Top Preparation Strategies for the TOEFL Exam

toefl exam

TOEFL is the Test of English Foreign Language exam that is set as the standardized test used to assess the english language ability of the candidate who are normally non native english speaker. This test is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is mainly required by US and Canadian colleges for all the non native English speakers who are willing to enroll themselves into English speaking programs in foreign universities. As English language being the international language that is why TOEFL is one of the English language proficiency tests accepted globally. 


TOEFL exam  is divided into two main types discussed as below: 


The TOEFL Computer-based test (CBT) which was launched in 1998 maintained some discrete point testing, but it included direct skill testing as well. A test takers reading comprehension skills were measured on the TOEFL CBT not only by his or her knowledge of the meaning of vocabulary words, but by the ability to infer the meaning of a word from the context of a reading passage, identify the main idea of the passage, make inferences about the author’s meaning, and so on – all reading skills that any good reader must use. A test taker’s writing skills were measured on the TOEFL CBT not only by his her knowledge of the rules of English sentence structure but by the ability to apply those rules, as well as the rules of discourse organization, vocabulary usage and so on, in writing an actual essay.

2- TOEFL iBT: 

The TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) launched in 2005 includes no discrete point testing. TOEFL iBT is a direct measure of the test takers communicative abilities in all four basic skills – reading, listening, speaking and writing. TOEFL iBT measures receptive and expressive skills equally.

  • Half the total score on the test is based on reading and listening skills on how well you receive and understand English.
  •   Half of the total score is based on speaking and writing abilities – how well you express yourself using English.
  • TOEFLiBT measures integrated skills. In the speaking and writing sections of the test there are several questions in which you must read and/or listen, then speak or write based on what you read and heard.
  • TOEFL iBT includes no discrete point testing. Your knowledge of the grammar of English is measured within the skills section of the test. For example, you must correctly apply rules of English grammar when speaking or writing on the test.


TOEFL iBT uses more authentic language in the reading and listening passages. For example, in the listening section, speakers in a conversation may interrupt each other, just as two people naturally do when engaged in conversation. It allows note taking. You can and in fact should take notes in every section of the test.


There are 6 main strategies through which one can ace TOEFL exam through keen preparation discussed briefly below;

Be prepared for every type of question:

Nothing should be a surprise for the student or should be expecting some exact same question they have prepared for. You should be prepared for any out of the way question. Know every question and task, and set the exact bench mark you need to score in your TOEFL exam to succeed in it. For example, keep updated yourself through reading the newspaper, watching News and staying in touch with the current affairs on the internet. 

Familiarize yourself with the overall format of the test:

For you to avoid any unfortunate surprises on the day of the test, you should first of all familiarize yourself with the TOEFL test, structure, definition and pattern of each section and so on. This way, you will know exactly what is expected of you on the test Day. 

Learn to take good notes:

The person should be efficient enough to jot down good notes and extract the exact required information from the context they have heard or read. It is mandatory to note down only essential information that is enough for you to remember. 

Become familiar with different speaking styles:

While the American accent may be the easiest to understand, make sure you also familiarize yourself with other accents such as the British, Australian, and Irish ones. This way, you will be less surprised if you hear different speaking styles or accents the day of your TOEFL exam.

Think before you speak or write: 

Before delivering your idea onto the paper always think and evaluate if the context is clear and streamlined and to the point enough that is required by the examiner. You should be able to ask yourself these following questions before answering any question;

  • Did I answer the question being asked?
  • If there is a choice, did I identify it?
  • Did I write clearly?
  • Did I use words correctly?
  • Did I organize my ideas clearly and coherently?
  • Combine both passive and active learning:

While quality is important, so is diversity! Make sure to select a variety of learning materials. You can for instance use academic resources such as grammar books and academic practicing material.

When you want to take a break, you can watch series or listen to English podcasts in English! This way, you will make learning English more fun and interactive. If you still find yourself having troubles, you can take a look at other language exams and maybe even compare them to the TOEFL, for instance you could take a look at the sample papers to compare the differences between TOEFL and IELTS to see how these both exams work. 


As a conclusion, we can conclude that The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standard test designed to measure the ability to understand and to use English as it is used in North American academic settings, such as university. Standardized tests are widely used in the United States for college and graduate school admissions and professional licensing. TOEFL will not only aid you to get admission in the top notch universities but will help you develop critical analysis and improved language skills.