Following TOEFL Study plan and testing tips was sent by Umank who took TOEFL iBT couple of days back.
TOEFL Experience
Scores are yet to come, but I think the test was better than good. Few things you should keep in mind on the test day.
  1. Get ample amount of rest on in the night before the test. It’s a long test and if you are tired after the first two sections, your speaking section might not go well.
  2. Another important thing that I realized about it, DON’T take TOEFL with a sour throat. And keep some throat soothers like Vicks or Strepsils candies, just in case. I forgot, paid the price 🙁
  3. Arrive at-least 40 minutes before the test timings. TOEFL usually has more candidates than GRE, and the check-in thing takes a lot of time.
  4. RELAX before starting..
  5. In the reading section, you don’t need to read the whole passage before looking at the questions. Just scroll down the whole passage once and click on ‘NEXT button’, this takes you to the first question. It saves time.
  6. Don’t forget to take notes in the Listening section. And you have to be really quick, try not to miss any important detail.
  7. Most important. During the speaking section, all the candidates starting almost simultaneously. Get prepared to think in a very short time and speak clearly in a noisy environment.
  8. Writing (Essay) is more or less similar to GRE. Take notes in the part where you have to listen.

TOEFL Study Plan

Preparation for TOEFL is mostly covered in your GRE preparations. I say TOEFL English is not difficult for two reasons:
  1. I think GRE English is more tough, and if you prepare well for GRE, TOEFL is covered too.
  2. Usually you find all difficult words in TOEFL in some context, i.e. in some sentence. So you can always guess the meaning of any word by reading the whole sentence.

Related : 10 TOEFL Test Taking strategies

If possible do this. Everyday think about any abstract topic and speak on it for about one minute. While you speak, record your speech and listen to it, you will know where your pronunciation needs improvement.

TOEFL Prep Books

Books are the same as GRE i.e. Kaplan, Nova (it has a word-list too), Barron’s word-list and the invaluable HSB word-list. These should be more than enough for TOEFL.
Hope this helps 🙂
Note from HSB – Thanks for sharing your TOEFL study plan and test day experience. Can you add a comment to this blog post when you get your TOEFL score report?
Other readers, if you like to keep track of the scores, do add a comment below and subscribe to comments notification.


  1. Hima rekha on August 31, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    Hey anyone of you tell me the websites where i could find some toefl practise material..
    pls do it ,i have my exam on 22nd of september.

  2. s on August 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I have given my TOEFL exam and scored 118/120. I have heard that there is some sort of scholarship or prize of $250 given by ETS for those who score 118 and above. Does anyone have any information about this?

  3. TOGLO Komlan on March 13, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    Can I submit in any university with 473 as TOEFL paper minimum score .

  4. stanley on February 23, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    I really want to have this informations so can you keep posted at all time

  5. Zameer Ahmed on December 30, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    thnk u.I will definitely follow these tips of yours

  6. bhuvana on November 19, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    congrats Umank!! for ur score. I surely am gonna follow ur tips. thx buddy.

  7. Umank on November 10, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    Got my score today.. Scored 113/120 🙂

    • ssm on November 10, 2010 at 9:26 AM

      hmm i also got today 92 😐

  8. Pradip on November 9, 2010 at 5:42 AM

    heh, got 116 out of 120 , 28 in speaking and listening and perfect in the other two ( being co editor for my school magazine helped )
    Had a GRE score of 1370 and about 78% in MechE, a couple of projects, an internship, nice recos and a good SOP but still didn't get through austin aerospace.
    Sucks man.
    For all those guys who think going to the top Universities in the US is a piece of cake, get ready to be pleasantly (read nightmarishly) surprised.

    • Nerd on November 9, 2010 at 7:25 AM


      First of all.. i should congratulate you on your commendable performance in both the tests..

      You say you dint get through.. multiple reasons bro.. a couple of projects.. How relevant are those to your field of research.. and how complex are they..?? An internship.. where..?? also.. a good sop in your view might not be that good in theirs.. For ex.. One of my friends.. got into mech.. at USC (ranked 3rd dept wise)

      with 1370. Though his gp was a tad bit more.. 8.3

      Also.. he had done his internship at germany. Also been to the BMW plant. and he had done only one project and no miniprojects.. The reason.. Level of the project.. and international interships.. So yeah.. Score does not matter much. Internships..LOR from industry personnel.. and Complexity of project play a part..

