Study tips to prepare you before the TOEFL:

  1. Make sure your study time is well-organized. Use a wall calendar or your phone calendar to create a timetable that will help you make the most of your study time by dividing the hours you have available for studying into what you will learn, practice, and strengthen for separate skills. Figure out which schedule works best for you to study during the weekdays and on weekends. Some individuals need to wake up early since they are early birds and want to study early in the morning (before work), and others may be night owls and feel it’s best to study later (after work.) Once you select a study time, keep to your schedule and be rigorous about studying at those designated times so you will not procrastinate.
  2. Designate your quiet study spot: select a place to study where no one bothers you as any noisy distraction can make it challenging to focus. It will affect the amount of information you recall.
  3. Drink water or tea while you study to rehydrate you. It is known that using the brain uses energy and dehydrates the body, so not taking into enough liquids can affect your concentration. It may even make it harder to recall or retain the information you study. Shoot for having a glass of water every hour.
  4. Eat a healthy snack prior to studying. Since food–particularly fruit or vegetables which have natural sugar rather than a cup of caffeinated coffee–feeds the brain energy, you can focus better for intensive periods of time.
  5. Take breaks while you are studying. For instance, if you take a few minutes break after a 25-minute activity, the affect will be better on your brain retention. Or, resting five minutes each hour to walk around and stretch out, the movement you do will circulate the blood to the brain, making it better to recall what you studied. It will also keep your juices flowing to help you focus on more study time if you have an intensive 3-hour session, for example.
  6. Be sure to comprehend what you study. Do not memorize it, rather understand the meaning to apply it to your next practice and real exam.
  7. Ask a native coach or a peer who is fluent for help if you find something difficult.
  8. After you study, review again the next day to go over what you studied so you can recall the information within 24 hours.
  9. Take practice tests: you need to simulate exactly as the exam is on the test day, and there is no better way to get ready for a real TOEFL exam than taking practice tests on a regular basis. You will be able to learn the vocabulary language you need to be familiar with on the exam, and you will also familiarize yourself with the type of exam questions for each section and practice strategies that will help you be more comfortable and hence more confident on the actual exam day when you confront the real test.
  10. Participate in a study group or work with a native-speaker to get insight and feedback into your weaknesses to strengthen those. For example, if you have instructors, friends, peers, colleagues, or classmates who speak fluent English, join with them in a group to practice your language skills. It will help motivate you to study more often.

Nine Mental Strategies to Reduce Test Anxiety

To overcome your irrational fears and lower your test anxiety before and during an exam, employ nine mental strategies. Develop regular study habits that are effective. You will need to prepare properly in advance, so you can be confident with only limited amounts of fear to wrack your nerves come the exam.

Nine Mental Strategies:

  1. Buy the best book(s) online for study strategy. Check the reviews on Amazon or consult peers who have self-studied for the TOEFL and ask them what text they recommend beforehand.
  2. Prepare many months in advance of taking the TOEFL exam so that you have a lot of time to progress and integrate your techniques for taking a test.
  3. Organize a plan of attack to study efficiently making the best use of your available time. Set a realistic goal. Daily study sessions even if short are known to be more effective over time than longer study hours only once per week.
  4. Get a TOEFL instructor to help you stay inspired, otherwise, you may go off track and not reach your necessary goals in your time frame.
  5. Practice your TOEFL study in an orderly area with well-organized study preparation materials. Select an area which is comfortable and suitable to concentrate with minimal distractions.
  6. Identify what your weak points are and dedicate extra time to strengthen your weaknesses while keeping your strong points solid.
  7. Do English reading, listening online, speaking practice recording your voice over your phone, and writing as much as possible daily to improve your fluency and interaction with the language.
  8. Start a vocabulary notebook by writing down words you hear listening online and reading in articles that you are not familiar with. If you are taking practice exams or doing simulation activities, write down new words you come across on index cards with an English definition on one side and a sentence with the word in context on the other side. Review these daily.
  9. Get an online study group or a native-speaking professional for feedback to meet weekly with to plan your strategies and practice your skills so you will develop at a constant rate.