TOEFL Test Preparation: What You Need to Know

Photo of TOEFL test sheet

The official TOEFL website is a great resource, but it can sometimes be a bit complicated and overwhelming. The TOEFL test is designed as a way to measure the skills of those non-English speaking test takers by testing their writing, listening, speaking, and reading abilities in the English language. It can be intimidating, to say the least, but it’s not something that should be feared. We’re going to break down the details, including what you need to know to pass the test, and what you need to know about actually signing up for and taking the test.

To Take the Test

When you decide that it’s time to take the TOEFL test preparation seriously, you’ll also want to check out registration and dates available for the test. There are some instances where you might want to schedule your test before you’re ready for it because they may not always be available. The TOEFL website does have resources for registration, scheduling tests, checking available dates and times, and more. The details can all be found on the “Take the Test” page, and is summarized below:

  • It is suggested that people register four months in advance of their desired testing date. Walk-in registration is not permitted and all testers must register in advance. This can be done online through the TOEFL website, on the phone, or via mail.
  • There are specific ID requirements and fees involved in testing. Generally, these must be valid, original, non-expired documents that include a full name, photograph, and signature that all match current information. You can find exact requirements based on the country where you plan to test on the website.
  • Exact registration fees vary based on the testing location. There are standard fees for late registration, rescheduling, additional reports, or reviews of the scores, as well as a returned payment charge for any payments that are not approved. These can change from year to year, and the latest information is always available on the TOEFL iBT Test Fees
  • You need to register with the exact name that is on your identification that will be presented at the time of testing. If you register with a different name or even if there are spelling errors, you may not be able to continue taking the test until the error is corrected and the names match.

To Pass the Test

Now that you know more about actually getting to the testing process, you should have at least a basic idea of what to expect. The Internet is a great resource for something like this, where you can find sample tests, video lessons, practice questions, and even insights on how to answer the questions appropriately. It’s great to understand the format of the exam and what to expect ahead of time. This can help alleviate a lot of nerves and make passing easier for many.

Once you are familiar with the format of the test, you’ll also want to consider the content included. You can choose between the Internet-based test or the written test, and both have similar topics like reading, listening, writing, and speaking, so you won’t have to worry about any differences there. More people are choosing the online test these days, but paper tests are still offered for those who prefer them.

Perhaps the best thing to help you pass is to take a TOEFL test preparation course. While study guides and online references are nice, they aren’t a real prep course that is taught by people who know this test and what to expect. There is nothing like firsthand experience and especially when it comes to learning a new language. Having the assistance of an actual classroom with real people to answer your questions and help you prepare can give you a much better chance of getting a higher score.

More importantly, having that kind of support and teaching can even help improve your English skills further so that you will be able to speak more fluently, write and read better, and communicate in just about every way with just about anyone. You can learn a lot on your own, but if you want the best chances of getting a great score the first time around, prep courses from experts are the way to go.


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