6 Strategies for Passing the TOEFL

6 Strategies for Passing the TOEFL

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If you’re thinking of taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, there’s one thing you need to know: preparation is key. To pass the test, you’ll need to write an essay that shows your command of the English language in only about 30 minutes – and writing while under pressure for time is difficult no matter the circumstances. Thankfully, there’s plenty you can do to prepare both before and during the test. Here are 6 strategies for helping you ace your TOEFL.

Learn Some Basic Sentence Patterns

TOEFL raters will look for your ability to create a variety of sentence types, so take some time to learn and get familiar with a few favorite varieties. It can help to really focus on studying conjunctions, or "connecting words," like "but," "however," and "although." Use these to create a number of sentence structures that you feel comfortable using.

Create Your Own Practice Test

Essentially, the TOEFL consists of writing an essay within 30 minutes – so there’s nothing to stop you from taking the test before the test! Every day, set a timer for 30 minutes and write an essay on a topic of your choice, trying your best to write for the entire half hour. At the end, read and edit your essay, looking for ways you can improve.

TOEFL Writing – Task 1

Form an Opinion

The TOEFL is about writing argumentative essays, so avoid saying you have no opinion. Even if you have to make one up, take a stance and stick with it.

Brainstorm Before Writing

Once you see the prompt, take a few minutes before starting the essay to brainstorm responses, arguments, and reasons. Having this prep work will make it much easier to write a complete, cohesive essay.

End Early & Edit

If you can, save the last few minutes for editing your response. This will help you catch any mistakes and put a finishing polish on your essay before turning it in.

TOEFL Preparation Programs

While there’s plenty you can do to prepare on your own, having a course and instructor dedicated to your success can also be a huge help. Try to look for some TOEFL preparation courses like the one at Columbia West College or some practice materials like the ones ETS offers to help you learn information and strategies for your upcoming TOEFL.

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