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10 BEST TOEFL Preparation Books of 2021 

 November 11, 2021

By  Chuky Ofoegbu

The TOEFL could be a tough test to prepare for. Luckily, there are many TOEFL preparation books on the market that can help you with your preparation, assuming you know what best suits your needs.

To help you identify which of these books would be best for you, we have researched and reviewed each book according to how well they perform in the following criteria:

  • Appropriate for students of different English proficiency levels 
  • The level of detail (in-depth study guide vs. general guides) 
  • Quality of helpful information about all four sections of the TOEFL test (reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking and writing)
  • How much time a test taker should be willing to invest into their TOEFL studies

1. The Official Guide to the TOEFL by ETS - Our Top Pick

What makes ETS TOEFL Test Preparation the best? Well, it is the only test preparation book that's published by the makers of the TOEFL test, ETS (Educational and Testing Service). 

In other words, if you are looking for a test preparation book to mimic real life TOEFL testing conditions, this is the real deal!

It is designed to enhance your English skills, as well as score high in the test program. 

This is the best-selling guide with 4 full-length practice tests. It also includes helpful exam tips, scoring criteria, and hundreds of sample test questions separately for all 4 sections - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

These tests are developed by none other than the actual TOEFL experts, and it includes examples of questions from past TOEFL tests. 

The book comes with a CD, having all the speaking, listening, and writing questions.

It also comes with official information, a vital writing section, and high-quality practice tests.

You can also opt for the Official TOEFL iBT Tests, Volume 1 and 2, for better preparation where each volume consists of 5 practice tests. 

Pros

  • Prepared by TOEFL test makers
  • Available in paperback and e-book format
  • Includes past TOEFL questions
  • Discounts on bundle

Cons

  • No guarantee for score increase
  • Quite pricey when compared to other books
What You Must Know
  • Price Ranges between $25 - $67.5
  • Available only in paper back and e-book
  • Practice tests for all 4 test sections
  • 2. Barron’s TOEFL iBT: with 8 Online Practice Tests, 17th Edition - The Best Unofficial Guide

    The TOEFL iBT: with 8 Online Practice Tests is the most updated TOEFL iBT test prep guide released by Barron's on the market. It is only available in print, but you can purchase several additional test preparation tools. It begins with a general overview of the TOEFL iBT, having explanations and examples for all question types. 

    Expert review of required academic skills, including paraphrasing, note-taking, summarizing, and synthesizing. Separate sections on language skills, including reading, writing, listening and speaking in English.

    The book has audio CDs with audio prompts for all practice test questions. Moreover, there is a CD-ROM with computerized versions of all the book’s exercises and a bonus iBT test which can be scored automatically.

    The best thing about this book is that it is regularly updated by the author Dr. Pamela Sharpe, who has been putting her efforts into this book since 1977 and regularly revises the material.

    From the 17th edition, you get a new chapter that contains 8 one-hour practice tests. The wealth of practice material of this book is worth appreciating. There is a lot of stuff you can practice with.

    Pros

    • Updated regularly
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    3. Kaplan’s TOEFL iBT Prep Plus, 2020-2021 - Most Popular  

    The TOEFL exam is quite a challenging task, and non-native English speakers need to pass this test in order to study and proceed with their career in an English-speaking country.

    If you’re a bit worried about the test and willing to score good grades, Kaplan’s TOEFL iBT Prep Plus can help you. Kaplan has earned a great position in the test prep worldwide.

    They are based in the U.S. and have plenty of experience in preparing students for American tests. Moreover, it covers all 4 sections - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

    Besides having the best online courses, Kaplan has also published some great reading materials for their students. Their book aims to provide a high amount of premium TOEFL preparation materials to help their students succeed in the test.

    This book consists of 450 practice questions that are pretty much similar to what you’ll see on the TOEFL exam. If you’re more of a book lover or find difficulty studying through video lessons, a book will be your right choice.

    Pros

    • 400+ practice test questions
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    4. TOEFL Preparation Book 2020-2021 by Test Prep Books - Quickest Prep Guide

    Don’t have enough time to prepare for the TOEFL? This book is designed for students who are only left with a week or two, or even a month.

    Experts organize your way of study and make you concentrate on things you would probably miss out on yourself. The book starts with a quick overview of what is needed for the exam, along with some useful tips.

    The entire book is divided into different sections and sub-sections beginning with an introduction and moving on to the different sections of reading, writing,  listening, and speaking. It also consists of audio to practice the listening part.

    The detailed answers and explanations present in the book can be used to rectify your mistakes and learn from them. 

    If we compare it with the official books released by ETS, this book is far cheaper and a perfect choice for people who want to ace the test.

    Pros

    • Updated regularly
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    5. Official TOEFL iBT Tests Volume 1, Fourth Edition - Most Authentic

    If you are preparing to take the TOEFL test, then Official TOEFL Tests, Volume I will provide you with all the tools you need to achieve your best score.

