TOEFL Preparation Tips 2021

Updated by: Subhashri Roy on Aug. 19, 2021, 5:50 p.m.

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TOEFL Preparation Tips 2021

The TOEFL, while standardised, is attempted by students with varying levels of understanding of the English language. Therefore, it is important that students know exactly how to prepare well, score higher and get admission into a university in English-speaking country. Candidates must have an idea of how to build a preparation plan for TOEFL, how many TOEFL practice tests to take and analyse the scores.

It is important that you maximise your potential before the test through effective preparation and a well-thought plan made after considering your weaknesses, mistakes, proficiency level and so on. Outlined on this page, you can find some tips and tricks to help you prepare for TOEFL 2021 and eventually obtain a good TOEFL score.

TOEFL, one of the most popular English proficiency tests accepted worldwide, is taken by millions of test-takers and aspiring study abroad students across the world to get into leading universities such as Seton Hill UniversityWolverhampton University, Suffolk University, Washington State UniversityAuburn University, etc.

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General Preparation Tips for TOEFL

Following are some of the tips to prepare for the TOEFL 2021 test which can help you score better and help you take admission to any one of the top universities in the world:


  • Understand All the Rules in Each Section: Read the directions or rules, learn what task you have to do and get an idea of how much time you would require to answer each question. This can be best achieved by attempting numeorus practice tests, which can familiarise you with all the rules in each section. In case you are confused, you can simply glance through the directions or rules of each TOEFL section and make sure you know what you are doing. This being a language test, you must be certain that you know as many new English words as possible.

  • Practice As Much As You Can: It is recommended to take the test only when you are thoroughly prepared. Study intensively and practice as many similar questions and practice questions in order to have a clear understanding of what questions can be asked, how you are required to answer and how much time each question will require.

  • Read, Write and Enhance Your Vocabulary and Grammar: Find university-level writing samples such as academic lectures or semesters exam texts and read them to increase your reading speed which will help you respond to questions efficiently especially in the reading section. Also, make sure that you learn three to four new words every day and try to include them while practising the writing and speaking sections of TOEFL.

  • Learn How to Manage your Time: Work on your typing skills and find out how many correct answers you can get in 5 minutes. Avoid wasting time on minor issues related to directions and focus on the question.

  • Take Notes: Jot down all the important points while attempting questions in the listening and speaking sections. Write down keywords and symbols that will help you recall the actual question and structure your answer accordingly. This will help save you time and be less nervous during the test.

Section-wise Preparation Tips for TOEFL

Every section of the TOEFL 2021 test will require candidates to prepare differently. Keeping that in mind, here are the preparation tips for each section under the TOEFL test:

Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2021 Reading Section

  • Around 3 to 4 passages are provided in the section, which are around 700 words in length.

  • These passages will be extracts from academic material found in university-level textbooks, primarily to introduce a topic or discipline without demanding the student to know anything in advance.

  • Before registering for TOEFL 2021, students should take a high-quality TOEFL practice test.

  • Make sure that you work towards improving your vocabulary every day.

  • Get into the habit of reading and use university-level resources that will help you improve your reading speed.

  • Create a list of words that you are not familiar with and teach yourself their meanings.

Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2021 Listening Section

  • You will be given 60-90 minutes to complete the section.

  • Unlike the TOEFL reading section where you can move within a subsection, candidates will have to complete the questions in order. This means that once you have moved forward from the previous question, you would not be able to go back.

  • All questions in this section will be audio-based and are multiple-choice questions demanding one correct answer.

  • The section may include "fill-in the table" type questions for which you would have to categorise information.

  • ‘Order and Sequence’ will be another type of questions that will be asked, wherein you are required to specify the order of information followed in the lecture or conversation.

  • The final or fourth types of questions included in the section will be based on clipped audio.

  • You will have to answer a number of questions for each audio playback. 

Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2021 Speaking Section

  • In this section, you will be given 20 minutes to complete a total of six tasks. Time will be allocated for you to prepare and speak.

  • Both independent and integrated questions will be asked. While the integrated questions would require candidates to listening to a lecture or conversation and respond accordingly, the independent questions would require you to read a passage, listen to a lecture, read a small notice and then listen to a conversation and respond accordingly.

  • Additionally, there will be a time limit to read a passage, which you would not be able to see again. Candidates will receive less than a minute to read each passage. So, you need to focus and take notes.

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Preparation Tips for TOEFL 2021 Writing Section

  • This section tests how well you understand and analyse the relationship between lecture and passage. Candidates should not provide answers based on your their opinion.

  • Your response to a question here should usually be between 115 and 250 words. However, marks would not be deducted if the response is a bit longer.

  • As limited time is allocated for the integrated type questions, you must focus and answer accordingly.

  • The section will include another question which you will be required to answer in 20 minutes. Here, you would have to draw connections between the lecture and passage.

  • Included in the section, an independent writing task will require you to talk about your experiences and express your thoughts. The response should be around 300 words.

  • For this task, you would not need to any subject matter knowledge.

  • Focus on the main ideas and do not change the direction of your response while writing.

TOEFL Preparation Tips FAQs

1. How much time does it take to prepare for TOEFL 2021? 

The minimum time required to prepare for the TOEFL is 3 month. However, it completely depends on the candidate's understanding and proficiency of the English language.

2. Is coaching required for TOEFL 2021 preparation?

No, Coaching is usually not required, however, you can take coaching in case the basic concepts of English like grammar, tenses are not clear.

3. How to prepare for TOEFL 2021?

You can practice TOEFL Question Papers, TOEFL Mock Papers, attempt TOEFL Practice Test and take help from different recommended English Books to prepare for TOEFL.

4. Is there any free study material available to prepare for TOEFL 2021?

All candidates can find free online TOEFL practice papers on the ETS website, download them and practice them.

5. How to prepare for the TOEFL 2021 Speaking section?

Listen to English podcasts, speech, audios to prepare for the TOEFL Speaking section. Practice speaking confidently and give emphasis on important points while speaking.

6. When should I start preparing for TOEFL 2021?

Depending on the test date and your level of understanding of the English language you can start preparing for TOEFL 2021. A minimum of 3 months of preparation is recommended to score well in TOEFL.

7. Can I prepare for TOEFL 2021 in one month?

If your basic concepts of the English language are clear, then you can prepare for TOEFL 2021 in one month. However, you must plan your day well and practice for TOEFL mock tests and attempt TOEFL practice questions papers regularly.

8. How to prepare for the TOEFL 2021 Writing section? 

Practice questions asked in the previous year TOEFL Writing section. Emphasis on the correct use of grammar, tenses and flow of the passage should be one of the primary areas of focus for any candidate aspiring to attempt TOEFL 2021.

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