TOEFL Experience and TOEFL Study Plan – Shared by Surabhi G.

If you are looking for TA/GA, the scores you get in the speaking section will be fairly critical. Of all the sections, this was the section I feared the most.

I’d heard the exam was easy compared to GRE verbal and hence I started preparing for it only 3 days prior to the test. But soon I realized it was a big mistake. I indeed under-estimated it.

TOEFL Practice Tests

During the practice tests I sailed through writing and reading sections but failed terribly in speaking and listening sections.

The TOEFL Test pattern was so confusing.

Reading, listening, speaking all in a matter of minutes!!

This really freaked me out and I was little too late to approach professional help or buy books.

I turned to the internet for help.

I found many resources and online tests.

TOEFL Study Plan

I created the following TOEFL Study Plan.

I spent around 2 days on the speaking section.

The best way to practice for TOEFL speaking section would be to time yourself and record your 45s-60s talk and LISTEN to it later.

Analyse your talk and improvise gradually.

Also listen to some sample audio clips as it will help you to understand where you stand.

I would read the topic and start speaking into my phone and record.

I would play the recorded file, rethink my answer and again talk (on the same topic) and record.

I would repeat until I found my response to be satisfactory. Then I would move onto the next topic and so on.

This TOEFL study plan gave me immense confidence and it started reflecting in my response as well.

I first noticed how much I had improved at the TOEFL test venue when I had to speak on a general topic just for the sake of microphone adjustment/testing.

And yes it helps to sit in a secluded place where you won’t be disturbed by others’ response.

Also, the earlier you start off the better it is as you focus on the task better.

Personally, I think that the “umm’s” in your response don’t matter as long as you don’t get stuck there and talk sense which is grammatically correct.

Some things that might improve speaking skills is talking to people in English, thinking in English, watching news channels like CNN and BBC etc. Oh and yes Hollywood movies help greatly, especially in the listening section !

11 Websites to Improve Reading Skills.

So basically, speaking skills can be mastered with rigorous practice and focused mind.

Good Luck !


I scored a 107 in the TOEFL test

  • Reading-25
  • Listening-27
  • Speaking – 26
  • Writing – 29

Could’ve scored higher if I had started preparation earlier. [ TOEFL Experience – Scores 108 ]


Very useful TOEFL study plan, prep tips and above all its easy to follow. I hope everyone reading this will use the above TOEFL prep tips and spend more time for preparation.

It always hurts to listen, when someone says, “I could have done better, if I had time”.

While registering for any test, check your calandar. Make sure there are not semester exams and other important events around the test date. Give ample time to prepare.

Admission process is game of numbers. Even though 107 is sufficient to get admission, I would take any score above 107, if you had capacity to get higher TOEFL Score.

There is no use in having a chip on the shoulders by saying “Man, I score 107 with just 3 days or prep”.


  1. shweta on October 6, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    can anyone suggest me some tough books for reading? i wrote toefl recently and i got less marks in reading section.So planning to write it again.

  2. Nhonpt on April 2, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Yeah! Congratulation your score and thanks for sharing your interesting experience. I am going to prepare for the test and your site is a very useful resource for me.

    Have a nice day!

  3. thirumalesh on January 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Dear hsb, i have got 6.5 in ielts but 5.5 in writing section .. thats my minus point .. am not good at english writing with perfect sentence formation needed for professional writing … How can i master this area … Now i have done masters in uk .. looking to write gre n toefl to apply phd in united states .. and keen to acheive good scores .. suggestions please ….

    • HSB on January 23, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      Refer to tons of post in this blog.

  4. Avinash Singh on January 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Congratulations on your score ! You should not regret about lack of time. What you did was probably the best you could do at that time. May be you can do better in the future. You should take it with the philosophy of “No regrets and never satisfied”. I scored 111 without any specific planning for TOEFL. In fact preparation started a long back. I have been trying to improve upon my English since my school days. I only had a look at the pattern a day before the exam. One cannot learn English in a few days because it is a continuing process which never ceases. The same is true for any language. One can only fix a few specific errors in a few days.

    • Surabhi on January 22, 2012 at 10:07 PM

      By ‘preparation’ I actually mean understanding the exam itself like familiarizing with the pattern of exam, the time limit, little things that will help you score a few extra points etc.

      I completely agree with you and HSB. Language cannot be learnt in a matter days, be it 2 or 30. I did not spend the 3 days studying English but only practicing what I already new.

      “No regrets and never satisfied” will keep that in mind.

      Thank you HSB!

      • Avinash Singh on January 23, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        Ah Surabhi…it was me…But yeah Thank you HSB (pun intended ) !!!

  5. Dheeraj on January 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Dear HSB

    I am not saying that one can learn English in two days… But proper plan makes one to get a good score.. Sorry if you think that my comment is misleading..But a normal Indian student can score good score but fails due to lack of planning..I think i should have stressed about the planning strategies..but i thank you for all the valuable Tips and suggestions.. If i not had followed your blog i could not make a strategy for the exam and i would have remained a failure..Thanks for enlightening students like us 🙂

    • HSB on January 22, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      My comment was in addition to what you had said 🙂

  6. Dheeraj on January 22, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Yeah.. I agree with you..I took my TOEFL exam with two day prep and got 97..Reading: 25 Listening: 23 Speaking: 22 Writing: 27. Actually a week earlier i took GRE exam and i ditched that got very low score in verbal.. I was horrified about my performance in TOEFL..As i regularly follow HSB i came across the tips given in the TOEFL preparation Tips for LAZY People.. and i created my own study plan..Hollywood movies helped me a lot for listening section ;).. As a voracious reader i used to read a lot of novels..i had shown the creativity of writing answers which i would do regularly in engineering exams.. lol :p .. Had little glithces in speaking section.. Being a non native speaker and i also not practiced much about speaking task..I also took IELTS after 7 days of TOEFL exam and got a 7 band 🙂 .. I think that concentration during the exam plays a key role for getting good score or good band… All the best for future test takers…


    A lazy engineering student 🙂

    • HSB on January 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      One cannot learn English in 2 days or 30 days. But, with proper study plan, you can tackle Speaking and Listening section.

    • chandu on January 22, 2012 at 1:13 PM


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