TOEFL exam preparation: How to prepare online and with books

TOEFL exam: All the keys to solve it optimally

Preparing for an exam is never easy, especially in a language that isn’t fully mastered. But even so, there is no need to get discouraged, there are certain guidelines to keep in mind to delve (and train) in the TOEFL exams and excel in a language like English.

The TOEFL exams (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized test aimed particularly at non-native speakers of the language, to certify English proficiency. As a standard, this test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions.

TOEFL course: online exam preparation

The exam consists of 4 edges:Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Grammar is assessed through oral and written expression questions.

Finding a good teacher is a substantial tool for learning, especially in the part ofspeaking, which is usually the most challenging. In fact, Speakingathome has native teachers who allow you to develop this aspect with confidence, and you can try a free class here.

How to take the TOEFL test

The TOEFL is managed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The peculiar thing about this exam is that you do not pass or fail, but instead issues a certificate with your own level of English, through a score that goes from 0 to 120.

In general, the TOEFL test has about 50 calls per year, and must be taken at authorized centers. The exam is done by computer, and the total duration is about 4 hours in which the 4 major language skills are assessed:

  • Speaking: During this section, 4 questions must be answered in 17 minutes.
  • Listening: In this section, a questionnaire of between 34 and 51 questions is carried out, based on 6 listening passages that can only be listened to once, with a time limit of between 60 and 90 minutes.
  • Reading: It consists of 3 or 4 readings and 6 questions of each one and 2 or 3 conversations must be answered, on which there will be another 5 questions for each one. The time for this test is 41 to 57 minutes.
  • Writing: Finally, here the writing of 2 texts in 50 minutes is requested.

TOEFL English books: A classic but very effective tool to solve this type of exam

TOEFL Preparation Books

Although the use of books will sound like an old preparation, textbooks are an effective resource when you’re studying, because they organize and structure the content, and offer essential help to assimilate academic lessons.

ETS has its official test guide calledThe Official Guide to the TOEFL Test, a manual that allows the necessary practice to reach the highest score possible. In addition to including the different sections of the TOEFL test, it also has 600 questions to use as exam models.

How long does it take to prepare for the exam?

Multiple sites agree the average time to prepare for a TOEFL test is from 8 to 10 weeks.

These variables are conditioned by time availability, the level of English that is possessed at the time of the execution of the exam and if related study methods have been practiced beforehand, to achieve the proposed objective.

It seems redundant but dedicating time to the knowledge of the exam is the backbone to pass the TOEFL

What are the best preparation methods?


Each aspect of the TOEFL test requires a different approach to achieve the maximum possible assimilation of the language. In the Speaking case, preparing it with a native teacher is ideal, although certain sections often require intensive preparation.

Help with private Speakingathome teachers is also a very useful resource, because in addition to listening to the lessons and correcting our mistakes, they promote fluency through conversation through specialized classes.


When tackling the listening part of the TOEFL, six listening passages of approximately 3 – 5 minutes each should be used. Listening texts can include student conversations, academic debates, or lectures.

Each conversation and lecture passage is heard only once, so when preparing, it is necessary to avoid listening more than once a day, in order to concentrate and train your ears properly.

The listening questions are there to test your ability to understand what the main ideas and important details are, how the information is organized, the relationships between ideas, and the purpose or attitude of the speakers.


This section has between 3 and 5 passages with questions that test reading comprehension and vocabulary strength. The excerpts are based on academic topics and require an understanding of theoretical functions such as cause and effect, comparison and contrast, along with forms of argument.

Two key points when practicing for Reading are understanding what is being read quickly and knowing how to differentiate the main idea of ​​the passage without the need to go deeper into the reading.


The writing test lasts 50 minutes and consists of two tasks: the first is to write freely for 30 minutes to support an opinion on a topic. The second task involves writing a response to something you have heard and read in 20 minutes.