toefl experience

Following TOEFL Test Experience is shared by Happy Schools Reader who scored 118 out of 120. That’s CRAZY score right?

Now, you can learn the tips and strategies to improve your TOEFL Score.

TOEFL Test Score 118: 

My score in TOEFL Test is 118 and the break-up of scores for TOEFL Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing Sections:

  • Reading-30
  • Listening-30
  • Speaking-29
  • Writing-29

TOEFL is a test of an individual’s ability to use and understand English especially in an academic setting. This means that you have to take a holistic approach to the exam and the language per se.

Reading Section

It being the first section provides you with a great chance to score well on it. You’re fresh and your mind as a clean slate for gathering new information.

Take care to read and reread every choice. Sometimes the answers are very similar and rereading them after a few seconds might be the difference between getting it right or losing marks there.

To prepare for this section, read as much as you can. Newspaper articles (NY Times, Hindu editorial sections) and novels, everything works. It sounds simple, but you need to work on your speed as well as your ability to comprehend the text and make inferences.

TIP: You don’t necessarily have to read the whole passage in the first instance. The relevant text is visible all the time. Simply scroll to the end and move on.


It is a very quick section. Be very careful while listening to the conversations and lectures.

Don’t try to write down EVERYTHING because that’s simply impossible and isn’t really necessary if you pay attention.

Jot down the most important information. And take care to decipher the intonation and tone of the speaker. Listen to podcasts, songs or close your eyes while watching a movie/TV show.

TIP: If you get done with all the questions very quickly then on the last question mark the answer but DON’T click on next. Take an extra break! You’re gonna need that for the next section.


Come back from the break a minute or two before it’s over. Sit down and take a few breaths. You’re gonna need to clear your mind. This is also a very rapid section. You need to practice speaking in the test environment to be actually comfortable on the test day. I regret not doing the same.

For this section, make use of your gadgets! Time and Record yourself. Choose a topic and talk to your friends about it. Indulge in intellectual debates and conversations. An added advantage would be talking to native speakers (if they have different accents, then that’s even better) if possible Timing is of utmost importance.

45 to 60 seconds are never going to be enough, so deal with it. Don’t worry about the umms and uhhs. They are pardonable as long as you are able to deliver a clear, coherent and concise answer.

TIP: Most questions are spoken and as well as displayed on the screen Read the question quickly and start making your notes. Don’t wait for the audio question to get over or for the starting beep. It gives you extra 3-5s, which could mean all the difference.


This is the last section. You’re going to be exhausted after the 3 odd hours. So take a few deep breaths and clear your mind before attacking this section. The integrated task requires you to read a passage and then listen to a lecture regarding the same.

Be quick with the reading and note down ONLY the VERY important points, since the passage would be visible later as well. Pay attention when the lecture starts. You only get to hear it once. Make proper notes, concatenating the information from both. For the independent task, you can rely on your GRE prep.

Write a clear essay, preferably 3-4 paragraphs long, with illustrations and examples to support your view. Fabricate details and statistics if you have to (it doesn’t mean LIE in the essay. But you can use approximate numbers if you want).

TIP: Don’t try to be too verbose. The tasks require your to present clear information which displays that you have effectively understood everything. And don’t repeat the information as it is mentioned in the passage/lecture. Also, don’t try to bulk up the word count by being repetitive regarding the information. That always proves to be counter-productive.

General TOEFL Test Prep Tips:

  1. Try reaching the venue ASAP! The checking might take time, and being late always stresses you out!
  2. Have proper breakfast in the morning.
  3. Have a good night’s sleep the day before. It’s very important to be completely relaxed and fresh on the test day.
  4. Carry something with yourself for the break between Listening and Speaking section. Biscuits, fruits or a light snack.
  5. DON’T be verbose. You’re supposed to provide a proof that you understand the questions and KNOW what you’re supposed to answer for the same. Using incorrect vocabulary would make you look like a fool, not a sesquipedalian or grandiloquent. Makes sense?

And finally, have fun. It’s not an easy test, but it’s not that difficult either. All the best everyone who’s preparing for the TOEFL.

Next – TOEFL  Test Experience : Preparation, Books, Study Tips To Score 108


  1. Fati on November 15, 2016 at 6:39 PM

    I’m gonna take the test in2 days and I’m really stressed out!I probably have to take the test later…as I am not well prepared :'((((.I want to know how can I get a score+100?what resources should I read and how can I improve my English up to that level?

  2. Brandi Engstrom on December 20, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Thanks a lot for the tips. This will really help a lot because most people who will take the exam don’t have any idea what to do or expect. It also isn’t easy to get that kind of score. You must somehow be a genius to have scored that high.

  3. Suvendu Giri on December 12, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    correction: I meant Kriks not Raghu; I was not very familiar with the syntax of the topics posted on this website.

  4. Suvendu Giri on December 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Hey Raghu, congrats on your score. I scored 119/120 (R:30, L:30, S:29, W:30). I completely agree with all your suggestions; very useful resource indeed. There are a couple of things that I would like to add though.

