Tips on How to do well in the TOEFL

The TOEFL is the test of English as a Foreign Language. Millions of students from about 180 countries register to take the TOEFL every year at test centers throughout the world. Some of them do not score well because they do not understand the examination.

The majority of the questions on the TOEFL are multiple choice (Reading and Listening Sections). Some other types of questions are also on the TOEFL IBT. These questions have special directions on the screen. You will have many examples of them in the model tests that you find in the software for the test.

The test developers include experimental questions for either the Reading or the Listening Section on most TOEFL forms. You must do your best on all questions because you will not know which questions are experimental and which are test questions that will be scored. For example, you may be taking the IBT with someone who has experimental questions in the Reading, but you may have experimental questions in the Listening. For this reason, your friend’s test may have a longer Reading Section and your test may have a longer Listening Section. The experimental questions may be at the beginning, middle or end of the section.

If you are not sure of an answer, you should guess. The number of incorrect answers is not subtracted from your score. First, eliminate all the possibilities that you know are NOT correct. Then, if you are almost sure of an answer, guess that one. If you have no idea of the correct answer for a question, choose one letter (any option) and use it for your “guess answer” throughout the entire examination. The “guess answer” is especially useful for finishing a section quickly.

You will receive your own headphones with a microphone attached. Before the test begins, you will have the opportunity to adjust the volume yourself. Be careful to adjust the volume when you are prompted to do so. If there is a problem with your headset, raise your hand, and ask the supervisor to provide with another headset.
Speakers will begin to record their answers at slightly different times. The problem is that you may be disturbed by the noise while you are trying to concentrate on your answers either on the “Speaker’s Section” or on the other sections of TOEFL. It is a good idea to keep your headphones on during the entire test in other to block out as much of the noise as possible. It is important to use good grammar in the speaking and writing sections.

You are permitted to take notes and use them to answer the questions on IBT. You will be given papers for that purpose when you enter the test room. Your notes will not be graded.

Above all, it is pertinent to note that you can prepare for the test on your own but to do well on all four sections; you will need to be well tutored by specialists who will teach you and give you advice as you prepare for the test.

Written by Mr Ogunniyi


TOEFL High Score Record Broken by FNG Student, Faith Afekhuai

TOEFL Test Record broken by Student at FNG Center. Scores 118 over 120.

High TOEFL scores for students at First New Generation Study Center (FNG Center) are fast becoming second-nature. Faith Afekhuai, 17-year-old male student from Edo State, is the highest scoring TOEFL Student in the world this year with 118 marks out of 120. Faith also broke a 7-year FNG record set in 2009 by Bruce Ogwu who scored 117 in the TOEFL test.

TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language, is one of the requirements for admission into American Colleges and Universities. FNG Center has been in the business of preparing students seeking higher education in American tertiary institutions for 2006 with numerous success stories.

An impressive 10-year track record of success and thousands of testimonies was what compelled Faith Afekhuai to enroll for his SAT and TOEFL tests and tutorials at First New Generation Study Center (FNG). Little did he know he would break not only the Test Score Record at FNG but globally.

Faith TOEFL Scores Breakdown:
Listening 30/30
Reading 30/30
Writing 30/30
Speaking 28/30


“I never knew I could ever score this high. I was not focused or determined before I enrolled at FNG. I had always been playful and had a habit of procrastinating till exam day. At FNG, the teachers helped me change my approach, stay focused and self-disciplined. I owe much to them and would easily recommend anyone to them.”

Faith enrolled for study classes in on August 8, 2016 just two months to the October 8, 2016 TOEFL test date and he was focused to learn ‘The Power of Self-Discipline’. He fondly recalls an incident that happened in his 3rd week of study. “I was caught in class doing my home work by my TOEFL instructor, Mr. Ogunniyi, and I was punished severely. I was made to write five (5) essays instead of one and at that moment, I knew I had to be more focused.”

“Focus”, Faith says, is the key to his world-record breaking success. “I worked hard for two months, practising every day and night and I’m still surprised that I was able to score that high. It was quite unbelievable.”

Here are the 3 Tips from Faith on how to pass your TOEFL:
1. Work hard
2. Listen to the Teachers’ Instructions
3. Practice adequately for the Test.

