20 Tips to ace TOEFL
1. Familiarize yourself with the three TOEFL formats
Learn all peculiarities of Internet, Computer and Paper Based Test. Be sure you choose the most suitable for you. Most countries now offer the Internet based TOEFL (iBT), other – paper based test. Mostly, they all have similar types of questions, although there are a few new questions that can only be answered on a computer.
2. Research TOEFL score requirements
Most people (non native English speakers) take the TOEFL in order to enter a post secondary school in the United States. Before preparation, learn what the requirements are for the schools you are interested in going to. The average minimum score required is approximately 550 (paper test) or 215 (CBT) or 70 (iBT). Prestigious universities have much higher expectations. Different schools evaluate different sections differently. Many universities want you to achieve higher writing skills than speaking skills. TOEFL scores are only valid for two years.
3. Learn academic English
TOEFL rates your English language abilities. To be successful in TOEFL you shouldn’t have any background knowledge. You have to know the language you would hear on campus and terms that you would hear in the classroom. You should read textbooks, encyclopedias, journals and research articles rather than advertisements and resumes.
4. Use practice tests
The best way to prepare for the TOEFL is to practice doing the tests. Purchase several books and pay the most attention to exercises you are not good at. Look for free samples on the Internet to supplement your textbook.
5. Find a mentor
A native English speaker is a best person to help you with TOEFL. He will answer your questions, help with grammar and encourage you when you are down. It you cannot afford a professional teacher, you can apply a student who has studied for the test before. Sometimes, teaching another person is a great way to learn.
6. Build up your stamina
The TOEFL test takes a long time to write. To, try to improve your stamina and concentration during preparation to the test.
7. Arrive prepared
Make sure you take everything needed to the test centre. If you are taking the paper based test, do not forget to have a number of pencils, a pencil sharpener, and a few erasers that don’t smudge. Take a pen if you deliver your essay not on the computer. All required documents, enough money for parking etc. must be with you so that you would be able to focus on a test and nothing secondary draws away you attention.
8. Pace yourself
Take a watch. It will help you not to spend too much time for any exercise. Remember, to keep 5 minutes in the end to check your work.
9. Use the tutorials
Read all explanations to the exercises attentively. Right understanding what you are expected to do is a half of the answer.
10. Learn about the CAT (computer adaptive testing)
The first two sections of the CBT are computer adaptive. Your answers to several first questions define what next questions will be given. So, first questions are extremely important.
11. Answer every question
Do not leave the blank instead of answer. If you do not know the answer, think logically, try to guess, think twice and then write the answer, as very often students do not have the possibility to go back to the same questions again because of time limit.