TOEFL Preparation Tips 2024: Check Section-wise TOEFL Preparation Plan & Study Material


Rahul Singha

Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

Updated on Dec 8, 2023 16:08 IST

TOEFL Study Material: Candidates can prepare for their TOEFL exam by practising their skills with free practice tests and other free resources available on the Internet. Candidates can refer to official guides and books through their ETS account or study for the TOEFL exam with the TOEFL Go! app. Good TOEFL preparation material will help test takers understand the TOEFL exam and the ways in which they can best demonstrate their English skills. A lot of times, students feel comfortable in some areas and less confident in others, we have compiled the best study material for TOEFL exam preparation for candidates looking to take the test. 

TOEFL Preparation 2024

Conducted by ETS - the Test of English as a Foreign Language is one of the most widely accepted English language exams among universities and colleges abroad. Candidates looking to achieve a good TOEFL score are advised to continue reading as we bring together the best TOEFL study material, and TOEFL preparation books there are for our TOEFL aspirants. Preparing for the TOEFL exam is a very personal experience. And to make this experience more unique we have provided, TOEFL preparation material, section-wise TOEFL preparation tips, last-minute TOEFL preparation tips, TOEFL preparation books, and TOEFL online preparation modules for our diverse readers. A lot of times, students can ditch the TOEFL self-study plan (mentioned below) and opt for professional guidance. For candidates looking for professional guidance, candidates can check out our top TOEFL coaching centre across India.

TOEFL study material: How to Prepare: The TOEFL exam pattern 2024 comprises four sections, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing - along with the total score. The TOEFL exam has been designed to assess the test takers' reading, listening, writing and speaking abilities in a university setting. We are going to start with the general TOEFL exam preparation tips and then discuss section-wise TOEFL preparation study material.

What are the top TOEFL preparation tips?

TOEFL preparation material: Candidates preparing for the TOEFL exam are required to follow the top 8 TOEFL preparation tips mentioned below:

  • Plan ahead: The TOEFL exam preparation cannot be an overnight affair. Candidates are required to start their TOEFL preparation months in advance depending on their English language skills. Quality preparation for the TOEFL test would yield good TOEFL scores. 
  • Know what you're getting into: It is important for candidates to understand the nuances of the exam. Meaning, they should know about the TOEFL syllabus, the TOEFL pattern, how the TOEFL exam is scored and the TOEFL cut-off for universities. This way you would know all about the TOEFL exam and give in your best on the day of the exam. 
  • Take lots of practice tests: Solving TOEFL mock tests is a self-evaluating tool. Solving TOEFL test papers available on the official website and on Shiksha will help students to score themselves, identify areas that need development and above all prepare the candidate for the TOEFL test day. 
  • Start studying vocabulary: Vocabulary is an important part of any English test. Hence, it is important that candidates know a healthy mix of complex and easy words and their usage. A strong vocabulary will help candidates convey their message faster and accurately with less room for error. 
  • TOEFL study material: Candidates are advised to only source their TOEFL study material from the official ETS website. ETS - the conducting body of the TOEFL exam has made a number of free and paid TOEFL study materials available to test takers.  
  • TOEFL cut off: Every university would have a minimum TOEFL score requirement which is known as the TOEFL cut off. Candidates should note that the TOEFL cut off is the minimum TOEFL score they would require to apply to the university/college. However, this would not guarantee admission. If candidates want their applications to stand out they should know the TOEFL cut off for their preferred university ad aim for a higher score.  
  • Keep an error log: To follow a study plan requires dedication and commitment. Similarly, if a candidate is looking to grow, he would have to identify his weak areas and work on turning them into his strengths. Hence, along with dedication, candidates are required to keep a log of all the areas that can be improved and work on strengthing their performance in the overall TOEFL exam.
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TOEFL Preparation Material (Section-wise)

As mentioned earlier, the TOEFL exam is made up of multiple sections that come together to make the TOEFL test. Read on as we provide important section-wise preparation tips for candidates looking to prepare for the TOEFL exam. 