FNG helps students gain admissions to American universities and colleges. We help prepare students for SAT, TOEFL, GMAT and GRE as well as provide visa processing assistance, counselling and advice. Visit us today at 40, Oduduwa Way, Ikeja GRA, Lagos. Or call us on 08062172776.

7 Signs You’re Ready for Grad School

Grad school has increasingly become the butt of jokes recently. Amid the financial turmoil starting in 2008, plenty of recent and not-so-recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees ran to grad school in order to avoid the job market for several years and hopefully emerge more employable than ever.

But grad school isn’t a joke – it’s a serious investment of time and money, and like all serious investments, the more you give it, the more it’s likely to give back in return.
Heading to grad school shouldn’t be done on a whim. Which is why you’ll want to sit down and ask yourself some serious questions before signing up for the next round of GRE® revised General Tests and beginning your applications.

Think you’re a good candidate for a grad program? Check to see if you’ve got these tell-tale signs.

1. You know what kind of degree and program you want
Grad school is all about specificity. Enter a program, and you’ll be expected to find your own particular niche. And chances are that as well as you know your area of study already, you will be shocked to discover how specialized and esoteric your field can get.

The more you know about your interests going in, the better your shot at survival is. It also makes the application process easier, as you can cherry-pick the schools and programs that are the best fit for what you’re looking to do. And anything that makes applications easier is sure to be a good thing, because there will be a lot of them.

2. The idea of applications doesn’t make you break into a cold sweat
Remember the application process from undergrad? Probably not too well, as you had the support of your parents and school guidance counselor helping you out. Now it’s time to shoulder all that on your own. Get cracking on some stellar essays, and in the meantime, make sure you study up for the GRE® revised General Test, and don’t forget to get your non-grad school apps in order: the ones for grants, fellowships and financial aid.

3. Your finances are – somewhat – in order
The primary gripe you’ll hear about grad school is its enormous expense. It costs a lot just to apply, and then you’ll be spending a small fortune on the ensuing classes and credits themselves. If you have a sizeable undergrad debt hanging over your head, you may not want to throw yourself into a grad program without some significant financial aid assistance.

4. You’re open to new geographic regions
As U.S. News & World Report noted in an article on questions to ask yourself before choosing grad school, returning to higher education is a great opportunity to see new places. Of course, the flip side of this sometimes means heading to new climates or corners of the nation that you’re not very fond of in search of the better degree. Not a huge fan of desert heat? You need to know that you’re willing to put up with high temperatures and dry air if the University of Phoenix is your best option!

5. Your family is on board
“Family” here doesn’t necessarily mean Mom and Dad – it refers to wife, husband, kids, partner or even your pet dog or cat. Making sure your “family” is on board is all about recognizing your own responsibilities to others. It doesn’t matter if you’re 21 or 51, whoever else might be impacted by your choice to go to grad school needs to be ready and willing to go through the motions.

6. You have real, definitive reasons to go
It’s somewhat of a cliché to say that grad school students stay in school to put off facing the real world. But that cliché has some basis in reality – for some people, grad school is a way of delaying the inevitable. Except this shouldn’t be why you’re headed back into higher education.

Your reasons to go should be definitive: You want to advance in a field you’ve already been working in. You’re hoping to make a drastic change in careers. You want to expand your knowledge base with the help of professors and advisors. Or, perhaps you want to become a college professor yourself.

If you’re going to grad school to find out what you want to do with your life, you’re searching in the wrong place. Grad school is about honing an interest, not widening your education. And you shouldn’t head off to grad school in order to prove anything to anyone, whether it’s yourself or your family.

7. You have a passion
On the Career Services Blog for Princeton University, Satomi Chudasama, assistant director of the school’s liberal arts and engineering career counseling, noted that graduate school is all-consuming: “It’s intense.”

These are the kinds of terms and phrases you hear often about grad school. They make it sound more like a torrid love affair than education. But there’s a good reason for that. Grad school requires passion. If you’re not ready to fall head over heels, it’s just not for you.

Could Somebody Hear Me Out?!