    In the independent speaking tasks, I believe that if you keep enumerating points and present your answers in the format that most websites suggest you to, namely
    Statement, Reason 1: elaboration, Reason 2: elaboration, wrap-up,
    you might be taking a risk. While that division is very useful to do on your scratch sheet, I think the official ETS website or one of their videos mentions that they are looking for genuine responses which mimic a regular conversation and anything which sounds rehearsed or memorized or read out would lead to a lower score. So I would suggest you to write down the reasons and explanations on the scratch sheet like you would normally do, but do NOT say firstly, secondly etc when presenting the answer. Try to speak naturally, as if you are talking to a friend and try not to make the structure on the scratch sheet too obvious when you record your answer

    The second addition I would like to make is on the lines of Pratyush Havelia. I believe that a more elaborate essay might fetch you higher points. I say that because, at the normal typing speed of any average computer user, you can compose a 500 word essay in about 13-15 mins. So leaving aside 5-6 mins for planning out your essay and the last 5 mins for reviewing it, you are still left with 5-7 extra minutes which should be enough for an extra 100 words. While repetition and unnecessarily lengthening your essay might attract penalty, I believe a well organized and laid down essay of 500-600 words should be pretty good and could potentially score high.

    I would say that approaching the test with confidence, taking sample tests and managing your time properly could make a lot of difference to your score. And I would lay particular emphasis on sounding natural in the speaking section, especially in the independent speaking responses.

    Raghu says it beautifully : “It’s not an easy test, but it’s not that difficult either.”

    Congratulations to all of you who scored what they wanted on TOEFL and all the best to those who are about to take the test πŸ™‚

  5. mahendra on November 21, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    thank q so much

  6. eccentricityredefined on November 18, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Thank you Ashwini!! I’m gonna need all the luck! πŸ˜€

  7. Pratyush Havelia on November 18, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Hi. First of all congrats for your score! I also scored 118/120, with 28/30 in Speaking. I totally agree with all your suggestions. They will definitely help in clinching a top score.

    However, I would like to add that in the second writing task, the TOEFL raters actually do expect the essay to be long. I wrote a whopping 750 word essay when only about 400 words were required. The result: 30/30 in the writing section. So I just want to say that JUST IN THE SECOND WRITING TASK it would be best to produce an essay as long as possible in the time limit, with a clear introduction, body and conclusion. Also, by a long essay I do not mean that points should be repeated. That may result in negative marks. In short the effort should be to produce a clear essay relevant to the topic with 2-3 examples to support your cause. That will easily result in about 700 words, if done right.

    For more clarity, I suggest the following link. It helped me a lot.

  8. Babur Nawaz Khan on November 18, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Oh, and my section specific scores were: Reading 26 (didnt pay much attention even though it was the easiest section), Writing 30, Listening and Speaking 28 each.

  9. Babur Nawaz Khan on November 18, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    I got 112 on my TOEFL and it was pretty easy
    The important thing is to improve on your language and take your time with it rather than trying to learn everything from a book. Its a language we’re talkin about, not some mathematical formula that you can learn in a month from a book. The only way to get good grades it to develop an interest in the english language and to practice, by reading books, doing presentations at college, hell even chatting online to foreigners helps alot!
    And its a fairly easy test for those who treat it as a language test, rather than an academic aptitude test. Thats what GRE and GMAT are for.
    Relax, and have fun with it.

  10. debola on November 17, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    30 in reading section??? 118 overall? Are U a witch or a wizard? *drops jaw*… Nice one.
    I wrote TOEFL on 6th of october and scored Reading:19, Listening: 21, Speaking: 22, Reading: 25… 87/120. Didn’t finish the reading, too bulky; 42 questions and 3 lenghty passages. Got distracted a lil bit in the listening section, I was asking for more sheets to jot. And the speaking, I was nervous… The writing, I was confident but didn’t listen well to the speaking rhat counters the reading. All the same, I’m satisfied. My school asked for 80… But I could av done better. Thanks to the OP for this post tho. Very useful tips. Weldone!

  11. Kostas on November 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    the instructions seem fine buuuut the real score please πŸ™‚

    • Shervin on June 26, 2016 at 10:06 AM

      I completely agree with you

  12. bob on November 17, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    OK, that was cute, but wrong. Now tell us how much you really scored.

    • eccentricityredefined on November 18, 2012 at 9:55 PM

      Haha… I’m gonna take that as a compliment! Coz that’s my actual score! πŸ˜€

  13. vishnu` on November 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    First of all my heartily congratulations. Really awesome and very insightful information.
    I have a doubt. In TOEFL whether they look only our English language knowledge and fluency or our logical and reasoning too?

    • mahvish on November 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      TOEFL tests our ability to perform in an academic environment. So, for the speaking and writing sections, it is IMPORTANT that the question is addressed. If the task is not addressed, no matter how good language you use, you won’t get good grades. This especially applies to the first writing task and 3-6 speaking tasks.

  14. Ashwini on November 8, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Congratulations… That’s an amazing score! Thank you Kriks for this insightful article. Good luck on your application πŸ™‚

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