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Intermediate Level Students

 

On uMasterExam, we’ve categorized students into the following groups: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Level Students.

Each student is categorized according to their ability to understand, speak, and write in English.

The reason for categorizing students into three groups is because we want them to remain focused on what they should achieve and what they should work towards based on their level of proficiency in English. To us, the most important thing is helping you pass this exam in the best and most efficient way possible.

Understanding where you belong is an important factor in passing this exam. Despite the internet being absolutely full of resources, students most often have no clear idea of what they need to do to prepare for the TOEFL test.

By understanding the category you belong in, following the advice given to you that is specific for your category, and working towards completing each one, it’s almost assured that you’ll pass this test with flying colors.

 

What does it mean to be an Intermediate Level TOEFL iBT student?

Being an Intermediate Level Student means you have a good grasp of the English language.

As an Intermediate Level Student, you’re prepared to take any English proficiency test for academic purposes. That means you’re proficient enough in the English language to be able to prepare using the standard TOEFL material.

Standard TOEFL material is what the ETS or similar TOEFL-related companies offer in the way of test preparation material. That includes all test guides, practice tests, books, courses, etc. For example, students at the beginner level can’t use the standard TOEFL material, as it’s too challenging for them.

You’ll need to understand what your abilities and limitations are as an Intermediate Level Student. If you think you belong to this category, you should be able to understand more than 85% of the general ideas discussed in the TOEFL iBT test. You must be able to grasp the main points and details of the passages or recorded discussions in the four components of the TOEFL test.

So, what are your abilities at this level?

Let’s break them down for you. As an Intermediate Level Student:

  • You can easily interact with others in routine conversations.
  • You can participate in extended conversations for longer periods of time by discussing your thoughts and opinions about a subject matter.
  • You feel confident about how you present yourself in different situations, such as booking a hotel room or meeting someone for the first time.
  • You can understand the general idea of almost anything you read or hear, including subjects with a lot of details and technicalities.
  • You find yourself capable enough to use a relatively wide range of vocabulary in your writing and speech.
  • You have no problem attending English-language lectures or presentations, and still understand most of what’s being said while making notes at the same time.
  • Although you might prefer to watch TV programs or documentaries in your native language, you still have no problem doing so in English.
  • With your basic comprehension of the language, you’re able to write a well-structured essay in English.
  • You have a good understanding of the basic grammar rules and tenses.
  • Even during situations in which you don’t know the exact term to use, you find ways to describe that specific term.

What are your restrictions?

  • Your English is in no way perfect.
  • You have problems with complex grammar, vocabulary and sentence structures.
  • When using advanced vocabulary, you often fail to do so in its correct context, either in writing or speaking.
  • Even though you can write a full essay, you struggle to write it without making lots of grammatical errors.
  • One of the biggest problems an Intermediate Level Student experiences is an inability to apply verb tenses correctly.
  • You find it challenging to engage in advanced conversations, such as showing up for an interview or speaking on the phone with a university advisor.
  • Anything that requires the use of advanced formal structures isn’t your thing.
  • You find that when trying to relate an idea, you occasionally fail to make yourself understood by native speakers.
  • You find yourself pronouncing words incorrectly which you aren’t very familiar with.

 

A guide for Intermediate Level Students

1.) Need to test skills, eligibility, etc.

In case you’re wondering whether there’s a way to confirm that you’re in fact an Intermediate Level Student, the answer is a resounding yes.

You’ll know by taking a sample TOEFL test to help determine where you stand (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) as a TOEFL student, and to plan your test preparation period accordingly. Knowing your level of English is one of the most essential factors for passing the TOEFL iBT exam.

In the chart below, you’ll see a range of scores for each section of the exam. This will give you an idea of which level category you belong to:

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Now that you have an idea of how the TOEFL scoring system works, the first thing you must do is write a TOEFL iBT test. Here is what you’ll need to do:

  1. Take a TOEFL iBT practice test. You’ll see the available practice test options below.
  2. Record your score.
  3. Check your score on the image above to see which level category you belong to.

There are three ways to take a TOEFL practice test. We’ll start with the best option.

Online Interactive Practice tests:

This is the most accurate form of recording your grades. All you need to do is purchase a practice test and take the exam online. The four components of the exam will be corrected for you, and you’ll be graded according to how well you answer.

The reading and listening section will be corrected by a robot, while the speaking and listening passages will be graded by real teachers. These online interactive tests are replicas of the real TOEFL iBT exam. When doing these practice tests, you’ll see the same format and question types as you would on the real exam. It’s an excellent way to get a realistic idea of the TOEFL exam writing experience in order to overcome any fears you may have about writing this test.

