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TOEFL iBT tips for a Better score!


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I'm from India, i gave my TOEFL iBT in september 2008. I hardly prepared for the test, but was able to pull off a mediocre 110/120 ( R-26, L-28, S-27, W-29). Having experienced real testing conditions i have a few tips which would greatly help you all in increasing ur score, especially in the speaking and writing sections.


First, try to create a template for every question type in speaking and writing sections. It's quite difficult to organise speech in 15 secs,and then deliver it flawlessly.So, pre defined templates would greatly help u cut short the time required for organising ur speech and let u concentrate more on the content to talk about. If my explanation seems vague, listen to these videos on TOEFL speaking:


[ TOEFL iBT ] Renshaw Internet School of English


This guy gives the best tips for TOEFL speaking section . With these, every body could score more than 26!


Similarly for the writing section, templates help. The main criterion for scoring speaking and writing sections is "Organisation". How well u organise ur speech or text matters the most. I say, even if you utter nonsense, but in an organised fashion, u would still get a good score.

So, having a template upfront will help u concentrate more on what matter to fill in the template with, rather than the organisation of the matter itself - not a difficult task to complete in 15/20 secs.

Don't forget to listen to the speaking tips on that link i mentioned above.



Second, practice speaking in timed conditions. Practise speaking on topics.

Get a collection of some useful high level words ( toefl wordlists are enough). Try to fill some sentences with atleast one high level word. This will greatly boost ur score in speaking and writing sections.I prepared for the GRE ( again..short term prep asusual!), so knew quite a few high level words to use in regular conversation. I guess most of u all must have prepared for some standardised test which required remembering wordlists, so remembering high level words shouldn't be a problem, though diction needs to be practiced.


For the reading section, assume the passage is a story and keep reading it while imagining the story in the background. This way u have a better chance of recalling than trying to take notes. Also, read the paragraphs thoroughly, twice. Once slowly in the beginning , and later reimpose the material by quickly scanning through the passage. Only then should you start working on the questions.


Similarly for the listening section, imagine the whole lecture, and only note down names, dates etc... I know this would greatly help.


Practice each and every section separately and rigorously.


And the most important thing, stop studying the day before the test and have a good night's sleep.


I screwed up(:whistle: well, not exactly!) my test for one sole reason: I didn't sleep well the night before .So, I was sleepy during the reading and listening sections :sleepy: ( the 2 easiest sections where i lost valuable points). Even for the speaking and writing sections, my brain wasn't incontrol, i tried hard to concentrate, which is why i lost 3 points in speaking and 1 point in writing). The reason i'm mentioning these facts is to let u all know that staying fresh on the test day would help one score a lot more, than studying the night before the test to make up for short term preparation.


Trust me, Scoring a perfect 120 on the Toefl iBT is'nt difficult at all.

U just gotta work smart, not hard.


PS: I've formulated these tips from my own test experience/ from my short term prep. These may or may not suit everybody out there. You are free to experiment with these and if u find them useless don't waste ur time working on them.


If u feel like contacting me with smth, email or PM me.


Thank you, and i wish that u all with great scores!

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congratulations, amazing scores.Thanx for sharing ur experience

I have my exam on feb14, so i m scared, i didnt get time for prepn dats y nw high scores seeming me like a dream.

The guy jason whose tips u suggested to go through i have already listened his tips really helpful, but actally i have some other problem, i m also from india bt i educted from a HINDI medium school and never got ambience where i could have conversation in english with any one. i need ur advice and suggestion, wt should i do, i m very much scared for this section of test.

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Trust me, i was scared about the speaking section too. I mean i was scared till i tried something. I started brain storming with different topics and then speaking on them under timed conditions. Trust me this Works GREAT!


Just take a few questions from study material/ software and try brain storming, Also record what ever you are speaking ( use this recording software, it's nice. Better than the dumb windows version: it's called Audacity,DL link:SourceForge.net: Audacity: Downloading ....


Keep working on the questions one after the other, rigorously, don't pause, keep your brain running and also keep recording for each new question. After a few sessions u'll realize that your brain actually responds better and you'll get more comfortable speaking under timed conditions.


After a while take a break and listen to your recordings. Stammering/ Taking short breaks is acceptable. It's normal for any person to stammer, repeat something 2 or 3 time or take short breaks in speech. So, that won't hurt your score. Concentrate on the content and the intonation. You are scored on Organisation, content, intonation and clarity of speech more than anything else. So concentrate only on these aspects as you speak. And don't get confused thinking that you'll get a less score because you are stammering etc.. just keep ur mind affixed on the 4 aspects i mentioned.


If it helps,just imagine you are voice chatting with your mom or father or friend ( or anyone you feel confortable conversing in english with) as you are speaking on a question.


As for the templates for the question types go, The content and material was pretty much the same as what Jason said in his videos(link i gave in the first post). But for the organisation, i followed Princeton Review's strategy. What it says is, to organise everything as follows:





First/Firstly/ Most importantly/To begin with... _____



Second/Secondly/ Next/ Along with..._____________



Third/Thirdly/Finally/ In the end...__________________



In conclusion/ Thesis paraphrase___________________



This is a wonderful strategy for scoring well. Refer to the princeton review's

TOEFL iBT book ( scanned book available on warez/torrent) for a thorough analysis of different question types in the speaking and writing sections. Just stick to the template patterns the books explains and you should do great!


So, in conclusion,


For ORGANISATION: listen to Jason's videos and work on the templates from Princeton Review for specific question types. Remember them and practice them a lot.


For CONTENT/CLARITY: Brainstorm and practice speaking under timed conditions and record your sessions. Then listen to your sessions and improve on where you fall short.


for INTONATION: well there is no hard and fast strategy for this, it's what you have developed over years and it can't be changed overnight. To sound better, add emotion to the sentences as you speak. Just don't sound monotonic, keep the pitch changing according to the content. Stress on the important words etc...

To learn intonation, watch good english films or watch FRIENDS( its a famous sitcom) Though on FRIENDS, its casual conversation, you could learn a lot about sentence connections and tone.


Thanks you.

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Hi there! For me, watching CNN is really helpful. I seldom watch CNN but before my exam, somebody told me that watching english shows at least a week before the exam is a good preparation for toefl. He's right! For every headline that they say, I was answering or commenting on whatever they are talking. It was like I'm really included in that program. It sounds weird but that really helps.. at least, you will be ready to answer every question during the toefl. Good luck! :)
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