Have only a month to prepare for the TOEFL® exam? Six weeks? Maybe three? Developing a schedule for TOEFL test preparation can be daunting in a short time frame but there is a lot that can be accomplished if you put your mind to it and plan ahead.
Here are some tips and ideas to keep in mind when you are planning for short term TOEFL prep.
Learn about the TOEFL test
The first things to do when you’re preparing to take the TOEFL exam are to get a good overview of the test, an idea of what the TOEFL test is about and what it expects of you.
Understanding the different, parts of the test, the format and design, can reduce wasted time and energy on test day. This knowledge also plays an important role in the next step in your approach to the TOEFL exam.
Learn about yourself
The next important piece of information in creating your personal plan for success is to know your skills, strengths, and weaknesses in the key areas of the testing material.
Take TOEFL practice exams, and questions, and determine the areas you need to work on most. This will help chart your personalized TOEFL study plan, and help you know where to focus your energies in a limited study schedule.
Another important thing to know about yourself is how you study. Are you going to follow a schedule of studying several hours at a time, or will you need to break that up over the course of the day? Will you stay motivated to get through a mound of prep books and practice exams? Or do you prefer study partners, personal rewards and changing styles of study.
Build these ideas into your plan early on so you can take advantage of them throughout your preparation time.
Ready, Set, Go TOEFL!
How should you actually get started studying? This question is going to be different for every person, depending on the considerations described above; your resources, such as time and materials; and experience, such as first time taking the test or not.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Split your time into four equal time periods to focus on each of the four areas, writing, reading, listening and speaking, or perhaps increase your time in the more challenging areas while putting only a few days into reviewing the topics you are most comfortable with.
- Review structure and organization at the beginning of each new topic, going over what’s expected of you in that area. This will minimize surprises on test day.
- Start with the area you found most challenging in practices. This gives you the most time to work on the area, and allows you to move forward in other areas after a focused effort to tackle some subjects where you need the most work.
- Map out your plan, scheduling your study hours, days and topics. This won’t be set in stone, as you may see some areas go quicker than you thought, and find things popping up in other areas, but at least it’s a start, and a guide to keep you on track.
Whatever your study schedule do remember to rest well for test day, since the TOEFL is a long exam. Maybe check out some light news segments or other TV clips beforehand and bring the right snacks and drinks to boost your energy to keep you going without crashing.
Tell us in the comment box if you know any additional tips to those included in this article.