How To Prepare For TOEFL?

    Updated on: 01 Jul 2022

    What is TOEFL?

    TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language, measures the English language skills of non-native English speakers who wish to enroll in undergraduate/graduate programmes in English-speaking universities. 

    Why Should Study Abroad Aspirants Take the TOEFL?

    The English-speaking universities seek to assess the English language skills of the applicants to determine if they will be able to successfully complete a program taught in English. Over 10,000 universities and institutions in around 150 countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and throughout Europe and Asia, accept TOEFL scores for this purpose. Therefore, a good TOEFL score increases your chances of getting an admit from your desired university.  

    How to Prepare for TOEFL?

    Speaking of a good score in TOEFL, the first question that comes to a student’s mind is “how to get one?” Well, the answer is you need to prepare for it. Stick around as we give you a detailed guide on how to prepare for TOEFL. 

    TOEFL Preparation - How to go About It?

    Each part of the TOEFL includes in-depth English language skills, therefore, you should start your exam preparations well in advance. Many students ask, “How to prepare for TOEFL at home?” There are plenty of great resources available to help you prepare for the exam— from good TOEFL books to online guides. Whatever route you select, make sure you take regular practice tests to prepare for the 3-hour exam, as this will improve your endurance, speed, and confidence. 

    Now you may ask, “How much time is required to prepare for TOEFL?” The simple answer is - it is practised that matters, and for rigorous practice, you need to start your preparations well in advance. You should start studying at least 2-3 months before the test. However, that depends on the test taker's existing level of aptitude in the language, that is, some may need less time, while others may need more time for TOEFL preparation. 

    Learn More 

    What is the TOEFL Exam Pattern?

    Before moving to the preparation tips, let’s start with the basics first and get a glimpse of the exam pattern of TOEFL. The TOEFL pattern was revised on August 1, 2019. Earlier, the examination was for 3 hours and 30 minutes, but now it is for 3 hours. Following is the new TOEFL exam pattern: 

    Revised TOEFL iBT Exam Pattern


      Time Limit  




    54 - 72 min

    30 - 40 questions

    Reading 3 or 4 passages taken from academic texts and answering questions.


    41 - 57 min

      28 - 39 questions  

      Listening to lectures and discussions and conversations in the classroom and then answering questions.  


    10 minutes




    17 min

    4 tasks

    Expressing an opinion on a familiar subject; speaking on the basis of the tasks of reading and listening.


    50 min

    2 tasks

    Writing essay responses based on the tasks of reading and listening; endorsing an opinion in writing.


    How Does TOEFL Score you?


      Score Range  



    0 - 30

    Advanced (24–30)
    High-Intermediate (18–23)
    Low-Intermediate (4–17)
    Below Low-Intermediate (0–3)


    0 - 30

    Advanced (22–30)
    High-Intermediate (17–21)
    Low-Intermediate (9–16)
      Below Low-Intermediate (0–8)  


    0 - 30

    Advanced (24–30)
    High-Intermediate (18–23)
    Low-Intermediate (4–17)
    Below Low-Intermediate (0–3)


    0 - 30

    Advanced (25–30)
    High-Intermediate (20–24)
    Low-Intermediate (16–19)
    Basic (10–15)
    Below Basic (0–9)


    0 - 30

    Advanced (24–30)
    High-Intermediate (17–23)
    Low-Intermediate (13–16)
    Basic (7–12)
    Below Basic (0–6)

      Total Score  

    0 - 120


    How to Prepare for TOEFL? Section-wise Tips

    As can be seen from the exam pattern, TOEFL consists of 4 sections - Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking. Each of these sections needs to be prepared thoroughly to get a good overall TOEFL score. Given below are preparation tips for each section which you can refer to, to give your preparations an overall boost. 

