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Stafford House Blog

Five Ways to Prepare for the TOEFL Exam

Posted by Fernanda Crowe on Apr 12, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Now that you have decided to take the TOEFL exam to further your education and career it’s time to think about how you are going to prepare to succeed on the test. Of course you need to study, but to get the most out of your studying, it’s best to have a well thought out approach. Here are five ways to best prepare for the TOEFL.

1. Don’t Prepare on your own
With the size and scope of the TOEFL exam you will have a much greater chance of success if you can work with a good teacher for at least six weeks prior to the test. A good instructor can give you tips and help you to organize your approach to the exam.

While you are working with your teacher, you should develop a strategy for note taking. Having well structured, and thorough, notes can help you get the most out of your preparation time and help you tremendously on test day. You will not be able to take your notes with you into the test, but this type of ordered preparation will help you succeed.


At Stafford House, students are provided with one of the most challenging TOEFL text book and can take several practice tests to help prepare for the test.

2. Immerse Yourself 
The TOEFL Test is given in four sections, Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. With half of the test measuring your ability to speak and listen in English, the more time you spend doing that, the better. As you immerse yourself in the English language pay special attention to practicing your enunciation.

Speaking quickly does not mean you are fluent in English. It is much more important to be clear in what you say so that you are easily understood.

3. Learn the Test

While you are preparing and practicing your English skills, you should also be practicing how to take the TOEFL Test. Taking a long, computerized, exam is a skill just like reading or writing, and you need to practice this skill as well.

  • Become familiar with the test format - Knowing how the test is organized, how much time you will have to complete each section, and the types of questions you will be asked can help you succeed.
  • Learn to write an essay - On the TOEFL Test you will be required to write an essay in English. You will need to learn the style and format of an essay in order to complete this section. Being able to organize your ideas is just as important as being able to express them in writing. This will require practice.
  • Learn to Type - The TOEFL iBT Test is administered entirely on-line and your ability to type quickly and accurately will impact not only your ability to answer the questions accurately, but also your ability to complete the test in the time allotted. You can be a fluent English speaker with excellent reading and writing skills, but if you can’t type, you won’t be able to display your knowledge and skills on this test.

4. Get Organized
You will need to have certain documents and items with you on the day of the test. A full list can be found here. Having these documents set aside and ready the night before the test will mean that you don’t have to spend time thinking about them the day of the test. You can go to the test, thinking only about the test.

5. Learn to Relax
The preparation for the TOEFL can be a stressful process, as can taking the test itself. Spend some time during your six weeks of preparation learning some relaxation techniques that you can use while you study and while you are taking the test. You will perform better if you are relaxed and your mind is clear. Choose techniques that don’t require any outside objects, such as stress balls, as you will not be allowed to take these into the test room.

Topics: Academics