Pros:

  • It’s the most accurate form of grading, as the exam will be corrected by real teachers.
  • You’ll get feedback on the areas in which you need to improve.
  • After writing the exam, you’ll be given a list of the questions you’ve answered incorrectly. You’ll receive the correct answer along with an explanation of why you should have chosen that answer.
  • Most or all packages provide you with more than one practice test.
  • Online practice tests are replicas of the actual exam, so you essentially get to experience the real thing.
  • They time the test for you, making the experience more structured and organized.
  • Some practice tests provide extra training along with the practice test sets you’ve ordered.
  • Some even offer a free demo so that you can get a feel for what you’ll be buying.

Cons:

They aren’t free except for some that offer a free demo/trial at the beginning.

They aren’t ideal for students on a tight budget. (Most of the tests cost around $100.)

Buying a practice textbook:

If you decide to buy an online practice test, it’s highly recommended to first practice using a textbook. Most of us feel more comfortable using pen and paper because that’s what we’ve been using at school.

It’s a must to have a guidebook of some sort to help explain all the different sections of the TOEFL test. The good thing is that generally speaking, all practice textbooks offer help regarding the structure of the TOEFL test, along with tips and strategies that’ll help you pass the exam. In addition to that, you’ll get plenty of practice tests that you can take during your TOEFL preparation period.

Pros:

  • Most practice test textbooks provide you with help for the different sections of the TOEFL iBT such as the questions you’ll see on the exam, skills and strategies required for the test, and much more.
  • It’s an excellent solution for those who have tutors, because after completing a practice test, they can receive immediate feedback about their performance and the areas in which they could improve.
  • A practice test book has an answer sheet at the back with sample answers for the four sections of the TOEFL exam.
  • Using a practice test notebook first might be better for students who aren’t familiar with the format of the exam. They might prefer to take the test in a relaxed manner, spending as many hours as they need to complete a test.
  • When practicing, you can easily go back to the previous pages if you need assistance while solving the practice tests. It’s put together for you in one single book! It’s a practical solution for students who haven’t yet learned about the different types of questions and the skills they will need during the exam.

Cons:

  • It’s not free of course, but it’s still available at affordable prices.
  • Doing practice tests on paper doesn’t offer you the same experience as an online interactive test, so ideally, you’ll move on to doing the interactive test.
  • Most of these textbooks contain four to seven practice tests, which in most cases isn’t sufficient for a Beginner or Intermediate Level Student. If you need more tests, we recommend that you buy the official TOEFL iBT tests Vol. 1 and 2 (provide link).
  • You must have a lot of motivation and discipline to finish all the practice tests. Online interactive tests can be more encouraging for students because everything is done in a timed and structured manner.

Free online interactive tests:

Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can say about a free online interactive test. There are some websites that have volunteered to integrate a basic system with multiple choice questions, reading passages, and listening excerpts.

That being said, using a free online test is still worth mentioning in the case that you run out of practice tests, or if you’re just waiting for your textbooks to arrive.

Pros:

  • Ideal for students who are trying to save money.
  • Might be acceptable for advanced students who can’t afford the paid interactive tests and feel very confident about the exam.
  • Good if you’re trying to look for even more extra practice and can’t afford to buy any more practice books and online tests.

Cons:

  • Must have your own timer
  • It’s a non-graded test, so the robot corrects only the reading and listening section of the exam.
  • Doing the writing or speaking section isn’t of great use because no one will be able to correct it for you.
  • Most of these tests must be corrected manually.
  • You receive no feedback about your overall performance.
  • Most of the websites that offer free online tests have very poor automated systems.

 

3.) Buying the right TOEFL books

Having a TOEFL textbook is compulsory for all students regardless of their level (beginners can also use certain books that focus more on an introductory level of English proficiency). It’s the most essential thing to have while preparing for the TOEFL test. No matter how proficient you are in the English language, you’ll find it extremely challenging to do well on the test without understanding the structure of the exam. TOEFL textbooks offer in-depth guidance on each component of the test. You’ll get to explore all the question types you could possibly see on the exam.

Most importantly, you’ll be taught some very important skills that you’ll need during college such as notetaking, constructing good answers, and effectively integrating the various components of reading, speaking, and listening into your language skillset.

You’ll find a number of realistic practice questions and model answers in the TOEFL book you purchase.

Here are some recommended books for intermediate students.

The 3 best TOEFL preparation books:

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Intermediate books:

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3.) Purchasing a course

Spending money on a TOEFL course is completely worth it. It should be thought of as an investment in your future so you can excel in this exam and get into the university of your dreams.

Some students might consider that they can manage without a course. This way of thinking is actually wrong. By investing in a structured course, they could in fact save a lot of time and money in the long run. Indeed, some students have studied English all their lives and think they will easily pass the exam. To their disappointment, they often find that they either fail, or have to redo the test to get the grade they want to achieve. Indeed, rewriting the exam isn’t a pleasant experience. No one wants to go through the same experience all over again.

Taking a TOEFL course will teach you the structure of the exam and the necessary skills required to get the grade you’re aiming for.

