NOTE: Since I wrote the review below, the book was released. Here are some notes about what I expected and what we got:
- The practice tests are, in fact, the best, most recent official material. They are the same quality as tests in Official TOEFL iBT Tests Volume 1, 2nd Edition.
- The quality of software is the same as the CD that comes with the Official Guide, unfortunately. It’s SIMILAR to the real TOEFL software, but not exactly the same.
- Volume 1 was updated recently, with a second edition. That book also has computer tests, now, not only audio on the CD. So “volume 2” and “volume 1, 2nd edition” are equally good—they just have different material.
I’ve been waiting for this day for years! Well, the day hasn’t actually come yet, but Amazon says this book will be released on December 11th of this year, 2015. And that will be a great day for TOEFL students, because there will finally be a resource for recent, official TOEFL practice tests, in full length, on an inexpensive CD.
The book I’m talking about is Volume 2 of Official TOEFL iBT Tests
No more paying $45 for a single TPO test. Instead, you will be able to pay only $25 for a set of five full-length tests. The book itself is fine—helpful for teachers who want to make copies—but the really exciting part is that CD!
You might be a bit confused about why that CD is different from CDs in other official books:
(Notice that second book is “volume 1,” not the latest “volume 2”)
Well, there are two big differences:
- Volume 1, 2nd Edition has slightly older tests. The tests in this second edition were originally released in late 2012, for the first edition. This means the mock exams in TOEFL iBT Tests Vol. 1 are more than three years older than the practice TOEFLs in TOEFL iBT Tests Vol. 2
- The Official Guide’s CD had much older tests, and there were fewer. The first two practice tests in the Official Guide date back to 2009. There is only one test in that book that is somewhat current, and even that “newer” test is from 2012.
And there may be one third difference, but I’m not sure yet:
- Software that’s more like the real TOEFL. Admittedly, both TOEFL iBT Tests Volume 2 and the Official Guide have some different software from what’s on the real TOEFL. It’s similar, but not exactly the same. In both books, the clock in the listening section, for example, isn’t quite right. And in the software for both books, between every section, you have to choose the next section you will do. On the real TOEFL, it just continues and continues—you cannot choose. Still, it seems likely that the software in Official TOEFL iBT Tests Vol. 2 must be updated in some way, to make it more current than previous official TOEFL simulation software from ETS.
If all three differences are right, then this will be the best source for TOEFL practice tests. We’ll have to wait a few more months before it is released, but until then, my hopes are high!
If you’d like to complement the official practice material with an online TOEFL preparation course, make sure to check out Magoosh TOEFL!