TOEFL Reading Tips

TOEFL study material: The reading section of the TOEFL iBT requires candidates to read 3-4 passages and answer 10 questions on each passage. The section is scored based on the number of correct reading comprehension responses. In brief, candidates will be required to answer approximately 40 questions in 54-72 minutes. Read on as we elucidate the TOEFL reading section tips to excel in the Reading Section of the TOEFL Exam. The Reading section of the TOEFL test measures the ability of the candidates whether they understand university-level academic texts and passages.

  • Candidates are advised to read as much as possible and strictly in the English language. The basic idea behind this exercise is to keep the mind of the student continuously engaged with the English language.
  • A tried and tested method of practising the art of reading includes reading short passages and converting them into question-and-answer format to totally understand the idea behind the passage.
  • Newspapers, periodicals, and articles in English are great sources for coming in contact with new words and understanding the written language.
  • Exchanging articles and literary work for grading or self-grading your work can also act as a benchmark to calculate your rate of success.
  • A candidate must build his vocabulary if he wants to excel in the Reading Section of the TOEFL exam. Candidates should engage in a continuous exercise of building their vocabulary as this would only help them to excel in their TOEFL Reading Section.

How to Prepare for TOEFL Reading Tips

Check out top TOEFL reading tips and strategies for improving your TOEFL score

  • Read regularly university textbooks or other materials that cover a variety of subject areas (e.g., sciences, social sciences, arts, business, etc.) and are written in an academic style. A wide variety of academic texts are available on the Internet as well as in magazines and journals.
  • Practice skimming a passage to get a general impression of the main idea, instead of carefully reading each word and each sentence.
  • After skimming a passage, read it again more carefully and write down the main idea, major points, and important facts.
  • Practice frequently to increase the reading rate and fluency.
  • Choose some unfamiliar words in the passage and guess the meaning from the context (surrounding sentences). Then, look them up to determine their meaning.

TOEFL Listening Tips

TOEFL study material: The listening section of the TOEFL iBT requires candidates to listen to 3-4 lectures and 2-3 conversations and answer six questions on each recording. The section is scored based on the number of correct listening responses. In brief, candidates will be required to answer approximately 40 questions in 41-57 minutes. Read on as we elucidate the TOEFL listening section tips to excel in the Listening Section of the TOEFL Exam.

  • Accurately take notes: The crux to cracking the TOEFL listening exam is being able to accurately take notes when someone is dictating to you. Hence, candidates are required to understand that taking accurate notes quickly is one of the most valued skills in the TOEFL Listening test. 
  • Developing listening abilities: This is yet another important aspect that needs to be built around the student. A lot of times, students are unable to listen for long periods of time as they are unable to absorb information after a certain point. Hence, it is important for the candidate to first develop the habit of listening to long audios and then extract useful information and use it to answer questions. 
  • Understanding the Flavour: Half the battle is won once the candidate can understand the genre of the conversation. Because often a lot of questions would be asked around the flavour of the dialogue. 

How to Prepare for TOEFL Listening Tips

Check out the top TOEFL listening tips and strategies for improving your TOEFL score.

    • Listen for words that show connections and relationships between ideas. Identify the relationships between ideas: cause/effect, compare/contrast, and steps in a process.
    • Anticipate what a person is going to say as a way to stay focused. Listen to recorded material and stop the recording at various points. Predict what information or idea will be expressed next.
    • Try to assess the purpose of the speech or conversation - an apology, complaint, suggestion
    • Notice if the language is formal or casual. Pay special attention to the speaker's tone of voice. Is the speaker’s voice calm or emotional? What is the speaker's degree of certainty about the information he/she is presenting
    • Make note of changes in topic or digressions.

