If you’re in the midst of TOEFL preparation, you must be wondering about how to study to get the high score you’ve always wanted. It might seem difficult, but earning a stellar TOEFL score is a lot easier than you think.
The ultimate pathway to getting a good mark is to incorporate the right exercises into your TOEFL practice regimen. Luckily, there are many tools at your disposal to help you improve your English and ace the TOEFL.
These 5 essential tips will provide you with the foundation you need to cover all your bases and master each component of the exam.
Before we get into the 5 essential rules on how to prepare for the TOEFL, we need to look at what the exam itself will look like. The test will touch on several components that you must be prepared for, and it’s important to at least familiarize yourself with what to expect.
Reading: You will be asked to read 3-4 700-word passages and then answer some questions about them.
Listening: You will listen to 2-3 conversations (5 questions each) and then 5-7 lectures (with 6 questions each).
Speaking: You will be given a series of tasks that will require you to speak spontaneously, give an opinion, and convey your thoughts on a variety of subjects.
Writing: One task will require you to summarize another person’s point of view, and the second will ask that you write an essay detailing your point of view on a given topic.
This brief breakdown should give you a solid understanding of what the TOEFL structure will be, just so no unwanted surprises are waiting for you on test day. Ultimately, each of these components carries equal weight as far as the TOEFL score is concerned, so you should focus on preparing for each of them to the best of your abilities.
How to Prepare for the TOEFL
That you know what to expect, you need to shift your priorities toward preparedness. TOEFL preparation is all about focusing on the right exercises to help master each component of the exam.
These 5 rules will provide you with an ample opportunity to hone your English skills and truly earn that high score.
1. Increase Your Vocabulary
Vocabulary is the bedrock of any language. Without it, there’d be no language to speak of. So, it goes without saying that to get good at English, you’re going to need to improve your vocabulary as much as possible.
If the test is a problem to be fixed, vocabulary your toolkit. A fundamental understanding of words and their meanings is what will allow you to answer questions promptly and effectively.
Here’s a good guide on ways to improve TOEFL vocabulary that you should include in your TOEFL practice materials.
2. Listen to Podcasts
Listening is a major component of the test. The listening section will task you with hearing conversations and/or lectures and then answering questions based on them.
This activity requires a high level of English comprehension skills. To have that, you’re going to need to practice listening.
Podcasting is the perfect way to incorporate listening skill practice into your schedule. If there’s one medium that combines conversations with lectures, it’s podcasting.
Subscribe to a few podcast channels that interest you and try to listen to them whenever you get a chance. You can even download them and listen offline while going to work, preparing dinner, or walking in the park. Some channels also provide transcripts which can be useful if you having difficulty catching some complex words/ phrases.
3. Study Aloud When Possible
Studying aloud is a great way to get in some speaking practice when you’ve got no one to speak to.
One of the most jarring things that come to mind when learning to speak a new language is pronunciations. People often feel insecure about how they say a word and this stifles their ability to get better at it.
Studying aloud will give you the confidence to say English words without reservation or hesitation. It’ll also allow you to get comfortable with the act of saying English words and phrases out loud.
4. Take Plenty of Notes
As you can see, writing will be a substantial part of the test. That’s why you need to get accustomed to the idea of writing in English.
Not only do you need to grasp basic concepts like grammar, punctuation, and spelling, but you also need to get yourself into the habit of putting thoughts to pen and paper. You need to get comfortable with the idea of expressing yourself in a language that’s new to you.
Writing notes as you study will allow you to put all these things into practice. It’ll make it so that when you finally get around to doing the test, writing won’t seem like such a daunting task.
5. Make Reading a Daily Habit
This one’s sort of a no-brainer. You’re following this rule as we speak — it’s something you already know to do.
But just because we know to do something doesn’t mean that we’ll do it. In the case of reading, this is something you need to do every day. It won’t require hours on end, but you should try to dedicate at least a small portion of your day to reading materials.
It doesn’t matter what you read — whether it’s a fantasy novel, online news, or articles just like this — what’s important is that you get comfortable with the idea of reading in English. This will help you tremendously in grasping the English language.
Ultimately, I’m not proposing some insane, unorthodox TOEFL practice regimen. It’s not necessary: the test itself is rather straightforward and so is how to study for it.
Above are the essential rules on how to prepare for the TOEFL because they encompass everything you’ll need to do well and earn that high score. With that being said, it’s now time for you to put these things into practice and get on with your TOEFL preparation!