Are you going for studies this coming Spring 2016 semester or Fall 2016 semester? You have to realize that you are going to an entirely new environment that is several distances away from your home country (probably another continent), separated from your immediate relatives (maybe) and friends. We have realized that some students do experience certain challenges in their first semester in the university as they try to cope with different environmental factors. Trying to adjust to a diametrically opposite culture, language, weather condition, and people could come with its own stress.

Yes, things could get really upsetting and confusing, and when such occurs, you would need someone to listen to you. Therefore, as a foreign student, you are expected to familiarize yourself with in-house trained professionals who would counsel you and could also provide supportive services. You do not have to overlook a problem, saying it is small. A small problem, if left unattended, could metamorphose into a bigger one. For instance, there was this case of a student who was admitted for an undergraduate program in a university. He had certain academic issues which caused his grades to plummet. Rather than ask questions and seek for an immediate attention to enable him recoup his scholastic strength, he kept everything to himself. He also ignored summer classes which could have been one of the vital avenues through which he could obtain a buffer and possibly remain on track. Eventually, he was…suspended! To add sour sauce to the situation, he refused to notify his parents. He also refused to use an opportunity granted him by the school for a second chance; nevertheless, it came with a deadline, yet it could have been the saving grace. He ignored it totally until his F-1 visa expired. It was a really painful situation because he is back to the country. So, do not let an unresolved issue, whether personal or otherwise, get in the way of your studies and experience.

Before you set off for that academic voyage, you must understand that proper prior preparation is absolutely necessary to prevent an eventual poor performance. You don’t have to battle with burnouts and you don’t have to choke. If you are confused, raise your “could somebody hear me out” flag and you could be sure that there is a listening ear somewhere to hear you out.

Written by: Brian Nnadikwe

15 Reasons Nigerian Students Fail the TOEFL iBT


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) which is offered as an internet-based test (iBT) in Nigeria can be very tricky and difficult to pass for many Nigerian students. A large number of Nigerian students have come to see the TOEFL (iBT) as a nightmare; however, research, surveys, and general review of various scenarios over the years have shown that Nigerian students fail the TOEFL (iBT) because some important factors are not given thorough consideration and attention. Nigerian students’ failure in the TOEFL can be attributed to quite a number of factors which include:

1. Poor Planning/Preparation: Many Nigerian students usually fail to prepare for the TOEFL test properly. They always like the fire brigade approach, trying to patch things up in the last minute. If you ask them why, they will be quick to defend themselves, telling you that the TOEFL test is no big deal but just an English language examination. It is very common to hear reckless responses like this because most of them are ignorant of the TOEFL test content and structure. They usually think that the English language knowledge they have acquired over the years in the normal classroom teachings of their various schools is enough to help them succeed in the TOEFL test. Little wonder that students in this category fumble at the test and they end up failing the exam.

2. Faulty/Weak Background in Classroom English Language Learning/Studies: Many Nigerian students do not have strong and solid foundation in the rudiments of English language because English language is not our native language (mother tongue) in Nigeria. Therefore, there is a high possibility that, such a weak background will reflect on the student’s performance at the TOEFL test. Students who lack the fundamentals of English Language usually have limited ability to understand, analyze and connect information.

3. Incoherent English Language Communication Skills: A large number of Nigerian students usually experience difficulties in expressing themselves in English; they are, most times, unable to convey their personal ideas clearly and coherently in verbal/spoken English. When they speak, they do so with great difficulty and there are usually lots of noticeable distortions in their statements and sentences. They also have difficulty in understanding lectures and conversations in English that involve abstract or complex ideas and recognizing the relationship between those ideas.

4. Poor Writing Skills and Punctuation Problems: These problems occur/appear in the writing section of the TOEFL (iBT). A large number of test takers in Nigeria cannot compose impressive and informative essays. They also have problems with common punctuation marks; not knowing how and when to apply paragraphs, commas, quotation marks, question marks, capital letters and full-stops. Tests Raters (people who review your tests and award marks) are easily discouraged and turned off when they come across poorly punctuated essays. It is similar to driving a rickety car on a bumpy road; it is usually an unpleasant experience.