    It is a book from ETS that consists of five retired TOEFL® test forms with authentic reading, writing, listening, and speaking questions. 

    There is also an answer key for each form. This third edition mirrors all the latest changes made to the test.

    You also get a DVD with all five interactive tests and a downloadable audio file for the listening and speaking sections.

    This book helps you learn how to construct a proper answer and how to use your speaking, writing, and listening skills to express English proficiency.

    Pros

    • Updated regularly
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    6. Barron’s Essential Words for the TOEFL - Vocabulary Rich

    Barron’s is among the best unofficial sources to prepare for TOEFL exams. Barron’s Essential Words for the TOEFL is another great Barron’s book for students looking to enhance their English vocabulary.

    The book starts with the tips and tricks for building TOEFL vocabulary in the four short chapters.

    Initially, the entire exam is discussed by the experts, and the importance of vocabulary building on the test is described. The great emphasis is on the reading section and the vocabulary is tested.

    The rest of the book emphasizes the practice. Several different practice questions that help build vocabulary are included. 

    All the words discussed in the book are common and often repeat in the TOEFL test. The words are described with definitions and context. Example phrases are also provided to help the student learn how to use the word in a sentence.

    Pros

    • Updated regularly
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    7. Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL Test - A Choice for Teachers and Students

    The Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL Test helps the learner master the language skills required to score high on the TOEFL iBT. It also helps them communicate constructively in an academic setting.

    With an integrated-skills approach that is similar to the structure of the TOEFL iBT, this fully comprehensive guide is perfect for classroom use and self-study. The book contains different sections on hundreds of skill-building exercises that include all the questions types you’ll be having in your TOEFL exam.

    An additional supporting skills section is present to enhance grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, and reading skills. Online links are provided where students can perform the book tests and three more practice tests in a format that mirrors the TOEFL iBT.

    Audio lessons are also available on Audio CD that contains conversations and lessons for the listening practice questions and exercises.

    Pros

    • Updated regularly
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    8. TOEFL Preparation Book by TPB - Best for Building Concepts

    TPB’s TOEFL preparation book is an absolute guide containing different sections for all 4 sections - Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

    Links to the audio section are provided within the book. It provides a detailed explanation regarding all the important concepts and strategies. 

    It is designed for students looking to enhance their English skills and score good grades in the TOEFL exam. Different useful tips and a quick overview of the test are provided for the learner to better understand the exam criteria.

    Numerous sample questions, as well as detailed answer explanations, are also found in the book.

    Pros

    • Updated regularly
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    9. Mometrix TOEFL iBT Secrets Study Guide - Easy-to-Understand

    Mometrix is quite a new test prep company, but their IELTS and TOEFL preparation guides are very much helpful. Their TOEFL prep guide contains practice test questions with detailed answer explanations and step-by-step video tutorials.

    Several tips and strategies are also included to help students learn how to achieve higher TOEFL scores. The explanations and other tips are written in non-technical and easy-to-understand language so students with any skill level can comprehend the concepts. 

    It covers all the crucial information one needs to master his/her English skills. This study guide is designed in a logical and organized way so that one section flows smoothly from the one preceding it.

    There are plenty of TOEFL practice test questions to help you prepare for the actual exam. Answers are deeply explained to make the reasoning and principles crystal clear.

    It also offers tips to avoid careless mistakes and a quick double-check system.

    Pros

    • Updated regularly
    • Available in paperback only
    • Includes past TOEFL questions
    • Includes access to downloadable audio 

    Cons

    • No eBook is available
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $25 - $32
    • Available in paperback
    • Comes with 8 full model tests and 8 mini practice tests

    10. The Princeton Review’s iBT Prep - Most Affordable

    The Princeton Review’s iBT prep guide is all you need to ace your TOEFL test. It includes step-by-step strategies to understand all 4 sections of the exam clearly.

    There are complete lessons and tips on how to identify the main ideas of the passage or lecture and how to organize your ideas effectively.

    To polish and brush up on your existing knowledge, a separate section on Grammar review can also be found.

    Experts have incorporated their reviews to help the student get core concepts of the TOEFL iBT. A complete guide on how to write a high-scoring essay is also a plus point.

    Detailed answer explanations for the practice tests for all 4 sections are also available. Many concepts include links to online videos, where the instructor breaks down the lesson to make the topic crystal clear. 

    Pros

    • Quite affordable
    • Available in paperback only

    Cons

    • No CD included
    What You Must Know
    • Price Ranges between $12 - $25
    • Available in paperback format
    • Separate review to brush up your basics

    Chuky Ofoegbu


    With almost a decade of experience pursuing higher education in the United States, I fully understand the pain points foreign students endure. I created this website to help foreign students successfully navigate their way through the challenges they will face while living in the United States.

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