How to Ace Your TOEFL iBT® test

I apologize in advance if you came here looking for a secret method or a magical spell that can get you a high score in the TOEFL test; however, the secret is to practice, practice, and more practice. If you’re reading this, then you have probably spent a reasonable amount of time by now searching how to ace or how to score high on the TOEFL! 

According to my experience, the TOEFL exam is more about how well you can do the exam. Therefore, it is essential to become familiar with and even master the different sections in the exam. 

You can find sample practice tests on the official website (https://www.ets.org/toefl). These practice tests will help you become familiar with the test directions and the format of the questions. However, it is essential to note that these tests are not enough for a good or high exam score. 

You can find various websites that offer free sample practice tests as well as paid packages. This depends on your budget. I have used only accessible sources and have attained a score above 105 on the TOEFL test. Thus, paying for books without practicing will not get you your desired score. 

The test consists of four different sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing (for detailed information: https://www.ets.org/toefl )  

I will cover each topic according to my own experience and study methods. 

Reading section 

The reading section is the first section that you will encounter. You should expect to receive 3-4 Passages with ten questions each. You will have 54-72 minutes to read and answer all the questions. 

This section will test your ability to read and understand the passages covering a wide range of topics and the ability to answer related questions. My advice would be to practice as many of these passages as possible, as the question may be slightly confusing at first. 

Another helpful tip is when you’re stuck on a question, try to make an educated guess by initially crossing out options that are not the answer. That would leave you with fewer possible answers, thus, a lower probability of getting a wrong answer. 

Helpful links : 

https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/prepare/tests/reading/ 

Listening section 

The listening section will include audio clips of conversations between people as well as lecture audio clips. You will hear passages covering a wide range of topics and then answer questions regarding the content. You will have 41 to 57 minutes to listen and complete all the questions. 

This section will test your ability to listen and comprehend lectures and conversations in an academic setting. My advice would be to utilize and use the papers given at the beginning of the test and write down as much information as possible to quickly answer all the questions as it is difficult to remember all that is stated. Another tip is to start watching the news, TV shows, online lectures in English so that you can practice hearing the language. 

Helpful links : 

https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/prepare/tests/listening/

Speaking section 

The Speaking section will test your ability to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively in an academic setting. The speaking section will state your opinion on specific topics in a 45 to 60 seconds long response. It will also test your ability to combine your reading and listening skills to answer the rest of the speaking section. You will also get 15-30 seconds to prepare your response before speaking. 

My advice for this section is to practice speaking to others and practice the format of the exam where you only have 15-30 seconds to prepare and construct your ideas about a topic. This section may seem intimidating. However, it is best to block out your fears and to speak as confidently as possible when it is time to respond. It is also essential to practice the 45-60 seconds long response as you do not want to be cut off halfway saying your sentences. 

Helpful links : 

https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/prepare/tests/speaking/ 

Writing section 

The writing section is the last in the exam. This section consists of two parts where. The first is 20 minutes long; during that time, you will read a short passage, listen to a lecture audio clip, and then write a response to what you have just read and listened to. The second part is 30 minutes long, and it consists of an essay on your personal experience or opinion regarding a specific given topic. 

To practice for this section of the test, I would advise you to practice as much as possible and develop your grammar, spelling, and vocabulary for this. It is crucial to create an essay structure in a short amount of time with a well-thought introduction, body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. The test will not show you any incorrect misspellings. Thus, it is vital to practice and check all your work before submitting, and I would even advise leaving 7 minutes to go through all your essay and check all your grammar and spellings.

Helpful links : 

https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/prepare/tests/writing/ 

Finally, I think it is imperative to practice real-time tests. The test will last for several hours, requiring a lot of concentration and energy from students. Thus, to train your body and brain, start doing real-time tests and recreate that test environment, meaning leaving your phone away, isolating yourself in a quiet room while doing the practice tests, and following the instructions as if you are in the exam. This will also help you relax and concentrate during the actual test time as you will be familiar with the instructions and procedures. I have also found it helpful to immerse myself in English-related content and mediums at least two weeks before the exam, thus, listening, talking, watching, reading all in English so that my brain becomes in tune with the language. Finally, do not panic and stress over it, and please do not spend hours searching online for forums or magical ways to get a total score on the test! The TOEFL is just another test to help you get closer to your dreams, and it is mostly about how well you can do the test. Thus, practice, practice, and then practice some more! 

If you have already taken the test and would like to share your tips and experience, we would love to hear all about it in the comments! 

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