5. Inability to Familiarize with the QWERTY Keyboard: The QWERTY keyboard is an important hardware device used for the TOEFL test; so, a student who is not familiar with it might have difficulties in typing on the writing section. Many Nigerian students lack proper knowledge of the QWERTY keyboard (its layout and structure), so they will waste much of their time trying to find alphabets on the keyboard. As most test takers know, the TOEFL test clock/timer cannot be paused, it will continue to tick away and this will eventually have a negative effect on the student’s composure and response delivery in the writing section.

6. Technical Issues at the Test Centers: There have been reported cases of poor facility and equipment management/maintenance by Test Center Owners/Administrators (TCAs) in Nigeria. We have heard and seen cases of malfunctioning computer systems, faulty earphones and microphones, abrupt power outage, internet server breakdown due to unreliable internet service providers or inclement weather among other issues. Problems like these more often than not, dampen the morale, self-confidence and enthusiasm of the test takers. Sometimes, as a result of these technical issues, the scheduled TOEFL test may even be cancelled/terminated and rescheduled for a future testing date.

7. Unnecessary Apprehension: Some Nigerian students, by nature of their upbringing and the environment in which they find themselves, are not inclined to computer system hardware and the technology behind its operation; so, they become confused on the TOEFL exam day regarding the use of the computer system. Such students usually find it difficult using the mouse to navigate the test screen. Though this may appear funny, but some Nigerian students have a phobia for technology, especially the computer system because working on the computer system makes them uncomfortable. This kind of feeling plunges them into a state of anxiety.

8. Bad Management of Test/Examination Time: Many Nigerian students do not give the right priority to time management in all their activities and engagements. This bad time management syndrome goes on to affect their use of time during the TOEFL test. The TOEFL test is time bounded, so test takers who are not conscious of this may not be able to complete the test within the allotted time. Unnecessary tardiness can be a great hindrance to scoring high in the test.

9. Carelessness and Nonchalant Attitude of Students towards the Test: Most test takers in Nigeria do not plan their TOEFL examination day seriously. Experience has shown that fixing a major appointment for this day can be counter-productive. Lateness to the center, more often than not, jeopardizes test taker chances of scoring high in the test. If you are required to take a long trip to the test center, please create enough time to arrive early at the test center. Most students who get to their test centers after the reporting time/check-in time usually have difficulties settling down for their exams. Some even go to the TOEFL test centers without the appropriate/acceptable identification documents.

10. Examination Phobia Caused by Sad Tales and Ugly Experiences of Previous Test Takers: Many Nigerian test takers have been fed overtime with scary stories by some lazy students/test takers. They are told of how tough and tasking the TOEFL test can be, and these unpleasant stories are registered in the minds and brains of the prospective test takers. The implication of this is that students become disoriented towards the examination and this will negatively affect their performance on the test day.

11. Refusal to attend a Coaching/Training Class: It is never enough for students to prepare for the TOEFL exam alone. Experience over the years has shown that students who attend coaching/training classes perform better than their counterparts who studied on their own. Experience, they say, is the best teacher; so, why not create time to get tutelage from tutors who can help you develop intellectually and succeed on the test. Though we must give credit to some self-trained students who went through serious personal study drills to develop themselves and ended up scoring high in the TOEFL test.

12. Inability of Students to deal thoroughly with past Exam/Test failure Experiences: Students who failed at one standardized test at some points in their lives are likely to think low of themselves when they are required to write another standardized test. Many students have failed to learn from their past failures and this continues to affect their performance in future test/exam.

13. Ignorance: Some Nigerian students fail their TOEFL tests because they are ignorant. They are oblivious of vital information that abounds all around them because they fail to make exhaustive and extensive research about the test they intend sitting for. This is very appalling going by the number of TOEFL test forums and other relevant discussions that are available 24/7 on the internet. There are also various TOEFL test prep/study materials available for free on the internet. Rather than take advantage of this, they prefer to waste their time on chatting and browsing through social media and websites.

14. Lack of Willingness/Enthusiasm to Succeed in the Test/Exam: For some Nigerian students, the willingness and zeal required to strive for success in their examinations is missing. This could be caused by illness, family issues, poverty, indecision, emotional stress and many more. As much as this could be understandable, the TOEFL test owners/organizers (ETS) do not give students any form of considerations based on these grounds.

