toefl experienceHey Guys..! First of all, I would like to thank HSB for having helped me so much in the TOEFL Preparation process.

When I first thought of taking TOEFL, all I did was to plunge into TOEFL experience posts @ HSB and each piece of information posted was very much useful.

Thanks a lot HSB..! So I thought, it would not be fair on my part if I don’t contribute to HSB in return: And here is my TOEFL Experience in India post!

The TOEFL is such an easy exam – but it does require some amount of preparation to get acquainted with the Exam Conditions as such.

Do give a Practice Test and learn where you stand for yourself.

I first gave a practice test and came to know that my range is around 100. I practiced for TOEFL by giving tests for around a month.

TOEFL Test Prep Books

I referred

Let me tell you – Kaplan TOEFL iBT book reflects the real toughness of TOEFL test as such.

So give a Kaplan test periodically to know your progress throughout your preparation. Strategies don’t work as such. At the end, it is how well you are acquainted with English!

Here are my TOEFL test prep tips based on my TOEFL experience for each specific section


The passages given in TOEFL are easy but the sentence structures can sometimes trick you. So pay careful attention while reading a passage.

Also, the answer choices can seem so easy at first glance.

On scrutiny, you will discover the traps placed in them. So approach this section with utmost caution.

Read as much as possible. No strategies work because you can get a passage on any topic out there in the world.

Get involved yourself with the passage and enjoy it. You will be good to go!

Also, don’t take the summary questions lightly – they cost you anywhere between 2-3 points. So double check them before answering the options.


Well.. This section tests your note-taking skills.

The lectures are easy to follow, but if there seem to be lots of details in them, you need to be skillful in noting down the relevant points.

I missed some points and at the end, they costed me a lot.

The options also can be a bit tricky. So take as much notes as possible(only the relevant ones) [OR] develop a skill of retaining whatever you have heard and note down just the keywords.

All recordings which you get in this section count for your scoring process. Watching English movies helps only to an extent.

Listen to recordings like those from NPR and some American Lectures online. Write a transcript of what you hear and compare with the original transcript. These can push up your score.


This is my favorite section which I initially dreaded a lot.

I practiced for it seriously by speaking on about 5 familiar topics everyday – recording my responses – hearing them again.

I even posted my responses in FB groups to get reviews. 🙂 Moreover, NoteFull tips came in handy to organize my speech in an effective manner. Also, please speak clearly in a manner that is intelligible.

I’ve experienced from the feedback and score that – the clarity matters a lot compared with content. After all, only if someone is able to understand what you speak, will they get your points! So please be clear.. Also it doesn’t matter if you speak slowly – but be clear first. Then you can gradually develop your speed.


If you are done with the GRE, TOEFL Writing section is going to be a cakewalk for you! Write as much relevant details as possible.

Include relevant transition words and organize your writing beautifully!

For the integrated writing task, the trick lies in connecting your lecture with writing.

Be sure to include points from both with more emphasis on the lecture. And for the independent writing, allow your thoughts to flow freely. But organize them in a structure and give a proper shape. Its great if you follow your own ‘unique’ Writing templates! You will rock the Writing section for sure!

You have to be ready to face any condition at the Test Center. For example, while I was in the initial sections, the noise of assembly which was going on outside was heard. Nevertheless, you must be prepared for the worst case and ‘just’ concentrate on your test!

The wait for TOEFL scores was really killing…! I could not resist the suspense.

Nearly, I kept checking for once in every hour during the date which they said my TOEFL score would be out. And my score is 108 with the following split-up

  • Reading – 26
  • Listening – 24
  • Speaking – 29
  • Writing – 29

Note from Raghu

This experience is shared by Vanan.

Wonderful experience and congrats on scoring 108 in TOEFL.

Looks like you didn’t get a chance to meet a lovely girl at TOEFL Test center

Update 1 from Vanan:

As you know, this is NOT a TOEFL season. So there was ONLY ONE GIRL who wrote TOEFL along with me. In such a center with 40 systems, I was really very comfortable with just 2 of them taking the test. I chose the Testing Center after reading your post Good TOEFL Test Centers.  The Test Center you mentioned in that post was EXCELLENT. I owe a lot to HSB. You ROCK!


  1. Robin on March 15, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    i got a Toefl score of 116 , GRE score is comparatively low – 307 , am planning to apply for Spring . What are my chances of getting into Ohio State or Montana Tech ? Do i need to write GRE again and try and improve my scores?

    • Vanan on March 15, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      Hi Robin!
      Congrats for your score. Montana looks achievable but you might have to retake your GRE for considering Ohio State. All the best!

    • HSB Counselor on March 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Hi Robin,
      Montana Tech is definitely a safe option. Ohio State would be a little tough but admissions are certainly possible. Share your GRE score break up. 307 is not a bad score. TOEFL score is good indeed.

      • Robin on March 16, 2013 at 11:13 PM

        GRE ( Verbal – 151 , Quant – 156 , Analytical writing – 4.0 )
        TOEFL ( Writing – 30, Listening – 30 , Reading – 28, Speaking – 28 )
        , we dont have a GPA system here so its hard to weigh my academic scores on the GPA scale.

        • Vanan on March 16, 2013 at 11:15 PM

          Anyhow please mention your Academics %. Only then we can get a complete picture of your profile. Your split-up scores seem great. Anyways, wait for the HSB Counselor to comment

          • Robin on March 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM

            haven’t really aced my acads though , i reckon my GPA scores are around 3.0 …just about average !! Montana and Ohio are the only viable options i m looking at , since only these 2 universities offer masters in Welding engineering . Would be good to know where i stand interms of Ohio State , cos its the mecca for Welding engg.

        • farshad on December 22, 2017 at 7:05 AM

          Hi, could you please help me to schedule for TOEFL exam ? i need some suggestions.

    • Vanan on March 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      Also share your AWA score, Academics and TOEFL Split-up scores.

  2. teerthal on March 15, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Even I scored 108 in the toefl ibt and for me the most challenging was the speaking section. I scored 23 in it, but i would like to point out that I did not score less because of bad speaking skills but because of my inherent shyness.
    Believe me, the only way you are scoring better is PRACTICE!!!!
    Start by choosing a topic; there isn’t any shortage of that and simply speaking out loud either by yourselves or in front of someone.
    Then step up in your practice; start recording your voice on a device with time limits. That is the only way you will be able to comfortably speak in front of a mic.

  3. naboneeta sarkar on March 15, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    I appeared for the test on 2nd Dec, 2012 and scored 106 in the TOEFL iBT ( reading :28 , listening: 28 , speaking : 20 , writing: 30 ) . But still I am finding difficulties to get admitted in USA universities as my GRE score is low (298) . My GPA is 3.4 . Do you have any suggestion ?

    • Vanan on March 15, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      Hi Naboneeta!
      You might have to retake the GRE to get admits from good univ. Best Wishes. 🙂

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