Guest post by Gayathri about her TOEFL iBT Test experience.

I am Gayathri.I am currently pursuing my final year in Information Technology.I am aiming at Fall 2011 intake.The following is a summary of my TOEFL Test experience and few learning tips that other test TOEFL takers might find useful.

TOEFL Score Report - Gayathri

My TOEFL score

  • Reading : 30/30
  • Listening: 29/30
  • Speaking: 28/30
  • Writing : 27/30
  • Total: 114/120

TOEFL Study Tips

First of all TOEFL is possibly one of the easiest exams that you can encounter if you prepare yourself accordingly. It is nothing but stuff that we have done in English hours right from school. All you need is positive thoughts that you can ace it.

As most of you would have already known it has 4 sections :

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening

You’ll have the reading and listening first and then a 10 min break and then speaking and writing(in that order).You’ll get either a long reading or long listening but not both.(I got long listening).(long sections meaning one part of it wont be counted for score but you wont know which one)

Reading Section

Okay Reading is nothing but your normal Reading comprehension.You’ll have to be very careful in that last question when you’ll have to choose sentences that summarize the passage.T hats where most of them go wrong.

You can perfect this only by cultivating the habit of reading.Plus the conjunctions and logical order can help you.(One Tip: Please pick sentences that describe stuff that is given more importance in the passage rather than ones that describe just one point which is not very important.)

Listening Section

Listening is a little bit tricky for some who have trouble understanding accents since you’ll have to take notes too.Watch some English movies and always use headphones when you practice at home.

Always make sure you understand what ever you write down since you can answer questions easily without looking at that thick wad of notes and you’ll find often this section proves a little tricky since you might doubt what you heard.In that case go ahead and guess and move on to the next question.

Speaking Section

Speaking.Possibly one of the trickiest sections,6 questions that test probably a lot of your skills like :reasoning,quick thinking,summarizing,communication,comprehensive speaking ability etc,notes taking and inferring from them etc.

Please make sure you speak to all your friends or family only in English atleast a week before your exam. Also start thinking of your answers in English rather than thinking of them in some language and translating when speaking. Please don’t put on a fake accent.Speak clearly whatever you know and correctly.

Writing Section

Writing is quite simple.You should be done with it quite easily if you have prepared for the AWA section in GRE.

How did I prepare for TOEFL?

I barely had a week to prepare with the symposium and all coming up.My exam was on Aug 21,2010 and I could start only by Aug 17th.However I had already purchased a Barron’s Toefl book and was familiar with the tips and tricks. I started by taking practice tests (There were 7 of them I think). For the speaking section I recorded my voice and played it and checked with the sample again and again until I got it right.

When I started I was not able to do Speaking at all..I couldn’t get my thoughts together that fast. But as I practiced I got quite better at it.

The day of TOEFL exam

Some unintentional good luck:

1.My exam was at 10 am but I reached at 9.

They asked me if I was willing to take the test and I said yes while others waited till 10. It was a blessing in disguise since when I reached Speaking section the others were in Listening or reading and the room was dead silent so it was easier for me. But when they all reached speaking I was already done and they all did it together and it was such a din.

2.Keep an ear out for things you might hear when you were not listening might help you.

There is something called mic adjustment in the first that you’ll have to do.It would be a dummy question to adjust your mic volume.When I entered I heard the word “symposium” and I didn’t think much of it.When my speaking section finally arrived my first question(The one I was dreading-the personal question) was “Describe a recent problem you faced.

What did you do .who did you call for help etc” . I was a little bit frantic as my mind did not remember anything & suddenly I remembered that symposium word I heard when I entered.I concocted a story of some problems in the synp and stuff and got away with it.

Goof ups I made:

  1. I was very tired by the time I reached Writing and I knew that what I wrote was not upto the mark yet I didn’t make an attempt to revise it and correct it.
  2. In listening I didn’t notice the presence of a last question and already gave the paper in which I had written notes to exchange for some new paper and when finally I noticed the question I was not sure of the answer and had to guess.