15. Over-confidence: Though this might not look like a real problem; however, the truth is that it has caused the failure of several intelligent Nigerian students in their academic pursuit. Some students approach the TOEFL test in an egocentric manner; some test takers feel too important about themselves that they find it difficult to obey simple test center instructions/rules. Some even gloat or boast unreasonably about their English language skills/abilities before the actual test. Over-confidence in students is not encouraged; rather, self-confidence is the key to success. As a professional academic consultant, I recommend that prospective TOEFL test takers and re-takers should consider the above points seriously so they can prepare well for their TOEFL exams/test and achieve high scores. Remember that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Best of LUCK!!! See you at the top soon.

Culled and slightly modified from the blog site:


The TOEFL iBT® test is one of the tests administered by Educational Testing Services. For more information about the test, visit In Nigeria, we have few centers at the moment in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Benin City, Ibadan, Effurun-Warri, Enugu, Jos, and Kaduna.


What is the appropriate time to test?

 The time to test would be determined by the deadline defined by the institution(s) you intend to send your score report to. You can obtain this information by visiting the institution’s website, contacting them through email or phone conversation, or contacting an appropriate agency such as First New Generation Citadel Ltd. However, it is expedient for you to submit your score reports to the institution as early as possible to enhance a speedy decision-making on your application. One thing you should understand (and of course is the truth) is that early application would provide you with an ample chance of getting accepted; late application thins out your acceptance chances. We call this ‘survival of the intellectual fittest’.

In addition, check the availability of the date and the testing site. Why? Sometimes, some testing sites might not be available within your closest locality, and traveling to a long distance on a test day could cause much stress.


FNG’s TOEFL® Track Record?

fngcenter students performance - toefl ibt test

What do you think about this chart? This is one of the reasons many students rely on FNG for their tutorials. So, you need not look further when you need some tutorials on standardized tests like TOEFL®.


How does TOEFL iBT® compare with other Secured English Language Tests (SELTs)?

toefl comparisons


TOEFL® Fee in Nigeria

 The testing fee is $180; although variation in fee is inevitable and could arise while converting from a given local currency to dollars, excluding administrative charges and or commission. Do not cower when you hear about variation in fees in Nigeria because of obvious fluctuations in the price of the Naira against the dollar.


Practice Test

Take enough practice tests on the computer and, if necessary, take tutorial classes to bolster your understanding and increase your scores.

Written by: Chidi Brian Nnadikwe

For more info visit us at
First New Generation Study Center
40 Oduduwa Way, off Isaac John Street,
Ikeja GRA, Lagos
Email: or
call: 08069673315, 08062172776


Do you dread exams? Be honest. No, no, no…be honest. Was your last exam akin to falling off a roller-skate? Does the mention of ‘exam’ give you goose bodies? Umh? Does it sound like triggering a third world war in your mind zone? Anyway, if it should be akin to fighting a battle, think about the militarized 7Ps (Piss Poor Planning Promotes Piss Poor Performance) slogan. You really don’t have to worry because ‘failure’ simply means that your previous effort wasn’t good enough to draw to you the success you desire. Therefore, you need to redouble (maybe triple) your efforts.

To really ace your exams, you need adequate preparation to be able to do so. Life is full of tests(exams); and the rate of your performance in life’s set test is directly proportional to the rate of your proper planning or preparation. Do you know that sometimes you might sink into self-delusion, thinking you are fit but, on the contrary (based on later discovery), you would realize that you still have much to do? So, that lacuna has to be filled in order for you to hit a good score.

Your study could be in either of these three modes: self-study, group study, or tutor-led study. However, there is no absolute crime in choosing a hybrid. The most important thing is the attainment of one goal: success. Whichever one you chose must point you to your goal.

Ironically, examining bodies are into business (real business, despite being non-profit-making); so, they do not care whether you pass or not. Should you pass, you progress; otherwise, you pay another dollar worth(or whatever currency charged) into their account.

Exams, even the standardized ones like SAT®, GMAT®, TOEFL® test, GRE® revised General Test, IELTS, and so on, should not scare the fart out of you because proper planning would help dispel every fear. Therefore, seek proper understanding of the strategies or techniques required for passing them and you will be amazed at the outcome.

