TOEFL Tips for your Dream Score

Preparing for the TOEFL exam is a process. Taking the TOEFL exam before you are ready is unnecessary and costly. Following the TOEFL tips on this web page will 1)help you to prepare effectively and 2) ensure that you only need to take the exam one time. Imagine not having to take the TOEFL exam repeatedly. How much money would that save you?


TOEFL Tips: Find your current TOEFL level before you begin your study routine.

To find your current level, you should take a full-length TOEFL practice test.  There are several advantages to doing this:

  • Becoming more familiar with the structure and format of the test
  • Getting reading and listening diagnostic results so that you can understand your weak points
  • Having a TOEFL specialist provide feedback on your delivery, language use, and topic development
  • Receiving diagnostic results about your writing from a TOEFL specialist
  • Practicing concentration, pacing, and test-taking strategies in English for almost four hours

Once you get your results back from your practice test, you can then compare your current TOEFL score with your target score. Then use the 5-10 points per month improvement rule to gauge how many months you will need to reach your goal.

100 (target score) – 78 (current score) = 22 points

22/10 =  2

22/5  =  4

Therefore, if your current score is 78/120 and if your target score is 100, it will take you approximately 2-4 months of practice before you will be able to reach your goal. Typically, reaching your target score will take longer than what you might think. As a result, in this case, to improve 22 points, I would recommend that you spend 4 months of daily study.

TOEFL Tips: Get a TOEFL study plan based on your current English abilities.

Now that you know how long you will need to prepare, you should choose a TOEFL plan for the recommended period of time.  Keep in mind the following suggestions as you choose your course.

  • Only choose the 1-Month TOEFL Course if your current TOEFL score is within 10 points of your target score.
  • Choose the TOEFL Speaking or Writing Boot Camp Course only if you have already met your subtotal requirements in the other sections.
  • Spend 2-3 hours daily going through the lessons for the recommended period of time.
  • Take advantage of the e-mail support service ( your course allows;  e-mail your TOEFL mentor whenever you have questions or concerns.

TOEFL Tips: Send your pronunciation, speaking, and writing practice to a TOEFL speaking mentor.

Unlike most TOEFL preparation services,  you will be able to complete pronunciation, speaking, and writing practice tests.  In fact, you will be able to send your TOEFL specialist 60 seconds of speaking or pronunciation practice daily. In addition, you will be able to send ONE writing practice test daily for grading. To get the most out of the feedback you get, do the following:

  • Keep a speaking and writing journal so you can jot down the suggestions that your speaking and writing specialist provide.
  • Study the recommended lessons so you can improve your weak points.
  • Complete the recommended voice recording exercises and send them to your speaking specialist for evaluation.
  • Only register to take the TOEFL exam when you are consistently scoring 26+ on the speaking and writing practice tests.
  • Aim to score 5.2/7.0 or higher on the pronunciation post-test.
  • Complete 4-5 speaking and 3-4 writing practice tests weekly so you can get regular feedback to monitor your progress.

TOEFL Tips: Take a full-length TOEFL practice test.

Near the end of your TOEFL course, you will need to complete a full-length TOEFL iBT practice test.  Taking one of these practice tests will help you to monitor your progress. In fact, if your practice test score is close to or more than your target score, register to take the official TOEFL iBT. If your score is lower than your target score, send an email to your TOEFL mentor:

Dear TOEFL mentor,

My current TOEFL score is 88/120. My current subtotal scores are R= 22, L = 24, S = 23, and W= 19.

However, my goal is 100/120, with minimum subtotal scores of 25 in the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections. What adjustments do I need to make in my TOEFL preparation study plan?


First and Last Name

TOEFL Tips: Register to take the official TOEFL exam when you are confident you will reach your target score.

Once you are confident after a full-length practice test that you will likely reach your overall score and subtotal scores, register to take the TOEFL iBT.  After you complete the TOEFL iBT, let your TOEFL mentor know how you did.

In many cases, students reach their target scores on the first try. However, if you did not, do not be afraid to tell your TOEFL mentor how you performed.  Together, you and the TOEFL mentor can modify your study plan based on the score report you get from Educational Testing Service.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,