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The Best Resources for TOEFL Preparation

TOEFL app on smart phone screen sitting on orange background

So, you’re currently in the midst of preparing for a very important, and necessary, step towards enrolling in the American university of your choice? We’re of course referring to the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam (or TOEFL for short). Luckily you’ve come to the right place, as we’re about to take you through some of the best practical TOEFL resources your disposal.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary is an imperative part of learning any language because without it you would not be able to read, write, speak, or listen. Vocabulary literally means the body of words that make up a language. Without knowledge of the words that make up a language, there’s no possible way for you to learn, let alone master that language.

This is why it’s crucial you expand your vocabulary. A good deal of your time spent on TOEFL preparation online should be by learning brand new words, as well as ensuring that you remember them. A great way to prepare yourself for comprehending the kind of TOEFL vocabulary you might see is to create your very own list. By learning how to prepare a TOEFL vocabulary list, you’ll be prepared to tackle anything that comes your way without worry that certain TOEFL words might catch you by surprise.

Writing

Writing is a major component of the TOEFL test, as it makes up around 40 questions. Although this is less than other segments of the test, it is also one of the more complex segments.
Writing is essentially a combination of almost every aspect of knowing a language. From vocabulary to grammar, all of your skills will be put to the test in this writing section — which is exactly why you should put a lot more effort into the TOEFL practice material surrounding it.

A great way to familiarize yourself with writing in any foreign language is to write. Simple enough, right?

But the key isn’t merely to write but to write effectively. The way to ensure you are doing that is to examine and correct your work as you go along. You can do this by way of several word processors that look specifically at grammar and readability. One of the most commonly used apps for this is Grammarly. Grammarly is great at ensuring your work contains pristine punctuation and grammar, both of which will be scrutinized heavily on the test.

Reading

Reading comprises the bulk of the TOEFL test, with at least 36 to 56 questions focusing on it depending on whether you take the TOEFL test online or in-person. So, it should come as no surprise that this is something you need to work at every day.

15 minutes per day, to be exact.

Researchers have found that reading at least 15 minutes per day can have profound effects on your accelerated reading gains. In other words, you’ll want to read at least 15 minutes PER DAY if you want to see yourself getting progressively better at it — which you do!  That’s great considering how little 15 minutes of every day really is, but don’t let that discourage you from reading more. Read as much as you can: the more you read, the better.

The next step to accomplishing your goal is to get your hands on some proper reading TOEFL reading material, and by that, I mean any material that will prepare you for your upcoming test. My suggestion would be to start with some straight forward practice material that isn’t too abstract or complicated — don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of that in university!

For now, just stick to material that is created with the sole purpose of being easy to digest. Good examples of this would be news articles, blogs (just like this one), or short stories.
Short stories are fantastic because they let you flex your reading muscle while also being entertained. American Literature is a great place to find classic short stories that’ll not only have you reading but keep you reading as well.

Anything you feel incited to read will ultimately serve as a great addition to your other TOEFL resources. All that matters is that it keeps you practicing.
You want to be an engaged reader, not a passive one: be sure to take lots of notes while you read and highlight words or phrases you don’t understand.

Listening & Speaking

Speaking and listening go together like bread and butter. They’re essentially two sides of the same coin, and you’ll need to perfect one in order to master the other. As far as listening is concerned, there are a number of ways for you to develop your skills. Many of which are actually quite easy and most likely things you already do on a daily basis. You can do things like watching a movie or a TV show, listening to a radio show or podcast, or listening to someone speak in front of you.

If you don’t already have a favorite podcast, there are many podcasts out there that are catered to English learners just like yourself. These are a great form of TOEFL study material.
With respect to speaking, you’ll want to get in as much practice as you can — whether it’s with someone else or even just with yourself. An important part of learning how to speak is grasping phonetics, which essentially boils down to how you pronounce sounds in order to make words.

Getting in some TOEFL speaking practice online is super easy with the help of the International Phonetic Alphabet’s website, which offers up a variety of resources to help you better understand the logic behind certain English pronunciations.

Conclusion

Already feeling like you’re ready to take on the TOEFL?

We certainly hope so. Be sure to practice your skills on any TOEFL free test online and you’ll really be able to see just how far you’ve come. We hope this article has given you a variety of TOEFL resources and methods to explore if you are really intending on passing that test. By putting in a little bit of time and effort each and every day, you’ll be there in no time!

For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.