What if I tell you that there are strategies you need to adopt? Do you know that you were probably flummoxed by your inability to apply the right techniques? Or how would explain that what you hitherto thought was very challenging has a simple, technically-woven technique knotted in simple steps? Have you had such an experience and felt like slapping yourself? Hahahahahaha! I caught you right there.

Come over to First New Generation Citadel and we would do you good by turning your ‘fallen self’ into a ‘standing self’. It just can’t be a terrible fall off the wall like the well-rhymed ‘Humpty-Dumpty’s’.

Inside FNG: See Pictures

FIRST NEW GENERATION, (FNG) is a unique certified testing center of learning. We are an testing center; the best in Nigeria. Our Vision is to establish, manage and administer a model private study center of excellence. Our Mission is to provide “one stop services” which will enhance education empowerment for competition in the global market. Our Philosophy is to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Here are some latest pics from Inside FNG.

GMAT® students
GMAT® students
FNG Discussion room
FNG Discussion room
Student taking a diagnostic test
Student taking a diagnostic test
SAT® Class
SAT® Class
Mrs.Ukoh & Parents at a breakfast seminar
Mrs.Ukoh & Parents at a breakfast seminar
Mr.Lawrence(tutor) & a student
Mr.Lawrence(tutor) & a student
Group of SAT® students
Group of SAT® students
GRE® revised General Test students in a discussion class
GRE® revised General Test students in a discussion class



FNG Center helps students achieve their dreams of American Higher Education in colleges, undergraduate or graduate programs. Here’s some recent testimonials from our students:

Isioma Nkechinyere Okeleke is now studying for her GMAT with FNG Center because made a high score and recieved full scholarship to INSEAD, France, one of the top MBA program in the world.

Ms. Adaku Abimbola Ufere started GRE/GMAT program January 2016 and needed to improve quantitative scores. After enrolling in our 3 weeks crash programme, she secured admission to Wharton Business School, USA.

Recent Best Scores in SAT:
Chidozie Onyeze – 1500/1600 (November, 2016)
Faith Afekuai – 1430/1600 (November, 2016)
Ifeoluwa Fabunmi – 1410/1600 (November, 2016)

Recent Best Scores in TOEFL:
Faith Afekuai – 118/120 (October, 2016)
Kabirah Ajina – 115/120 (February, 2017)
Kolade Alabi – 115/120

Score Testimonials

1. Uche Udoka 630 Washington University St. Louis (OLIN)
2. Mr. Segun Adekunle 610 George Town University, McDonough
3. Chioma Egwu 610 Indiana University, Bloomington (Kelley)
4. Mike Nnamdi 690 University of Texas-Austin (Mc Combs)
5. Stephanie Uzo 650 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flager)

20 TOEFL Tips for Success

20 toefl tips for exam success

Writing TOEFL is usually the first steps in securing admissions in overseas or International Universities. A high score will do wonders to prove you are proficient in the use of English language and will fast track your admission process. Here are 20 TOEFL Tips to help you score high and get the desired university of your choice.


