TOEFL Guide

EXAM DURATION : 4 hrs 20 min (max)

COST ESTIMATE : USD 180 (as observed on May 2018)

ESTIMATED PREPARATION TIME : 2 weeks

INTRODUCTION

  1. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. Conducted for a total of 120 marks. NO NEGATIVE MARKING.
  2. There are 4 sections in all – Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. Each section is evaluated for 30 marks (30 x 4 = 120).
  3. You’ll get the score after two weeks usually, in the ETS website.
  4. Similar to GRE, you’ll have an option (can also skip the section) of sending your TOEFL scores to 4 universities of your choice for free. Choose the same universities you opted for in GRE (unless you change your mind) as you’re going to save $20*4 = 80$ (~5k INR).

Find the pattern for TOEFL here.

TIME-TABLE

  1. Take the exam two weeks after you gave your GRE and with a maximum delay of one month. (You have to take your TOEFL in the last week of October if you’re applying for the following year’s Fall).
  2. A 2 week preparation period is enough considering you’ll have to spend at least 4 hours a day (Only two weeks because TOEFL tests what you already know, nothing new).
  3. Spend more time preparing for Speaking section.
  4. Book your slot by the first week of October if you’re planning it to write by the end of the month.

Make sure the NAME TO REGISTER FOR TOEFL matches exactly with your NAME ON THE PASSPORT.

PREPARATION

  1. One of the popular sites to prepare for TOEFL is Notefull. Watch all the videos (takes about a week) and prepare notes. Spend the following week using those tricks to solve the problems.
  2. The single ETS official mock test is enough while you can also search for free TOEFL mocks on the web. 
  3. Record your responses for the Speaking section (any OS comes with a built-in recorder) and listen to them twice. Improvise and improve.
  4. You don’t need to practice for the Writing section but only follow the tips from Notefull, as you’ve already practiced for AWA in GRE.
  5. Reading and Listening sections are the easiest. A score of 25+ for reading and listening, 23+ for speaking and writing is a cutoff for most universities.
  6. The speaking and writing sections must be answered with your experience – the incidents that took place in your life.

EXAM CENTER TIPS

  1. Passport and Booking confirmation (hardcopy) are the only things required.
    NOTE: You will be provided with a drop-down of US states and not a search box to enter the university name if you opt to send your score to a university.
  2. The PROMETRIC test center (usually hosts ETS exams including TOEFL) has drinking water, washroom, locker facilities and provides you with scratch papers and pencils. Get something to eat in the break-time, if you’re hungry!
  3. Get to the center 30min before your original time as the test center might take time to verify your identity and perform check-ups. Also, some test centers allow you to start whenever you are ready, even before your time slot!
  4. If you think you may not be comfortable with the air conditioning, get a sweater.
  5. In the exam, raise your hand and the coordinators will approach you (Don’t yell at them like I did).

Comment any further queries. Read my experience.

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