How to Prepare for the TOEFL

Get ready for TOEFL

Colleges and universities around the world typically require foreign applicants to submit TOEFL test scores as part of the admissions process. Getting a good score on this test shows that you can understand and communicate in the English language. The following tips will help you prepare for the TOEFL properly and achieve the score you need to impress admissions committees.

Read about the Test

The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the TOEFL. This will make the test seem less daunting. It will also give you an understanding of what is expected of you as a test-taker. You can learn more about TOEFL test content by visiting the official TOEFL page on ETS.org.

Take a Practice Test

Taking a practice test will also help you become more familiar with the TOEFL. You can usually find practice tests in TOEFL test prep guides. You can also get two free practice tests, review materials, scoring information, and sample writing exercises direct from ETS if you register for the paper-based test. You shouldn't worry about doing well on the practice test. The goal of this exercise is to learn about the test so that you can find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Get the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test

The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test is not the only TOEFL test prep guide on the market but it is the only TOEFL guide created by ETS, the people who actually make the test. The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test contains information on the test, practice exercises, skill-builders, test-taking tips, comments from actual test-takers, and two full-length practice tests. The guide can be purchased for approximately $20 USD from several retail outlets. It may also be available at local libraries for no charge.

Immerse Yourself in the Language

Immersing yourself in the English language is another excellent way to obtain the skills you need to score well on the TOEFL. To do this, you can enroll in an English program or join an English club that provides the practice you are looking for. You can also take part in one of the many no-cost social language learning communities that have popped up on the web (Livemocha, iTalki, LingQ, etc.) These communities are often flush with native speakers who can help you improve your ability to speak, write, and listen to the English language.

Practice Writing

To perform well on the TOEFL, you will need to learn the conventions of grammar, spelling, punctuation, structure, and paraphrasing. The best way to learn all of these things is through writing practice. You can begin your practice by making a list of familiar writing topics and writing about them. Choose an opinion or "side" for each topic and construct sentences to support your idea. You should continue this method of practice until you are able to plan, write, proofread, and revise a cohesive essay in 30 minutes or less.

Guest post from freelance writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes for OnlineDegreePrograms.org, an online degree resource.
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