20 TOEFL Tips

  1. Familiarize yourself with the TOEFL format
    Most countries now offer the Internet based TOEFL (iBT). A few offer only the paper-based test (PBT). Make sure you find out which test you will be taking before you start studying for the TOEFL. You cannot choose to take the paper based test if your country offers the iBT. One reason people experience exam stress is because they don’t know what to expect before a test. Prevent stress on exam day by studying the format of the test in detail. ETS has very clear standards about the format of their test. This is why it is called a “standardized” test.
  2. Research TOEFL score requirements
    The TOEFL is required for any non-native English student who wants to go to a post-secondary school in the United States. Most people take the TOEFL in order to apply to a specific school or program. Before you begin studying, find out what the requirements are for the schools you are interested in going to. Remember that the scores for the paper based test are different than the scores for the iBT. Some schools will look at your scores from different sections. Each iBT section is scored out of 30. Many universities expect you to achieve higher writing skills than speaking skills. TOEFL scores are only valid for two years.
  3. Learn academic English
    TOEFL is used for a different purpose than other ESL tests. The TOEFL measures your ability to succeed in an American university or college. Other English-speaking countries also require TOEFL scores as a prerequisite for admission. You don’t have to know about the business world as you do in the TOEIC test. Instead, you should concentrate on studying language that you would hear and see on campus and in the classroom. In other words, you should read textbooks, encyclopaedias, journals and research articles rather than advertisements and resumes. You won’t need to know any background information about certain subjects, but it will help you to become familiar with the presentation and language used in academic material. You should also watch modern television and movies. If you have a friend who goes to an English university, go to class with him as often as you can. Borrow his books and hang out with his friends.
  4. Use practice tests
    The best way to prepare for the TOEFL is to practise doing the tests. If you are taking a TOEFL class, your teacher will provide you with plenty of material. If you are studying for the TOEFL on your own, you will have to purchase a few key resources. Find a textbook that has exercises, vocabulary, practice tests, CDs, and explanatory answers. You might not want to work through a book from front to back. Work on the sections that you find most challenging. Don’t just rely on one book. You might have a book that is much easier than the official TOEFL. Look for free samples on the Internet to supplement your textbook. Make sure the question types are up to date.
  5. Find a mentor
    A reliable native English teacher who knows a lot about the TOEFL is one of the best resources a student can have. You will have many questions that your textbook can’t answer for you. Frustrated students often give up. It is important that you have someone who will answer your questions and encourage you when you feel down. If you cannot afford a teacher or a tutor, find a student who has studied for the test before. Sometimes other students can give you excellent hints and help you with grammar questions. You might be able to help other students with their questions too. Teaching another person is a great way to learn. If you use Twitter, search for “TOEFL”. You will find teachers and students to follow and network with. Join the TOEFL Group on MyEC. Provide support to others and share tips on finding free practice tests.
  6. Build up your stamina
    The TOEFL test takes a long time to write. If you are taking the paper based test it will take you about 2.5 hours. The iBT is much longer. You can expect to be at the computer for 4 hours. Many students have an attention span of about two hours. This is the maximum length of most classes. After this amount of time performance starts to weaken. If you keep your study sessions to one or two hours, your brain will not be prepared to work for four. Start off with short study sessions, and work up to longer ones. It is absolutely necessary that you get a good night’s sleep before this test. You cannot afford to be tired.
  7. Arrive prepared
    If you arrive at the test centre with all of the things you need, you will feel calm and ready. When you are nervous, your memory does not work as well. Make sure you know exactly how to get to the test centre and where you can park. Bring the correct amount of money for parking. If you are writing the paper based test, you should have a number of pencils, a pencil sharpener and a few erasers that don’t smudge. It is also important that your identification looks valid. If you have had problems with your ID before, make sure to bring a backup photo. Don’t forget any paper work that ETS sends you to prove that you have registered.
  8. Pace yourself
    Plan to arrive at the test centre at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Wear a watch. This is especially important if you are taking the paper based test. Some exam rooms do not have clocks. The iBT has a clock on the screen, however, you should still wear a watch to make sure that you arrive on time! During the exam, watch your time very closely. Many students do poorly on the TOEFL because they spend too much time on difficult questions. There is no break between the Reading and Listening section. You will get a ten minute break after the first half before the Speaking section. You will only have a short time to write the essay. Spend some time planning and checking your writing.
  9. Improve your typing skills
    You will have to fill out your answers on the computer and type your essay. If you rely on a few fingers to type, consider improving your typing skills before taking the TOEFL. Make sure that you are confident typing on a QWERTY keyboard. If you aren’t, search for typing practice drills online. Even if your typing skills are strong, try doing practice tests on other computers. Some students get so used to their own computer that they get nervous when they have to type on a new keyboard or use a different mouse on test day.
