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One Month TOEFL Study Plan | How to Prepare for the TOEFL

TOEFL study planUpdate: The 1 Month TOEFL Study Plan has a new look (but the same great resources!)

If you have any questions or comments about this TOEFL study plan or TOEFL preparation in general, please leave them at the bottom of the post and we will get back to you right away. Happy Studying! 🙂

30-Day TOEFL Study Plan

This one-month TOEFL study schedule is designed for self-studiers looking to prepare for their TOEFL exam date. I highly recommend that you seek out other opportunities to practice, especially conversation with English speakers, but that is not included in the schedule because it depends on what opportunities you have.

This month-long TOEFL study plan is mostly designed to get you familiar with the TOEFL format and question types, but with the ultimate aim of getting your TOEFL scores to an acceptable level. That means some of the material focuses on academic English in general. But if you’re concerned about your overall level of English, one month of study for the TOEFL may not be enough time. In that case, consider taking some time to get your English ability high enough beforehand, studying grammar, vocabulary, and practicing the four skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) outside the context of the TOEFL.

Each week, there are 6 days of TOEFL prep. One day per week will be a rest day, which isn’t included in the schedule. Use that day to relax!

if you have more time to devote to your studies, then buy the book Official TOEFL iBT Tests for additional practice.

TOEFL Prep Resources

To follow this schedule fully, you’ll need three things:

  1. A computer with speakers, a CD drive, and Internet access
  2. Magoosh TOEFL Prep
  3. The Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT, 4th Edition with the accompanying CD

Plan on spending about one or two hours each day to stay on this schedule, although some days will be less, and the practice tests will take longer.

One Month TOEFL Study Schedule Breakdown

How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week One


TOEFL Preparation Week 1
Week 1, Day 1:

  • Lessons:
    • Watch the first four videos in Magoosh: under Introduction to the TOEFL, from “Overview of the TOEFL” to “Listening Section.”
    • Watch the video “Using the Grammar Lessons” in Introduction to TOEFL Grammar.
    • Watch any 4-5 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Start working on Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards. Begin with the “common” deck. Master 20 words at minimum. If you believe this deck is very easy for you, finish it today.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete the reading and listening questions in ETS’s Quick Prep Volume 4. Your goal is to become familiar with the format of the test—don’t worry too much about how many right and wrong answers you get.

Week 1, Day 2:

  • Lessons:
    • Watch the next three videos in Magoosh: under Introduction to the TOEFL, from “Speaking Section” to “Studying for the TOEFL.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 14 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong. If you see a new passage after 14 questions, return to the dashboard by clicking “Magoosh” at the top left of the screen.
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four different recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong. If you start a third recording, return to the dashboard by clicking “Magoosh” at the top left of the screen to exit your practice.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete the speaking and writing questions in ETS’s Quick Prep Volume 4. Your goal is to become familiar with the format of the TOEFL and how much time you have for each task. Don’t worry about grading yourself.

Week 1, Day 3:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first two videos under Reading, titled “Pacing While Reading” and “Sample Passage: Clonal Colonies.”
    • Watch any 3-4 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses.
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Reading” section of Practice Test 1 from the CD that accompanies the Official Guide. The format is not identical to that of the iBT, but it will give you a more authentic practice session than the practice tests in the book. Use the self-scoring chart in the back of the book (page 285) to see where you stand. Review your wrong answers carefully so that you understand why you made every mistake.

Week 1, Day 4:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first two videos under Speaking, titled “Task 1 – Choose One from Many” and “Task 1 – Sample Answers.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 6 questions. Watch the explanation video for every question.
    • Master at least 20 more words in Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards. Again, if you believe the deck you are working on is easy for you, finish it today.
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Speaking” section of Practice Test 1 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Use either your phone or this online recorder to record your answers. Don’t worry about grading them today. You will listen to them on day 6.
    • Complete the reading questions in ETS’s Quick Prep Volume 3. Review your incorrect answers carefully, learning from your mistakes

Week 1, Day 5:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first three videos under Listening, the “Sample Recording” videos.
    • Watch any 3-4 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and watch the explanation video.
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Listening” section of Practice Test 1 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Use the self-scoring chart in the back of the book (page 301) to see where you stand. Review your wrong answers carefully so that you understand why you made every mistake.

