TOEFL Study Schedule

Someone one said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”   Therefore, to reach your target score, you need a TOEFL study schedule that will help you get the practice that you need. 

TOEFL Study Schedule

TOEFL Study Schedule: Don’t study TOEFL by only taking practice tests.

A lot of students are using TOEFL Practice Online (TPO) in order to prepare for the TOEFL exam.  However, taking a reading, listening, speaking, or writing practice test does not substitute for your TOEFL  preparation studies.  The purpose of a practice test is to monitor your progress. Its purpose is to give you a benchmark of what your current TOEFL level is in one of the subtotal areas.

To illustrate, if you are practicing your TOEFL speaking, you should send an independent or integrated speaking practice test to a TOEFL speaking mentor.  The TOEFL speaking mentor may point out that you are having some problems varying your intonation. As a result, he may recommend that you complete specific intonation and voice recording lessons to help you master the intonation patterns of American English.  If you were only taking TPO speaking practice tests over and over, you would not solve that problem.

In addition,  what if you are taking TPO reading practice tests, and  what if your current reading speed is only 100 words per minute? The practice test would not be able to point out your reading speed problem. However, if you were practicing your academic reading proficiency, you would already be completing speed reading exercises so that you 1) could increase your slow reading speed to acceptable college level of 300 words per minute and 2) could improve your concentration and comprehension of conceptually dense reading passages.  

TOEFL Study Schedule:  Do not take the official TOEFL iBT to check your progress.

Some students repeatedly take the TOEFL iBT as often as every two weeks or as often as once a month.  I saw a Face Book post from a student who had taken the TOEFL iBT 25 times!  He spent $5,000 in total to find out that he was not ready to take the exam.  Like many other students, he mistakenly thought that he could improve his English somehow by taking the exam repeatedly. Moreover, he was hoping that somehow he could trick the test into giving him a good score. From one TOEFL exam to the next, he did nothing to improve his English. He did not use a TOEFL study schedule to give him the practice that he needed.

In addition to the incredible waste of money, it is psychological frustrating to keep failing the TOEFL iBT. Consequently, take a full-length iBT four hour practice test instead. These authentic, realistic, and accurate tests will give you an overall score and subtotal reading, listening, speaking, and writing subtotal scores. A TOEFL writing and speaking specialist will read and listen to your responses and accurately score them.  Thus, you will get a score report after your practice test so that you can monitor your progress. To sum up, do NOT take the TOEFL iBT until you know you are ready to reach your desired target score.

TOEFL Study Schedule:  Plan specific days and times weekly to practice all 7 of your English proficiency skills.

The TOEFL iBT measures your English in four areas: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. However, as you plan your daily study, you will need to include vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation study in addition to reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Notice how the below schedule includes all seven language areas each week:

For example, on day two you are practicing your vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. On day three, you complete a speaking and writing practice test and send them to your TOEFL mentor for evaluation. On day four, you do listening and reading practice. On day five, you circle back to vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation practice. On day six, you do writing and speaking practice. Unlike day three, however, this time you complete a writing and speaking lesson and then practice writing a 125 word summary and giving a 60 oral response summarizing what you just learned. On day 7, you revert back to completing a reading and listening lesson. Thus, each week you should plan on studying vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, pronunciation, speaking, and writing.  Many students tend to study when they like and avoid what they do not like.  Do NOT be one of these students.

TOEFL Study Schedule: Study your lessons for the recommended period of time.

Everyone seems to be in a hurry nowadays. 

“Michael, I need to pass the TOEFL because my university application is due next month,” someone once wrote me.

Another student said, “I have only five days to prepare for the TOEFL iBT.”

Whatever the situation may be, once thing remains constant: You cannot put a time table on how quickly you will improve your English to meet your target TOEFL score. Typically, in the best of situations, if you are diligently studying TOEFL for 2-3 hours, you can expect to improve your overall score 5-10 points per month.  Therefore, if you current TOEFL practice test score is 80 and if your goal is to score 100, you can expect to spend roughly 2-4 months of academic English study before you will be able to reach your goal. I am telling you this now so that you can plan accordingly. Generally speaking, it will almost always take you much longer than you think to reach your goals.

TOEFL Study Schedule: Get your course plan right now!

Now that you have some ideas about how to plan a TOEFL study schedule which will increase your chances of reaching your target score, check out the TOEFL Course Plan link below to see which course will work best for you. Each course plan includes a personalized learning path giving you the practice for the recommended period of time so that you can reach your TOEFL target score. Good luck! Michael Buckhoff,

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