    1. Reading 

    • Improving your vocabulary is one of the foremost ways to ace this section. To improve your vocabulary, you should read voraciously, especially texts on business, arts, sciences, and social sciences. You could also group word lists as per academic subjects such as biology, geology, psychology. Try to learn the meanings of suffixes, prefixes, and common roots of words as much as you can. 
    • Study the organization of academic texts. Look for the main ideas in the text, and pay attention to the relationship between them. Then make a list of them, and finally write a summary of the text.  If the text is a comparison, make sure it is reflected in your summary. If two points of view are argued in the text, be sure that both are reflected in your summary.
    • Read a reading passage from any academic text. Write a ‘headline’ for each paragraph keeping in mind the core of the text. The ‘headline’ should be short (5 to 8 words) followed by a 5 to a 6-sentence summary of the entire passage.
    • Practice reading by timing yourself to increase your reading speed.
    • Practice skimming a passage quickly to get a general impression of the main idea rather than reading each word and each sentence carefully.
    • Pick some unfamiliar words from the passage and try to guess their meanings from the surrounding sentences. Later confirm their meanings. 
    • Keep a reading log where you write summaries or answers to the texts you are reading.
    • If the information in the text comprises classification, construct a map and categorize the information accordingly. 
    • Use tables, lists, and diagrams to construct oral or written summaries of the passage.

    2. Listening

    • Listen to a variety of topics; begin with recordings on familiar topics and then move to new topics with higher difficulty level and longer duration.
    • Listen to each recording actively several times: first, listen with English subtitles on and then listen again, focusing on the link between ideas. Try distinguishing fact from opinion. 
    • Hold a log of the new words and phrases that you hear.
    • Think about what each speaker hopes to achieve and the purpose of the lecture or conversation. 
    • Make a note of the speaker’s style, degree of certainty (if the speaker is sure of what he is saying), stress and intonation, transitions/changes in topics, repetition of ideas and paraphrases.
    • Hear, connect and synthesize ideas.
    • Stop recording, to sum up, what you've just learned.

    3. Speaking

    • Use language to give opinions, explain problems and solutions, and establish comparison and contrast. 
    • Learn to use idiomatic and informal speech, contractions (I'm, who’s) and work on pronunciation, stress, and intonation.
    • Practice free speaking. Make a list of subjects, academic or non-academic (sports, travel, hobbies, etc.), and practice talking about them.
    • Learn as much as possible: read an article or listen to a conversation. Prepare a review of it or give a 1-minute opinion speech.

    4. Writing

    • Study paragraph organization and essays. 
    • Practice typing on a QWERTY keyboard.
    • Learn to find synonyms.
    • Practice and write down your explanation by listening to recorded lectures or talks online.
    • Use the noun form of a word to write a phrase, and then express the same meaning using the verb form.
    • Try to paraphrase 2 or 3 sentences. And then move on to paraphrasing paragraphs and longer passages.
    • Use an English textbook and read chapters from there. Go to the end of the chapter that contains questions about the content and write answers to the questions.
    • Make a list of common topics and write essays on them. The practice of arranging, writing, and revising each essay takes 30 minutes.
    Check Your Education Loan Eligibility Check Here

    What are the best TOEFL Resources for Practising?

    • ETS Resources (Free)
      1. Full-Length Official TOEFL Practice Test
      2. TOEFL Go!® Official App
      3. TOEFL Practice Sets
      4. TOEFL Talks
      5. TOEFL TV
      6. TOEFL Planner
    • Good Books for TOEFL Preparation
      1. Kaplan’s TOEFL iBT Premier
      2. Barron’s TOEFL iBT
      3. Princeton Review Cracking the TOEFL iBT
      4. Cambridge Preparation for TOEFL

    Kickstart Your TOEFL Prep Today!

    TOEFL Ultra
    Rs. 6,999/-

    What Are Some General TOEFL Preparation Tips?