      Anyways.. congrats again man.. and hope u got into a good univ..

      Peace and Cheers..!!


      • Pradip on November 9, 2010 at 8:30 AM


        Hey thanks man 😀

        By the way, my mini project and the internship wasn't really related to my field ( internship was in the naval field and mini project was design based in an Earth moving company ) but I am doing two different projects for my 8th sem right now and both deal with aerospace applications. I wouldn't say they're extremely complex but they arn't walk in the park either.My main problem was, till last sem I kept beleiving my love for astronautical sciences was probably a fancy, you know, not really worth pursuing. That changed obviously but I am scared it might have changed a bit too late. I uploaded my SOP at various forums and asked for a lot of advice and feedback. I sent the 4th draft so I'm pretty sure it was allright.

        My two other Unis were CalTech(I know! waste of money sending an application there) and Purdue. Purdue I don't think is gonna take me in. Overconfidence is a bane of the ignorant they say. To tell you the truth I didn't know these guys were this selective.

        I mean, unlike how others feel, US Universities for me isn't a ticket to the States. I really wanted the education.

        Meh! whatever right? Stuff happens for the best.

  9. Jinesh on November 7, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    I have my TOEFL scheduled on the 13th of this month…. 5 days to go and i have to yet start preparing… but reading at the comments below i feel much relaxed and feel its easy to score a 100 plus…

  10. spoorthy mayur on November 6, 2010 at 10:09 PM


    I scored 105 in toefl. Very happy about it. A good night's sleep is very important. The test is long and exhausting.

  11. Surbhi on November 6, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    I am surprised to find that some people have found it difficult to concentrate and speak. The TOEFL center that I appeared for the exam at had head phones and mouth pieces for everyone. Although the number of people taking it was large and the location, not so spacious; it was easy to concentrate in the exam.
    I gave my TOEFL last year in December and scored a 112.
    It helps to practice the writing and the speaking section a couple of times before you take the exam.

  12. Abhijeet Singh on November 6, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    Just wanted to add 1 more thing which happened with me. All the candidates were getting same topics for speaking and writing in my test center. I think it's kind of impossible to concentrate when the other person suddenly starts speaking on the topic you are currently preparing. Just be ready for such a situation mentally. My advice is not to bother about other person 's points and think on your. This can seriously screw up your speaking section.

  13. Karthik on November 6, 2010 at 6:34 AM

    I scored 106(Reading -29, Listening -25,Speaking-24,Writing-28) with a week's preparation

    it was a lengthy listening section and i dozed off during one of the passage …paid the price

    regarding speaking…do not start it early….
    u get a break jus after reading and listening section…
    wen u get back to ur seat….speaking wud start….but don't hit the start button for few moments…let others start speaking…u get a feel of the personal topics which r question 1 and 2…which i felt a bit difficult to think and respond immediately…so u hav ample time to prepare…ques 3 to 6 are easier comparatively…in this way atleast for ur final questions the room might become a bit silent..

  14. Dipica on November 6, 2010 at 5:39 AM

    Thanx a lot for such valuable information

  15. Prashanth M on November 3, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Got my TOEFL scores today… 107… Reading-30, Listening-27, Speaking-23, Writing-27… To be honest i prepared for 3 days, but 3 days of full concentration. The books i used were Barron’s TOEFL iBT, The Princeton Review’s Cracking the TOEFL iBT, Cambridge’s Preparation for TOEFL iBT all of which are there in the HSB’s list of TOEFL prep books.

    Thanks HSB for guiding me…

    • ssm on November 6, 2010 at 6:02 AM

      🙂 BTW one of my friend scored 109 without any preparation (he even didn't know the exam pattern before appearing in exam 😛 height of confidence in English)

  16. Umank on November 3, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    Sure thing..!! I'll post the scores as comment as soon as I get em :)) I just hope they are good… My speaking section didn't go very well cuz I had a sore throat.. 🙁

    and not to mention everyone answering the speaking section questions at once.. Concentrating was difficult and I could hardly hear myself speaking :((

    • Ravi Shankar on November 6, 2010 at 8:55 AM

      Scored 98 ( Reading 24 Listening 16 Speaking 28 Writing 30)

      I took the exam very easily and haven't prepared at all. Screwed up Listening badly.. the guy beside me was speaking when i got listening. Also an extra section appeared in listening. I feel lot of concentration is reqd during reading and listening.

      Speaking and Writing are pretty easy.

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