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This study schedule was updated on September 26, 2014. If you’re just getting started, try the new and improved One Month TOEFL Study Schedule!
 

1 Month Schedule

This One Month TOEFL Study Schedule is designed for self-study test prep only. I highly recommend that you seek out other opportunities to practice, like working with a conversation partner and reading as much as you can, but I didn’t include these kinds of individualized activities. This month-long TOEFL study plan is designed to get you familiar with the TOEFL format and question types, and it can serve as a quick course in academic English, but with the ultimate aim of getting your TOEFL scores to an acceptable level. If you’re concerned about your level of English in general, one month of study for the TOEFL may not be enough time for you unless you have a lot of free time. In that case, consider taking some time to get your English ability high enough beforehand by using Magoosh English or any means you’d like.

TOEFL Prep Resources

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

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.

The Study Schedule Breakdown

Day 1: Watch the first four videos in Magoosh: under Introduction to the TOEFL, from “Overview of the TOEFL” to “Listening Section.” Also watch the video “Using the Grammar Lessons” in Introduction to TOEFL Grammar. Read pages 1-24 of the Official Guide. Pay special attention to the format of each section and the expectations that the test-writers have in each section (i.e. what should you demonstrate you can do in each section? How is this relevant to your ability to perform well in college/graduate school?).

Day 2: Watch the next three videos in Magoosh: under Introduction to the TOEFL, from “Speaking Section” to “Studying for the TOEFL.” Read pages 25-36 of the Official Guide (through the end of Chapter 1). Go to http://www.howsyourgrammar.com/ and take the short quiz. Make a note of your score and keep track of any areas of difficulty. Read pages 37-38, 58-59, 123-126, 141-142, and my posts about the reading and listening question types. Start checking the Magoosh TOEFL blog daily.

Day 3:  In Magoosh, watch the first two videos under Reading, titles “Pacing While Reading” and “Sample Passage: Clonal Colonies.” Take the “Reading” and “Listening” sections 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 printed practice tests. Check out my write-up of the TOEFL grammar quiz and identify your problem areas. Make a note of this; you will use it again in a few days.

Day 4: In Magoosh, watch the first two videos under Speaking, titled “Task 1 – Choose One from Many” and “Task 1 – Sample Answers.” Watch any 2-3 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses. Take the “Speaking” and “Writing” sections of Practice Test 1 from the CD that comes with the Official Guide. At the end, find out your percentage score for each section. Convert the percentage score provided to a projected score by estimating your TOEFL score here. Compare this score with the scores expected by the school(s) you plan to apply to.

Day 5: In Magoosh, watch the first three videos under Listening, the “Sample Recording” videos. Watch any 2-3 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses. Read through the first 100 entries on this list of 500 basic TOEFL words and quiz yourself on recognition by covering the definition of each word and trying to supply your own definition. Mark all unfamiliar words or words for which you could not supply the correct definition. If you know more than 75 of these 100 words, repeat the exercise with this list of 500 advanced words. Whichever list you choose, use the rest of your study time today to read through the rest of the list and mark all unknown words. Read my post on “Making Vocabulary Stick.”

Day 6:  In Magoosh, watch the first three videos under Writing, from “The Five-Paragraph Essay” to “Integrated Introduction Sample.”  Watch any 2-3 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses. Take the number of unknown words you discovered yesterday and divide by 25. From now on, that’s how many words you will need to learn each day. If this number is more than 15, consider using the basic vocabulary list; if you are already using the basic list and your daily vocabulary is still higher than 15, then you will need to choose the 10 words each day that seem most important. You will simply ignore the other words. Work with this vocabulary today in whatever way is most helpful to you; here are some ideas for making vocabulary stick and using flashcards to get the most out of your study sessions. I recommend quizzing yourself with flash cards a few times until you know most of the words (each time, remove the words you got correct), Googling each word to find real-world examples of usage, and then writing sentences using the words. These words don’t need to be 100% perfect today, but you want to be getting most of them right consistently.

Day 7:  In Magoosh, watch the next three videos under Reading, the “Question Type” videos from “Vocabulary in Context” to “Except.” Review 2-3 Magoosh lessons you’ve already seen. Watch any 2-3 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses.