Week 1, Day 6:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first six videos under Writing, from “The Five-Paragraph Essay” to “Integrated Introduction Sample.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 14 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong. If you see a new passage after 14 questions, return to the dashboard by clicking “Magoosh” at the top left of the screen.
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Writing” section of Practice Test 1 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide.
    • Listen to the recordings of your answers that you made on day 4. Compare them to the sample answers on the CD and explanations in the book (page 320 – 330).

 

How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week Two


TOEFL Study Plan Week 2
Week 2, Day 1:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next three videos under Reading, the “Question Type” videos from “Vocabulary in Context” to “Except.”
    • In Magoosh, watch the next four videos under Listening, from “Question Type: Main Idea” to “Using Your Notes.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Spend 10-20 minutes working on Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards.
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four different recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong. If you start a fourth recording, return to the dashboard by clicking “Magoosh” at the top left of the screen to exit your practice.
  • Official Practice:
    • Read the essays that you wrote on week 1, day 6. Compare them to the sample answers explanations in the book (page 331 – 342). Grade yourself based on which sample essays yours was most similar to. Edit both your essays to improve them.

Week 2, Day 2:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 2 – Choose One from Two” and “Task 2 – Sample Answers.”
    • Watch 4-5 new grammar videos in Magoosh.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 6 questions. Watch the explanation video for every question.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete the listening and speaking questions in ETS’s Quick Prep Volume 3. Use either your phone or this online recorder to record your answers to the speaking section. Review your incorrect answers to the speaking section carefully. Listen to your recordings, and note what could be improved. Then, answer the questions again with those improvements.

Week 2, Day 3:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 3 -Conversation and Reading” and “Task 3 – Sample Answer.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and then watch the explanation video.
    • Spend 20-30 minutes working on your vocabulary either with Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards or these vocabulary exercises. (The easiest set of words is sublist one; the most difficult is sublist ten.)
  • Official Practice:

Week 2, Day 4:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Integrated Structure A” and “Integrated Structure B.”
    • Watch 3-4 new grammar videos in Magoosh.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete the reading section and speaking sections from ETS’s Quick Prep Volume 1. Carefully review your answers and learn from your mistakes in the reading section. Save the recordings of your answers to the speaking section.

Week 2, Day 5:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Integrated Body Sample (Structure A)” and “Integrated Body Sample (Structure B).”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and then watch the explanation video.
  • Official Practice:

Week 2, Day 6:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Inference” and “Purpose.”
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Function” and “Getting in the Speaker’s Head.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 14 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Spend 10-20 minutes working on your vocabulary either with Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards or these vocabulary exercises.

 

How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week Three


How to Prepare for the TOEFL Week 3
Week 3, Day 1:
Congratulations–you’ve now reached the halfway point of your one month of TOEFL study.

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 4 – Lecture & Reading” and “Task 4 – Sample Answer.”
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Essay 2 -Independent” and “Independent Introduction Sample.”
    • Watch 3-4 new grammar videos in Magoosh and review 1 more.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete the first three reading practice sets in the Official Guide, starting on page 60. Carefully review your wrong answers, learning from your mistakes.

Week 3, Day 2:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Reference” and “Paraphrase”
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Attitude” and “Tone of Voice.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 6 questions. Watch the explanation video for every question.
    • Spend 10-20 minutes working on your vocabulary using these vocabulary exercises.
  • Official Practice:
    • In the Official Guide, read the essay prompt on page 211. Outline your own answer to the question (don’t write the essay yet—just prepare for it). Then, read pages 211-215. After you read each essay and before you read the rater comments, critique the essay yourself. What are its strengths and weaknesses? What would you have done differently? What aspects of this essay might you try to incorporate into your own writing? Then return to your outline, and write your own response.

Week 3, Day 3:

  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and then watch the explanation video.
  • Official Practice:
    • Do the Reading section of Practice Test 2 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Give yourself exactly one hour to complete it. Score yourself with the table at the back of the book (page 399). Review your incorrect answers carefully.

Week 3, Day 4:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 5 – Conversation” and “Task 5 – Sample Answer.”
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Insert Text” and “Summary.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 14 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:

Week 3, Day 5:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Independent Structure A” and “Independent Structure B.”
    • Watch 3-4 new grammar videos in Magoosh and review 1 other lesson of your choice, grammar or TOEFL-based.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:
    • Do the Speaking section of Practice Test 2 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Record your answers so you can review them later.