So its all nothing but practice, practice and loads of it.I have seen people going for TOEFL classes and all and in my opinion that’s not required at all. You can do it at home itself.All you need is some confidence,communication skills and reasoning.You can ace it.
If you can afford it then get a Barrons TOEFL Book (It was INR 550 when I got it).

Thanks to Gayathri for sharing her wonderful experience and study tips.

Do you want to share you experience? Its easy, just submit the contents using share your experience  page.


  1. Ajay kathuria on November 2, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    this blog is perfect as it contains all the knowledge required to a person about TOEFL, thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. AKASH YADAV on February 6, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    ya my experience isn’t pleasant with with TOEFL. i have problem in writing section. can you suggest me some way????. I am prepared for all other sections. i still have one month left for TOEFL. The strategies mentioned are quite worthy and can help you crack TOEFL IBT

  3. Vinay Raju on November 5, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    Thank you! 🙂

  4. vaibhav on August 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    i hav booked my gre in oct.-11 but still i hav not booked my toefl date.
    i have a confusion wether to go for toefl or ielts as i have herd that ielts is comparatively easier and also now US universities are accepting the ielts score.

    suggest me what to do and when to take the test.

  5. Nasim on July 26, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    I have several books for TOEFL iBT exam such as longman preoaration course for the TOEFL Test : iBT, The official guide to the TOEFL test(ETS), Delta but I don’t know how I can use them.
    My listening and speaking are so weak and I don’t have enough time to read and practice more. I have three month to prepare and I don’t know how I can prepare during this little time. I think I don’t have a good program to prepare.
    Could you please help me?

  6. nilima sirsikar on June 18, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    hi gayathri, my english is little bit weak. pls help. i feel listening section is hard. can u please help me?

  7. khwaja on May 19, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    hello sir,
    my GRE score is 950. can you please suggest universities in US for MS.
    thanking you.


  8. smq on April 5, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Got 115 on the March 20 test. As for the speaking, you don't really need to complete the answer inside the time limit, they just check if you're on the right track from the beginning. I didn't fully complete 2/6 answers in the speaking section and still got 29. I had like 1-2 weeks of prep time. It's really not that hard, just try to surround yourself in an English speaking environment and you're good to go.

  9. Siddarth Surana on March 1, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    Did u get the TOEFL scholarship too for such a high score?

    • Gayathri on March 1, 2011 at 9:38 PM

      No thats only for 119 I guess

  10. Hari Veturi on February 28, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    I want to give a tip for everyone on speaking. As said in this post, speak clearly "WITHOUT DEAD AIR". Dead air means without saying, umm, uhh!!…etc…etc…

    I spoke so slowly and clearly(Not too fast. I said slowly and clearly) that I scored 30/30 in speaking. I am delighted. First I thought my speaking section would go in haste, but that's not what happened! 😀 I am happy now. 😛

    P.S. When I said slowly, I meant it.

  11. Orji Ugochukwu on February 28, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    how do i start the exam registration

    • Gayathri on March 1, 2011 at 4:44 AM

      You first create a TOEFL IBT account and then choose your location,exam centre,date and then those 4 univs to which you can send the scores without extra charge and then pay and register for the test

  12. Sahana on February 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Thanks Gayathri. That was really a useful note and found it useful for my prep.

  13. Prashanth Bangalore on February 28, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    Well expressed thoughts and tips. I had my TOEFL(28th Nov) just three days after my GRE and frankly I had no time to prepare nor did I bother to prepare for it. Didn't need a book. Took a practice test the day before and went in fresh the next day. But then again, needing a book or other material solely depends on an individual and can vary. Anyways, it is true(as pointed out by the writer) that for an average student studying courses in English TOEFL should be an easy affair. As long as u get lucky as the writer with having no one speaking during the Speaking section, you we score higher than usual… 😛

    BTW, my score was 106 (R: 25, L: 25, S: 26, W:30)

    All the best to the others…

  14. Sanjeev on February 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    Thanx Gayathri !

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