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Test Day Advice for TOEFL

This is the time of the year when many students, especially international, are preparing for TOEFL and are scheduled to take the test between July and October. It’s advisable to register for the test as early as possible because there’s a huge rush for registration and slots get filled up very quickly. Traveling to another city to take the TOEFL (like I had to) can be a lot of hassle and may waste precious time that you could have put towards the test preparation.

The Day Before the Test

You have spent weeks in rigorous preparation, practiced reading, writing, listening and speaking thoroughly in the last couple of months leading to the test. Give yourself a break the day before you take the TOEFL. I advice everyone to take full length tests, one each day, in the week leading to your test day. TOEFL is a lengthy exam and you must familiarize yourself with the test patterns, timings and length before attempting the final one. Concentrating for four hours or more, reading constantly from a computer screen is no easy task so I strongly suggest taking 4 or more full length tests in your last week.

The day before your test DO NOT try to cram anything or practice anything. I would advice giving yourself a break the evening before, relaxing a little and spending some time calming down-listen to some music, read a book, watch a movie, go out and meet friends . Whatever you do should soothe your nerves instead of tensing them up. Don’t look at books, learn new words or take a practice test. You don’t want your brain in overdrive mode the evening before you take the TOEFL.

Eat a light, healthy, non-greasy meal and hit the bed early. Pack your id and registration confirmation that you need to take for the test. Get at least 6 hours of sleep! Lack of sleep will make you feel tired and hamper your concentration. Rest well to wake up fresh to face the day ahead!

The D-Day

Arrive on time and with proper documentation at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start. ETS is very strict about having your proper identification in order. You may be sent back if you’re not carrying the appropriate identification. On the day I took TOEFL one guy turned up without his registered ID and was not allowed to take the test.

They don’t allow you to carry anything electronic, metallic and edible foodstuff inside the testing centre. So I suggest either not carrying your mobile phone, wrist watch and pens or leaving them if someone is waiting. A few test centers may have locker facilities where you can store your stuff. Once you take your seat after the requisite verification and confirmation, test your microphone and ensure all things are in order. It’s important to read all instructions on the screen, no matter even if you know them by heart. The agency officials usually distribute paper and pencils prior to the start of the test.

Once you’re all set, begin the TOEFL.

Have a look at what ETS tell you about “What to Bring on Test Day”.

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2 Responses to Test Day Advice for TOEFL

  1. Dee July 26, 2015 at 5:16 am #

    Hi,
    Could you please let me know if candidates can change the order in which they take the different segments of the TOEFL test according to their preferences?? In other words, can someone one start with the Speaking segment instead of the Reading segment?
    I’m feeling bit worried about the noise level I’m likely to experience at the test center…I definitely don’t want to have the person next to me speaking in full volume when I’m trying to read…

    BTW, I must say that your blog is wonderful…There’s so much useful information here…Thank you for everything!

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas Fink July 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

      The order can’t be changed, no. All students do reading, then listening, the speaking, and finally writing, with a ten-minute break between listening and speaking. But students start and finish at slightly different times, so yes, other people will be answering speaking questions while you are working on listening and/or writing. So it’s good to practice with distractions in the background, to imitate the situation of the real test. 🙂


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