How to Study for TOEFL
- July 3, 2017
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Preparing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language is a must for any student who wants to attend school in an English-speaking country. The TOEFL is designed to determine your ability to function in a university setting where English is the primary language spoken.
If you want to do well on the TOEFL exam, you must study for it. The test itself measures four different aspects of English language fluency:
- Reading comprehension
- Listening comprehension
- Speaking ability
- Writing ability
In other words, you must be able to understand English well and use it well to express yourself. If you can’t do both, you won’t be able to perform well in college.
The most important tip we can give you is to ensure that you read all the key articles on the menu bar above before leaving this website. They will definitely set you on the right path to success.
One of the best things you can do as you study for the TOEFL is to make a preparation schedule. It is best to register for the test at least six months before you plan to take it. Six months might seem like a long time, but spaces in the test tend to fill up quickly.
Your schedule should block out time to work on your English skills every day. You should plan to do at least a little bit of reading, writing, listening, and speaking on a daily basis. Fluency requires repetition. You can’t expect to squeeze your TOEFL studying into a few days and do well on the test.
If you want some help making a schedule, you can download the ETS planner. The TOEFL IBT Test Prep Planner breaks down how to study for the TOEFL week by week and day by day. It includes:
- A detailed test preparation schedule
- Skill-building tools and guides
- Guides to each of the four sections of the test
- Sample test questions and scoring guides
As you make your schedule, it is important to keep your particular strengths and weaknesses in mind. For example, if you have very strong English reading comprehension skills, you may not need to spend as much time prepping for the reading part of the test as for other parts. On the other hand, if you know that understanding spoken English is a challenge, you should schedule additional time for listening to make sure you are ready for that portion of the exam.
Tips to Help You Study for the TOEFL
Now let’s look at some specific tips to help you study for the TOEFL. Each one of these tips can help you prepare.
- Build your English vocabulary. It is a good idea to download some vocabulary lists and quiz yourself on the meanings of words. You should also buy a good-quality English dictionary and familiarize yourself with online dictionaries and thesauruses. Get in the habit of looking up new words as you encounter them.
- It’s also important to improve your ability to determine the meanings of new words in context. You won’t have a dictionary with you on the day of the test, so you’ll have to be able to do your best with what you have. When you encounter a new word in your reading or listening, take a moment to try to determine its meaning before you look it up. See how close you can come to the true definition.
- Study sentence structure when you read English texts. One of the hallmarks of fluency in any language is the ability to construct sentences that are eloquent and easy to read. One sentence might be very short. Other sentences may be complex and flowing, incorporating subordinate phrases. Your job is to vary your sentence structure when you write, and one of the best ways to learn that skill is to pay attention to the sentences you read.
- Familiarize yourself with grammar rules and exceptions. English is a complex language to learn. There are many irregular verbs and grammatical exceptions. Take some time to learn the parts of speech and the rules of English grammar.
- Seek out English-language videos, beneficial television shows, books, newspapers, magazine articles, and textbooks. When you make the effort to read and listen to English in a variety of formats, you increase your fluency. The TOEFL focuses on English in an academic setting, but it’s important to have a grasp of casual and colloquial English, too.
- Speak English as much as you can. You may want to buy a digital recorder and record yourself speaking or reading English, particularly if you don’t have much opportunity to practice. Listening to yourself speak can help you pinpoint difficulties with pronunciation and hone your accent for the speaking part of the test.
- Write in English every day. Keep a journal and make a point of expressing opinions and emotions on a regular basis. An important part of the TOEFL is the ability to express and support an opinion in writing.
- Take as many practice tests as you can. Familiarizing yourself with the format of the TOEFL will help ease test-day nerves and ensure that you get the highest score possible.
These tips can help you prepare for the TOEFL so that when the day arrives for you to take the test, you are calm, confident, and ready to do your best.
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