How to Pass the TOEFL iBT in Five Simple Steps

How to pass the TOEFL iBT may be unclear since schools have varying TOEFL score requirements.  Since there are more than 3,000 US colleges, students will need to check with their specific institutions of interest to see what overall score they will need for admission.  Therefore, reaching these requirements or “passing the TOEFL” involves finding your level, getting a personalized learning path, using some unconventional habits to increase exposure to English, scheduling time daily to study, and being persistent as you seek your target scores.

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT: Find your current level

Way too often, students end up taking the TOEFL exam multiple times before they reach their target score. However, you do not need to go through that money-wasting frustration. Many web sites offer full-length TOEFL practice tests for about 35-45 dollars. This is a heck of a lot cheaper than paying 200 dollars to take the TOEFL exam.  Email me at if you ready and willing to take an authentic full-length four hour practice test that will help you to find your level.

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT:  Get a personalized learning to help you meet your goals

Most likely, you have already applied to 3 or more colleges; hence, you should have an idea of your goals.  For example, the University of California at Los Angeles requires a score of 105/120 to get a master’s degree in film production.  As a result, based on whatever target score and subtotal scores you need, choose a personalized learning path that will help you to reach your goals. Keep in mind that it takes you about 30 days to improve your overall score 5-10 points.  To illustrate, suppose your TOEFL score right now is 80/120. Scoring higher than 100 will take you about 2-4 months of study.

For your personalized TOEFL learning path, send me an email ( with the following information:


My current practice test score is ____/120.  My subtotal scores are the following: R____, L_____, S_______, and W_______.

However, I need the following score____/120.  I also need these subtotal scores: R____, L_____, S_______, and W_______.

Please recommend a personalized learning path to help me reach my goals.


First and Last Name

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT: Think outside of the box as you prepare

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT

Thinking outside the box is an expression in English that you may have heard. It means that you consider non-traditional means to solve a problem. In this case, your problem is the TOEFL iBT exam.  To prepare for the TOEFL iBT, students will often try the traditional methods of learning:

  • Read and complete exercises in a popular TOEFL textbook.
  • Attend an English Language Program 20-25 hours weekly for one of more terms.
  • Join an Online TOEFL Course on the Internet.
  • Practice with a TOEFL iBT tutor by Skype.

However, if you think outside the box, you may try the following:

  • Join ToastMasters International in your city to get speaking practice.
  • Read magazines, books, and newspapers, and take notes on the most important points. Prepare 60-second and 250 word oral and written responses of the passages.
  • Listen to news, documentary, history, and science programs. Similarly, take notes on the most important points.  Using those notes, prepare 60-second and 250 word oral and written responses.
  • Use a headset and play video games online so that you can talk to other gamers who speak English.

The idea as you think of non-traditional ways to prepare for the TOEFL is that you think of activities that will increase your exposure to English.

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT: Schedule time daily to study TOEFL

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT

Make sure that you set aside time each daily to complete the lessons in your personalized TOEFL course.  To help you plan effectively, you should write down times each day during the week to study vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking.  Vary your topics from day to day so that you do not get bored.  For example, you can practice vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar on Mondays and  Fridays. You can study listening and reading on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then, you can schedule speaking and writing practice on Saturdays and Sundays.  It is good that you practice all 7 of these academic areas so that you become a well-rounded English user.

How to Pass the TOEFL iBT: Refuse to give up until you to meet your goal

Many rewarding things we do in life can take time and effort.  Reaching your target TOEFL score could take you more time and effort that you had planned.  However long or difficult it may be to reach your target score, you must decide from the beginning that you will not give up until you reach your goal.

For example, Letha, who took my Online TOEFL Course a few years ago, took the TOEFL exam 7 times over an 8 month period before she reached her speaking and writing subtotal speaking and writing requirements of 26 and 24.

Similarly, recently, Khalid, one my Online TOEFL Course students, had to complete 244 independent and integrated speaking practice tests before he finally reached his goal of 27/30 on the speaking section of the exam.  Khalid’s overall score is 107/120. It took him almost 1 year of study before he was able to reach his goal.

Remember that many students have had to battle with the TOEFL before reaching their goals.  So, you are not along if you have to struggle.  Stay focused, keep studying, and never give up until you reach your goal.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,