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2018-07-30 11:56:48

How to prepare for TOEFL exam for international students

How to prepare for TOEFL exam for international students

One of the most common language exams in the world is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam and the certificate of the same name for knowledge of English as a foreign language.

TOEFL is required for every student who has decided to study abroad or who is planning a foreign career. To successfully pass the exam, the level of English should be really high, almost at the level of the media - but this may not be enough: it is important to know the structure of the exam, its features, tricks and "pitfalls", the rules of drafting tasks and typical "traps" of examiners. That's why it's almost impossible to prepare for TOEFL yourself: it's best to find a professional, experienced teacher or tutor who can prepare you for all the unexpectedness of the exam and help you pass it by 100 points or higher.

Why TOEFL is required?

  • Language examination is required for admission to foreign colleges and universities (in the USA TOEFL is preferable to IELTS). The minimum passing grade of prestigious universities is 100 (in total it is possible to score 120 points in the exam, 30 for each section): so the applicant demonstrates a really high level of English sufficient for effective study abroad
  • TOEFL certificate is required for employment in international companies
  • TOEFL is handled by immigrants to confirm a sufficiently high level of English.

TOEFL results are valid for 2 years.


The exam has several variations:

  • Traditional paper (PBT-paper-based test)
  • Computer (CBT-computer-based test)
  • Internet testing (iBT - internet-based test ).

It was the latter variant that received the maximum distribution these days. It includes tasks for reading, listening (listening to speech), written and spoken speech, combined tasks, so it is as objective as possible.

TOEFL iBT structure

1. Reading

The "Reading" stage is a text on academic topics and 3-4 questions on it: facts, the meaning of individual words (with the obligatory use of context), an understanding of the main idea and the author's attitude to the narrative, the ability to determine Structure and construction of this text. Tasks can be non-standard: for example, to find the word to which a pronoun belongs, to make a general conclusion based on the text.

2. Listening

The listening phase consists of 6-8 small audio recordings and questions to them. Approximately half of the records are usually a dialogue: between buddies on campus, between a student and a teacher, etc. Usually audio recording is heard only once - and after listening you see your questions, the answers to which should be given at a strictly fixed time.

3. Speaking

The oral part of the exam  is 6 tasks: two for a familiar and close topic, 2 for reading and retelling a text, 2 for listening to a dialogue or a lecture fragment and Also retelling audio recordings. The most difficult thing in this part for schoolchildren is usually a small amount of time that is given to the task: usually 15-30 seconds for preparation for each task plus 45-60 for the answer, which should be complete and deployed. Please note that your oral response should be clearly structured and follow certain rules, templates.

4. Writing

Written English is tested by writing two essays: narration and listening (retelling heard, comparing audio and text) plus an essay on a given topic. In an essay it is very important, as in the stage of oral answers (Speaking), to comply with the template, the structure of the answer, to make the essay academically correct.

Here you can learn about the preparation and other tests:

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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