The key to getting a high score on the TOEFL is making an effective TOEFL study plan and then sticking to it. The test itself is designed to be difficult, so preparation is essential if you want to do well. Many students who wish to attend universities where English is spoken speak some English, but not enough to flourish in an academic setting. The TOEFL test’s goal is to make sure that students who end up at university are ready to be there.

Because the test is comprehensive and timed, having a study guide is helpful. Here are some tips to help you create an effective study plan so that you’ll be ready when it’s time to take the test.

#1: Determine how much time you have to prepare

If you want to ensure that you can take the test on your chosen date, you will need to register at least three months in advance. Once you are registered, you know how much time you have to study, and that can help you arrange your study plan accordingly.

#2: Come up with a target test score

Some universities require a relatively low score on the TOEFL, while others require a high score for admission. Find out what the test requirements are for the schools where you are applying so you understand what you need to do to be admitted.

#3: Diagnose your strengths and weaknesses

As soon as you are registered to take the test, you should take a full practice test to determine the areas where you need the most work. The test is divided into four main sections: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. If you find that the reading section is easy for you but listening is very difficult, you can arrange your schedule to allow plenty of time to study for the listening section.

#4: Divide your time

Break down the time you have to study into sections and determine when you will study for each section. It may be a good idea to start with your weakest area, as you will be building upon your skills along the way. A lot of students like to start with the basics by mastering the TOEFL vocabulary list and familiarizing themselves with the test format and instructions.

Once you have a schedule worked out, stick to it. It is very important to be consistent with your preparations.

#5: Make English a priority

As you prepare, find as much time in your day as possible to listen to, speak, read, and write English. Even if you live in a country where English is not regularly spoken, you can find opportunities online and in person to practice your English. Since fluency is your goal, try to do your daily thinking and speaking in English.

#6: Find a study group or partner

Some people prefer to study alone, while others work better as part of a group. When practicing for the TOEFL, it can help to work with others who are in pursuit of the same goal. You can time each other’s practice exams, share resources together, and encourage one another.

#7: Take regular practice exams

When you set up your plan, establish milestones and take practice exams to measure your progress. If you took a baseline test earlier, each progressive test should help you assess yourself and decide how to allocate your time.

Every student is different. As you prepare for the test, make sure to pay attention to your progress. If you find that you consistently score very high on one portion of the test but struggle with another, don’t be afraid to rearrange your schedule to allow more study where you need it. The more time you allow yourself to prepare, the more likely it is that you will get the score you need.

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