When you’re shopping for TOEFL books, it can be hard to know which are high-quality and which you should walk away (if not run away) from! That’s why I’ve put together this list of TOEFL book reviews: the best TOEFL books of 2021. Here, you’ll see exactly why some books stand out from the crowd—and learn what to avoid when searching for good TOEFL prep for Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
Best TOEFL Books: Table of Contents
- Magoosh TOEFL Books
- Official TOEFL Books from ETS
- Other Unofficial TOEFL Prep
Magoosh TOEFL Books and Prep
Though Magoosh has not published a hard-copy TOEFL book (which helps keep our TOEFL prep accessible and low-cost) we go one better by offering tons of free eBook PDFs that you can take on the go. Here are just a few—you can browse the rest in our full list of TOEFL eBooks and PDFs!
And if you are an interactive learner (I think most people are), then I’d recommend taking a look at the Magoosh TOEFL free trial.
Official TOEFL Books from ETS
ETS itself makes three official TOEFL prep books that I highly recommend. These official practice materials will always be the ones most accurate to the real exam. If possible, you’ll want to get the most recent editions of each book, the ones released in 2020; these are the only editions thus far that are consistent with the 2019 updates to the test format. The practice tests in these books do have many of the same questions as the practice tests in earlier editions, but the questions and sections have now been reformatted in important ways. So, let’s take a closer look at each book.
The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test, 6th Edition
There are three good things about the TOEFL Official Guide:
- It has the most accurate description of what you see on the TOEFL iBT
- The practice sets at the ends of the chapters
- The four practice tests, which come with downloadable software and audio files (these can be taken in-book or through the software)
- Sample Speaking and Writing responses, with scorer commentary.
But none of it is perfect, oddly. For more details of the pros and cons of this book, read my full review of the Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT Test.
Official TOEFL iBT Tests, Volume 2, Third Edition
The three official TOEFL books are all very close to each other in ranking, but the best of the three for cheap, authentic practice tests is this book. And this book really does focus just on practice tests. There are no extra practice questions, and no supplemental chapters that give extra information about the tests. To learn more about why the official practice tests here are even better than the official prep in the other two ETS TOEFL books, check out my full review of Official TOEFL iBT Tests, Volume 2, Third Edition.
Official TOEFL iBT Tests, Volume 1, 4th Edition
Before there was a Volume 2 of these tests, there obviously had to be Official TOEFL iBT Tests, Vol. 1, 4th Edition. The book still has the same practice tests as before, but the tests have been shortened and reformatted to match the updated TOEFL that was rolled out in 2019. While this book is very similar in quality to the second volume, there are a few important differences that are worth considering. Learn more by reading my full review of this first volume of Official TOEFL iBT Practice tests.
Other Unofficial TOEFL Prep (besides Magoosh)
Yes, official TOEFL prep materials are a must-have for any serious student. But there’s a lot of really helpful prep to be found beyond ETS, and even beyond Magoosh. Here are three TOEFL books from other publishers that just might be a good addition to your test prep bookshelf.
Barron’s TOEFL iBT, With 8 Online Practice Tests
The ugly truth is that really good unofficial TOEFL prep materials are hard to find. But Barron’s does a really great job as an unofficial resource. This Barron’s book is by far their most comprehensive. In the full review of Barron’s TOEFL iBT, David gives a detailed description of Barron’s offerings, and some pros and cons to help you decide if the book is right for you.
Barron’s Essential Words for the TOEFL
Barron’s does it again! To see if this recommended vocabulary resource is truly right for you, read David’s full review of Barron’s Essential Words for the TOEFL.
400 Must-Have Words for the TOEFL Test
This book is from McGraw Hill. As a publishing company, McGraw Hill puts out the official TOEFL books; as an educational company, they also make and publish unofficial TOEFL resources of their own. How good is this unofficial resource from the publisher of the official books? Read this review to find out.
One Non-TOEFL Prep Book: The ELT Grammar Book
While the ELT Grammar book is billed as a teacher’s resource, TOEFL teachers and students alike may find it useful. To read more about this book and see if it can help you in your TOEFL prep and English studies, see David’s full review of the book.
Bonus: TOEFL Practice Test
Try Magoosh’s free TOEFL Practice Test for high-quality practice! The printable PDF features questions written by the same TOEFL Experts who wrote the content for Magoosh’s premium TOEFL product. That means that, if you like the practice questions, you know where to find more just like them (hint: in Magoosh TOEFL Prep)!