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How to Succeed in the TOEFL Exam in 4 Steps

Flalingo 31.10.2023

In this article, as we closely follow the TOEFL exam, we will cover various topics, from the exam content to preparation recommendations. First and foremost, TOEFL is an exam designed to assess the language proficiency of individuals whose native language is not English and evaluate them based on the required score. If you have already started researching this exam, you are likely familiar with this topic. Nonetheless, let's provide a brief summary.

If you are in a TOEFL exam preparation process, don't worry! As the Flalingo family, we are always here, just one click away, to support you!

Table of Contents:

  • 1. What is TOEFL Used For?
  • 2. Pre-TOEFL Exam To-Do List
  • 2.1. Examine the TOEFL Exam Format
  • 2.2. Learn the Sections of the TOEFL Exam
  • 2.3. Examine the TOEFL Scoring System and Set a Target
  • 2.4. Determine the Test Location and Time with ETS TOEFL
  • 3. Develop a Strategy for TOEFL
  • 4. Choose a TOEFL Preparation Course
  • 5. Conclusion: Succeed in the TOEFL Exam with Flalingo

1. What Is TOEFL Used For?

TOEFL is necessary not only for immigration to English-speaking countries but also for domestic purposes. In some cases, it's a required exam for us to prove our language proficiency. For instance, university students can demonstrate their language proficiency either before or after the preparatory period required when starting their undergraduate education. Additionally, job applications or interviews may require you to provide information about your English proficiency. In other words, the TOEFL exam gains importance for both education, employment, and living abroad.

There's a lot to be taken care of during this preparation process. In each step on the to-do list we provide, the Flalingo family is by your side. Throughout this period that you will spend with professional instructors who are native English speakers, Flalingo is your biggest supporter in the preparation process required for TOEFL.

Let's now start with the test preparation by providing a to-do list for potential TOEFL exam candidates:

2. Pre-TOEFL Exam To-Do List

The Pre-TOEFL Exam To-Do List will help you ensure you don't miss important points while preparing for the test. I recommend preparing a list to make the most of the time leading up to the exam day. Expert TOEFL instructors also prefer to start their preparation classes in this way. Now, let's take a look at the first item on this list. 

2.1. Examine the TOEFL Exam Format

The TOEFL exam is a widely administered test with international validity, almost conducted worldwide. This test assesses your English language knowledge and communication skills. It is somewhat different from the multiple-choice test formats commonly used in our country. It consists of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. In other words, it is a test designed to measure more than just your grammar and vocabulary knowledge. It is an exam where you will demonstrate your abilities in understanding spoken and written English as well as in writing and speaking. According to the table below, you can find the necessary information on this topic. Additionally, to prevent any confusion, it should be noted that the TOEFL exam can be taken on paper as well as on a computer. However, this is only applied in regions where computer and internet access is limited. Therefore, for the TOEFL test you will be taking, only a computer-based option is available, which is briefly referred to as TOEFL IBT.

FeatureExplanation
The Name of the ExamTest of English as a Foreign Language 
The Purpose of the Exam To assess the necessary English language and communication skills in an English-speaking environment.
The Exam FormatComputer-Based TOEFL IBT
Duration of the ExamApproximately 3 hours
Sections of the ExamReading, Listening, Speaking and Writing
Scoring SystemEach section is evaluated out of 30, and the total score is given out of 120.
Validity Period of the Exam24 months 

Once you have acquired information about the TOEFL format from this table, you will have taken the first and simplest step in your exam preparation. By following the advice, you need to further acquaint yourself with the sections. While we briefly discuss the sections here, instructors during the preparation process will provide more detailed information on this subject.

2.2. Learn the Sections of the TOEFL Exam

Even if we list the sections of the TOEFL exam as Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, each of them can have their own challenging aspects. If you focus on each section individually, you will notice an improvement in your performance over time. In other words, to score well in each section, you can define each one as a separate task. While both Reading and Listening are somewhat similar in terms of question types and answering style, Writing and Speaking come in different formats. You can start by identifying your weaknesses and areas of improvement in a specific section. I recommend taking practice tests for this purpose. At this point, you should also not compromise on study materials. For example, Oxford University Press resources have content that closely resembles the exam format and questions. Flalingo provides these resources to its own students as well. Finally, by taking practice tests, you can develop strategies for each section.

