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TOEFL Study Plan to score 117, shared by Anisha

Hey all,

So I gave my GRE in July. Was expecting a score of 1400 at the very least, since I had been doing very well on mock tests.

Sadly, I guess it just wasn’t my day, and I only managed a 1270. I was determined to make sure I did well on my TOEFL, regardless of how important (or not) it is.

I managed a 117/120 (R28, L30, S29, W30) and I’m quite happy with that.

Here’s a few TOEFL tips and TOEFL Study plan, I thought I should share with you guys, but follow them at your own risk.

TOEFL iBT Study Plan

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of note-taking.
  • Don’t be lazy, train yourself to take notes well.
  • Write fast and practice using a shorthand (or not) that you are comfortable with.

For example to write the word ‘university’ you may either write ‘u.’ or ‘uni.’ or ‘univ.’, whatever comes most naturally to you, and you shouldn’t have any trouble understanding it when you refer to your notes while you are answering the questions.

TOEFL Study Plan – Reading Section

Take notes in all the sections, even Reading. The final question in Reading does not allow you to refer to the passage (the summary type question).

  • How to Score 116 in TOEFL iBT

Personally I feel it is best to read the whole passage and then note down what you feel is important before you start answering. This method worked for me, but you should see what works for you, it will depend on how fast you can read.

TOEFL Study Plan – Listening Section

In the Listening section, take notes during the conversations as well, not only the lectures. Don’t bother about being economical with the rough paper (you can always ask for more) and try to take notes in as neat and ordered a manner as possible. Use arrows, bullets, indentation, whatever you need.

Most importantly, train yourself to write and listen at the same time. It may so happen that you’re noting down something, and you end up missing what is being said in the conversation/lecture. You need practice to be able to avoid such a mishap.

TOEFL Study Plan – Writing Section

For Writing, I suggest that you look online for tips on how to write essays in TOEFL.

Structure is given more importance than vocabulary and grammar. You should have a set number of paragraphs that start and end in a particular way and your thoughts should be organized.

Again, I recommend noting down a skeleton before you start writing, particularly if you’re having difficulty with the topic, but it is not necessary.

Lastly, type, type type.

You have to improve your typing speed and make it as fast as possible. That will save you important time that you can use to plan your essay.

Some websites will tell you that ideally writing task answers should not go over 200-300 words.

Mine went well into 400-500 words. I’ve never been very good at condensing my thoughts (as you can see from the length of this post) and I thought I would get points cut for this, but I managed to score full.

So I guess what is more important is that you cover all points, length is secondary. Again, this is just an assumption based on my experience.

TOEFL Speaking Section Tips

Practice speaking. I was short of time, and the first time I did a speaking task was on the actual test. As a result I fumbled on the first 1-2 tasks and I was not at all surprised to see 29/30. The time you get to speak is actually very little, so you have to learn to speak in a calm, clear manner and cover all important points.

Final TOEFL Study Plan

  • Finally, try to get into a habit of reading English.
  • Read anything that interests you, doesn’t have to be fancy lan/guage or boring subject matter.
  • Also converse in English as much as possible.
  • Take a lot of mock tests to familiarize yourself with question types, it helps you to anticipate questions and then note important points accordingly.

Hope this helps, all the best :)

Thanks to Anisha for sharing her awesome experience.

She listed practical TOEFL tips on exam day, but when you prepare for TOEFL, you follow her TOEFL Study plan. There are several approaches, but try out few things and stick to something that works for you.