TOEFL Preparation for the LAZY people

Hi everyone,  I’m Pallavi doing my final year B.Tech in computer science. I thought a lot about the title of my TOEFL iBT Test prep experience.

Trust me the following tips are for people like me who find it boring to actually sit and study English. The good news is I got 116/120 in TOEFL iBT. I guess it is a good score and it will take me places.

toefl test prep tips

TOEFL Test Prep

I scheduled my TOEFL exam right after my summer holidays started, thinking I’ll prepare during the holidays but i never did.

Now coming to my so called preparation plan.

  1. Saw an English movie of different genres without subtitles everyday.That took care of my listening section.
  2. Read the editorial section of The Hindu everyday and also a number of novels (this is a routine i have been following from the past 10 years). This will prepare you to read the long passages in the reading section.
  3. Two weeks before the exam I googled for speaking topics. I got around 50 of them. I made it a point to speak on each of those topics and record my speech. I then gave it to my friends to make sure that they could understand what i was saying. This exercise helped me in the speaking section.
  4. If you prepared for your GRE AWA then you do not need to stress much on this section. Even then a little preparation always helps. For this the only advice that I can give is to keep your ears open. It is not possible to prepare all the 185 topics so never try that.

Serious TOEFL Preparation

Two weeks before the exam was when I actually prepared seriously. I had the Official ETS  book. I went through all the sections everyday. It is very important to spend atleast 30 min talking in good English.

Always use a headset when you are doing so. This helps you to get acquainted with the test taking environment.

On the Day of  TOEFL Test

  1. The reading section was long and as boring as the editorial section. If you have time go for the review option and check all your answers once again.
  2. I finished my listening section real fast. I took hardly 5 minutes for each part. It was easy to understand after all my movie watching ability. This speed proved to be lucky for me in
  3. The speaking section was not as difficult as i imagined it to be. Since i finished my listening fast, by the time i was into my speaking section the other test takers were still in their listening section. This helped me to speak without any disturbance.
  4. The writing section was a cake walk. I couldn’t concentrate much though because the others were doing their speaking section and it was a pandemonium. I had to stop in between and think again because i was sub consciously concentrating on how the guy next to me was speaking.

My TOEFL section scores

  1. Reading: 30/30
  2. Listening: 29/30
  3. Speaking:27/30
  4. Writing: 30/30

So you see that I hardly sat with a book and prepared. I spent an hour everyday that also during my bus journey to college.

I tried to develop my language on the whole rather than concentrating on improving my score.

I hope my experience helps the people who are reading it.Remember it is not only hard work that helps….SMART work is more important.

Before I forget a big THANK YOU to HSB. You made my application look better with your amazing tips on GRE & TOEFL. I started my prep for both the exams by first reading your blogs. Thank you so much!

28 Comments

  1. ELio Avila on December 31, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    What kind of TOEFL ibt program did you use while you were preparing for your toefl exam and also what kind of toefl program would be very similar and indicated for those kind of examens (toefl ibt)
    Ps: I’ve heard that kaplan is a great program but i want more information if there is a better one than it.

    thank you much
    best regards

  2. SAWADOGO BOUKARé on January 17, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Morning!please, I wish to apply US fulbright programm who make many people to sudy in USA.So i want to known what TOEFLE consisting?What is the score for students who arein Lawscool?

  3. Hsu Lae on November 24, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    Could you please describe all the countries that offer scholarships by making list. And how many marks we must get for each countries or their school.
    Thanks in anticipation.

  4. Satwik_sansare on August 29, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    hi,congrats 4 ur success.Can u plz tell me ny link tht hve online prctise for toefl nd GRE…jst lke mock test….thanks.

  5. Tamar on August 18, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Really thorough preparation, not that of a “lazy” one at all :-)! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dr.Vridhachalempillay Subramaniam on August 5, 2011 at 5:51 AM

    No idea of what you want out of me. Please give me more time to react .

  7. Nana on July 30, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Can anyone tell me something about Towson University? I am considering applying for a Masters degree in Applied Information Technology. Is it a recognised institution?

  8. m.b.subedi on July 28, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Pls give us also tips for TOEFL to secure at least 90.

  9. prafful on July 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    thanks pallvi……….i will do some smart work and time management for prep. of gre and toefl…

  10. ajay on July 28, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    hii friends i want to know about the details regarding admissions in the us colleges.