Week 3, Day 6:
Today, you’re going to take a full practice test. If you don’t have a full four hours to spend, then switch this day with a day next week when you will have the time. You need four hours with no interruptions at your computer.

Take the practice test 3 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Do not take breaks during a section, and be careful with the clock. The software will give you the timer for most parts, but here is the timing for reference:

  • Reading section: 60 minutes
  • Listening section: 20 minutes total to answer the questions of all six recordings. Stop the timer when you are listening to the recordings.
  • BREAK: 10 minutes (have a quick snack!)
  • Speaking section: (You will need to time yourself and record yourself in the speaking section, so be prepared.)
    • 15 seconds to prepare, 45 seconds to speak.
    • 15 seconds to prepare, 45 seconds to speak.
    • 30 seconds to prepare, 60 seconds to speak.
    • 30 seconds to prepare, 60 seconds to speak.
    • 20 seconds to prepare, 60 seconds to speak.
    • 20 seconds to prepare, 60 seconds to speak.
  • Writing section:
    • 20 minutes
    • 30 minutes

 

How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week Four


TOEFL Prep Week 4
Week 4, Day 1:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the last three videos under Writing, from “Independent Body Sample (Structure A)” to “Independent Conclusion Sample”
    • In Magoosh, watch the next four videos under Listening, “Question Type: Organization,” “Structural Key Words,” “Question Type: Inference,” and “Don’t Go Too Far.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete two essays, watching the explanation videos.
  • Official Practice:
    • Review all of your answers from the full practice test you took at the end of last week. Pay careful attention to your wrong answers in reading and listening, learning from your mistakes. Grade your speaking and writing tasks by comparing them with the examples given on the CD.

Week 4, Day 2:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the last two videos under Speaking, “Task 6 – Lecture” and “Task 6 – Sample Answer.”
    • In Magoosh, watch the final video under Reading, titledCategory,” and the final two videos in Listening, “Question Type: Filling in Tables” and “Easiest to Hardest.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 14 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:
    • Do the Listening section of Practice Test 2 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Score yourself with the table at the back of the book (page 415). Review your incorrect answers carefully.

Week 4, Day 3:

  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:
    • Do the Writing section of Practice Test 2 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Grade your essays by comparing them with the examples given on the CD.

Week 4, Day 4:

  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Review all your vocabulary from both Magoosh flashcards and EnglishVocabularyExercises.com
    • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 6 questions. Watch the explanation video for every question.
  • Official Practice:
    • Return to the speaking task recordings you created on week 3 day 5. Repeat the same tasks better than the first time, attempting to include new vocabulary in every answer.
    • Return to the essays you wrote yesterday. Edit them and add to them to make them even better.

Week 4, Day 5:

  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one to two essays, watching the explanation videos.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete the last three reading practice sets in the Official Guide, starting on page 90. Give yourself no more than 20 minutes per passage (including the questions). Carefully review your wrong answers, learning from your mistakes.

Week 4, Day 6:

  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 14 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete the five listening practice sets in the Official Guide, starting on page 143. Carefully review your wrong answers, learning from your mistakes.
  • Listen to Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about posture, and consider how this could help you on your test.

 

If you have time remaining:

  • Review Magoosh videos and practice questions daily.
  • Review vocabulary that you’ve already learned.
  • Plan 10 essays based on the questions in pages 216-230 of the official guide. Write 1 or 2 of them. Set them aside for a day or two, then come back and edit/improve those essays.
  • Answer questions from the list on pages 260-230 as if they were speaking task 2 questions. Record your answers.
  • Complete Quick Prep Volume 2
  • If you use Windows, complete these free practice materials:
  • Regularly listen to TED talks and read articles from New York Times or Newsweek. After every article or talk, summarize what you learned either in writing or in speech. If you speak your summary, record yourself.

 

The day before your TOEFL test:

Tell yourself you’re a rock star who’s going to ace the test. Don’t study today—you’ll just build up anxiety! Instead, find out what to expect on test day by reading about what you need to bring on test day and reading ETS’s TOEFL Test Day Tips. If you’ve followed this one month TOEFL study schedule, you should be in good shape for the test. Get a good night’s sleep, and have a healthy breakfast in the morning. Good luck!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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