In short, an online TOEFL course will allow you to:

  • Understand the TOEFL exam in general
  • Become familiar with the various parts of the TOEFL
  • Acquire the necessary skills and strategies for the TOEFL
  • Learn about important tips and tricks for the TOEFL
  • Review examples and tactics to master each section
  • Study in a more structured manner to avoid problems such as boredom and lack of direction
  • Some courses might even evaluate your speaking and writing tasks

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4.) Getting a tutor

A real teacher can give you specific advice and help you based on your personal strengths and weaknesses.

By hiring a teacher, you cover all bases. We recommend that all students find a tutor, especially for Beginner and Intermediate Level Students. It’s important for them to get one-on-one tutoring in order to help them correctly apply the skills they’ve learnt from books and courses.

A tutor is also able to quickly adapt to his or her students’ needs. They can identify their students’ weaknesses and focus on improving them. Likewise, a tutor can identify a student’s strengths and help the learner recognize them.

Getting immediate feedback about your performance is a big plus when you have a tutor. Not only will your mistakes be corrected; you’ll also have a teacher staying on top of you until you overcome these mistakes.

The social aspect of interacting with a real person is also a motivating factor for most students. You’ll feel that you have more direction and support when studying with a tutor.

Here is a summary of the reasons why you should get a tutor for the TOEFL test:

  • A tutor shows you what you’re doing correctly or incorrectly.
  • A tutor gives you specific advice on how to avoid commonly made mistakes.
  • Practicing exercises with a tutor will help you learn more quickly.
  • It’s more motivating to work with a teacher who can give you guidance.
  • You can get immediate, detailed feedback about your weaknesses and be shown ways to help you overcome them.

Keep in mind that you can always opt for online tutors if you don’t want to spend weeks going to see a tutor in person.

The advantage to having an online tutor is flexibility. You usually sign up for a tutor based on the number of hours you need. That could range from anywhere between 5 to 10 hours or more.

You’ll surely benefit from being able to discuss things like the structure of the exam, helpful tips and strategies you might need, and getting feedback on the speaking component of the exam etc.

5.) Apply what you’ve learned by continually practicing

Practicing is the most essential part of your TOEFL preparation. Preparing well with the necessary practice tests significantly increases your chances of doing well on your exam.

TOEFL isn’t just about knowing the English language. There are other factors involved that affect your grade such as time management, familiarity with the question types, confidence with the exam, and giving the examiner exactly what they’re looking for.

You learn how to do these things by gaining the required skills and strategies from courses and textbooks, and then applying them on the practice tests. Basically, you must master the TOEFL exam and be able to whiz through it without having any problems. That’s the difference between a student who has practiced well for the exam and a student who has not.

As mentioned previously, there are three ways for you to practice for the TOEFL exam: (1) TOEFL practice books, (2) free online practice tests, and (3) real online interactive practice tests.

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6.) Benefiting from free online resources

There are many free online resources that every student should check out. These beneficial websites will help you learn key vocabulary, grammar rules, or strategies that can certainly help you with the exam. You’ll find some really good YouTube channels and an Edx TOEFL course below that are also worth mentioning.

 

Length of study preparation period

Many of you want an idea of how long it’ll take to prepare for the exam. The answer is that it depends entirely on your level of knowledge of the English language and the number of hours you’re willing to put in per week. If you follow our suggested weekly goal estimation, it should only take you what we’ve shown below:

intermediate_period

As an intermediate student, you must bring your level up as much as you can and continue to practice a lot for the TOEFL test.

If you feel frustrated that you’ll need to put in hours of preparation, remind yourself of two things:

  • It’s better to prepare well now than to have to take this test more than once, or pass with unsatisfactory grades.
  • This preparation won’t go to waste because what you’re doing is preparing for the career you want to pursue. If you’re planning to go to university, you must have a sufficient level of English to understand what’s being taught to you. You’ll also be completing all your assignments and research work in English. Not to scare you, but university is something even native speakers find challenging. So now is the time to prepare as best as you can in order to perform well in a very competitive environment.

This clarification has only been given so as to encourage you to work harder to achieve your future goals.

At uMasterExam, you’ll find all the guidance you need in relation to the TOEFL exam. It’s an amazing starting point for you. We’ve made sure to list the best TOEFL books, tutors, and courses on the market.

Furthermore, you can get access to lots of free information, tips, and blogs, and also post questions to interact with the TOEFL community in the Have a Question section at the bottom of the home page. You can also create an account and post your own blog about your experiences with the TOEFL test in the Students Corner section. Now is the time to get really serious and revise your goals so you can start studying ASAP!

 

Revising your goals as an Intermediate Level Student:

checked Purchase an online interactive practice test to firstly identify your TOEFL level accurately, and then later apply what you’ve learned from your tutor/course

checked Get the right textbooks for your level

checked Purchase a TOEFL course to help you understand the required skills for the exam

checked Find a tutor to help you

checked Engage with other students by posting questions or answering their questions (if you can)

checked Learn from other students’ experiences and share your own