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General TOEFL Test Tips

Here are some general tips to keep in mind for the day you take the TOEFL IBT test.

1.   The TOEFL assesses the actual skills required of you to study at a post-secondary institution in an English speaking country. Keep this in mind as you prepare so you don't become obsessed with tips for "beating the test". If you really learn the integrated skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing, your scores will reflect that.

2.   Before the test starts, at a test center (after you've arrived early (you should be there at least 30 minutes before the time of your test), and done your check-in), or at home if you're doing the Home Edition (which you still need to be at the computer at least 30 minutes beforehand as there is a mandatory check-in that will take about 20 minutes to get through) take a short break to calm yourself. Some suggestions include:

  • Yoga stretches.
  • Deep breathing.
  • Visualization.

3.   Every portion of the test is timed. Practice doing each portion of the test in exactly the time allotted.

4.   Every written portion of the test has a recommended length. Practice writing answers within those guidelines.

5.   Practice typing your essay on the computer with the spelling and grammar check function disabled. You won't have those friendly red and green lines to alert you to errors during the real test!

6.   Practice for the speaking part of the test with a headset and mike. Record your answers to your computer as if you were really in the test and play them back so you can hear how well you speak.

7.   If you aren't sure how to spell or pronounce a word, just use a different one. It's better to use a simple word effectively than an impressive word incorrectly.

8.   Memorize a revision checklist for use in both the speaking and writing portion of the test. It will give you confidence to know you haven't missed anything.

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