Updated on Mar 15, 2023 18:18 IST

TOEFL is an English-language test that is accepted by more than 11,500 universities across 160 countries. There are four sections on the TOEFL exam, Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

In this article, we will discuss about the TOEFL exam, its pattern, and a one-month study plan. If you have been dealing with English all through your academic life, one month is sufficient time to prepare for the exam.

TOEFL Exam Format

The table given below will help you understand the pattern of the TOEFL exam:

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Other Details


  • Either 54 minutes (3 passages) or 72 minutes (4 passages)
  • 10 questions per passage
  • General topics such as science, history, humanities, etc.


  • Either 41 minutes (5 recordings) or 57 minutes (7 recordings)
  • 5 recordings will have 3 lectures and 2 conversations
  • 7 recordings will have 4 lectures and 3 conversations
  • Each lecture has 6 questions
  • Each conversation has 5 questions
  • Lectures are on general topics such as science, history, humanities, etc.
  • Conversations are on topics about general life, such as campus living, problems with cars, etc.

10-minute break


  • 17 minutes
  • 4 Tasks
  • Task 1 is an “independent speaking task” where you speak about your own opinions, experiences, etc.
  • Tasks 2-4 are “integrated speaking tasks” and they involve listening, reading, and speaking


  • 50 minutes
  • 2 tasks
  • “Integrated Writing Task” will have a short passage and a short lecture. Based on these, you have to write your response. This lasts for 20 minutes.
  • “Independent Writing Task” requires you to write your own opinions in response to a topic. This lasts for 30 minutes.

Check: TOEFL Exam Syllabus 2022 for Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking

TOEFL Preparation Books and other Resources

  1. ETS Official Website:

The official website of ETS should be the starting point of your TOEFL preparation. You should explore this website thoroughly and must understand the pattern of the test. The study material and other related content available on this website is the most trusted source of preparation.

  1. Official Guide to the TOEFL:

Official Guide must always form the base of your preparation. The book has been authored by the makers of the test and will give you all the information that you need in a very precise manner. It is a complete and holistic guide that comes will official questions and tests.

  1. Official TOEFL Tests, Volumes 1 & 2:

Each volume has 5 authentic and full-length tests. These 2 volumes complement the Official Guide in a perfect manner. Before attempting any other mock test, you must first attempt the official tests.

  1. Manhattan Review TOEFL Integrated Study Guide:

This is a comprehensive source that provides reading strategies, listening techniques, speaking guidance, and a writing framework. The book also has a vocabulary list and grammar review, both of which are essential for the TOEFL.

  1. Manhattan 5lb. Book of TOEFL Practice Problems:

The book provides you with more than 1500 practice questions across all the sections of the test. There is the availability of online chapters and audio tracks as well. The questions provided are authentic and are similar to the ones asked on the real exam.

  1. Additional Resources:

Newspapers, magazines such as The Economist, and podcasts will help you get extra information, and build reading and listening skills. However, these resources should be used only when you have completed your basic preparation and have started performing well on the mock tests.


TOEFL One Month Study Plan

Now that you have a clear idea about the TOEFL exam format and the resources required, let us dive into the one-month study plan.

  1. Reading Section:

    • To improve your reading and comprehension skills, you must have a sound knowledge of grammar, and a good vocabulary base.
    • You should understand the different types of questions asked in the reading section. The list is given below:
      • Vocabulary
      • Sentence simplification
      • Reference
      • Factual information
      • Negative factual information
      • Inference
      • Rhetorical purpose
      • Insert text
      • Pro Summary
      • Fill in a table
    • A passage is usually built around a core idea. You should try to focus on that central idea.
    • Practice writing summaries of passages. This will be of great help on the day of the test. With time, you will get better at summarizing the passages.
  1. Listening Section:

    • Learn to take notes. You will not be able to remember everything that has been said in the recording. The best way to score well on the Listening section is to get better at note-taking.
    • Question types asked in the listening section are mentioned below:
      • Gist for content
      • Gist for purpose
      • Detail
      • Function
      • Attitude
      • Inference
      • Organization
      • Connecting content
    • Learn to look for the main ideas, nouns, relationships, etc.
    • Listen to podcasts on general topics such as science, history, anthropology, etc. It will help you understand the exam questions better.
  1. Speaking Section:

    • The speaking section of the TOEFL is different from the one on the IELTS. In the TOEFL examination, your answers will be recorded and you will not be having any direct face-to-face conversation with the examiner.
    • Make use of your phone recorder and practice the official questions. You can also take the help of the Note full Channel on YouTube.
    • Focus on clarity rather than a made-up accent.
    • Keep your vocabulary straightforward and understandable.
  1. Writing Section:

    • To be a good writer, you must be a well-informed person. Read good articles on the topics where TOEFL generally asks questions. This will help you generate ideas on exam day.
    • Make sure that whatever you write is cohesive and has a flow. The ideas and paragraphs should flow seamlessly and must make sense.
    • You can take the help of the Grammarly App or Hemingway App for evaluation.

TOEFL Study Plan

  1. Week 1: Study the basics
    • Prepare the entire syllabus with the help of the resources that are mentioned above.
    • Make sure that you finish the official resources first. It is always advisable to keep the official resources as the base of your preparation.
    • Make short notes of the topics that you find difficult.
    • Once you have completed a section, make sure to attempt the practice questions and evaluate your performance.
    • At the end of the week, you should revise whatever you have studied so far.
  1. Week 2: Reading section, Writing section, and Vocabulary
    • Complete the Reading and Writing sections together.
    • Work on your vocabulary from the Manhattan Review TOEFL Integrated Study Guide.
    • Revise your study material from Week 1.
    • Appear for a full-length mock test. This is compulsory if you want to evaluate your progress. Assess your performance on the mock test and identify your weak areas. Once you have done that, you should revise the notes of these particular areas.
  1. Week 3: Listening sections and Speaking section
    • As far as the listening section is concerned, focus on understanding the main idea of the content.
    • Practice taking notes for the listening section. The skill of taking quick and short notes is extremely important for the TOEFL exam.
    • Practice speaking on the topics that have been given in the above-mentioned resources. Make full use of the recorder on your cellphone. Make sure that you focus on the clarity of your speech.
    • Appear for at least two full-length mock tests this week and evaluate your performance. You should be able to perform better on these tests as compared to the previous one.
  1. Week 4: Practice and Revise
    • This entire week must be allotted for mock tests and for revising your notes/study material.
    • Appear for as many full-length mocks as possible and evaluate each of them.
    • Revise your notes/study material multiple times.

Now that you are aware of the TOEFL pattern, TOEFL books, and a month-long TOEFL study plan, we suggest that you start your preparations without delay. It is important for you to appear for multiple mock tests during the course of your preparation. Moreover, you must keep revising your notes from time to time.

Best Wishes!

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