  10. Become an expert note taker
    You will be able to take notes in each section as you take the TOEFL iBT. Note taking is allowed because it is an important skill you need for taking university or college courses. As you study, practise taking notes on the main idea of what you read and hear as well as on the main details. Do this throughout your day as you listen to news reports, read websites, and watch TV. Create your own shorthand for frequently used words and phrases.
  11. Answer every question
    Never leave a question blank. Eliminate all of the answers you know are wrong and then make an educated guess. You have a 25% chance of getting the correct answer. When you finish a section or question, try to put it out of your mind. Whether you are reading, listening, or answering a question, put all of your concentration on the task at hand.
  12. Secrets for the Reading section
    The iBT does not test grammar separately as previous TOEFL tests did. You will still need to prove that you have a strong grasp of grammar in the speaking and writing sections. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with key academic vocabulary. There are helpful textbooks for this purpose. Keep in mind that you don’t need to know every word in a reading passage to answer the questions. Practise reading without a dictionary close by. When it comes to the questions, concentrate on the areas that the questions pertain to. Skim through the passage, read the questions, then read for more detail. The questions usually come in the order they appear in the passage. Anticipate the type of questions you will be asked in this section. Many of the readings have a main idea question. You will be asked at least two vocabulary questions from each reading. You will also be asked some detailed questions and some inference questions. You will not have time to reread a whole passage. Share your own secrets for the TOEFL Reading section here.
  13. Secrets for the Listening section
    When you are practising for the listening sections, don’t play the tape or CD more than once. On the real test you will only hear everything once. You have to train your ears to listen fully the first time. During the real exam, don’t look back at a listening question after you have decided on an answer. You cannot change it. The clock will not start running until you start the answers. Learn to listen for main ideas, presentation (compare/contrast etc.), and key details. Share your own secrets for TOEFL listening section here.
  14. Secrets for the Speaking section
    It is okay to hesitate for a moment or two when it is time to respond. However, it is best to fill as much of the time as possible with your response. If you have a few extra seconds you can sum things up in a short conclusion. You will lose marks for poor pronunciation, so don’t try to use big words that you can’t say properly. You will also lose marks for improper use of vocabulary and idioms. Make sure you know how to use an expression properly before you try to use it on the exam. Share your own secrets for the TOEFL Speaking section here.
  15. Secrets for the Writing section
    Don’t forget that you will have to make connections in the first part of the Writing section. Memorize phrases from practice tests that show you how to do this. The most important thing is to keep your writing simple and clear. You will not have access to a spell check function. Don’t use vocabulary and punctuation that you are unsure of. Spend some time planning your essay before you write it. Your outline will save you time in the long run. When you practise for the essay, find a format that you are comfortable with. Use this format every time. For example, your thesis might always be in the third sentence of your introduction. You might always end your conclusion with a question. Make sure to use lots of examples to support your essay. Transitional words and phrases will make your writing easier to read. Memorize a list of these and practise typing them. Always leave time to review what you have written. Read your essay silently in your head as you check it. Share your own secrets for the TOEFL Writing section here.
  16. Strengthen all 4 skills
    Some people make the mistake of taking the test too soon. Perhaps your reading, listening, and writing skills are ready, but your speaking skills still need work. If you do very poorly on one section of the test, you will have to retake the entire test. You can’t redo one section. Make sure that you are ready to take the whole test when you register.
  17. Dress in comfortable clothing
    Dress in comfortable layers on test day. You never know whether or not the test room will be cold or warm. Wear your favourite shirt. When you feel comfortable you perform better! Don’t wear tight clothing. You have to sit in one place for a long time. Though you want to be comfortable, do take time to look your best on test day. In other words, dress for success.
  18. Make sure to eat before the test
    Four hours is a long time to go without a snack. You will not be allowed to bring any food or drinks into the test room with you. Eat a sensible meal before you take the test. Avoid too much caffeine as it will give you the shakes. Don’t consume large amounts of sugar right before the test. You will get tired very quickly. Make sure that you have had plenty of water (but not too much as you will not want to waste time in the washroom).
  19. Refer to the official TOEFL website
    The official TOEFL website ( has a number of helpful things that you can download for free. They will supply you with a list of writing topics for the essay. You can also find important information about test centres and test updates. Many of your questions can be answered here. You will also get hints about which resources are worth buying.
  20. Reward yourself
    After you take the exam, reward yourself for all of the time and effort you put into learning a second language! Treat yourself to a gift or a night out. No matter how well you did on the exam, you deserve a reward. Write down what your reward will be before you take the exam. It is always helpful to have something to look forward to.