Day 8:  In Magoosh, watch the next four videos under Listening, from “Question Type: Main Idea” to “Using Your Notes.” Watch any 2-3 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses. Study your vocabulary for the day. Read the following posts on the Magoosh blog: “Getting the Most out of Your Study Sessions” and “How to Use TOEFL Flashcards (Almost) Painlessly.”As you read, keep notes so that you have a cheat sheet of tips and resources to check out.

Day 9:   In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 2 – Choose One from Two” and “Task 2 – Sample Answers.” Review 2 Magoosh videos you’ve already seen. Watch 1-2 new grammar videos in Magoosh. Study your vocabulary for the day. Complete this listening/writing activity based on a podcast from ESLPod.com. Can you find any opportunities to use the new words you’ve learned in this activity?

Day 10: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 3 -Conversation and Reading” and “Task 3 – Sample Answer.” Review 2 Magoosh videos you’ve already seen. Watch 1-2 new grammar videos in Magoosh. Study your vocabulary for the day. Listen to ESLPod #17, “Writing an Essay II.” Take notes as you listen. When you are finished, combine the brainstorming you did yesterday (you did keep your notes, right?) and the advice given in ESLPods16 and 17 to outline an essay on the topic “Is the Internet good or bad for students?” Keep this essay for future review.

Day 11: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Integrated Structure A” and “Integrated Structure B.” Review 2 Magoosh videos you’ve already seen. Watch 1-2 new grammar videos in Magoosh. Study your vocabulary for the day. In the Official Guide, read pages 165-194. Record yourself speaking for one minute on each of the following lightning questions in TOEFL Speaking Practice:

– You’re on vacation and have gotten lost. Explain the situation to a passerby and ask for directions.
– Describe the best gift you ever gave or received.
– Should music be a required course in schools? Explain why or why not.

Day 12: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Integrated Body Sample (Structure A)” and “Integrated Body Sample (Structure B).” Use today to review all the vocabulary you’ve learned up to this point. Try mixing it up by using a new study method: put the words on note-cards and sort them into groups, write an essay or story using as many of the words as possible, or look up common phrases that use each word. Complete the Speaking section of Practice Test 3 in the Official Guide book (pages 499-504). When you are finished, compare your recorded responses with the raters’ analysis on pages 550-558.

Day 13: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Inference” and “Purpose.” Watch 1-2 new grammar videos in Magoosh and review 1 more. Study your vocabulary for the day. If you are studying from the advanced list, go to the technology, science, or health section of www.nytimes.com and choose one article to read. If you are studying from the basic list, go to www.newsweek.com and choose one article to read (again, focus on technology, health, or science).

Day 14: Review 2 Magoosh videos you’ve already seen. Watch 1-2 new grammar videos in Magoosh and review 1 more. Study your vocabulary for the day. In the Official Guide, 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? Pull out the outline you wrote on Day 10 and critique it in the same way (since it’s an outline, you’ll mostly be focusing on the structure and strength of your arguments).

Day 15: Congratulations–you’ve now reached the halfway point of your one month of TOEFL study. In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Function” and “Getting in the Speaker’s Head.” Review 2 Magoosh videos you’ve already seen. Watch 1-2 new grammar videos in Magoosh and review 1 more.Study your vocabulary for the day. Do the Listening section of Practice Test 1 from the Official Guide book. Check your answers and review anything you got wrong. Make a note of your score.

Day 16: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 4 – Lecture & Reading” and “Task 4 – Sample Answer.”  Watch 1 new grammar video in Magoosh and review 1 more. Study your vocabulary for the day. Review all the vocabulary from the past 15 days (at this point, remove any words you know very well). As before, try to mix up your study method today by using the words more actively: find a friend to help you practice the words in conversation, or summarize a topic you recently read or heard about using some of the words. Read and listen to the materials for the integrated writing task in Practice Test 3 (pages 505-506). Outline an answer and read the raters’ comments on pages 559-564.

