Why Is It So Important to Prepare for the TOEFL IBT Exam?
There are many reasons as to why you should pass the TOEFL, namely because it is one of the most popular exams in the world and therefore most institutions accept it. Being a serious exam, it requires careful preparation. If you’ve already booked the test, you’ll know that it’s rather expensive, so why risk having to take it a second time due to poor preparation? Besides the cost, there are a few other key reasons to prioritize your TOEFL training in the run up to the exam.
Good TOEFL training in the run up to the exam will help you to prevent stress and anxiety. It’s normal to feel nervous about any looming deadline or exam, but those nerves are perfectly manageable when you know you’ve put in the work. If you put a preparation plan in place from the beginning, this gives you a good framework for remaining on top of things until test day.
The likelihood is you’re not taking the TOEFL for fun – you probably need a TOEFL score to study abroad in the USA or another country, right? In that case, being well prepared for the TOEFL is a no brainer. Preparing for the TOEFL carefully the first time is the best possible method of achieving the score you need to unlock your goals.
The Importance of Knowing the Format of the TOEFL IBT Test
The TOEFL iBT is designed to test your English proficiency across 4 topics such as speaking, reading, listening, and writing. It’s a challenging exam, but the first challenge you can overcome is knowing what to expect when you open the test paper.
The TOEFL test has four sections, one for Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. It’s important to note, however, that individual tasks can combine more than one of the four skills. The format of the TOEFL is as follows:
- Reading (54-72 minutes): reading passages with comprehension questions;
- Listening (41-57 minutes): recordings with comprehension questions;
- Break (10 minutes);
- Speaking (17 minutes): talking about familiar topics and discussing the subjects covered in the first two sections;
- Writing (50 minutes): responding to a written passage and a recording.
The format of the TOEFL is quite different to other English-language exams, mainly because there is more overlap between the sections and the skills. If you’re interested, you can look at the difference between TOEFL vs IELTS exams and see for yourself. The TOEFL scores and the grading system are also different from the other exams, and you should learn it as well.
The second key thing to note about the format of the TOEFL is that the test is delivered online. This is worth bearing in mind when you consider your method of learning: online test, why not online preparation?
The 5 Best TOEFL Resources to Get You Ready for the Exam
If the TOEFL is on your radar, you’re probably already aware of some of the options available to you for preparing. We’ve outlined the main options for planning your TOEFL training below. Of course, the different resources available to you will depend somewhat on your budget, schedule and learning preferences.
TOEFL Resource #1: Online learning
For a more up-to-date approach to TOEFL training, we recommend taking your preparations online. These days, online learning can cater to all your TOEFL training needs, from grammar refreshers and exam exercises, to full mock exams and corrections.
You can take a look at our article on the best TOEFL preparation websites and see what options are available for you. That being said, we have to mention that one of the main advantages of online learning is the flexibility it offers. When you join an e-learning platform like GlobalExam, you have 24/7 access to a TOEFL training platform, where you can get access to resources such as TOEFL practice tests and question samples! This means that you can study wherever and whenever you like.
TOEFL Resource #2: Books
The TOEFL exam has been around for a while in one form or another, so there are plenty of TOEFL books you can read out there designed to help you prepare for it. Whether you’re looking for a grammar guide, a mock test book, or a general exam guide, you’ll be able to find something that suits.
Of the many books on the market, you should begin by considering the front runners. The ETS itself has released Official TOEFL iBT Tests for test takers looking for intensive test practice, or the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test for a more general approach.
If you decide to invest in a book for your preparations, make sure to get a new edition that is in line with the new TOEFL test format.
TOEFL Resource #3: Private tuition
If one-on-one teaching is what you need, then private TOEFL tutoring is the option for you. The big benefit of this learning method is that the preparation is totally tailored to your level and needs. Private tuition is also flexible to your schedule, and online lessons are becoming more and more popular.
The drawback of this learning method is, of course, the cost. Tuition can cost anything from ten to fifty Euros per hour, depending on the level of experience of your tutor. That can add up quickly, so it might be worth testing other options before heading down that path.
TOEFL Resource #4: Apps
Maybe you’re looking for an on-the-go learning solution? In that case, consider incorporating a language app into your TOEFL preparation plan. There are lots of TOEFL-specific apps on the market now so that you can carry top notch test practice with you in your pocket. The frontrunner is the TOEFL Practice Test, which includes practice tests and flashcards.
It’s unlikely that an app will be sufficient for all of your TOEFL preparation, but it can certainly be a nice complement to another method.
TOEFL Resource #5: Videos
Are you in a need of a free solution for TOEFL preparation? One great resource available to you are free preparation videos. You can find a whole variety of TOEFL-related videos on YouTube, whether its blog-style advice videos, explainers, or detailed lessons.
Learning with videos is a great resource for students who need a little more interactivity than a simple book can offer. Plus, any additional listening practice in English is never a bad thing.
What Is the Best Method to Train for the TOEFL IBT Test?
If you’re weighing up which of these TOEFL training methods is the best one, the short answer is: the one that’s best for you and your learning style. Everyone studies and learns differently, so the method that works for your colleague or friend won’t necessarily be the one for you.
Many people might tell you that private tuition is the only sure-fire way to guarantee success in your TOEFL training. That’s not necessarily the case. Although private tuition can be effective with the right teacher, success in the TOEFL isn’t limited to those with a generous budget. All the TOEFL training methods outlined above can help you to achieve the score you need.
For this reason, we recommend combining several methods to find the combination that works best for you. Maybe you prefer a traditional learning style, in which case using a TOEFL training guide may be the right method for you. Try combining book learning with online videos and an app to see how else you can diversify your TOEFL training.
GlobalExam: The Best Online TOEFL Preparation Resource
If we’ve succeeded in whetting your appetite for trying different learning methods, and you have thus decided on registering for the TOEFL exam let’s take a minute to look at how GlobalExam can help you achieve the score you need.
We’ve developed an online learning platform orientated around three key TOEFL training tools:
- Study sheets and revision: review and update your grammar and vocabulary skills with targeted revision sheets
- Training mode: apply your English knowledge to TOEFL exercises across all of the exam sections
- Exam mode: put your progress to the test with authentic TOEFL mock tests under exam conditions
The GlobalExam platform has everything you need to take your TOEFL training from start to finish. One of the great advantages of TOEFL training with us is that we use authentic TOEFL materials, enabling you to target your learning to the exam.
What else can GlobalExam offer you?
Our Training Mode is where you can find practice exercises for each type of task you’ll face in the real exam. There are exercises for all sections and question types, as well as corrections and sample answers. We also have written numerous articles for your kind read on our blog on topics such as the top 5 websites for your preparation.
Another benefit of completing your TOEFL training with GlobalExam is our totally interactive platform. There’s no waiting for your marks with us – complete exercises or a practice test and get instant feedback on your score. Plus, with our Statistics and Correction feature, you can keep a close eye on your progress.