iBT TOEFL Preparation

Step-by-step TOEFL Preparation Guide

The iBT TOEFL is the internet-based version of the test. If you are planning to take this test, you will need to know how to prepare for it. This article will give you a step-by-step guidance for this purpose.

Step 1: Background Research:

  1. If you want to do well in the test, the first step of your preparation should be to understand the types of questions that will be asked. Visit the official website and read about the sections of the test. The website is www.ets.org/toefl.
  2. Find out the scores that are required by the colleges you plan to apply to.
  3. Understand your own level of readiness for the test. If you take a diagnostic pre-test, you will know how to proceed.

Step 2: Two Important Decisions:

  1. You must decide if your prep method consist of self study, or if you will be taking professional help. If your pre-test score is reasonably close to your target score, then you could rely on self-study. If, however, there is a wide gap between these two scores, then you should consider joining a prep course.
  2. If you decide you need help, then you must choose between a classroom course, an online course and a personal tutor.

    Links for preparation courses:



    Links for online courses:



Step 3: Register for iBT:

If you register for the test, you will give yourself a definite deadline. This will help you avoid procrastination. You will also complete the formalities of the registration process and be able to focus on your studies instead.

Step 4: Actual Preparation (for Self-study):

  1. Set aside a definite amount of time to study every day, and keep to your schedule as far as possible.
  2. Practice one to two elements of general prep each day. These are grammar, essay-writing, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
  3. Learn around five new words every day. Learn the meaning of the words and a few examples that demonstrate their use. Here are a few links you can use to get word lists for TOEFL:




  4. Practice a few questions from different sections of the test, once every few days. It will keep you focused on what you actually need to learn for the iBT.
  5. Read at least some material every day that is not directly related to the TOEFL. You could read books, newspapers and magazines. Keep a dictionary by your side and use it when you come across an unfamiliar word.
  6. Use all opportunities to converse in English with someone who is good at the language.

  7. After a few weeks of general prep, make your planning more specific. Practice mock tests keeping to the time limits.

  8. Make a note of what you find more difficult. Spend more time on those aspects.

  9. As you approach the end of your prep time, practice as many complete tests as you can.

Step 5: A Few Days Prior to the Test:

  1. Get everything ready beforehand, especially the identification you plan to use.
  2. Travel to the test center, if possible. This way you will be able to discover possible travel difficulties.
  3. Plan to reach the center as early as it is feasible, to allow for unforeseen troubles.

Some anxiety is to be expected on the day of the test, however, you will perform better if you are relaxed. You should remind yourself, that you have done the best preparation that you could have. If your score is not satisfactory, you can take the test again.