At the very least, you should familiarize yourself with the test format, and practice some questions beforehand. The amount of practice you need will depend on your English language ability, the time you have available before you take the test, and how familiar you feel with the test format. The TOEFL information bulletin provides some sample questions, but there are also various TOEFL preparation materials available.
In addition, a number of institutions offer test training courses or private tuition for the TOEFL for a fee. Some things to consider before signing up for a course include how many hours of tuition are provided, whether the tuition is provided on videotape or by a ‘live’ teacher, what training and experience the teachers have, and how they measure your improvement throughout the course. If the course is offered at an English language school, check what accreditation the school holds. If you are not sure about a course, ask if you can sit in on a class as an observer and/or ask to speak to past participants. We have also provided some very useful TOEFL tips for free.
- Write: Send emails, make notes for yourself and write down daily reminders, using new words and common expressions. This helps with sentence structure and vocabulary.
- Listen: Listen to music, online broadcasts, radio, television and movies in English. The more you listen, the more you will understand vocabulary and expressions. Music helps you acquire the rhythm and stress patterns of spoken English. Listen closely to the words.
- Read: Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary. English-language reading materials — newspapers, magazines, books and websites — are always available. See Lexile® Measures for additional ways to improve your reading skills.
- Speaking Tip: Concentrate on speaking loudly and clearly with good pronunciation and intonation. Try to speak in thought groups to have good flow to your speaking. Pause after prepositional phrases and related thought groups. Add emotion and feeling to what you are saying. Practice the same speech in your own language and then try to match the same gestures and feelings when you use English.
- Keep a Journal: Write down things you are doing to prepare for college and other events in your daily life. This is a great way to organize your thoughts and practice writing in English. You can track your own progress. Read it to yourself and read it out loud.
- Practice on a QWERTY Keyboard:A Standard English language (QWERTY) computer keyboard is used for the test. Practice typing on a QWERTY keyboard to become familiar with the keys and layout.