TOEFL Writing Tips

TOEFL preparation material: The writing section of the TOEFL exam requires candidates to write an essay and effectively describe a topic. The response should be well-organized and well-developed using relevant explanations and detailed support. Furthermore, it should also display unity, progression, and coherence. If you want to achieve a high writing score, make sure that you demonstrate the syntactic variety and appropriate word choice with minor grammatical errors. Read on as we elucidate the TOEFL writing section tips to excel in the Writing Section of the TOEFL Exam.

  • To begin with, candidates are advised to listen to short passages or readings and write a summary of the same to fully understand the recordings. this way the candidate would be able to express his interpretation of the recording. 
  • Students can also get hold of a book that teaches the different types of connecting words. Connecting words are important as these expressions show the relationship between sentences and paragraphs and also connect two or more short sentences into one long sentence.
  • While listening to recordings, candidates can also identify the writer's opinion or opinions and interpret the same and write about them in detail.
  • A lot of times, candidates would also come across conflicting opinions in one paragraph. So the reader needs to notice how the writer addresses possible objections to the opinion if they are present and write the same in their own words.

How to Prepare for Toefl Writing Tips

Check out top TOEFL writing tips and strategies for improving your TOEFL score.

  • Increase vocabulary and knowledge of idiomatic speech so you can use it appropriately.
  • Learn grammatical structures so well that you can use them naturally when writing.
  • Learn the conventions of spelling, punctuation, and layout (e.g., paragraph creation).
  • Find a textbook that includes questions about the material at the end of chapters and practise writing answers to the questions.
  • Read an article that is about 300–400 words long. Make an outline that includes the major points and important details of the article. Use the outline to write a summary of the information and ideas. Summaries should be brief and clearly communicate only the major points and important details. Be sure to paraphrase using different words and grammatical structures.

TOEFL Speaking Tips

TOEFL preparation material: This particular section tests the candidate's ability to speak effectively in an academic setting. Candidates would be graded on the delivery of the answer, ability to speak clearly and coherently, and above all your vocabulary and grammar. Read on as we elucidate the TOEFL speaking section tips to excel in the Speaking Section of the TOEFL Exam.

  • Students could start by making a list of familiar topics and practise speaking about them. The topics can include both academic and non-academic topics.
  • As part of a self-exercise, candidates can collect pictures from magazines and newspapers and then describe the same in under one minute. Candidates could further increase the difficulty of the exercise, by describing the same thing multiple times, using different adjectives, and adding details.
  • Candidates could also pick up opinion pieces and state an opinion or a preference for or against the topic and present clear, detailed reasons for their choices. In this exercise, candidates should use connecting words or phrases to help explain their opinion.
  • Students could also self-evaluate their TOEFL iBT Speaking Skills by simply thinking about activities related to student life and writing reasons to explain their preferences for the same and speaking on this for one minute.
  • Candidates can also develop the habit of reading newspapers and articles online and expressing their opinions on current affairs to their friends.

How to Prepare for TOEFL SpeakingTips

Check out top TOEFL speaking tips and strategies for improving your TOEFL score.

  • Increase vocabulary and learn to use idiomatic speech appropriately.
  • Learn grammatical structures and use them naturally when speaking.
  • Work on pronunciation, including word stress, intonation patterns, and pauses. (There are a number of products and websites that can help you develop pronunciation skills.)
  • Take some time to think about what you’re going to say before you speak. Write down a few keywords and ideas, but do not attempt to write down exactly what you are going to say. (Raters will be able to detect responses that are read and give them a lower rating.)
  • Use signal words and expressions to introduce new information or ideas, connect ideas, and mark important words or ideas. This will help the listener easily follow what you are saying. (For example, “on the one hand…,” “but on the other hand…,” “what that means is…,” “The first reason is…,” “another difference is…”)

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Effective TOEFL Preparation Strategies

TOEFL study material: Candidates preparing for the TOEFL exam should be aware that there is ample TOEFL study material available online. Hence, candidates should only use information from trusted sources and refer to the official TOEFL website for the most accurate TOEFL information. It is important for candidates preparing for the TOEFL exam to be updated with the shorter TOEFL test that was launched sometime last year. Candidates can check out our last-minute important prep tips for the TOEFL exam.

