How To Prepare For The TOEFL Exam

Prepare for the TOEFL Exam

Our Tips To Help You Prepare For The TOEFL Exam

Why is it important to know how to prepare for the TOEFL exam? Well, if you have been reading our blog articles, especially those having to do with applying to universities and getting visas in English-speaking countries, you will have probably noticed that one of the recurring requirements is an English proficiency test. Usually, they ask for either the TOEFL or the IELTS. Today, we are going to talk about the first.

Of course, there is no magic formula for preparing for the TOEFL (which stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language). It is a test like any other, after all. However, there are better and worse ways of practising. In this article, we would like to give you our advice for preparing yourself for this test and hopefully help you pass it.

1. Familiarize Yourself With The Format

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the format of the test. No matter how good your English is, you can still be thrown off by a test format you have never seen before. Worry not, however, as you can visit the official TOEFL website and become familiar with the way the test is laid out.

Currently, there are two ways for you to take the test:


  • Reading (36-56 questions; 60-80 minutes)
  • Listening (34-51 questions; 60-90 minutes)
  • Speaking (6 tasks; 20 minutes)
  • Writing (2 essays; 50 minutes)


  • Listening (50 questions; 30-40 minutes)
  • Writing (40 questions; 25 minutes)
  • Reading (50 questions; 55 minutes)
  • Test of Written English (1 essay; 30 minutes)

Familiarizing yourself with the format of the exam is crucial in helping yourself prepare for the TOEFL exam.

2. Avoid Procrastinating

Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies of productivity. Depending on how far into the future your TOEFL exam is scheduled, you might feel like you have plenty of time to study. This might lead you to put off doing it until the very last week or, even worse, the very last day!

You do not need that level of stress in your life. It is much better to create a healthy routine you can stick to every day involving perhaps an hour or two of studying, depending on your needs. You can increase the time as the exam approaches.

3. Do Not Hesitate To Consult A Study Guide

The TOEFL test is quite popular, meaning that there are a lot of study guides available out there for it, even besides the official one.

Study guides are a great way to prepare for the TOEFL exam because they walk you through the exams in great detail, giving you useful strategies, approaches, as well as concrete tips on answering different types of questions. While not everyone will need a study guide, they can help if you feel like you are especially struggling.

4. Try to Expose Yourself to English As Much As Possible

Do not forget that the TOEFL is a test of your practical knowledge of English. You will not be asked to explain what present simple tense is, but rather be tested on your ability to use the language in everyday situations.

Therefore, one of the best ways to practice for the TOEFL is by exposing yourself to English in the form of music, movies, books, and other types of media. By doing this, you will assimilate many useful language structures and gain useful skills that the exam is actually looking for.

5. Practice on Actual Tests

A good strategy to prepare for the TOEFL exam is to take the test every so often while you are preparing for it. Every couple of days, consider completing the full test rather than just practice questions. It will acclimate you to the ebb and flow of the format as well as train your attention span for the demanding length of time that the test lasts.

Once the day comes when you actually have to take your test, you will be a lot more comfortable and will not have any additional anxiety over it.

6. Work on Your Confidence When Speaking

In other words, practice speaking. Most of us lack confidence when speaking in a foreign language because we are afraid of making mistakes. We completely disregard the fact that we make plenty of mistakes even when speaking our native language!

By speaking English more, even if it is just to yourself, you can gain more confidence in your abilities. Practice more than you think you need to because it can be quite intimidating to be faced with an examiner. Avoid fumbling your words too much but, even if it ends up happening a little, you should be fine.

7. Practice Your Time Management While Writing

A lot of us have picked up some bad habits during our school years when it comes to writing essays. Some people start writing before they have even hatched an idea and then end up with a rushed, unpolished essay. Others spend so much time planning that they only end up having ten or fifteen minutes left to actually finish.

When you want to prepare for the TOEFL exam, a great way to strike the right balance is by practising timed writing. By using a timer to practice how much time you allow yourself for the different segments of writing, you will get a better feel for your own rhythm as well as how to improve it.

8. Practice Taking Notes While Listening

Listening segments of the TOEFL can be tricky because there are often many details you need to keep track of. Of course, note-taking is an easy way to do this, but sometimes jotting down a note can take too long.

For this, practice taking down only the most important details like names, dates, and important nouns. Instead of writing „John was 32 when he first arrived to Cambridge,“ it is far more efficient to write „John, 32, Cambridge.“

BONUS TIP: Get Used To The QWERTY Keyboard

If you are taking the TOEFL on the computer, then you will usually be required to use the QWERTY keyboard. Make sure to practice on it so you do not type slowly or make a lot of mistakes.

Do You Now Know How To Prepare For The TOEFL Exam?

Preparing for the TOEFL exam is all about practice. If you pay attention to the tips we have provided here and keep practising, we are certain you should be able to ace your TOEFL exam and enrol on your dream university!

Keep in mind that everyone’s study methods are different. We have given you some broad advice but if you find that something else works better for you, then that is valid! The important thing is passing your exam.

Check out our blog for more informative articles on studying abroad.

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