How to prepare for TOEFL while working full-time
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is conducted to assess the proficiency of English language in international students coming from countries where English is not a native language. It measures listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills of the candidate. Most US and Canadian universities consider the TOEFL score, as one of the requisites, for admission to various courses.
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Also Read: TOEFL Test Pattern
The internet based test TOEFL (iBT) can be taken at one of the over 4,500 test centers worldwide. Although the score criteria varies for different universities, the minimum score range for undergraduate courses and post graduate courses are:
- For undergraduate courses: Varies from 68 to 80 on the iBT.
- For postgraduate courses: Varies from 79 to 95 on the iBT.
If you want to take the TOEFL test, you need to start preparing at least 6 months in advance. For candidates who have a full-time job, it is recommended to start a bit earlier due to time constraints. There are two ways to prepare for the TOEFL test, you can either take professional help and enroll for online TOEFL coaching or prepare for the test at home.
For those who have a full-time job, balancing work and education can be challenging, but with proper time management and preparation strategy, you can take out enough time everyday to prepare for the test.
First, create time slots according to your work time. If you have a 9-6 corporate job, your can follow this routine where you can utilize around 4-5 hours on weekdays for preparation-
1. Wake up at 6 AM and study for an hour (6-7 AM)
2. Utilize your commute time to study (30 mins-1 hour)
3. Take 2 short breaks of 15 minutes anytime between your work (15x2=30 mins)
4. Utilize your commute time back home (30 mins-1 hour)
5. Study for 2 hours before going to sleep (9:30-11:30 PM)
1. Read and listen to English news
Make it a habit to read 2-3 English newspapers daily and try to listen to English news on TV or radio. Try to rewrite a news piece in your own words during your spare time or read it aloud to improve your fluency.
2. Make an English dictionary your best friend
Focus on your vocabulary skills. Get a dictionary and start learning new words with their meanings. Keep a dictionary handy, underline any new words that you come across while reading a newspaper or a book, look up to their meanings, and try to incorporate them when you are conversing with someone.
3. Download free English learning apps
We all use smartphones to keep in touch with friends and family, why not use it to prepare for TOEFL? There are many free apps that you can download to improve your proficiency in English, like 'Duolingo', 'SpeakingPal English tutor' etc.
4. Practice online test papers
Practice test papers on weekends to familiarize yourself with the test pattern and improve your time management during the test. You can easily get a free TOEFL practice quiz online. Alternatively, you can enroll on online adaptive training platforms that focus on English language proficiency exams.
5. Find native English speakers in your area and converse with them
Find people who speak native English and converse with them to improve your vocabulary. Speak to them over the phone or talk face-to-face and ask them to rectify you wherever you go wrong.
6. Join online TOEFL test prep communities and groups
Join online TOEFL test communities and talk to other TOEFL aspirants to get study tips, ask questions, participate in discussions, and help each other study.
7. Practice writing
Practice writing in English. Try writing about a recent event or about a movie that you have recently watched or a book you have recently read. Make sure you are not taking too much time to write one article. Try to write at least 2-3 articles per week. Ask your friends and family to evaluate your article. Few other ways to practice writing in English are drafting emails, writing Facebook posts, or blogging.
8. Make English learning a part of your free-time
You can improve your English reading and listening skills by watching English movies or reading English story books. You can watch English movies on Youtube for free and download free e-books to read during your spare time.
10. Analyze your weaknesses and work on them
Analyze the sections where you think you need to improve and focus on them more. Dedicate more time to those sections and try to find ways to improve your performance in them. Take help from friends and get expert help, if necessary.