannot afford to be tired.

7. Arrive prepared
If you arrive at the test centre with all of the things you need, you will feel calm and ready. When
you are nervous, your memory does not work as well. Make sure you know exactly how to get to
the test centre and where you can park. Bring the correct amount of money for parking. If you
are writing the paper based test, you should have a number of pencils, a pencil sharpener and a
few erasers that don't smudge. It is also important that your identification looks valid. If you
have had problems with your ID before, make sure to bring a backup photo. Don't forget any
paper work that ETS sends you to prove that you have registered.

8. Pace yourself
Plan to arrive at the test centre at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Wear a watch. This is
especially important if you are taking the paper based test. Some exam rooms do not have clocks.
The iBT has a clock on the screen, however, you should still wear a watch to make sure that you
arrive on time! During the exam, watch your time very closely. Many students do poorly on the
TOEFL because they spend too much time on difficult questions. There is no break between the
Reading and Listening section. You will get a ten minute break after the first half before the
Speaking section. You will only have a short time to write the essay. Spend some time planning
and checking your writing.

9. Improve your typing skills


You will have to fill out your answers on the computer and type your essay. If you rely on a few
fingers to type, consider improving your typing skills before taking the TOEFL. Make sure that
you are confident typing on a QWERTY keyboard. If you aren't, search for typing practice drills
online. Even if your typing skills are strong, try doing practice tests on other computers. Some
students get so used to their own computer that they get nervous when they have to type on a
new keyboard or use a different mouse on test day.

10. Become an expert note taker


You will be able to take notes in each section as you take the TOEFL iBT. Note taking is
allowed because it is an important skill you need for taking university or college courses. As you
study, practise taking notes on the main idea of what you read and hear as well as on the main
details. Do this throughout your day as you listen to news reports, read websites, and watch TV.
Create your own shorthand for frequently used words and phrases.

11. Answer every question


Never leave a question blank. Eliminate all of the answers you know are wrong and then make
an educated guess. You have a 25% chance of getting the correct answer. When you finish a
section or question, try to put it out of your mind. Whether you are reading, listening, or
answering a question, put all of your concentration on the task at hand.

12. Secrets for the Reading section


The iBT does not test grammar separately as previous TOEFL tests did. You will still need to
prove that you have a strong grasp of grammar in the speaking and writing sections. It is helpful
to familiarize yourself with key academic vocabulary. There are helpful textbooks for this
purpose. Keep in mind that you don't need to know every word in a reading passage to answer
the questions. Practise reading without a dictionary close by. When it comes to the questions,
concentrate on the areas that the questions pertain to. Skim through the passage, read the
questions, then read for more detail. The questions usually come in the order they appear in the
passage. Anticipate the type of questions you will be asked in this section. Many of the readings
have a main idea question. You will be asked at least two vocabulary questions from each
reading. You will also be asked some detailed questions and some inference questions. You will
not have time to reread a whole passage.

13. Secrets for the Listening section


When you are practicing for the listening sections, don't play the tape or CD more than once. On
the real test you will only hear everything once. You have to train your ears to listen fully the
first time. During the real exam, don't look back at a listening question after you have decided on
an answer. You cannot change it. The clock will not start running until you start the answers.
Learn to listen for main ideas, presentation (compare/contrast etc.), and key details.

14. Secrets for the Speaking section


It is okay to hesitate for a moment or two when it is time to respond. However, it is best to fill as
much of the time as possible with your response. If you have a few extra seconds you can sum
things up in a short conclusion. You will lose marks for poor pronunciation, so don't try to use
big words that you can't say properly. You will also lose marks for improper use of vocabulary
and idioms. Make sure you know how to use an expression properly before you try to use it on
the exam.

15. Secrets for the Writing section


Don't forget that you will have to make connections in the first part of the Writing section.
Memorize phrases from practice tests that show you how to do this. The most important thing is
to keep your writing simple and clear. You will not have access to a spell check function. Don't
use vocabulary and punctuation that you are unsure of. Spend some time planning your essay
before you write it. Your outline will save you time in the long run. When you practice for the
essay, find a format that you are comfortable with. Use this format every time. For example, your
thesis might always be in the third sentence of your introduction. You might always end your
conclusion with a question. Make sure to use lots of examples to support your essay. Transitional
words and phrases will make your writing easier to read. Memorize a list of these and practice
typing them. Always leave time to review what you have written. Read your essay silently in
your head as you check it.

16. Strengthen all 4 skills


Some people make the mistake of taking the test too soon. Perhaps your reading, listening, and
writing skills are ready, but your speaking skills still need work. If you do very poorly on one
section of the test, you will have to retake the entire test. You can't redo one section. Make sure
that you are ready to take the whole test when you register.

17. Dress in comfortable clothing


Dress in comfortable layers on test day. You never know whether or not the test room will be
cold or warm. Wear your favorite shirt. When you feel comfortable you perform better! Don't
wear tight clothing. You have to sit in one place for a long time. Though you want to be
comfortable, do take time to look your best on test day. In other words, dress for success.

18. Make sure to eat before the test


Four hours is a long time to go without a snack. You will not be allowed to bring any food or
drinks into the test room with you. Eat a sensible meal before you take the test. Avoid too much
caffeine as it will give you the shakes. Don't consume large amounts of sugar right before the
test. You will get tired very quickly. Make sure that you have had plenty of water (but not too
much as you will not want to waste time in the washroom).

19. Refer to the official TOEFL website


The official TOEFL website has a number of helpful things that you can download for free. They
will supply you with a list of writing topics for the essay. You can also find important
information about test centers and test updates. Many of your questions can be answered here.
You will also get hints about which resources are worth buying.

20. Reward yourself


After you take the exam, reward yourself for all of the time and effort you put into learning a
second language! Treat yourself to a gift or a night out. No matter how well you did on the exam,
you deserve a reward. Write down what your reward will be before you take the exam. It is
always helpful to have something to look forward to.

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