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How to Improve Your TOEFL Score 

 November 10, 2021

By  Chuky Ofoegbu

The TOEFL is one of the most popular English language proficiency tests that enable people to study or immigrate to Western countries such as the United States, Australia, or Canada. 

The key to improving your TOEFL score is to leverage the right preparation strategies. Questions on the TOEFL exam always follow the same pattern. Therefore, if you're familiar with the exam format and you follow the correct techniques, you can rest assured that your TOEFL score will increase. 

Here are some valuable and unique tips to help you prepare for the TOEFL effectively and improve your TOEFL scores. 

Identify Your English Proficiency Before Taking the TOEFL

Be honest with yourself. If you have a basic understanding of the English language, the probability of scoring high on a TOEFL exam is very low. Numerous online English language level test calculators can give you a rough idea of where you stand. Only apply for the TOEFL exam when you have attained an intermediate or higher English language proficiency level. Identifying your English level before taking the exam makes you more confident and saves you time and money.  

A great way to improve your English proficiency is to read more English publications. These could be print media like books and newspaper articles or digital media like online journals or electronic magazines. You should also find opportunities to practice speaking in English with fluent English speakers.

To improve your ability to understand spoken words, try to listen to English podcasts or watch English films without using subtitles. 

For your writing abilities, practice writing your thoughts frequently. 

Practice With Quality TOEFL Prep Resources

Today, hundreds of people have published their TOEFL prep guides or online courses that are not authentic, up to the mark, or effective. So, before you purchase a TOEFL prep book or an online course, make sure it's of the highest quality. Great TOEFL preparation resources help you quickly learn the tips and tricks to improve your TOEFL scores.

If you're looking for the best TOEFL prep book, we recommend the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test by ETS. For the best TOEFL preparation course, we recommend Magoosh TOEFL. You can also check out our blog on the best TOEFL preparation books and TOEFL preparation courses for more details.

Closely Examine the Questions and the Options Provided  

Students are often nervous when attempting their TOEFL exams. The chances of error increase when they are worried about the clock ticking. The most important thing is to calm yourself down and be confident. With calm nerves, you're better able to comprehend each question clearly and answer it correctly.  

Another important thing is to read the question clearly and take your time to grasp the meaning. It's impossible to answer a question correctly if you do not fully understand it. Often, the information is not directly mentioned. For instance, the question might ask you what the word referred to in the paragraph is, but its meaning may not be instantly apparent from the paragraph. Here, you'll need to infer the meaning. Once you understand what you're being asked, make sure you read all the answer options and choose the most suitable one. Sometimes, an answer option might look correct at first glance but is the wrong one. So, be sure you read all the questions carefully and have double-checked before confirming the answer.   

Practice as Much as You Can

There are hundreds and thousands of practice questions offered by TOEFL prep guides and online courses. Make sure you practice all these questions and apply for the TOEFL exam when you're ready and confident. When it comes to ensuring success, online preparation courses are a great option. Many of them have instructors who assess your performance and guide you where needed. 

You can also look up to a teacher or a friend who has extensive experience in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English. The best way to prepare for a TOEFL exam is to make a study plan and stick to it. Master all the four sections - listening, speaking, reading, and writing. If you skip or perform poorly on one section, you'll have to retake the entire test.   

Note Your Mistakes and Learn From Them

It is okay to make mistakes, but it is unacceptable to repeat them. Each time you practice the questions given on TOEFL prep books or online, make sure you take note of any mistakes you make. Try working on them to improve. Take online lectures and note them for future use.  

Some Additional Tips To Improve Your TOEFL Score

Here are some additional tips you can use to enhance your reading, writing, listening, and speaking to improve your TOEFL scores. 

For Listening Section

  • Listen to the question carefully and note down the important terms
  • Don't look for the exact words as those in the questions. Just opt for the most suitable answer
  • Don't look for the smartest option. Just choose the option that sounds correct
  • Listen to something in English every day, such as podcasts, TV programs, etc

For Reading Section

  • Read English books, novels, newspapers, etc., as much and as often as you can 
  • Read texts on a variety of topics, whether they are academic or non-academic 
  • Learn how to understand the text by reading it in one go since there will be no time to re-read the entire passage

For Writing Section

  • Do extensive typing practice on a Qwerty keyboard
  • Practice writing a blog or diary in English every day
  • Don't depend on the spell-check of your word program while practicing typing 

For Speaking Section

  • Practice the free questions available online
  • Read a story or just a paragraph. Summarize the text in your own words and read it aloud
  • Record yourself speaking in English or practice in front of the mirror 

Bottom-line

The TOEFL is not an easy test for most test-takers, as it requires good skills in reading, listening, speaking, and writing English. Following the tips in this blog should set you on the right path to improving your TOEFL scores. 

For help finding and purchasing the TOEFL online course that best suits your needs, check out our thorough review of the best TOEFL preparation courses on the market. 

Good luck with your TOEFL preparation!

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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