    • Begin preparations well in advance: Preparations should begin at the same time as you start searching for your school. The ETS TOEFL planner recommends that you start your preparations keeping a concrete goal in mind, which should ideally be your target score/score set by your target university. 
    • Study according to a time table: Set your time table keeping your weak areas in mind. Commit an equal amount of time to each section, bearing in mind that to get a good TOEFL score, all the sections need to be scored well. Make sure that you are able to devote a considerable amount of time to your weak areas. 
    • Daily review and practice: Use online books and tools to practice regularly. Try to take as many online tests as you can in a controlled setting to get an overview of the exam. Each time you make a mistake, make a clear note of it and ensure that you do not commit it again. Furthermore, every time you come across a doubt, ensure that you get them cleared.
    • Conceptual clarity: Instead of rote-learning, you should focus on building your concepts so that you are able to solve any problem based on the concept, no matter how tough and unfamiliar it may be. One of the ways to ensure conceptual clarity is by practising a combination of online and offline test content.
    • Build time-management strategies - Students should strategize as to how much time they should devote to each section of the TOEFL. Not only for their preparation, but students should also devise time-management strategies for the exam day, that is, how much time they should devote to each section on the day of the exam. They can also check if these strategies work for them or not by implementing them while practising TOEFL mock tests. 
    • Practice mock tests - Before the exam, the student should have practised 15-20 mock tests or more. Mock tests help you get familiarized with the pattern, content, and difficulty level of the test. Also, solving mock tests is a great way to revise everything that you have learnt as you get the opportunity to practice questions based on the essential concepts. 


    Also, Compare 

    How to Prepare for TOEFL One Week before the Exam?

    • Benefit from the study experiences of others. Join online chat rooms, forums, or websites for social networking. Network with students who took the exam to learn from their experiences.
    • Focus on strengthening your weaker areas by spending extra time on them.
    • Take practice tests. Try to replicate the real learning experience for each section by taking multiple mock tests.
    • Ask a teacher or coach to evaluate your performance on the tests. 
    • Gather your documents and keep them ready beforehand.
    • Plan your trip to the exam centre in advance. Determine the best way to get to the centre. Check your account online the day to check if there is any change in information, such as test room or starting time. 

    What are the Points to Keep in Mind During TOEFL?

    • General Tips
      • Carry all the necessary documents to the centre.
      • Reach your exam centre on time.
      • Do your job. Work calmly and concentrate on the questions, do not rush, and do your best.
      • Don't cheat, since your test will be cancelled if you are caught cheating.
    • Exam Tips
      • Read each question carefully. Some questions ask for more than one answer. Questions including the word "not" ask about a negative situation.
      • Don't panic. Just concentrate on the current question. Don't think about how you answered, or other questions which are yet to be answered.
      • Pace yourself so that you have got enough time to answer the questions. Be aware of the time limit for each section/task and allot sufficient time to each section.
      • You can go back to review and change your answers in the reading section by clicking on ‘Review.’ It is best to do this only after all the questions have been answered.
      • The toolbar shows you how many questions you have answered and how many questions you are yet to answer. To determine whether you need to go quicken your pace, use the toolbar.


    Need Free SOP Review Click Here

    What is an Ideal TOEFL Score?

    TOEFL doesn't pass or fail you, so what is a good TOEFL score depends on which university and program you're applying for. Some colleges settle for scores close to 100, and you should get at least 80 points to get admitted into good graduate schools. Usually, TOEFL acts as a cutoff instead of a selector. A score in the range of 24-30 is good for the writing section. Scores in the ranges of 22-30 and 26-30 are considered to be fair enough for the reading or listening sections and the speaking section respectively.


    Scoring well in TOEFL is not a menial task, but be assured that if you follow the aforementioned preparation tips for TOEFL and are consistent with your preparations, nothing can stop you from achieving your target score. If you need further assistance with TOEFL preparation, contact GyanDhan. We get you in touch with leading TOEFL preparation institutes that will leave no stone unturned in guiding you the right way in your preparation. What’s more? You can avail our assistance absolutely for free!

    Request a Callback Apply Here

    First published date:

GyanDhan is India's first education financing marketplace.

Upcoming Events

IMS CIE Global B-School Conclave

  Sun, July 03, 2022    11:00 IST

How to Get Unsecured Loans up to INR 60 Lakhs

  Fri, July 08, 2022    18:00 IST

Education Loan Virtual Fair 2022

  Fri, July 22, 2022    18:00 IST

Looking For Help in Foreign Education Loan? Arrange a Call From an Expert:

Enter Mobile no. Without Any Prefix.
By entering my phone number here, I hereby authorize GyanDhan to contact me through call, message or WhatsApp. It will override my registry on the NCPR/NDNC