What is the Best Way to Prepare for TOEFL?

TOEFL preparation material: How to prepare: Candidates should note that there is no set template for preparation. What might work for Person A does not have to necessarily be right for Person B and vice versa. Hence, we have through this article provided a list of multiple learning techniques and we expect our readers to select the one that most suits their needs and follow the same to score better in their TOEFL exams. 

How Can I Prepare for TOEFL at Home?

Candidates should not get confused about preparing for TOEFL at Home and preparing for TOEFL for the test centre. As both the tests are the same, only the test environment is different. A lot of times, test takers could get overwhelmed. Candidates should note that ETS - the conducting body of the TOEFL exam has started conducting the TOEFL tests at home for candidates who are looking to appear for the TOEFL test from the safety of the home. Candidates who do not have a conducive environment at home or the necessary system requirements can appear for the test from the TOEFL test centre if the COVID-19 local restrictions allow.

How Long Does it take to Prepare for the TOEFL exam?

This is again a very personalized question. While some test takers may take two to three months to reach their optimum level of preparation for their TOEFL test, others could take a longer or shorter duration to study. Hence, there is no set time frame. Candidates are encouraged to schedule their TOEFL tests only once they have completely prepared for the TOEFL exam. 

TOEFL Study Material 2024

Under the TOEFL study material, we are going to discuss the various methods of conquering the TOEFL exam. We will be also providing our readers with a TOEFL self-study plan for candidates looking to prepare for the TOEFL exam, we will also be recommending TOEFL preparation books for the learning process, online TOEFL preparation sites among other things. 

Related Reads

When to start preparing for IELTS or TOEFL? How to practice for TOEFL: Practice tests and Samples
The Future of IELTS, PTE, GRE & TOEFL exams in the face of COVID-19 TOEFL iBT® Testing Continues Seamlessly Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

TOEFL self-study plan

As we had earlier mentioned, candidates, looking to opt for self-studying can refer to our full-proof TOEFL self-study plan for preparing for the TOEFL exam. Watch out for this space as we bring out readers a very unique TOEFL self-study plan. 

TOEFL preparation online free

As mentioned earlier, candidates have been advised to only source their TOEFL information from the most reliable sources. In this case, candidates can check our TOEFL sample papers that have been created keeping our readers in mind. The TOEFL practice paper questions have been sourced from the most trusted websites and candidates can visit the official TOEFL website for more TOEFL practice papers to solve. 

Solve TOEFL Mock Test Papers (section-wise)

TOEFL Writing Practice Section Sample Paper [Set I] TOEFL Reading Practice Section Sample Paper [Set I]
TOEFL Reading Practice Section Sample Paper [Set 2] TOEFL Reading Practice Section Sample Paper [Set 3]
TOEFL Speaking Practice Section Sample Paper [Set I] TOEFL Listening Practice Section Sample Paper [Set I]
TOEFL Sample Test Paper 2021 with Answers [Set 1]  

How to Study for the TOEFL in one month

A lot of times candidates end up asking us, whether it is possible to study for TOEFL in one month. My simple answer is yes. But why put so much pressure when you can start early and schedule a TOEFL test when you deem fit? Watch out for this space as we bring together a one-month study plan for the TOEFL test

Top TOEFL Prep Books

Best Books for TOEFL Preparation 2024: If you take the route of self-study to prepare for TOEFL, there are a lot of books and resources along with TOEFL study plans available to help you. The official ETS has its own official preparation books and online preparation. Refer to the following TOEFL books to help create a study plan –

