GlobalExam’s advices to prepare for TOEFL IBT
The TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Version) is an English test offered by the ETS institution. It reflects your ability to understand and speak English. It is most often used in academic backgrounds, in order to certify your English level. It can be of use to travel abroad or study in an English-speaking country. It is comprised of four parts:
The exam is monitored on a computer. Now that you are registered to the TOEFL IBT, you need to obtain the best score possible. Indeed, if you obtain an insufficient score in comparison to what you hoped for, it represents a lot of wasteful efforts down the drain… Succeeding in passing the exam is hardly rocket science! All lies in how prepared you are.
All you need to know on preparing the test
As for any other exam, preparation is key to optimise your chances of success. Trying the TOEFL without any form of training is risky, because you’re dealing with a very peculiar form of exam. Even in the case scenario you’re already bilingual, you’ll need to get used to the format of instructions and exercises. The TOEFL evaluates your understanding of English in the academic context, meaning the topics can vary a lot: from geography to history, astronomy… It could be anything -hence the wide vocabulary needed. Trainings will allow you to familiarise yourself with the exercises’ format.
Moreover, the TOEFL has a peculiar structure which might be disconcerting for those discovering it. To start with, there will be a significant time constraint. Each part must be finished within a given time. You will see the chronometer running before your eyes, which you might find stressful. Therefore, you need to get used to managing your time.
Additionally, you undergo the TOEFL on a computer. You must read the instructions on a screen, use the keyboard (usually the qwerty version) and speak on a microphone. Thanks to the trainings, you will be used to think and answer on a screen. This will be particularly useful to gain precious time on the exam day.
It can be stressful to undergo an exam where a lot depends on your success. Preparation is thus advised to learn how to deal with your stress. Training is also essential, since it will allow you to anticipate the questions. The more at ease you will feel, the more chances you’ll have to succeed!
There are various ways to prepare for the TOEFL IBT. You will certainly find a method wired to your needs and your study habits!
Prior to the training
Before beginning any type of training or preparation, one imperative: organisation! You’ll need it to fix your objectives and obtain your best score. A well-organised, thought-out preparation will be much more efficient. This can be done through different means.
Firstly, you must work with adequate material: a preparation book or a CD, but also a notebook devoted to your TOEFL exercises -so you’ll easily keep track of your trainings.
You’ll also need to choose the training method most wired to your needs and your study habits. If you’re often moving from one town to another or you have an unpredictable timetable, a training online will suit you better, since you will have access to your exercises anywhere in the world. If you have more of a photographic memory, and writing helps you assimilate more quickly, a training book should be more adapted to you. You may as well choose to work on an exercise by exercise basis -or, on the contrary, try to assimilate the test in its totality. You might also know people in your case, trying to prepare the exam. How about working with them?
Before beginning your training, put yourself in the best conditions for it. You will be more focused if you’re sitting down, on a cleared table. It will at least have the advantage to put you in the real conditions of the exam. You can also dedicate a given time in the week to preparing for the TOEFL IBT. If you have some free time in your timetable, preparing for the TOEFL can quite easily become a part of your weekly routine.
Fix both realistic and quantifiable goals. For instance, ‘I must have increased my score of 10 points in a month’s time’, or ‘I must train 3 times a week’. Without some set goals, the work will seem endless and discouraging. Objectives are there to remind you the finality of your work, and most of all follow your progress.
Finally, don’t hesitate to find information around you. There are probably people you know who have already passed the TOEFL IBT, and they will be thrilled to talk to you about their experience and give you some advices.
You will also find numerous testimonies online, as well as advices for an optimal preparation. You may begin!
During the training
Once you’ve warmed up, you’re set to begin the training. Ban the phone and other sources of distraction if you want the training to be of any use. You must be focused solely on the TOEFL during this given time. It’s by cutting yourself from the world that you will pay attention to what’s essential. This work ethic will be excellent training for the day of the exam, where you’ll have to be focused for a given period of time.
We would advise you to structure your training. Give yourself some time to understand the exercise, and some time to actually do it. Don’t dismiss the correction time either, since it is from learning from your mistakes that you won’t repeat them later.
Furthermore, a written support can be useful even if you’re training online. Some questions or wordings indeed often come up. By writing them, you might be able to revise more efficiently, and remember these questions.
On top of that, some words or expressions are recurrent. It’s thus a good idea to craft for yourself some English vocabulary lists. If some words have caused you trouble in training, you will certainly recognise them for the exam!
Same goes for mistakes. You will soon come to realise your mistakes are repetitive. By noting them, you can identify them and work on banishing them.
After the training
There are multiple small exercises you can do to improve how efficient your training is, and ultimately improve your TOEFL IBT score.
During your trainings, you can make several study sheets using words or expressions encountered in your exercises. You will learn them by heart without difficulty if you read them over. You may as well make vocabulary lists sorted by themes. Same goes for sheets tackling your regular mistakes. It’ll be very practical to go over them later, and you’ll find you won’t make these mistakes anymore.
There are also parallel activities you can try to get used to hearing English. Relax by watching a movie or a serie in VO! Less formal, this type of preparation can help you improve your score. That’s also the case when you read a book or a journal in English. The more varied are your activities, the more at ease you will be in written or oral comprehension. Every occasion to speak English is a good one: intensive classes, linguistic trips… There has to be a method that works for you.
Online training for the TOEFL: the essential criteria to an efficient preparation
Online training is chosen each year by hundreds of people, as it is very flexible and adaptable to your lifestyle.
An efficient preparation must first be regular. It’s through regular practice of your English that you will obtain the best results. If you pile in heavy trainings but space them out in time, you’ll have little chance to remember it all. Privilege short trainings to focus on topics one by one. Revisions are there to help you memorise quicker what you are learning.
To be efficient, your training must comprise mock exams as well. Train on a complete TOEFL subject in the real conditions of the exam. Don’t hesitate to call a friend in aid if necessary. Training online remains the most efficient mean to imitate the real test, since the TOEFL IBT occurs on a computer.
Results must be satisfactory. Thanks to the online grading system of TOEFL exercises, you can visualise your progress in linguistic competencies. Global-Exam offers you a follow-up on your results and a graph of your progress. If your score won’t increase, it means your training isn’t efficient. It probably isn’t adapted to your needs -you’ll need to chance your study habits.
It takes personal investment to train for a language test like the TOEFL. It will require some preparation time, but also rigidity and work ethic to study regularly and seriously. It is a very forming exercise which contributes to your maturity and self-esteem.