2.3. Examine the TOEFL Scoring System and Set a Target

The TOEFL exam is accessible to many individuals, regardless of their English proficiency level. For instance, whether you are at an intermediate or upper-intermediate level will be determined by the exam result. Depending on the appropriateness of your purpose for taking this exam, you should set a score target. For example, if the place you are applying to for a job requires you to have an advanced level of English, you will need to surpass the required score in the TOEFL exam. To do this, you need to learn the scoring system.

You can examine the sections and how they are evaluated out of the table below.

SectionScore RangeExplanation
Reading0-30It measures the skills required to understand and interpret academic texts.
Listening0-30It assesses the skills needed to understand English used in academic settings.
Speaking0-30It measures the skills required to express and discuss ideas on academic topics.
Writing0-30It measures the skills required to write essays on academic topics.
Total0-120It is the sum of the scores of the four sections.

In the table we will present now, you can see which proficiency levels correspond to the score ranges.

CEFR LevelReadingListeningSpeakingWritingTotal
C1 and above24-3022-3025-3024-3095-120
B218-2417-2220-2517-2472-95
B14-189-1716-2013-1742-72
A20-40-90-160-130-42

By examining the score table, you can determine your target score. Based on practice test results, you can successfully address any necessary errors with the help of an expert and excel in the exam.

2.4. Determine the Test Location and Time with ETS TOEFL

Use ETS TOEFL to determine the test location and time, officially initiating the preparation process. There's one more step required to take this exam. Through ETS TOEFL, you need to apply for and make a reservation for this test. This institution, whose acronym stands for Educational Testing Service, organizes several exams, including the TOEFL exam that we are discussing today. With centers located in many parts of the world, this institution provides you with the necessary exam and subsequently issues your score. You can obtain a certificate through the ETS TOEFL system and use it for the necessary applications.

3. Develop a Strategy for TOEFL

Develop a strategy for TOEFL, which is one of the most important parts of our list and exam preparation. TOEFL, consisting of four sections, also evaluates your English proficiency as a whole. As you've seen in the table we just examined, you obtain a total score by averaging the scores you receive in each section. For example, if you receive a low score in the Speaking section, even if you achieve your target scores in the other sections, your total score may fall below your desired level. Therefore, it is beneficial to be consistent in each section. Additionally, individuals and institutions that require TOEFL scores may also request minimum section scores, not just the total score. This is where it's crucial to perform well in each section. 

Therefore, find out where you are lacking. There are online platforms available for this purpose. For example, Flalingo offers conversation-focused lessons with native English-speaking professional instructors. This way, you can find a course that will speak with you, identify your mistakes, and provide support on how to correct them. You can apply this strategy in the same way in other sections. If your listening skills are weaker than needed, focus on this area and solve plenty of practice questions. For example, if your mistakes are vocabulary-focused, you can take lessons tailored to that. By doing so, step by step, you can reduce your mistakes and improve your score until the TOEFL exam.

4. Choose a TOEFL Preparation Course

Choose a TOEFL preparation course because you need professional guidance. Many people taking the TOEFL exam may have already improved their English proficiency. Or they might be individuals who are just beginning to learn English and have a lot to learn before the exam. However, this exam has a unique system developed to assess your language abilities. If you are not familiar with this system, you may not achieve a high score on the exam. A TOEFL preparation course provides content from experts who are knowledgeable about this system to guide you. Additionally, if there is still a journey to make in terms of English proficiency, you can learn basic knowledge by taking English lessons and develop the skills to use it in the context of the exam.

For these reasons mentioned, a TOEFL preparation course becomes an essential element for success. In this regard, we are very fortunate because there are various online English courses on the internet with different modules. With these courses, you can practice for the exam, especially through one-on-one lessons. For instance, Flalingo can support you not only in speaking practice but also in vocabulary, grammar, and exam strategy. With the Oxford University Press resources it provides, you won't be unfamiliar with the questions you encounter in the TOEFL exam. After selecting a TOEFL preparation course, the rest will certainly depend on your study pace and schedule.

5. Conclusion: Succeed in the TOEFL Exam with Flalingo

Conclusion: Succeed in the TOEFL exam with Flalingo and enjoy the experience. Even though we're talking about a roughly 3-hour exam, it takes effort to achieve a score with two or three digits. In today's increasingly competitive world, proving your English skills has become just as important as knowing English. The TOEFL exam is a test that measures your English proficiency before providing you with valid documents in this regard. After providing the necessary information about this exam, I've given you a to-do list to successfully pass the TOEFL exam in 4 steps. Of course, a rigorous preparation process is required for this. I'd like to emphasize that Flalingo is always here to support you on this journey. Wishing success to everyone preparing for the TOEFL exam, let's conclude this article. See you for more questions in the future!

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