  11. AM on July 27, 2011 at 4:04 AM

    Hah girl u say u r lazy but u prepared a lot!! In laziness i must say i snatched the cake from you: believe it or not I prepared for just a total of 3days, on 6-7-8 July and my exam was on 9july….N i got 113 😛 😛
    secret: i just took the kaplan and barron sample tests. That’s it!!! And I advise the same to u all!

  12. Hossein on July 26, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    It was very interesting and fascinating news about studying for TOEFL, I remember 5 year ago I was just reading some story books to improve my English. Reading stories can help us to expand our vocabulary and also our speaking will be fluent because it’s possible to use the sentences of the book when we are talking about something, it also can help us to improve our reading, writing and grammar.

  13. mayuri on July 26, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    this is very helpful for lazy people like me…. who keep on postponing the things …but catch up at the end ….and manage to get good score……..;-)

  14. vamsi acharya on July 26, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Hey pallavi congo and way to go 😀 …you are absolutely right …All i did during my graduation is watching all the HD movies which i got on torrents which inadvertently helped me i guess and when it comes to the reading part i read a lot of techie novels but for others i suggest “Reader’s Digest ” apart from your regular Hindu routine ….Writing is not a big deal when you are done with reading and speaking is the most difficult skill of all for the most non-native English speakers but i bet it can be a piece of cake once you start talking with your friends …i recommend talking to your mirror image for a while a day if you don’t have an elite English speaking circle ….Believe it or not, i din’t even prepare for my TOEFL …I just woke up early in the morning on the day of the exam took that ETS TOEFL book …checked out all the models and sections and bingo gave it full and final…. and guess what ??? ….I scored 95 …well, that’s not as pretty score as yours but that proves am more lazier than you …he he …cheers !! 😀

  15. Amruta on July 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Watching movies to improve english is really fun.
    Rhanks Pallavi!

  16. chalasani Pallavi on July 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Thank you HSB….
    One advice to the readers is never attempt to learn english as a subject…..enjoy the language, only then you can do well in the exam…..

    • Cool on July 26, 2011 at 11:54 PM

      Pallavi sent me some speaking tips and websites from where have u practiced…thanx

    • Ateeq on July 27, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      Hi pallavi iam preparing for toefl & i plan 2 take the test in septbr but i have problem with speaking & writing.i mean how 2 present the writing task& speaking iam unable 2 make correct sentence.pls help me rply me on my mail.thankq

    • meder on July 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      you are absolutely true

  17. vivek on July 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    hi dude
    can u name out those speaking topics please

  18. Odko on July 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Congratulantions! Thank you for your advices. It looks you have well done it vey fast. I am a slow person. I speak in english very slowly even in my own language too. I am taking TOEFL exam in 2 weeks. How to deal with the speaking section in that case?

    • chalasani Pallavi on July 26, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      you should practice…..u get sample responses ol…..so record your response and keep trying till your response matches the recording….or you could try you tube videos…..

  19. Dhruv on July 26, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    Hii pallavi,
    First of all congrats..I also completed my bachelors in computer few days back n planning for MS…
    My case is bit equivalent as i am lazy and have zero interest in reading novels as i havent read a single novel in my life…So what am i supposed to do then???
    And what about your GRE???

    • chalasani Pallavi on July 26, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      hmmm try watching movies then…..u should be prepared to do some smart work….maybe you could start with reading the movie section of newspapers. I read The Hindu and trust me even their movie section has top level english….

      • chalasani Pallavi on July 26, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        gre-1330 (800,530)

        • nishant on July 26, 2011 at 1:16 PM

          congratsssssssss……………… pallavi for good toefl score.Is 800 your quantitative score?have you taken ielts or will u take it?in both cases i request u to share it’s experience now or further as it will help me a lot ……

          • Nana Sarpong on July 27, 2011 at 4:39 AM

            Hi Pallavi I’m preparing for tofel exams soon and in my subsequent exams I failed in English. I havnt taken tofel exams before, how do I pass this time. Thank you.



          • Abhishek on July 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

            Hey pallavi congrats for ur score..its really an awesum performance..
            I am also planning to give the TOEFL exam in September i have completed with my two sections READING n LISTENING ..plz guide me how to complete my other two..SPEAKING n WRITING….please..



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