Getting Started with your TOEFL preparation in Five Easy Steps!

Preparing for the TOEFL can be a daunting challenge, but a few choices early on in your studies can help you to save time and money in the long run. Moreover, you will be able to reach your target scores a lot faster than you think.

First of all, you need to find out what your required scores are, including specific subtotal scores in the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections. For example, one of my former students at California State University, San Bernardino wanted to attend the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue a Master’s in Film Production. After calling up the graduate admissions office, he found out that he needed to score higher than 100 and needed to get minimum scores on 26 and 24 in the speaking and writing sections. Make sure that you know what your TOEFL requirements are BEFORE you do anything else.

Second of all, now that you are familiar with your TOEFL score requirements, you will need to take a full-length four hour TOEFL practice test. I recommend ScoreNexus, which offers authentic, accurate practice tests. The web site also uses experienced TOEFL iBT speaking and writing specialists so that you will get accurate scores on all six of your speaking tasks and two of your writing tasks. I believe that the web site charges $39.95 for one of these practice tests currently, but it is well worth the investment. Do not follow Magoosh’s of Notefull’s advice that they give about estimating your TOEFL score!

Third of all, once you get your overall TOEFL score and subtotal reading, listening, speaking, and writing scores, you are ready to choose a course plan suited to your current academic English proficiency abilities. Go here to get your course plan:

Fourth of all, follow the lessons in the TOEFL study guide that best fit your situation and study regularly. As part of your pronunciation, speaking, and writing practice, you will be sending your practice tests to TOEFL specialists so that you can get scores to monitor your progress and to get feedback to help you understand what you need to do to improve. Follow the advice of your TOEFL mentors!

Fifth of all, after following your TOEFL study plan for its required length of time, schedule to take a full-length four hour TOEFL practice test. If your practice test score is even with of higher than what you need, register for the TOEFL exam.

Do not register for the TOEFL exam until you have met your overall and subtotal TOEFL scores on a practice test first. There is no need for you to pay 100’s or 1000’s of dollars taking and re-taking ETS’s TOEFL test when you can pay $39 to take a practice test to get the same information.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,