4 Tips to Prepare and Pass your TOFEL Exam

This article contains the Tips to pass your TOFEL exam. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL) is a very important test for students who wish to study in an English speaking country. The test clearly tests the student’s ability to use and understand English at a higher level.

The TOFEL test is the most widely respected English-language test in the world, and it is recognized by more than 10,000 colleges and universities in more than 150 countries in the world. These countries also include the UK, USA, Australia, and Canada. Wherever you wish to study in the world, TOFEL can help you get there.

Mode of Test:

The TOFEL exam can be taken in any format, the Internet Based Test (iBT) or the Paper Based Test (pBT) format. The TOFEL iBT format is administered via the internet, while the pBT is administered in a paper format.

TOFEL iBT Test content

It is a 4 hour 20 minutes test (excluding the 10 minutes break). It consists of 4 sections which are the Reading section, Listening Section, Speaking section, and the Writing section.

Section Time Limit Question

Reading 60 – 80 Minutes 36 – 56

Listening 60 – 90 minutes 34 – 51

Break —

Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks

Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks

Section Tasks

Reading – Read 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answer questions

Listening – Listen to lectures, classroom discussion, conversation, then you are required to produce answers.

Speaking – Express yourself on any familiar topic; then you speak based on reading and listening tasks.

Writing – You are required to write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks. You would also support a view/opinion in writing.


The test most times may include extra questions in the reading or listening section that has no effect towards your score. These questions enable ETS to make test scores comparable across administrators or new questions that help ETS determine how such questions function under actual testing conditions.


TOFEL Paper Based Test Contents

The TOEFL PBT test, administered in a paper-delivered format, takes about three and one-half hours to complete. There is also a 30-minute writing test, called the TWE® test, which is required of everyone who takes the paper-delivered test. The total time to take both tests will be about four hours.

The PBT consists of three sections plus TWE writing test namely the Listening Comprehension, Structure and Written Expression, Reading Comprehension, all of which are mandatory. At least one question in each section must be answered and one essay must be written to earn a score.

Section Description – Time Limit

Listening Comprehension – Measures the ability to understand spoken English

Structure and Written Expression – Measures the ability to recognize language appropriate for standard written English

Reading Comprehension – Measures the ability to understand non-technical reading material

TWE® Test – Measures the ability to write in English

Section Time Limit No. of Questions

Listening Comprehension 30-40 minutes 50 questions

Structure and Written Expression 25 minutes 40 questions

Reading Comprehension 55 minutes 50 questions

TWE® Test 30 minutes 1 Topic

pass your TOFEL exam

Preparation tips for TOEFL:

TOEFL is mainly taken by students who wish to enter into American universities. The minimum scores are 550 out of 677 in the paper-based test or 79 out of 120 in the iBT. Hence a student must aim for these marks to enter into a good university. Here are some tips to crack the TOEFL with high scores.

Format selection

Students are advised to register for that format (either PBT or iBT) which they are most comfortable with. For e.g, if a student is comfortable with writing over typing, he/she may choose to take the test in the PBT format.

Reading section

Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary. Students are advised to read a lot of fiction and nonfiction books with more emphasis on reading books written by British and American authors. Vocabulary and concentration levels improve greatly by reading books. Students are also advised to regularly read newspapers.

Writing Section

To improve your writing skill, students are advised to write one essay every day on any topic. Send emails, make notes for yourself and write down daily reminders, using new words and common expressions. This helps with sentence structure and vocabulary.

Writing regularly helps in improving writing speed and clarity in thought. By writing every day, students will also be able to improve their accuracy of writing. Students can also keep a personal diary and record their life events in English.

Listening section

To improve listening skills, students are advised to listen to music, online broadcasts, radio, television and movies in English. Listening regularly will greatly help the student develop the nuances of the English language.

The more you listen, the more you will understand vocabulary and expressions. Music helps you acquire the rhythm and stress patterns of spoken English. Listen closely to the words.

Practice tests

Students can build a lot of confidence by doing practice tests regularly. Having all the materials such as books and CDs related to the tests and using them on a regular basis will greatly help prepare for the test.


Students taking the iBT are advised to practice typing for 15 minutes every day. The faster the student types, the quicker the student will be able to complete the test.

Academic English: TOEFL tests a student’s knowledge of academic English. Academic English is the English used in an academic environment such as a classroom interaction. Students must improve their academic English skills by reading a lot of academic textbooks and encyclopaedias.

TOFEL Website: is the official website of the TOEFL test. The website will supply you with a list of writing topics for the essay. The student can also find important information about test centres and test updates. The students will also get hints about which resources are worth buying.

The TOEFL iBT® test, administered via the internet, is an important part of the journey to study in an English-speaking country.

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