Advanced Level Students
On uMasterExam, we’ve categorized students into three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Level Students. This will be your ultimate study guide to help you prepare for the TOEFL exam starting now.
The reason for doing this was to help each student focus on managing their TOEFL preparation based on their own personal stage of linguistic proficiency. Some students can prepare for the TOEFL exam in a month, while others might need eight months. Beginners will of course need to prepare for longer periods than this.
We’ve created three groups (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) in which students will be able to categorize themselves based on their ability to understand, write, and speak in English.
Our goal is to push you in the right direction. This way, you’ll have a clear understanding of the TOEFL exam, the required material for exam preparation, and the length of time you’ll need to prepare for this test.
What does it mean to be an Advanced Level TOEFL iBT student?
Well, the word ‘advanced’ pretty much gives you an idea of what is intended here. Relatively speaking, an Advanced Level Student can be considered to have highly-developed abilities to speak and write in English.
Advanced level students are:
- Those whose first language is English, or
- Those whose second language is English because they have been naturally exposed to the English language for a good portion of their lives, (e.g. attended an English-speaking school), or
- Those who have worked very hard and acquired a profound understanding of the language.
What makes you an Advanced Level Student?
The key difference between an Intermediate and an Advanced Level Student lies in their ability to use English vocabulary, grammar and syntax (i.e. sentence structure) correctly. Although both levels have a good level of proficiency in the language, Advanced Level Students are superior to intermediate ones in that they can construct their sentences and convey complex ideas in English with no, or minimal errors.
Advanced Level Students have a greater advantage in the TOEFL exam over the other levels because they require the least amount of preparation for the test. If they work hard enough and understand the ins and outs of the exam, they might be able to prepare for the test in just one month. However, that might not be the case for all students because it depends entirely on how much you already know about the test, as well as the amount of hours you’re willing to put in per week.
For you to confirm that you belong in this category, it’s advised that you take a paid and formal online interactive TOEFL test. Based on the grades you receive on the test, you’ll be able to determine which level you belong to by looking at the range of scores in the table below.
After you take this formal test, look at the score ranges (found below) for Advanced Level Students and see if your score meets the estimated range. If not, read the article that has been written specifically for your level. A table below will show you the score ranges for each level.
Let’s say, for example, that you think your English language skills are pretty advanced, but when you take the test, you find your score range falls within the Intermediate Level Student category. If that’s the case, it’s recommended that you follow the guide for the intermediate level, then do your best to bring your score up to the next step (Advanced Level Student).
Score ranges for Advanced Level Students
In the image below, you’ll find a list of score ranges for all student categories:
Understanding the TOEFL test
Before you move on with reading the article, take a couple of minutes to go through this article, which briefly explains the structure of the TOEFL exam. If you think you’re very familiar with the structure of the test, you can ignore it and continue reading.
Gathering the necessary TOEFL material
A.) TOEFL Textbooks for Advanced Level Students
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. Generally speaking, all TOEFL textbooks offer you in-depth guidance on the test component they’ve been written for. With the help of one of these books, you’ll be able to explore all the question types you might possibly come across in 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.
There are many TOEFL practice books available on the internet. However, some of the books tend to be easier than others. For Advanced Level Students, we recommend using the more challenging textbooks. That way, you’ll be well-prepared for the test.
Here is a list of textbooks that are most recommended for Advanced Level Students:
The 3 best TOEFL preparation books:
Best Grammar and Vocabulary books:
B.) A TOEFL course – A MUST for students who want to learn the strategies for mastering the TOEFL
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
C.) Should I get a tutor?
Well, we highly recommend it, but it’s optional, especially for Advanced Level Students.
A real teacher can give you specific advice and help you based on your own 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 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.
There is another thing worth mentioning here, especially for Advanced Level Students.
The fact that your level of English is advanced doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t need a tutor. There are many test writing skills which are specific to the TOEFL iBT exam that you’ll need to learn. Keep in mind that you can always opt for online tutors if you don’t want to spend weeks seeing 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.
You can find some very good online tutors here.
D.) Practicing and Application of Skills
It’s good to learn the skills and strategies necessary for the TOEFL exam. However, you still need to apply the knowledge you’ve learned from the courses and textbooks so that you can be completely prepared for the test day. For that, you’ll definitely need practice tests.
You can get practice tests in three forms. Below you’ll be able to examine each one. It’s always advised that students use a combination of each. That way, you’ll be 100 percent prepared for the exam.
Online Interactive 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 test writing experience in order to overcome any fears you may have about writing this test.
- 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.
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 doing 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Length of time required to prepare for the TOEFL exam
Many students want an idea of how long it takes to prepare for the TOEFL exam.
The answer is: It depends entirely on the number of hours you’re willing to put in per week. If you follow our suggested weekly goals, it should only take about the amount of time we’ve listed below:
As an Advanced Level Student, you require much less preparation time for the TOEFL than Beginner and Intermediate Level Students. What gives you this advantage is – of course – your understanding of, and ability to use, the English language. The preparation stage for Advanced Level Students will be more focused on actual strategies you’ll need for the exam. On the other hand, beginners and intermediates will devote a good portion of their studying time to improving their overall language skills.
Benefiting from free online resources
One of the last things we would like to mention is the help you can get from free resources available online. We have listed a few websites below that we believe all TOEFL students will benefit from regardless of their level.
A summary of objectives to make note of:
Not a must for advanced students, but consider finding a tutor to help you.
Engage with other students and learn from their TOEFL preparation and test writing experiences
Practice speaking with native speakers