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TOEFL Preparation: Where to Start

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Over 10,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions globally require applicants to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language); an exam designed the measure the proficiency of non-native English speakers. Your score will determine the level of English classes you will need to take when you’re an official university student.

Although TOEFL is mainly accepted in the US, some immigration departments and agencies in other countries will accept TOEFL scores to issue work visas and professional certifications.

The TOEFL is available as a paper-based test or internet-based test (iBT). The TOEFL iBT is the most popular, and the paper-based test is used mainly in countries with limited Internet access. The test is divided into four sections: reading, speaking, writing and listening.

So how do you start preparing for TOEFL? No matter your level of English, this article will point you in the right direction as you prepare.


1. Set a goal

First of all, you should set a goal for your scores. Having this in mind will motivate you to achieve your target as you prepare for the test. It’s also a good measure to have on hand so you can determine whether you’ll need to take the test again if you scored lower than you aimed the first time. Find out the minimum scores for the universities you plan to apply to to help you find your goal.


2. Improve vocabulary

A great way to improve your English is to increase your vocabulary knowledge. A sure-fire way to do this? Read, read, read! It will also be good practice for the reading component of the test. Read a mix of academic and non-academic texts every day to improve your vocabulary. Keep a dictionary (or app) on hand so you can check each word you don’t know.

Other ways you can improve your vocabulary includes playing word games such as Scrabble or crossword puzzles.


3. Practice tests

Many students wait until the day before the test to take a practice test. Last minute isn’t ideal! You should really be taking practice tests for the duration of your study prep. This will prepare you for the actual test-taking day so you know what to expect, and you can also measure the success of your preparation and determine whether your study methods are working.

This will also help you catch the sections you’re weakest in so you can tailor your study preparation accordingly.


4. Use your voice

You’ll need to speak out loud during the speaking section of the test, which can be very daunting to those who are still new to the English language. You will be speaking through a microphone and your answers will be recorded to be evaluated later, so you won’t be speaking to an actual person.

Even if you speak English well, nerves can come into play during this section. It’s known as the most difficult section of the test as there is a time limit, and there isn’t a lot of time to prepare your answers, since this section is only allocated 20 minutes. So even if you’re already confident about your English speaking skills, make sure you’re prepared for this section.

During your study prep, read out loud and try using your voice as much as possible. Practise speaking to native English speakers, so they can correct you if you make a mistake. Practicing will help prepare you for ‘performance pressure’ so you don’t get thrown off guard on the day of your test.


5. Study Oxford Language course

This is an online course which can be done from any location at any time convenient for the user. Our course includes 6 levels of study. Each level consists of 6 units, which are represented by different types of exercises (including the Basics of English, Grammar, Listening, Writing and Speaking). The course is full of videos, audios, memory cards, has test exam option and an online translator. 

Take part in a free placement test which will help you choose the most suitable language level.


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