So you recently decided to take the TOEFL, but don’t know where to start with your studying? This article will outline a few TOEFL tips and strategies to get you started.
TOEFL Tips and Tricks #1
Use a variety of materials to study
Before the test, try to immerse yourself in English as much as you can, especially through North American media sources. Try to read the newspaper, listen to English radio, and speak to your friends (even about TOEFL tips you’ve learned!) in English.
Make sure you check out our article about planning your TOEFL preparation time as well!
It’s also a great idea to go through as many authentic TOEFL materials as you can (mock questions, the official guide, E2Language practice questions), but you should also look to other English resources for practice.
Remember that the exam will include readings and listenings on a variety of academic topics. Try to incorporate practice with materials such as:
- Podcasts or videos of university lectures
- TED videos (these may be harder than the actual TOEFL listening materials, but practicing with TED videos will make the test seem easy!)
TOEFL Tips and Tricks #2
Expand your vocabulary
Work with a variety of linkers and conjunctions: In the Speaking and Writing sections, you will be asked to express your opinion on a given topic. In order to do this easily and articulately, practice using a variety of connectors and try to commit some to memory.
Follow the link to practice your conjunctions on the Smart Words website.
Learn common idioms and phrasal verbs. Speakers of American English frequently use idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs in conversation. As you will probably hear them used in the Speaking section dialogues, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the most common.
Lists of TOEFL idioms and phrasal verbs can be found on the following websites listed below:
Become familiar with “university” vocabulary. A lot of the material in the TOEFL will be related to typical situations of university life. If you are using this exam for entrance to an English-speaking university, then this vocabulary will come in hand anyway!
Follow the link to start using 100 campus vocabulary words to get you started on Vocabulary.com.
TOEFL Tips and Tricks #3
Develop a note-taking system
Throughout the TOEFL, you will be able to take notes. It’s therefore essential that you develop suitable note-taking skills as you study for your exam.
A lot of students don’t consider this while they are studying and then are left confused by their own writing on the day of the exam. Don’t let that happen to you; practice ahead!
Remember that it isn’t necessary to copy down everything. Instead, try to write down main ideas (repeated keywords) and important details (explanations, reasons) and then focus on taking note of the relationship between concepts (for example, cause and effect, changes, and transitions). Take note of these concepts with simple symbols such as arrows and shapes.
Look here for some helpful abbreviations to use. It’s fine to use this as a starting point and develop your own system. The important thing is to develop a pattern that works for you, and practice with it consistently so that you understand your notes on test day!
Written by Meaghan M.