  • The Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT Test: This guide is available in eBook and paperback format, and includes: four full-length practice tests, valuable tips, scoring criteria and hundreds of sample questions for all four test sections.
  • Official TOEFL iBT Tests, Volumes 1 & 2: Get 10 authentic, full-length TOEFL iBT tests with previous test questions. Available in paperback or an eBook, each volume offers five practice tests and includes interactive online versions of all five tests, sample Speaking and Writing responses and audio files and written transcripts for all listening passages.
  • The TOEFL iBT Test Prep Planner: If you’re just beginning your test prep get started with this free 8-week planner, which includes in-depth review of the four sections of the test, skill-building activities, sample TOEFL iBT test questions, scoring information, including the Speaking and Writing scoring guides and tips for success on test day.
  • The Complete Guide to the TOEFL Test iBT Edition by Bruce Rogers - In this exam guide there is a lot of focus on developing the skills needed to take the test before actually giving example questions and practice tests, which is great and will surely benefit in the long run.
  • Delta's Key to the TOEFL iBT: Advanced Skill Practice - The book comes with an audio CD containing over 9 hours of audio, to ensure the listening component of the test is mastered. It features 35 units of study in reading, listening, speaking, and writing four full-length tests in TOEFL iBT format 1,200 questions in the units, quizzes, and tests Answer key, audio script, and score charts.

How to choose the best TOEFL Preparation Books?

As informed earlier, candidates are advised to only source their material from the official TOEFL website. ETS is the conducting body of the Test of English as a Foreign Langauge (TOEFL) and candidates are required to visit the official website and check the list of books and resources available on the website and get hold of them as per their requirement. A lot of the questions are similar to the books found on the official website. The ETS website will have a TOEFL preparation guide covering all sections of the test and also section-wise guides that target particular sections for the TOEFL exam. Candidates can write to us in case of any queries on the same. 

TOEFL Preparation Material: TOEFL Go! Official App

Recently launched by ETS, The TOEFL GO App lets users access sample questions and insider tips from the makers of the test, practice only the skills they need with free and in-app purchases and check their progress with scoring from ETS, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Exam day tips for TOEFL

As is the rule with any exam, you need to be at the TOEFL testing centre at least half an hour early to get settled. Make sure you visit the centre address a day before so you know where to go. Read on as we elucidate the most important exam day tips for the TOEFL exam.

  1. You don’t need to stress about TOEFL as if you have been taught English since childhood, you shouldn’t have issues performing well.
  2. Before starting the Reading section, take a minute or two to compose yourself.
  3. Don’t study on test day. It will only stress you out rather than do any good.
  4. Solve lots of practice tests.
  5. Most computer test centres are air-conditioned, so wear comfortable and warm clothes. You don’t want cold feet (literally) on the test day.
  6. For the Writing section, you get only 20 minutes. They may seem adequate, but they are about enough to proofread your essay only once. So be quick!
  7. You need to concentrate hard during the Speaking and Listening sections. The headphones provided will not be noise-cancelling ones, so you need to listen hard.

TOEFL Preparation Tips FAQs

How should I start preparing for the TOEFL test?

Time is of the essence. Candidates should remember to start early, go through the entire syllabus with special attention to the difficult areas and solve as many TOEFL practise papers as possible. This way candidates can look at acing their preparation and performing well for the TOEFL exam.

Is it hard to get 80 in TOEFL?

Candidates should note that scoring in the TOEFL exam will entirely depend upon their preparation for the exam. Candidates who do not use any shortcuts and study with a plan in mind are sure to score above candidates who rely on last-minute preparations. And for serious candidates, there is no limit to their score. Hence, whether getting an 80 in your next TOEFL is easy or not would entirely depend on how you have prepared for the TOEFL test. 

How can I pass TOEFL successfully?

There is no such thing as failing or passing the TOEFL exam. Every university would have its own TOEFL Score cut-off and students are required to achieve scores equal or higher than the set grade. Candidates should note that higher TOEFL scores would automatically increase their chances of securing a seat in the university and also make them a front runner for any scholarships being offered by the university. A low TOEFL score would require the student to re-take the exam to improve his/her performance.

How many days do you need to prepare for TOEFL?

The key to a good TOEFL score is ample preparation. Candidates who have prior knowledge of the TOEFL exam can appear for the test within a short period of preparation time. However, candidates who are relatively new are advised to prepare well before booking their TOEFL test slot.

