Preparing for the TOEFL

International students should have some basic English skills before preparing for the TOEFL.  Once a student decides to take the TOEFL they should focus of understanding the format for each section of the TOEFL as well as reviewing their English skills.

There are several different ways to prepare for the TOEFL and students generally save time, money, and frustration if they prepare using one of these methods.  One option is to enroll in a formal preparation program where lessons are lead by an instructor. The other method is to purchase a TOEFL study guide and begin working through the examples and practice test.

TOEFL Preparation Courses

TOEFL courses are ideal for students who want expert advice and guidance in preparing for the test. These courses allow students to receive personalized tutoring and test-taking advice from experts. International students often participate in these courses from their home country but can also travel to the US to enroll.

Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions (

Perhaps the finest and most respected TOEFL preparation courses are offered by Kaplan. A variety of courses have been developed by Kaplan to prepare students for each section of the test. Students benefit by working with expert instructors to improve English skills and prepare for the TOEFL.

Kaplan courses focus on increasing test scores through class instruction, online lessons, and private tutoring. Kaplan provides students with strategy sessions, simulated TOEFL tests, and hundreds of practice items. Students also develop the test-taking skills and strategies needed to score well on the TOEFL.

Students can also benefit from the personalized TOEFL preparation course offered by Kaplan. Incoming students are first given a test to identify strengths and weaknesses. Results are then used to develop a customized study plan that that involves one-on-one instruction with a private tutor.

Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions (
Registration for a Kaplan course can be completed online by clicking on either of the Kaplan images.


TOEFL Study Guides

An alternative to enrolling in a preparation course is to tutor yourself with a TOEFL study guide. These guides provide students with lots of practices questions, essay topics, and full-length practice tests. These guides commonly include an audio CD that contains conversations for the listening exercises and a CD-ROM that provides practice tests tah simulate the online format of the TOEFL iBT. We recommend either of the TOEFL study guides mentioned below:

Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL Test (Book, audio CD, and CD-ROM)

This large study guide is the newest edition from Cambridge and is designed to prepare students for the online format of the TOEFL iBT. It contains hundreds of practice questions for each section of the TOEFL and also focuses on improving grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation.

The CD-ROM contains seven practice tests and the audio CD uses lectures and conversations to prepare students for the listening exercises on the TOEFL iBT. This 600-page comprehensive study guide helps create a test-like environment for student to practice the skills and strategies needed to get high scores on the TOEFL. 


The Official Guide to the New TOEFL iBT (CD-ROM)

This guide is created by Education Testing Services, the same people who write the questions for the TOEFL!  This means that the information in the guide is reliable and comes straight from the source. The guide ensures students are very familiar with the format and style of the online version of the TOEFL iBT.

This guide contains hundreds of questions and essay topics from TOEFL iBT tests, a CD-ROM with an on-screen practice test, conversations and lectures for listening practice, and strategies for answering multiple choice questions. It is a solid investment that provides comprehensive knowledge of the exam.