TOEFL Preparation Strategy & Study Plan 2023 - Check Tips & Tricks to Crack TOEFL

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Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Aug 02, 2023 5:26 PM IST

Given the significance of the TOEFL exam for individuals who want to pursue an education overseas, it makes sense that it can be intimidating. As with almost any work, calming your anxiety can be achieved by proper TOEFL preparation and becoming aware of the section-wise techniques that we are doing to discuss on this page.

Since each TOEFL component requires in-depth English language proficiency, you should start studying for the test well in advance. No matter which path you choose, start your studies at least two to three months before the test as this will increase your strength, quickness, and confidence. However, it is dependent on the test-current taker's proficiency level; some may require less time while others may require more time for TOEFL preparation.

TOEFL Preparation Strategy & Study Plan

Even though the TOEFL exam 2023 is a standardised test and is attempted by students with varying levels of proficiency and understanding of the English language, a good preparation strategy will help you stand out and come out on top. Therefore, it is important to build a good TOEFL preparation strategy and study plan to ensure you get the highest possible score.

TOEFL exams are conducted to assess the English language proficiency of a candidate planning to study or work in an English-speaking country. Therefore, while a basic understanding of the English language would be enough to ace the test, a preparation strategy specifically focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate is important.

A good preparation plan for TOEFL would often include a schedule outlining the hours for study and preparation, rests, and even the hours when TOEFL practice tests should be attempted as well. Any combination of including these elements or with any other additional elements will ensure your knowledge and skills to attempt the test are enhanced.

Accepted the world over, a good TOEFL preparation strategy and study plan will only enhance your chances of being enrolled in your dream university abroad. Due to the competitive nature of the admission process, it is important to keep as many parameters favouring your candidature, including your English language proficiency skills.

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General Preparation Tips for TOEFL

Following are some of the tips to prepare for the TOEFL 2023 test which can help you score better and help you take admission to any one of the top universities abroad::

General Preparation Tips for TOEF


  • Understand All the Rules in Each Section: Read the directions or rules, learn what task you have to do and get an idea of how much time you would require to answer each question. This can be best achieved by attempting numerous TOEFL practice tests, which can familiarise you with all the rules in each section. In case you are confused, you can simply glance through the directions or rules of each TOEFL 2023 section and make sure you know what you are doing. This being a language test, you must be certain that you know as many new English words as possible.

  • Practice As Much As You Can: It is recommended to take the test only when you are thoroughly prepared. Study intensively and practice as many similar questions and practice questions in order to have a clear understanding of what questions can be asked, how you are required to answer and how much time each question will require.

  • Read, Write and Enhance Your Vocabulary and Grammar: Find university-level writing samples such as academic lectures or semester exam texts and read them to increase your reading speed which will help you respond to questions efficiently, especially in the reading section. Also, make sure that you learn three to four new words every day and try to include them while practising the TOEFL writing and speaking sections.

  • Learn How to Manage your Time: Work on your typing skills and find out how many correct answers you can get in 5 minutes. Avoid wasting time on minor issues related to directions and focus on the question.

  • Take Notes: Jot down all the important points while attempting questions in the listening and speaking sections. Write down keywords and symbols that will help you recall the actual question and structure your answer accordingly. This will help save you time and be less nervous during the test.

Related Reads:

Why TOEFL May be a Better Option Than IELTS

TOEFL Accepted Universities in Canada

Documents Required for TOEFL

TOEFL Accepted Universities in UK

Section-wise Preparation Tips for TOEFL

Every section of the TOEFL 2023 test will require candidates to prepare differently. Keeping that in mind, here are the preparation tips for each section under the TOEFL test:

Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2023 Reading Section

  • Around two to three passages are provided in the section, which are around 500 words in length. As per the updated TOEFL iBT exam pattern, you will be given nearly 35 minutes to complete this section.

  • These passages will be extracts from academic material found in university-level textbooks, primarily to introduce a topic or discipline without demanding the student to know anything in advance.

  • Before registering for TOEFL 2023, students should take a high-quality TOEFL practice test.

  • Make sure that you work towards improving your vocabulary every day.

  • Get into the habit of reading and use university-level resources that will help you improve your reading speed.

  • Create a list of words that you are not familiar with and teach yourself their meanings.

Get insights into how to succeed on the actual exam by checking out the TOEFL Reading section.

Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2023 Listening Section

  • You will be given 36 minutes to complete the section.

  • Unlike the TOEFL 2023 reading section where you can move within a subsection, candidates will have to complete the questions in order. This means that once you have moved forward from the previous question, you would not be able to go back.

  • All questions in this section will be audio-based and are multiple-choice questions demanding one correct answer.

  • The section may include "fill-in-the-table" type questions for which you would have to categorise information.

  • The final or fourth type of questions included in the section will be based on clipped audio.

  • You will have to answer a number of questions for each audio playback. 

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Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2023 Speaking Section

  • In this section, you will be given 16 minutes to complete a total of four tasks. Time will be allocated for you to prepare and speak.

  • Both independent and integrated questions will be asked. While the integrated questions would require candidates to listen to audio or read a text, or both, and respond accordingly, while, the independent questions would require you to directly speak directly of your own accord.

  • Additionally, there will be a time limit to read a passage, which you would not be able to see again. Candidates will receive less than a minute to read each passage. So, you need to focus and take notes.

Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2023 Writing Section

  • This section tests how well you understand and analyse the relationship between lecture and passage as well as your ability to structure your opinions in a limited time period.

