How to prepare for TOEFL in English and achieve a high score

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TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is used internationally to assess English language proficiency. Similar to IELTS, TOEIC, and others, it’s often taken to validate English proficiency for visa centers, educational institutions, government agencies, or private organizations.

Before starting TOEFL preparation, it’s crucial to set your goals. For admission to American or Canadian universities, a specific score is required, while for a language proficiency certificate, you set your own standards.

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL is a leading American exam for those planning to study or live in the USA, Canada, or other English-speaking countries. It focuses on American English standards, excluding British lexicon, London grammar, and Liverpool accent.

The exam consists of four parts:

  • Reading;
  • Listening;
  • Speaking;
  • Writing.

Each part ranges from 30 to 60 minutes, totaling about two hours. It covers all language skills, so success requires more than just grammar or reading ability. The exam is taken in certified centers or online with special software.

How to Prepare for TOEFL?

Begin preparing 12 months in advance, especially if starting from scratch. Divide the year into four three-month stages:

  1. Start with grammar tenses and practice reading in each session. Create a personal dictionary for new words.
  2. Focus on irregular verbs next. Practice summarizing texts you read. Pay attention to listening skills.
  3. Move to complex grammar aspects, essay writing, and reading advanced texts. Dedicate time weekly to listening and speaking skills.
  4. Spend the last three months on TOEFL tasks: reading, listening, speaking, and writing in sequence.

A minimum of four hours per week, like twice for two hours or an hour four days a week, is recommended.

If you start six months in advance, focus on more specific stages:

  1. First month: Repeat grammar rules and basics of essay writing, moving away from specific TOEFL tasks.
  2. Second month: Improve reading skills and practice summarizing texts both orally and in writing.
  3. Third month: Enhance writing skills, practice written summaries, express opinions on various topics, and write essays.
  4. Fourth month: Focus on listening, including dialogues with native speakers, educational audios, movies, etc.
  5. Fifth month: Start speaking extensively, covering various topics in dialogues and monologues. Use a timer for thought formulation and response.
  6. Last month: Train with mock exams, working on each section sequentially.

The maximum TOEFL score is 120. Aim for at least 100 points to match C1 level, though 70 is considered good.

For successful preparation, master academic English, including specific structures and writing styles. Immerse in academic literature like encyclopedias, scientific articles, and research.

Also, be ready for unfamiliar words in the test, a common occurrence given the variety of topics. Knowing every specialized term isn’t necessary. Focus on correctly answering questions, even with some words unclear. Practice reading without a dictionary to understand context and save time during the test.


It’s unrealistic to prepare for TOEFL in a month. Start early and in the final stage, review past exam questions and essay topics. This helps understand the format and pre-study many topics.

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