Smoothies and TOEFL iBT Exam Preparation: Getting the Right Ingredients to Score 100+

Early today I made my son a smoothie from a plethora of ingredients: 6 ounces of yogurt, ½ cup of grape juice, 1 small banana, 1 small apple, 6 ounces of blue berries, 1 cup of ice cubes, and 1 large mango. I threw it all into my Vita Mix blender and 40 seconds later, both of us were satisfying our smoothie fix for the week. No matter how we put these ingredients into the blender, I figured that they would come out delicious. And they did!

Like making a smoothie, a combination of ingredients mixed into your TOEFL exam preparation schedule will help you to successfully prepare for the TOEFL exam. However, if you want to score higher than 100+, the order of the ingredients in your TOEFL preparation matters a lot. 

1.       For about 1-2 years, spend time getting as much exposure to English as you can.  For example, read newspapers, magazines, and books daily for about 45 mins. Similarly, watch TV documentaries, science programs, history shows, and news segments. As you practice your reading and listening, get in the habit of taking notes on the main and most important support points. Use your notes to give 60 second oral summaries and to write 150 word summaries. To further help you, find opportunities to practice English with native or near-native speakers.

2.      Once you feel you have a good foundation of English, you should take a full-length TOEFL iBT practice test so that you can get an overall score and subtotal scores in the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections. Make sure that all six speaking and two writing tasks are accurately score by a TOEFL iBT speaking and writing specialist.

3.      Armed now with a baseline of your academic English proficiency, go to and choose a personalized learning path that meets your target score and subtotal scores on the TOEFL exam.

4.      Remember that each TOEFL course plan is based on the number of points that you need to improve, so make sure that you spend the recommended amount of time preparing.

5.      Once you have used your TOEFL course for the recommended period of time, take one more full-length TOEFL iBT practice test. Discuss your overall score and subtotal scores with your TOEFL specialist, and, if you and he both agree that you are ready to take the TOEFL iBT, register for the official TOEFL exam.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,