Day 17:  In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Essay 2 -Independent” and “Independent Introduction Sample.”  Study your vocabulary for the day. Do the Reading section of Practice Test 1 from the Official Guide book. Give yourself exactly one hour to complete it. Make a note of your score.

Day 18: Study your vocabulary for the day. Read my post about the TOEFL integrated writing task. Do the Writing section of Practice Test 1 from the Official Guide book. Consider getting feedback from a friend or from a language-learning community online like lang-8.com. Read the Score 4 and Score 5 sample answers to the Integrated Writing Task on page 332-333 of the Official Guide.

Day 19: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Reference” and “Paraphrase”  Watch 1 new grammar video in Magoosh and review 1 other lesson of your choice, grammar or TOEFL-based. Study your vocabulary for the day. Do the Speaking section of Practice Test 1 from the Official Guide book. Record your answers so you can review them later. As you did in Day 4, estimate your score on this practice test.. Compare your score on this last practice test to the first practice test you took and to the score required by your school of choice. Are you on track?

Day 20: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Attitude” and “Tone of Voice.”  Watch 1 new grammar video in Magoosh and review 1 other lesson of your choice, grammar or TOEFL-based. Study your vocabulary for the day. Review all the vocabulary from the past 15 days (except for any words you removed last time). Speak for one minute about these lightning questions and record your answers:

– Describe one of your hobbies and why you like it.
– Complete this sentence and explain: “I would like a job in which…”
– Describe your typical day.

Day 21:  In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 5 – Conversation” and “Task 5 – Sample Answer.”  Study your vocabulary for the day. Read the essay “Laughing with Kafka.” Listen to “How Books Can Open Your Mind” from Ted.com. Write a short (300-word) essay on the following topic: Is fiction still important in today’s world? Support your answer with examples from your own experience and from the materials you worked with today. If this is challenging for you, that’s ok—it doesn’t mean you’re not ready for the TOEFL. If you didn’t feel like this task was particularly difficult, you’re probably in good shape for the listening and writing sections.

Day 22: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Independent Structure A” and “Independent Structure B.” Study your vocabulary for the day. Do the Reading section from Practice Test 2 from the CD that accompanies the Official Guide.

Day 23: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Insert Text” and “Summary.”  Study your vocabulary for the day. Do the Listening section from Practice Test 2 from the CD that accompanies the Official Guide.

Day 24: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Organization” and “Structural Key Words.” Study your vocabulary for the day. Do the Writing section from Practice Test 2 from the CD that accompanies the Official Guide.

Day 25: In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Inference” and “Don’t Go Too Far.” Review 2-3 lessons from Magoosh, either grammar or TOEFL-based. Study your vocabulary for the day. Do the Speaking section from Practice Test 2 from the CD that accompanies the Official Guide. You can find your score if you want, but at this point it’s better to think about practicing, practicing, practicing. Review all your vocabulary.

Day 26: In Magoosh, watch the last two videos under Speaking, “Task 6 – Lecture” and “Task 6 – Sample Answer.” Review 2-3 lessons from Magoosh, either grammar or TOEFL-based. Study your vocabulary for the day. Review all of your vocabulary. Return to www.nytimes.com or www.newsweek.com and read something that interests you. Outline an essay describing your reaction to it. Do you agree or disagree with the writer’s judgments?

Day 27:  In Magoosh, watch the last three videos under Writing, from “Independent Body Sample (Structure A)” to “Independent Conclusion Sample” Review 2-3 lessons from Magoosh, either grammar or TOEFL-based. Study your vocabulary for the day. Listen to “TOEFL Podcast #19” and “TOEFL Podcast #11” from eslpod.com.

Day 28: 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.” Study your vocabulary for the day. Flip to page 216 of the Official Guide. Choose 3 questions that interest you. After spending 15 seconds preparing, speak for 45 seconds about each of them.

Day 29: Review 10 – 20 Magoosh videos, including both TOEFL lessons and Grammar videos. Study your vocabulary for the day. Flip to page 216 of the Official Guide. Choose 1 topic to write about, and write an essay in 20 minutes, maximum.

Day 30: 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!

This study schedule was written by Magoosh Blogger, Kate Hardin.
 

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