Is one month enough for TOEFL?

There is no limit to preparing for the TOEFL test. While for some candidates one month could be enough for others they could require more time. Hence, candidates should not be fixated on the duration but should put in maximum effort during the preparation to yield maximum results.

What is the hardest part of TOEFL?

Whether a test is hard or easy is very personal. However, rest assured, the TOEFL test has been created to test your understanding of the English language and not to make you miserable. The tests are created keeping in mind the student and a good preparation plan would yield positive results.

Are TOEFL test centres operational across India?

Given how volatile the situation is, candidates are advised to opt for the Home version of the TOEFL test. If you are still keen on taking the test from a TOEFL test centre, candidates are advised to check the operational status of the test centre before booking their TOEFL test slot. 

Where can I get TOEFL practise papers?

We always advise candidates to source their study material from the official ETS website for authentic and up-to-date information and they can also solve practice papers that we have on our website here: TOEFL Sample Papers.

Is the TOEFL test available at home?

Absolutely. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, ETS has made appearing for the TOEFL test seamless by launching the TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition Test for candidates looking to take the test from the safety of their homes

Which English test is the easiest?

Whether a test is hard or easy is very subjective. However, rest assured, the TOEFL test has been created to test your understanding of the English language and not to make you miserable. The tests, TOEFL, IELTS, and  PTE Academic have been created keeping in mind the student and a good preparation plan would yield positive results. Read: IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE Academic: Which test you should take

Should I go for TOEFL or IELTS?

Both the TOEFL and IELTS are English language tests for students wanting to study abroad. However, both these tests have their own benefits and drawbacks. Both tests are accepted for college admissions, however, students are advised to check with their university admission guidelines before applying for the exam. Here is a guide to making the decision.  Read Here: Choosing between TOEFL and IELTS





2 months ago

Hello I have given TOEFL home edition and my scores is 104 (reading 30, listening 29, speaking 19, writing 26). Will the Ireland universities accepts this score and home edition?

Reply to Shalini


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

a month ago

Hello Shalini. You can take a look at popular universities in Ireland, here: You can also get in touch with our Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors for assistance with Ireland University Admissions 2023 here:



5 months ago

Hello I have given my TOEFL exam today and I have completed reading and listening successfully mean while in speaking I have read the question first 3 words loudly in preparation time does that effect my scorecard.please reply me please



Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

3 months ago

Hello Nikhil. Hope you are doing well. I seem to have overlooked your comment and my apologies for the same. I am guessing you have got your results by now. Reading the question out loud should not ideally affect your TOEFL test scores.


safiullah Ahmadzai

10 months ago

Do 93 overall TOEFL scores (R27, L27, W25, S14) leads rejection during Germany embassy interview, besides I have got unconditional offer from university? For Master Degree.

Reply to safiullah Ahmadzai


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

8 months ago

Hello Safiullah. The English language requirement is mostly university specific. Hence, if your university is convinced of your English-speaking skills then you would not have an issue with your student visa. However, you would be asked a couple of questions at the student visa interview and it is i



nitin mandalapu

11 months ago

hello my exam got under reviewed (i am not getting my score ) for a month and i don't know when i will get my results, but i need to get that score for my college applications. so in mean while, will i able to take another exam and can i get score with in a week ? while my exam is in under reviewed


Reply to nitin mandalapu


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

8 months ago

Hello Nitin. the waiting period between two TOEFL exams has been reduced to 3 days. So you can appear for a second TOEFL exam after 3 days of appearing for your first TOEFL exam. I hope I have been able to answer your query. I would also advise you to write to TOEFL enquiring about the delay in repo



gopi krishna

11 months ago

Hello in my tofel score is total 81 , but speaking score is 12 UD universities eligible or not

Reply to gopi krishna


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

8 months ago

Hello Gopi. You are required to elaborate on your query for me to help you better. If you are looking for assistance with university admissions, get in touch with our Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors here:

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