TOEFL tips & tricks

TOEFL tips & tricks

Planning to study abroad? When it comes to English-language exams, the TOEFL® test is the most widely accepted assessment, recognised by more than 8,500 institutions in more than 130 countries. Completing your admission applications can be a busy time.

With the TOEFL test, you only need to take one English-language assessment if you want to study in Australia, UK, Canada, or the United States, as it is accepted at nearly every higher education institution.   

The TOEFL iBT® test is divided into four sections – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.  Here are some useful tips to help you do your best:

Learn more about a favourite topic and share what you learned with a friend . Listen to podcasts, recorded lectures and read articles on your favourite travel destination.
Determine the main idea, major points and supporting ideas being presented. Present what you learned to a friend or family member. Find a speaking partner, preferably with an original English speaker or try an online video chat. The more occasions you have to speak in  English, the more familiar and comfortable you will become.  

Flash cards: Create your own vocabulary cards and carry them wherever you go. Pull them out while travelling and use the time well.

Reading tips: Summarise and paraphrase reading passages. Use outlines to assist in organising your ideas. Practise reading to improve your comprehension. Become familiar with reading and answering questions on a computer as this is the format used for the TOEFL iBT test.

Speaking tips: Read a short article from a newspaper or magazine aloud. Make a one-minute oral summary of the article. Do you agree or disagree with the content presented? If there is a problem discussed, outline a solution. Practise pronunciation. Speak slowly, enunciating every syllable.

Writing tips: Watch your favourite television show. Write a summary of the episode. Explain the television programme, the way it made you feel, and how it was similar or different from past episodes. Have a family member read your essay. Make use of available free resources.

Plan your test day

Remember the things you need at the test centre such as valid photo ID, water and a snack! Pack your bag the night before and set an alarm. Have a good rest the night before. On the test day, be sure to eat breakfast. Wear comfortable clothes.

ETS has put together helpful test day tips for you at Good luck.

(The contributor is the executive director of TOEFL Program at ETS.)

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