TOEFL Exam Preparation

Why Should You Prepare for TOEFL?

Taking a standardized English proficiency test like TOEFL is a must for seeking admission to most academic or business programs abroad. The TOEFL test is designed to measure the candidates English communication abilities in complex academic contexts, as might be required by various levels of educational programs. Familiarizing yourself with the exam and its pattern is a prerequisite, if you plan to take the test. So is important that you improve your English language skills and alongside, train and orient yourself thoroughly. Cramming might just not work, as many test-takers vouch for! TOEFL exam preparation requires you to put in effort. Period!

What Does TOEFL Test?

Your first step to TOEFL exam preparation is to understand all possible details about the test. Developed, designed, and conducted by ETS, TOEFL tests your skills in verbal and oral communication, in addition to testing your comprehension and analytical skills of written and spoken language. ETS conducts the test in two formats -the Internet-based test and the paper-based test (when Internet access is not available at the test location/center). The test is approximately four and a half hours long and consists of four sections:

  • Reading: The test section includes three or four passages from university-level textbooks and questions based on the given passages. You can take 60-80 minutes to complete this section.

  • Listening: This section of the test includes four to six lectures on academic topics and two or three conversations in natural accents. You need to answer six questions each based on each lecture and five questions each on the basis of each conversation, all in about 60-90 minutes.

  • Speaking: Two different types of speaking tasks are included in this section that lasts for 20 minutes - two independent Speaking tasks where you have to ideate and express your opinions and viewpoints; and four integrated speaking tasks where you need to integrate the various skills of listening, speaking, reading, etc. as in real-life academic situations.

  • Writing: This section is 50 minutes long approximately and has two writing tasks for you to complete - an integrated task in which you need to write your answer in response to a passage and a lecture; and an independent task, in which you need to write an essay on a Writing topic.

For more information on TOEFL, like sections, question types, and sample questions, please refer to the official ETS TOEFL website:

How to Prepare Yourself?

From online resources to books and professional review programs, there are a number of ways to help you with your TOEFL exam preparation. Based on your convenience and requirements, you can choose the one best which is for yourself, or choose a bouquet of different options:

  • It is recommended that all aspiring candidates start their TOEFL exam preparation from the official TOEFL website. The site is the best resource for all kinds of information on the exam. In addition, the 'Prepare for Test' section of this website has a list of some of the best free and purchasable preparation materials. ETS also offers some value packs when you register for the exam, which include prep materials at a discounted price.

  • Free TOEFL iBT Sample Questionsfrom ETS provide you an opportunity to practice all types of TOEFL questions in a simulated environment. It is recommended that you take this sample test as a diagnostic test to start your TOEFL exam preparation. The test can provide you with an overall idea of your strong and weak areas so that you can focus on the required areas and realistically prepare for the exam.

  • The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test from ETS is another important title you cannot afford to miss. This authentic material has two full-length TOEFL practice test plus review materials and tips for you, and it is also available as an ebook.

  • TOEFL Practice Online from ETS is another valuable resource for practicing. This is considered the only official test preparation program that uses actual TOEFL questions.

  • A lot more popular titles are available for TOEFL exam preparation like those from Cambridge University Press, Barron's, Kaplan, Longman, etc.

  • Kaplan, The Princeton Review, and Manhattan Review are some of the big names from prep industry that offer tutoring and review programs for TOEFL preparation. Some of these are available as classroom-based programs, while some others are available online.

  • Apart from ETS, a number of other websites and blog sites also have reliable materials for TOEFL exam preparation, like

This article provides only an indicative list of resources and links. There are many more options available online and offline these days for TOEFL preparation; for example, the second-hand book seller at your location might have something that suits your needs. As an aspiring candidate to international educational opportunities, TOEFL is important for you; and you might definitely not want to leave any stone unturned!

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