  • One of the types of questions you will face in this section is the integrated section where you will be asked to read a passage and listen to audio, subsequently writing down your answers based on the information you received.

  • Your response to a question here should ideally be between 150-225 words. However, marks would not be deducted if the response is a bit longer.

  • As limited time is allocated for the integrated type questions, you must focus and answer accordingly.

  • The section will include another question which you will be required to answer in 20 minutes. Here, you would have to draw connections between the lecture and the passage.

  • Included in the section, an independent writing task will require you to talk about your experiences and express your thoughts. The response should be at least 300 words.

  • For this task, you would not need any subject matter knowledge.

  • Focus on the main ideas and do not change the direction of your response while writing.

How to Prepare for TOEFL in One Month?

You can prepare for TOEFL in one month provided you set up a solid study plan and adhere to it. Beginners must consider devoting more hours to TOEFL preparation whereas those who have advanced English knowledge can give up to two hours a day. The ways to prepare for TOEFL in one month are given below:

  • Get familiarised with the TOEFL test format and TOEFL question papers. This is the first step to beginning with TOEFL preparation. Once you get a thorough idea of the contents of the TOEFL exam, you can move on to referring to TOEFL books and study materials.

  • Keep reading different kinds of books, magazines, newspapers, academic journals and others to familiarise yourself with a vast variety of literature. You should keep reading at a stretch without distraction and understand what is being said in the texts.

  • For the listening section, it is important that you acquaint yourself with the different accents of English native speakers. Mostly, the conversations you will listen to will be of American accent but to be on the safer side, try practising with British, Canadian and Australian accents too.

  • In the writing section, you will have to follow a defined structure consisting of an introduction, body and conclusion. Write only what is important and do not digress from the context. Practice writing several topics during this one month and get them corrected by an expert.

  • The Speaking test requires practice with people around you. If you try to speak about the everyday context in English, it will increase your fluency. Practice in front of the mirror, if you do not get a friend or family member to rehearse with you.

  • Once you are halfway through your preparation, start taking TOEFL practice papers. Also, check out the question papers of previous years and practice from them.

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FAQs on TOEFL Preparation Tips

How to prepare for the TOEFL Speaking section?

Among the many ways to prepare for the TOEFL speaking section is to listen to English podcasts, speeches, and audio. Additionally, taking out time to practice speaking confidently and emphasising the important points while speaking will help you enhance your skills. Here, connecting with an English teacher or a proficient English speaker and asking them to rate your speaking skills may also help improve your scores.

Is coaching required for TOEFL preparation?

To score the highest possible marks and ensure a better chance of admission abroad, it is always better to take up coaching for TOEFL preparation from expert faculty. However, candidates who wish to self-study can also get scores in TOEFL. Candidates must strictly follow a well-organised and structured TOEFL preparation strategy to score the highest.

Are the test structures of the IELTS and TOEFL different?

Yes, the exam pattern for IELTS and TOEFL is different. While TOEFL iBT consists of multiple choice questions and writing tasks, IELTS has many types of questions, including short answers, and gap-filling tasks among others. The main structural difference between IELTS and TOEFL is that IELTS does not have short essays and is considerably shorter in duration than TOEFL.

What is the right time to take the TOEFL?

When you are deciding to prepare for TOEFL iBT, it is always better to keep time off for revision and practice tests. Therefore, it is advisable to begin preparation at least two months before the actual test date. Connect with our experienced TOEFL faculty who can help you build a unique and personalised 5 Point Study Plan and result-oriented strategies to score high.

How to prepare for the TOEFL Writing section?

One of the ways to prepare for the TOEFL writing section is to practice from questions asked in sample papers or practice tests for TOEFL Writing section. Emphasising the correct use of grammar, tenses and flow of the passage should be one of the primary areas of focus for any candidate aspiring to attempt TOEFL 2022. Or connect with our experienced TOEFL faculty who can help you score high in the test.

Can I prepare for TOEFL exam in one month?

Yes, you can prepare for TOEFL test in one month, provided you either have a good command of the basics of English or receive proper guidance and tutoring from experienced TOEFL faculty. If you need help from experienced faculty, register yourselves with us now and receive personalised study plans and result-oriented strategies through our test-prep services.

When should I start preparing for TOEFL exam?

You should start preparing for the TOEFL exam this year on the basis of several factors such as your command of the English Language and the amount of time available for TOEFL preparation. An ideal time to begin preparing for TOEFL tests should range between 2-3 months. However, the more time you spend preparing for the test, the better understanding and skills you will gain to ace the tests.

Is there any free study material available to prepare for TOEFL 2021?

Yes, students can find free study materials for TOEFL preparation, especially on the official website of ETS. While students can get other forms of study materials online, you can connect with our experienced study abroad experts and get your own personalised Study Plans, and result-oriented strategies among other aid, to ace the tests this year.

How to prepare for TOEFL?

There is no one way to prepare for TOEFL iBT as each preparation strategy should be personalised to each candidate’s weaknesses and strengths. This is why seeking expert guidance from experienced faculty is so important as they can tell you the best tips and tricks that have worked for thousands of students previously.

How much time does it take to prepare for TOEFL exam?

The preparation time for TOEFL tests will vary between test-takers understanding and skills for the different sections of the test. However, a minimum of 2 months of preparation is a must for anyone aspiring to take the tests this year. While the test is relatively easy to attempt, with proper preparation, you can score high in the test, thus, improving your chances of studying abroad.

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