TOEFL Test Preparation: Acing Beyond the Usual

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You may find it quite intriguing that despite several years of using the English language as a major means of communication, you are still required to take a test to prove your proficiency. Ultimately, this is not to discredit your ability or mastery of the language, but it serves as one of the prerequisites for gaining admission into universities. To, therefore, have an awesome performance, the TOEFL test preparation must be taken with utmost exigency.

Why Is the TOEFL Test Required?

Before we delve deeper, it is important for you to know that there is no passing or failing here; this is not to imply that there aren’t great scores or scores on the lower side. Each university and program that accept TOEFL set their score requirements based on the language skills which are expected of students. Therefore, the TOEFL test provides not only an accurate but also an efficient scoring means through which test-takers are evaluated. The TOEFL test is required as a means of evaluating the English proficiency of students whose native language is not English. International students primarily use then the TOEFL ibt (internet based test) as a measure of their ability to understand and utilize English as a language.

What Does the Online TOEFL Test Entail?

Yes, by now, you should have caught a glimpse into the essence of the online TOEFL test. However, you may be wondering what the TOEFL test entails. What do I do in the space of four and a half hours? Yes, four and a half hours it is! The TOEFL ibt is administered via the internet which obviously gives it its name: online TOEFL test. There are basically four sections – reading, listening, speaking and writing section, all totaling a duration of four and a half hours, check-in inclusively.

You have to combine all four skills during the test as you would be required to take some tasks to test your capabilities under these aforementioned sections.

• You’d be required to read, listen and then speak in response to questions being asked

• You’d be required to listen to some notes and then speak in response to the questions being asked

• You would be required to read, listen and ultimately write in response to a question being asked.

StudentsHow Do I Get to Prepare for the Online TOEFL Test?

Great! You have learned what the online TOEFL test entails, so you know it is a big deal by now! However, this is not to scare you off or create some intimidating thought in you, but to spur you for the task ahead. Then the online TOEFL test can be aced and properly aced beyond the usual with adequate preparations.

However, before we go further into this, it is quite important for you to understand a few things that might be considered as part of your preparation towards achieving a great feat. Oh, did I mention that the test sums up to 120 points? Oh yeah! Each of the sections receives up to a scaled score of 30 points.

The online test may comprise some additional questions in the test reading or listening section, (usually regarded as experimental questions) which would not add toward your score; however, there is usually no indication of which of the questions belong to this category. These added questions may enable ETS to make test scores comparable across their administrations or new questions that may be needed to determine the functionality of such questions under actual testing conditions.

In the preparation for the online TOEFL test, the timing instructions are usually very important and should be read carefully. In the reading section, the instructions would direct you on how many passages you’d be given and the allowed duration for responses to questions asked. A great and convenient pace would come in handy at this point. While practicing for the test, a standard QWERTY computer keyboard is usually recommended as this is what would be used in the course of the test.

In addition to the accents from North America, you would most likely encounter other native English speakers’ accents in the listening and speaking sections of the TOEFL ibt. Some of the accents you may hear may include that of the UK, Australia, or probably New Zealand. These accents are usually included to acclimatize you with the variance of English accents you may likely come across while studying abroad.

To, therefore, get into adequate preparations, the importance of proper practice cannot be overemphasized as there are a handful of sites where helpful resources can be obtained. One of the best websites in this respect is magoosh, which equips the students with all the necessary tools to see that their dream scores become a reality.

Here are some other tips that would come in handy in the TOEFL test preparation:

• Learning to make the most of your time.

The reading section spans for just 60-80 minutes in total, but quite unexpected, there is no visible time counter for each passage provided and questions asked, therefore, you would need to have a good practice in order to achieve mastery of your timing to get a better hang of this. It is advisable to spend about 20 minutes on each of the passages provided and question set. You can practice spending 5 minutes on reading the passage given and 15 minutes tackling the questions provided (signifying about 1 minute for each question).

• Have a workable ready strategy for your passage.

It is important that you have a workable approach for the reading section, as it is known to consume more time if caution is not taken. Here’s a suggested way of doing this:

– It is recommended that you read the entire passage first

– Skim through the passage and provide answers to the questions asked

– Provide answers to the given questions paragraph by paragraph

If you are highly proficient in English Language, it is recommended that you read each passage through in no more than 5 minutes.

• Avoid wasting time on difficult questions, leave them to return later.

It is not important that you answer each question before proceeding to the next in order; therefore you may choose to skip difficult ones and move to a less challenging one. This is to avoid getting stuck to one question. However, you should not forget to return to the unanswered questions before your time duration expires.

Laptop, Woman, EducationListening Section

This section may vary from a duration of 60 minutes and 34 questions long to 90 minutes and 51 questions long. This section is designed to test your English listening skills. In total, you would be required to listen to 4 to 6 lectures and 2 to 3 conversations. Quite expected, each lecture lasts for about 3 to 5 minutes and has 6 questions in it, while each conversation lasts for about 3 minutes and has 5 questions. Audio clips would only be heard once, so you have to be very attentive. Having said this, some tips also come in handy for you to ace this section:

– Ensure you take notes as you listen

Except on replay questions, you only get to hear the clips once and quite strict enough, you are not allowed to skip or return to previous questions, unlike the reading section, which is why the importance of taking notes cannot be overemphasized.

– Ensure you pay very close attention to replay questions

Replay questions are made to ensure that you listen to some portions of the audio clip.

– Read questions, and the answers provided carefully

Quite tricky enough, some answers are made to seem so obviously right, and this may make you think less hard enough before selecting them as your response. Therefore, it is very important that you take your time to carefully read and understand what the question is implying as different from subsequent questions. Also, ensure that you think thoroughly before selecting your answers from the list of responses as they may be a trap. Avoid jumping right at the answers you may feel maybe correct; obvious answers, most of the time turns out to be the wrong choice.


Acing the online TOEFL test may be quite challenging as there are elements such as time constraint, and technicalities when it comes to answering or tackling the questions asked, but the truth is that it is very possible and quite achievable, but with a conscious effort and consistent preparation. Give a great deal of attention to your TOEFL test preparation, and you would definitely reap awesome results!

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