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Six Quick Hints for Success on the TOEFL

  • Try to understand a reading or lecture as a whole. Unlike earlier versions of the TOEFL, the new version tests whether you can see how ideas interact in a longer reading.
  • Try to understand a reading or lecture as a whole. Unlike earlier versions of the TOEFL, the new version tests whether you can see how ideas interact in a longer reading.


  • Take notes. Especially in the listening section, you will need notes to remember what you have heard. Note-taking will also help you concentrate.You can practice by taking notes of news stories, documentaries, or lectures.
  • Study grammar in context, not by itself. Unlike earlier versionsof the TOEFL, the new version has no grammar section. Your knowledge of grammar is useful in helping you understand the readings and lectures, not in answering grammar-specific questions.
  • Practice writing essays that express your opinion on a topic. The writing section of the 2005 TOEFL includes questions asking for your opinion on various daily topics. These are timed. Practice writing under a time limit, shaping your thoughts into a well-rounded essay.
  • Build up your academic vocabulary.Your ability to comprehend reading passages rests largely on your academic vocabulary. Build your vocabulary by reading, making flash cards, and writing sentences using new words in context. A strong vocabulary will help you not only in your reading comprehension, but also in listening, writing, and speaking.
  • Commit your attention to the test. Some of the topics covered in the test may not actually interest you. Still, your focused energy will improve your test score. Agree with yourself not to think about other topics during the test. Force yourself to keep your attention on the tested material.